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This area south of Nakhchivan city is the only wetland site for birdwatching here but it is partly inaccessible due to being a border zone with Iran.
The Araz river and reservoir is an important area for thousands of wetland birds in winter. For example geese, Ruddy Shelduck, Great Cormorant and gulls. In December 2018 more than 7,000 Lesser White-fronted Goose were counted on the Iranian side of the lake, the world’s highest count of this rare species for many decades! Other birds you can see in the area are Caspian Gull, Armenian Gull and Gadwall.
When to visit: Late spring and early summer is the time to come for most target species. Late autumn and winter is the time for wintering birds along the Araz river and reservoir. Go with a guide: Please note that it is currently not really possible to do a birdwatching trip independently in Nakhchivan, because many of the best sites are in border areas.
Nakhchivan is a fascinating region steeped in history, culture and natural splendour. Sights not to miss include the 12th-century Mausoleum of Momine Khatun, Nakhchivan Khan’s Palace, the mountain setting of Batabat Lake and mysterious Mt Ilandag. Make sure you also hike up the over 1,500 steps to Alinja Castle, ‘Azerbaijan’s Machu Picchu’, and visit the Duzdag salt cave sanatorium. Fascinatingly, local legend says that Noah settled here after the Great Flood and his tomb is located in Nakhchivan city. The region is also renowned for its hospitable locals.
Sleeping: Nakhchivan city is the best base for birdwatchers as it has several good hotels (including Tabriz, Hotel Grand, Duzdag and Saat Meydani) and all sites are easily accessible from here.
Eating: Nakhchivan’s continental climate results in a slightly different cuisine to mainland Azerbaijan. Be sure to try local specialties like arzuman kufta and the honey-drizzled Ordubad omelette. Restaurants serving local cuisine are widespread in towns and cities. In Nakhchivan city you’ll find international food and drink options.