Welcome to Şamaxı
For centuries, Şamaxı (Shemakha), not Baku, was northern Azerbaijan's foremost city. However, apart from some ancient graves, essentially nothing of antiquity has survived the ravages of earthquakes and invasions. The one must-see sight is the Caucasus' 'second-oldest mosque', a very impressive structure but essentially rebuilt within the last decade. On the moorland hills some 20km north of the town, the Rəsədxana is Azerbaijan's foremost place for scientific astronomy and a photogenic sight if you're driving the newly paved backcountry route to Lahıc via the Şamaxı Safari Park and Dəmirçi village, which has a small 8th-century mosque and a newly opened archaeological museum.