Naxçivan's most attractive settlement appears like an oasis amid craggy desert landscapes. Its central square features a classic old-men's teahouse beneath giant çinar (plane) trees and its narrow streets hide many an older building behind mud-brick walls. There are a couple of small museums to seek out, one of them opposite a distinctive brick mosque in a former zorkhana (venue for a distinctive Persian strength-meditation martial art).

From Naxçivan City, several daily minibuses run to Ordubad (AZN2, 90 minutes), with the last return around 4pm from a bus station around 400m south of the central area.

Alternatively, consider paying a taxi or travel agency to make the visit part of a day-return trip that could also include Alinja Castle and Əshabi-Kəhf.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Azerbaijan attractions

1. Asiyab Khurabe

9.48 MILES

Locals love this popular wooded picnic area near a drippy, moss-covered grotto.

2. Javer Castle

9.68 MILES

Little remains of the actual castle other than some crumbling stone walls following the ridgeline south from the road, but the views are amazing.

3. Abbas Mirza Castel

12.32 MILES

Crumbling mud and eroded stone battlements tumble down a rocky hill next to the road, a poignant reminder of a disastrous 19th-century war with Russia.

4. Kordasht Hammam

12.59 MILES

Large, lovingly renovated historic hammam with newly marbled floors and attractive ceiling patterns. If closed, ask at the caretaker's house by the…

5. Gəmiqaya

18.04 MILES

Naxçivan's antiquity of human habitation is witnessed by a series of Bronze Age petroglyphs near the summit of remote Mt Gəmiqaya, thought to date as far…

6. Caravanserai Khaje Nazar

24.32 MILES

Above a bend in the Aras River, this restored caravanserai has some wonderful views of the eroded red mountains of Iran and across the border to the…

7. Chupan Chapel

24.6 MILES

This small shepherd's chapel has a commanding view of the Aras River. Don't be caught taking photos, though.

8. Alinja Castle

26.39 MILES

For those prepared to climb over 1500 steps up a mountain crag, one of Naxçivan's great highlights is the magnificent view from the sparse medieval ruins…