BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - AUGUST 04:  The Sun rise is reflected in The Flame Towers on August 4, 2014 in Baku, Azerbaijan.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)


Neighboring Georgia may get all the attention, but a new three-day visa service means that Azerbaijan is the South Caucasian country to watch. From the "burning mountain" of Yanar Dag, to the mud volcanoes and petroglyphs of Gobustan, to the beaches of the Absheron Peninsula, the Land of Fire offers a dramatic mix of landscapes. And poised as it is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, its people, culture and food are a captivating blend of East meets West. In the capital, Baku, the cobbled streets and 12th-century fortresses and minarets of the Old City sit side by side with the fiercely modern architecture of the Flame Towers and Zaha Hadid's Heydar Aliyev Center, reflecting the city's enormous growth since oil-drilling began in the 19th century.
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It’s the most happening of cities, a place where over 200 languages are spoken and millions flock each year to see its world-famous sights. New York draws visitors in like nowhere else. The crowded streets of Manhattan are the stuff of legend. First timers will want to head to the top of the Empire State Building and stand beneath the glare of the lights of Times Square. But there’s so much more to see and do, whether it’s catching an Off-Broadway play, checking out world class art at MoMA or shopping the streets of SoHo. Brooklyn’s hip neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Fort Greene offer a more relaxed vibe, while the food in Queens’ Chinatown is worth the long subway ride.