The ecotourism routes can be divided into three main directions: The Gusar-Qazanbulaq Route, Gusar-Sudur Route and the Gusar-Laza-Suvar Route.
Main highlight of this route is a forest called Alistan Baba forming seven square kilometers of greenery. Embroidered cloth, wood engravings, and famous Sumakh carpets are sold along the village’s main road.
Stretching along this route, the Samur River is one of the boundaries between Dagestan and Gusar. Local handicrafts, national customs, as well as performances by wrestlers line this route. It is well worth visiting some of the villages, such as:
Sudur - located 1,800 meters above sea level, at the foothills of Mount Shahdag offers eye-catching scenery of the nearby mountains and valleys.
Hil - known for its 19th-century mosque that is a historic monument of national importance. The place-name originates from the Azerbaijani word “Gil,” meaning “clay” in English.
Hazra - One of the most important historical-architectural monuments Mausoleum of Sheikh Juneyd is located in Hazra. The monument is named after Sheikh Juneyd of Ardabil who was the grandfather of Shah Ismail I (the forefather of the Safavid dynasty). He perished in the battlefield with the Shirvanshah’s army in 1456. According to the inscription on the façade of the monument the mausoleum was built in 1544.
The village of Hazra is also known for its wrestlers. Local wrestling competitions are amongst the most popular examples of Azerbaijani folklore. Sometimes tourists can come across wrestlers practicing their skills in the village.
Yuxarı Tahircal - a mountain village with beautiful scenery and difficult roads. Locals are engaged in beekeeping and gardening and known for their fruit trees, especially apple trees.
The road along this route is covered by shells and stones. As you travel, you may come across many more places of interest, such as the following:
Anigh - The Anigh Castle Walls in Anigh village date back to the ninth century and were of strategic importance in the Middle Ages in defending the village from Arab raids. Still standing to this day, the walls of the fortress stand at 9.3 meters tall and 2 meters wide.
Mahalin Taji (or Taj Mahal of Gusar) – Anigh has a long-standing tradition of building luxurious and fashionable properties and this mosque, located in the village center, is no exception. It is believed that the person who built this mosque visited the Taj Mahal during his trip to India and liked it so much that he decided to build a similar mosque. It is believed that the mosque, which was built from raw bricks, is over 300 years old. On the walls are pictures drawn with paints made from natural vegetable roots and although the pictures on the walls have never been renewed, their colors still draw attention.
Laza - situated in a valley among the mountains and consists of two parts separated by a mountain between the Gusar and Gabala regions. The village is in the foothills of the Great Caucasus Ridge, on the slopes of Mount Shahdag (4.242 meters) and the Sah Yaylagi Peak, and can be found on caravan routes passing through the Main Caucasus. The most famous attractions in the village are a 300-year-old mosque, the Haji Seyid Baba shrine, the Tsar’s cave, and the old stone Qonchi-Myux bridge built over the Qusarchay River.
Suvar - situated in a mountainous area within two kilometers from Laza, Suvar is the highest holiday destination and tourist base in Azerbaijan. Located in the foothills of Shahdag mountain, Suvar is open all year round and is suitable for camping, picnics and winter activities. Tourists can visit the 3,000-meter-high Sakh plateau, the Shahnabat plateau, as well as climb the 3,751-meter-high Heydar Aliyev peak in the Qizilqaya area.
Located at an altitude of 2,000 meters The Twin (Gosha) waterfalls are yet another eye-catching attraction of the Gusar region. These waterfalls freeze in winter, drawing adventure seekers and mountain climbers to hold competitions to conquer them. Other waterfalls include Shahnabat, Laza, and Afurja.
Art works such as, handicrafts, metal, embroidery art, and of course, carpets are iconic features of this region.
Carpets and Rugs are one of the most ancient types of Azerbaijani folklore. There are diverse types of carpet weaving styles in Azerbaijan dating back to the ninth century. Azerbaijan’s best carpets- Chichi, Aggul, and Pirabadil are woven in Gusar. One of them is the Qollu Chichi carpet exhibited in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tourists can watch the authentic carpet-making process or buy carpets at carpet centers located around Gusar.
Travelling through Gusar you will come across many local craftsmen shops that sell their handmade products.
Copperwork is one of the well-preserved traditions of the local population.
One of the must-see destinations for tourists is Khinalig village, almost an open-air museum. Khinalig is on the UNESCO list of world historical monuments. Cut-off from the outside world for thousands of years, this small village of roughly 1,000 inhabitants has maintained its own unique language and lifestyle right up until today. Village residents have preserved their culture and stand out for their external appearance. The Khinalig residents have an entirely independent language not fitting into any language family - only Khinalig residents speak and understand this language. Locals retain very simple living conditions and live in houses built from river stones.
Krasnaya Sloboda is an old Jewish settlement dating back to the 13th century. Locals, also called Chugurs, are very hospitable and happy to interact with tourists to tell them about their customs and history. The Jewish residents maintain their customs and welcome tourists to the village which has 13 synagogues.