The Role of Archaeological Tourism Combined of Tranboundary Countries’ Tourism Potential (example of Medieval Agsu Town )
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 The views of tourism and vacation are often differentiated. Some people wish to go and rest at the noisy, dusty megacity and the beach after walking over hot asphalt or the forest, whereas some prefer to look at the photos taken on the background of the architectural monuments after the vacation and remember the historical places visited.

Dr. Fariz Khalilli

Dr. Rashad Ibrahimov
The views of tourism and vacation are often differentiated. Some people wish to go and rest at the noisy, dusty megacity and the beach after walking over hot asphalt or the forest, whereas some prefer to look at the photos taken on the background of the architectural monuments after the vacation and remember the historical places visited.
Archaeological tourism is understood as to participate at the archaeological expeditions and seeing archaeological monuments. These cultural and historical places, architectural monuments, museums are the form of the tourism directed to acquaintance with archaeological excavations and their preservation. Archaeological tourism exists for those wishing to partake at archaeological expeditions and people being not historians and archaeologists; touch upon historical secrets; search ancient things and treasures and. 
Arhaeological tourism is one of new tourism fields in the world and does not exist in Azerbaijan yet.We submitted the report covered antique period richnesses of Azerbaijan for participation at IV International Archaeological Tourism Conference held in Lima City of Peru in 2008. Long distance of Peru and our inexperience in this domain prevented from our participation at this conference held every 4 years. 
However our initiatives in this field became gradually organized. We established “MIRAS” Social Organization in Support of Studying of Cultural Heritage in January 2010 with the purpose to increase public activity in the line of study, protection and propagation of our cultural heritage monuments. The Organization was registered by the Justice Ministry of the Azerbaijan Republic in March, 2010.  
Our past forgotten under the ground for long years and history are condemned to sleep in the books and museums funds after the archaeological excavations. The excavated sites turn into the condition strange not only to a tourist but also archaeologists conducted the excavation after several years. Our last purpose while elaborating the project of medieval Agsu archaeological tourism complex was to implicate the attention of our country and world tourists to the region kept beyond the Azerbaijani tourism route.  First of all the town left 200 years ago needed to be enlivened. Agsu Archaeological Expedition revealing fortress wall, Juma Mosque, bath-house, craftsmen shops, dwellings, water lines, sewerage and large streets in three excavation sites on 9000 sq/ms area for 2 years also found thousands of exhibits with no analogue in central museums. The second stage of the project needed to be shown at the exhibiton for conservation of the revealed rests and tourists’ short distance watch. The 3rd and 4th excavation sites were covered up; the surrounding flourished and the exhibition complex created. For tourists’ comfortable reach an asphalt road was laid up from modern Agsu town up to medieval Agsu town. Parallel 3rd stage of the project covered propagational activity including publication of 3-volume “Medieval Agsu town” book-album in two languages; setting up Internet page “agsuexpedition.org”; electron passport of thousands of exhibits; “Agsu Wonder” exhibitions in region, capital and foreign countries; 3D views of 3rd and 4th excavation sites; producing TV documentaries shown in series programs on history on ITV and ATV Channels; arrangement of infotour of mass media representatives to the excavation site; holding introductory seminars to Baku universities, secondary schools, museums and libraries, etc. Our propagational actions in social network used widely by youth and members of intellectual community intensified the visit of tourist groups to the region without our initiative either. 
Caucasus Expedition is one of such initiatives. 32 visitor group including European artisans, producers, photographers and writers travelled by bus over Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan- Caucasus Expedition on 27 September-13 October 2011 was the guest of MIRAS Social Organization, visited Silk Museum in Basgal and studio, stayed for the night in Greater Caucasus fresh air in Qaya Hotel arrived in Agsu on 9 October. After visiting Heroes Monument in Agsu, they went to Medieval Agsu Town. Along with the familiarization with the monument there they had a wonderful talk during tea-cloth in an open air with the workers and the expedition members. The interesting meeting continued with traditional meal in Chiyni Village prepared by local settlers of Agsu. Such initiatives are bright example for transboundary collaboration in tourism. 
MIRAS realized “Development and Propagation of Archaeological Tourism” project with financial support of Council of State Support to NGOs under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan within the scope of “Tourism Year” in 2011. “Azerbaijan Land of Monuments” documentary was shot within the project and deals with perspectives of 5 archaeological monuments (Goytepe, Qala, Qebele, Shamkir and Agsu) in the terms of archaeological tourism. “Azerbaijani Pearls” booklet covered those monuments was published and Internet page “archaeotourism.az” enrich with interesting information over archaeologial tourism created. The held also seminars raised the youth’s  interest in this domain. Our Organization was suggested holding joint seminars and reportages on arhaeological tourism from countries like Turkey and Germany. The “archaeological tourism” term is included into “Google search system” currently. Upon search of “archaeological tourism” in English on this system we encounter 5-6 resuslts of our researches and information. The attractiveness of the project also brought other inititatives in this regard. 
We presently  offer two tour packages to local and foreign tourists: “Roads Lead to Shirvan Treasury” cultural heritage tours and Medieval Agsu Town” archaeological tours. Both tours are 7-day tours. Within these tours you can haunt and see cultural heritage monuments of historical Shirvanshahs-Lahij and Basgal settlements, Gulistan, Bugurt and Fit Fortress, Kelekhana, Diri-Baba and Yeddi Gunbez Tomb, Agsu, medieval towns of Shabran, Baku Fortresses, even Derbent. Tourist joining “Medieval Agsu Town” archaeo-tours may watch the archaeological excavation procedure under control of archaeologists in an open and fresh air; partake at the excavations; participate closely in cleanse and registration of finds. Foreign tourists joining the tour can stay in houses of local settlers; be in touch with them and walk around the surrounding monuments. Such tours are possible to be arranged on other monuments and also jointly with boundary states. 
3rd International Congress of Eurasian Archaeology was held last year in Demirci Settlement, Manisa Province, Turkey. The “Ethno-Cultural History of the Turkic Speaking People of Eurasia” was the basic theme and took place with attendance of numerous scientists. We reported at that conference on Agsu excavations. We also stated our will to hold 4th International Congress of Eurasian Archaeology in Agsu, Azerbaijan. The initiative was discussed at the Board of Center for Studies on Caucasian Central Asian Archaeology functioned in Izmir organized the conference and the conference was agreed to be held in Agsu, Azerbaijan. Holding 4th International Congress of Eurasian Archaeology on  subject “Perspectives of archaeological tourism in Eurasia region” (based on historical and cultural heritage from antique period till last middle ages) in Agsu will play important role in becoming of archaeological monuments of the region into tourism product. 
The report was made at international conference on “Transboundary collaboration in tourism. Development and Perspectives” held in Baku on 9 December 2011.