The city with mesmerising nature views that’s one of the best places to hike

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There are places that are renowned for tourists even if they are a bit off the beaten track.

And there are other places that you might never have heard – but when you uncover what’s on offer, you’re left scratching your head as to why they are not better known.

The city of Shamakhi may just be one of those hidden gems, located in Azerbaijan, a country bordered by Turkey, Iran, Georgia and Russia.

The city’s estimated population is relatively tiny – in 2010 it was 31,704 – and it is famous for its traditional dancers, the Shamakhi Dancers.

It’s a place with an incredibly rich cultural history.

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Travelblog explains more about the history of this stunning city which connects Europe and Asia.

It said: “Shamakhi is one of the oldest settlements in Azerbaijan, with a rich history dating back to the times of the Persian Empire.

“It was an important trade and cultural centre along the Silk Road, connecting Europe and Asia.

“Today, Shamakhi is known for its beautiful natural landscapes, historic landmarks, and traditional crafts, such as carpet weaving and pottery.”

And that’s not all.

The region also boasts truly beautiful nature walks – having earned a reputation as a hiking hotspot – and the biggest space observatory in the country.

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But as well as getting around on foot, a recent addition is an adventure in the skies.

Local authorities are promoting tourism by offering hot air balloon rides and in June hosted the inaugural Hot Air Balloon Festival.

There’s plenty on offer for wildlife lovers too – the Pirqulu State Reserve is a nature park located close to Shamakhi.

The top rated place to visit in the city according to travel website Tripadvisor is the Juma Mosque which is one of the largest in the country.

The mosque which was built in the 8th century has survived an amazing eleven major earthquakes.

Travel bloggers Savi and Vid explain more about the mosque for their website Bruised Passports as well as offering tips to make sure you make the most of the experience.

They wrote: “Next, stop at the magnificent Juma Mosque. Make sure you are wearing something that covers your elbows and knees.

“Women also need to carry a scarf to cover their head.

“The intricate and gorgeous mosque is a photographer’s delight and the best part is, there are rarely more than a handful of people around.”

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