Gusar region - opportunities for ecotourism
Azerbaijan is ideal for the development of ecological tourism. The mountain landscapes of Shahdag, the wooded hills of Chilegir, the picturesque waterfalls of the villages of Laza and Kuzun, the riding on segways, bobcards and zipline, and, of course, the generous hospitality of the locals is only a small part of the possibilities which one of the northern regions of the country - Gusar district gives to active leisure lovers.
Take care of nature or ecotourism wardrobe
Ecological or green tourism and such kind of it as rural tourism are considered as one of the most important and popular tourist destinations in the world. There are many reasons for such popularity of ecotourism. Firstly, it is, in fact, the only direction in the field of tourism that is interested in preserving the environment and the ecological balance, which is natural. After all, eco-tourism is a form of sustainable tourism, aimed at visiting relatively untouched natural areas and getting acquainted with the traditional way of life of the local population. And that means nature is the main source of prosperity for green tourism. Respect for the environment and minimal impact on it are the fundamental principles of eco-tourism. Moreover, all parties are interested in the observance of these principles - the state, society, and the tourists themselves.
The state receives profits from a larger number of tourists arriving in the country in the form of airport taxes and other forms of taxation. Hotels, restaurants and other on-site hospitality facilities benefit from the increasing flow of tourists. And, most importantly, the local population, in whose homes travelers often prefer to remain is involved in the process of ecotourism. Accordingly, these people become interested in the careful development of the resources around them. Such close interaction of local residents and visitors brings obvious benefits for popularizing the culture of Azerbaijan throughout the world. Communicating with the population of the villages through which the ecotour routes pass, tourists get acquainted with the customs and traditions of the peoples inhabiting Azerbaijan, learn the traditional way of life and elements of folk art, try national dishes and even learn the language.
Before the start of any eco-tour organizers inform participants about the form of clothing. And these recommendations in no case should not be ignored. Clothing must be waterproof and windproof, from special synthetic fabrics, since natural fabrics such as cotton or wool quickly get wet and dry for a long time. And let the warm and dry weather in the city not confuse you: in the highlands even in summer it will most likely be cool and foggy. From the drizzling rain and dew in the grass you quickly get wet. So try to seriously consider choosing a wardrobe for an ecotour.
Shahdag in summer
Gusar region is not accidentally considered to be one of the centers for the development of ecotourism in Azerbaijan. The diversity of landscapes, the rich flora and fauna of the region, the distinctive culture and the hospitality of the locals are of interest to all lovers of eco-tourism. In addition, the Shahdag tourist complex, perhaps the most famous mountine resort in the country and abroad, functions in Gusar. In the winter season, this popular ski resort is visited by thousands of lovers of skiing and snowboarding, or spending a weekend in the lap of mountain scenery. And what happens in Shahdag in the summer, how does this complex live when snow disappears from the surrounding slopes? This question interests many. And we dare to assure you that in summer the Shahdag complex can offer tourists no less, and maybe more entertainment, than in the winter!
With the arrival of spring, Shahdag is transformed, the mountains are covering with a carpet of grass and flowers, the streams are murmur and the birds are chirp. This alone - being in the silence in the lap of nature, is able to restore strength to the city dweller, exhausted by the monotonous life. For those who love active entertainment, the Shahdag complex can offer horseback riding, mountain biking, quad biking, trotineta riding (some kind of scooter), segway, bobkart and zipline.
If with a segway - an electric two-wheeled vehicle, many are familiar, then about bobcart should be told in more detail. Bobkart is a kind of sleigh with four wheels that looks like a racing karting car, but without a motor. To begin with, those wishing to go on a bobcard wear a protective uniform - overalls and helmets. Then with the help of ski lifts you climb to the top of one of the hills. Here on a specially prepared track will be a race. It’s easy to control a bobcard - push the steering wheel away from yourself - the cards are gaining speed, pulling on yourself - it slows down. If on the track no more than two or three people, then you can go down a race. If there are more participants, then everyone is going one by one, without overtaking. However, even in this case, you will experience the pleasure of speed on mountain slopes.
Another no less interesting attraction is the zipline, a descent along a steel rope stretched high above the ground. In this case, the instructor helps you put on your safety gear, and then hangs it by the hooks to the rope. The descent takes place at a speed of 20-25 km/h at a height of 45 m above the ground. During such a trip, there is a delightful panorama of the complex and the surrounding hills. If you fix the action camera on the helmet, you can capture the whole process.
Tired of active leisure travelers can rent a room in one of the fashionable hotels of the Shahdag complex. Or go to bed in any other recreation area nearby.
Lezgi hospitality and the paradox of ecotourism
The Khutorok tourist base is located in the middle of wooded hills in the picturesque village of Chilegir near the town of Gusar. The territory of the complex is surrounded by greenery, fruit trees grow around and flowers bloom. Somewhere below the river flows, and the delightful aroma of firewood and samovar tea hangs in the air.
More than 90% of the population of the Gusar region are ethnic Lezgins. Khutorok is famous for its cuisine, which consists mostly of dishes from the national Azerbaijani and Lezgin cuisines. Here you can taste delicious kebabs and basturma, soyutma, pilaf, and, of course, the famous Lezghian Tskan pie and and Khran-fu bread. Products - only organic.
One of the popular ecotourism routes in Gusar is a hike to the mountain waterfalls of the villages Kuzun and Laza. To the starting point of the route - the village of Kuzun, you can drive up by car. Then, dressed in appropriate clothing and grabbing water supplies, ecotourists begin to climb. Note that the Lezgi village of Kuzun, located 35 km from Gusar, not far from Shahdag complex, at an altitude of 1,280 meters. The village is surrounded by beautiful mountains that are covered with meadows and forests. At a distance of 6 km from here is another village - Laza, known for its Suvar touristic complex and stunning waterfalls. The idea of the route is to walk these 6 km on foot and get to the village of Laza.
Naturally, the mountain climate prevails here, in many respects unpredictable and it takes at least 3 hours all the way. Ascents are replaced by descents, underfoot stones or wet grass, dense forests alternate open meadows with grazing herds of cows or sheep. Even in the month of July it is rather cool here, fogs and rains are frequent.
Ecotourism is good because it is not a sport and not a competition. Nobody rushes you and does not demand the impossible. On the way, ecotourists can make halts, or even return to the camp if they do not want to continue their journey. Participants in environmental tours can become people of any age. And unites these men and women thirst for knowledge of the environment.
This is the main paradox of ecotourism: despite the physical exertion that awaits travelers on the way, you end up feeling rested and charged with furious energy that will fuel you for a long time in busy working life. And then you will look forward to the next opportunity to make another foray into nature with a team of like-minded people.