Baku is the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan. One of the largest industrial, scientific and cultural centers not only in the country, but also in the entire region. A large port on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, in the southern part of the Absheron Peninsula.
It is a lively and very interesting city where life does not stop even at night. Over the past decade, Baku has changed a lot: new multi-storey buildings of shopping centers, hotels and banks are in very good harmony with the old buildings. Baku is subdivided into 11 administrative regions.
Baku is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, located at the junction of Europe and Asia. The very name of the capital is interpreted as “blow of the wind”, “city of winds” or “hill”, “city on a hill”.
The port city of Baku is the cultural, industrial, political capital of Azerbaijan, located on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, on the shores of the gulf of the same name in the southern part of the Absheron Peninsula, rich in its oil fields.
Baku includes 11 administrative districts, 5 urban-type settlements.
Baku is the largest cultural center of Azerbaijan. It was here that the first national theater in the Muslim East raised the curtain, the first opera was performed, the first Azerbaijani newspaper was published, and the first Azerbaijani library was opened. Today in Baku there are 30 museums, 7 theaters, 11 universities, a philharmonic society, an opera house, a film studio, cinemas, libraries, located in the most beautiful buildings of the city, whose external decoration is in no way inferior to the internal cultural content.
Baku is the largest industrial center. The oldest oil fields, the famous Oil Rocks, a unique plant of deep-water foundations, powerful crane ships, modern floating drilling rigs are concentrated here … There are also developed oil refining, petrochemical, chemical, light, food, machine-building industries, production of oil equipment, building materials, instrument making , electrical engineering and radio electronics, ship repair. Baku is a major railway junction and port on the Caspian Sea. Since 1967, the metro has been operating in the capital.
Baku is located on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, its area is about 2.2 thousand square kilometers. The central part of the city is located in an amphitheater, with ledges descending to the Baku Bay. Modern Baku stretches far beyond the historic center – the Old City (Icheri Sheher), its new buildings rise on the hills along the Baku Gulf. In the business center and along the main highways, the development is dense, and on the outskirts – more free. Although recently such a division is rather arbitrary – due to the dynamics of population growth, sleeping areas and the periphery are also actively built up.
The climate in Baku is temperate, with hot summers with low humidity and mild winters. The average annual temperature in January is 3.4 degrees Celsius, and in July it is 25.8. Autumn is warm, much warmer than spring.
Today, being the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Baku was known during the early and developed Middle Ages as an important center for the extraction and processing of oil, and was the largest port on the Caspian Sea. Archaeological material made it possible to date Baku as a city of the ancient period. The 12th and 15th centuries are a striking period in the history of Baku. – the period of the Shirvanshahs’ reign. Baku was the capital of the Baku Khanate, the administrative center of the Baku province, the capital of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and the Azerbaijan SSR. The Apsheron Peninsula, located next to Gobustan, is also the territory where ancient people lived. Small accumulations of charcoal found in Binagadi testify to the remains of the fires of prehistoric man. In 1936, a flint core was found near the shore of Lake Zykh, 10 km from Baku, similar to the tool of a Paleolithic man. And in the area between Bibi-Eybat and Bailov, archaeologist G. Aslanov discovered rock carvings of bulls, similar to Gobustan. Rock carvings were found in a number of points on the Absheron Peninsula in the zone of the settlements of Mardakan, Shuvelan, Zira, Surakhan, Ramana, Gala (images of dancing people are the first monument in Absheron, relating to the transition period from the Stone Age to the beginning of the Bronze Age) and at the beginning of the dam connecting mainland with the island of Pir-Allahi (images of bezoar goats dating from the 2nd and the beginning of the 1st millennium BC) Baku belonged to the type of cities that arose from ancient settlements surrounded by a fortress wall and a moat. In the 1st century, Baku was already a small port city. The presence of the Roman troops near Baku is evidenced by a Latin inscription made between 84 and 96 years at the foot of the Boyuk-dash mountain, as well as the name of the village of Ramana on Absheron
Sights of various types can be found in the vicinity of Baku. The Gobustan Museum of Petroglyphs is rightfully considered the most ancient object, not far from which there is another attraction – mud volcanoes. Fiery monuments are quite interesting sights in the vicinity of Baku: the burning Yanardag hill and the temple of fire worshipers Ateshgah. And if you go outside Baku, do not miss the chance to see the Gala Historical and Ethnographic Museum.
Icheri Sheher – literally translated as “Inner City”. It is here that most of the sights of Baku are concentrated: palaces, towers, mosques, and other ancient buildings in the classical architectural style.
The Murad Gate is a landmark in the Icheri-Sheher fortress, erected at the end of the 16th century. This architectural monument is located in the eastern part of the complex and is the largest gate of Icheri-Sheher.
Maiden Tower is the main symbol of Baku. The tower is included in the list of the oldest buildings in the city, and was originally used as a Zoroastrian temple, and later became the main fortification object in the defense system of the Icheri-Sheher fortress. Scientists are still worried about some of the secrets of this tower, and moreover, a variety of legends are associated with it.
The Palace of the Shirvanshahs is one of the main attractions in the historical complex of Icheri-Sheher. The construction of the palace began in the 12th century and ended in the 15th century, and today it can be called a complex within the complex, since there are several other sights of Baku on the territory of the palace.
The Caravanserai is a striking landmark of Baku, located in the Icheri-Sheher complex. This building was erected in the 15th century, and at that time served as a haven for traders from India.
Bani Baku is a separate group of sights of Old Baku, most of which are concentrated inside the Icheri-Sheher complex. The largest and most beautiful baths are located in palaces, but public baths also deserve special attention.
Gala is a huge historical and ethnographic open-air museum. It is located 40 km from Baku and is the quintessence of the cultural heritage of the entire Absheron peninsula. Here are collected exhibits and recreated antiquities related to medieval life in Azerbaijan.
Gobustan is a unique attraction 60 km from Baku. This is a large reserve, in which rock carvings, household items, and even the remains of the dwellings of primitive people who lived here more than 10 thousand years ago were discovered. Today Gobustan is included in the list of the most visited sights of Azerbaijan.
The Ateshgah Temple is a temple of eternal flame, which is known almost all over the world. It is located 30 km from the center of Baku, on the outskirts of the village of Surakhani. This area is known for such a unique natural phenomenon as burning outlets of natural gas, and in ancient times a Zoroastrian temple of fire worshipers appeared here.
Yanardag is one of the popular attractions in the vicinity of Baku, where flames have been bursting from the ground on the hillside for thousands of years. This place is located 25 km north of Baku.
The Absheron Towers are a system of defensive structures that was built in the 11th-12th centuries on the Absheron Peninsula, around Baku. Once they played the role of the city’s first defensive line, and served as a signaling system. Today, the towers and fortresses of Absheron are one of the interesting architectural sights in the vicinity of the city.
Pilaf with fragrant saffron, juicy shish kebab flavored with sumac, buglama and levengi – fish dishes, sweet shekerbura pies for dessert, a table bursting with fresh fruits and vegetables and, at the end of the curtain, sweet and sour sorbet as a refreshing drink – all this is diverse and distinctive Azerbaijani kitchen.
The Azerbaijani cuisine certainly does not experience a shortage of recipes and ingredients: the mountainous and subtropical climate of the country perfectly supplies its inhabitants with everything necessary for preparing tasty and healthy food – it is not without reason that Azerbaijan is considered the land of long-livers. Azerbaijani cuisine is prepared from beef and lamb, poultry and fish, fruits and vegetables, with the obligatory addition of fresh herbs, as well as aromatic herbs and spices. Azerbaijani cuisine is very satisfying, nutritious and high-calorie, so it is often jokingly called “men’s cuisine”.
A special dish of Azerbaijani cuisine is pilaf – a rice dish seasoned with saffron and supplemented with meat or fruit filling (shirin pilaf). There are also more unusual versions of Azerbaijani pilaf, including pilaf with milk, eggs or nuts, as well as han-pilaf baked in dough. Azerbaijani pilaf is distinguished by an original way of cooking and serving: the rice base and filling are prepared separately and mixed only when serving. It is customary to drink pilaf with sorbet – a soft drink, which includes fruit and berry juices, as well as infusions of seeds and buds of various plants.
Another dish for which Azerbaijani cuisine is famous is shish kebab – juicy and aromatic, cooked on the grill or in a tandoor, from lamb or sturgeon, seasoned with a special sour spice – sumakh. Another popular dish in the country’s cuisine – kutab – is called Azerbaijani fast food: it is a thin pie the size of a crescent-shaped palm, stuffed with meat filling and fried in hot, bubbling oil. With special love in Azerbaijan, they treat tea drinking after a hearty dinner, so various sweets and jams are very popular here. Poppy, nuts, almonds, sesame seeds, ginger, cardamom and much more are added to Azerbaijani sweet pastries, numbering more than 30 varieties. Among the most famous Azerbaijani sweets are baklava, shekerbura, and Baku kurabye.
In the new part of the city, there are many shops and boutiques selling famous world brands. To shop in them, you need to have a tidy sum in your pocket. There are several large shopping centers where you can buy shoes and accessories from Italian manufacturers for 200-300 AZN.
Real shopping in Baku is far from fashionable boutiques. To feel the full flavor of this city, you should go to oriental bazaars and local flea markets. Vendors offer buyers everything from clothing and footwear to antiques. In the markets you can find local souvenirs – armuds and tablecloths with a buta pattern. The grocery parts of the bazaars sell spices and the famous white cherry jam. Carpets are a separate topic. There is a huge selection of them, prices start from 900 AZN.
When buying a carpet, it is imperative to issue a certificate, otherwise there may be problems with customs at the exit.
One of the most popular places for buying souvenirs in Baku is the Caravanserai restaurant and museum complex. Here you can buy many handicrafts: silk scarves-scarves kelagai, knitted socks jorab, embroidered shoes without backdrops charyki, sleeveless kyurdu, small rugs.
In souvenir stalls and departments of shopping centers, murals, copper, bronze and ceramic kitchen utensils, tea cups (armudu), carved wooden and clay figurines are sold in abundance. Figures of mugam masters (performers of national music) in national costumes are especially popular.
Edible souvenirs and gifts are incredibly popular, for example, the wonderful narsharab pomegranate sauce (they praise the products of the Sems company) or local sweets: baklava, nougat, shaker-bura, etc. Wine “7 beauties”, “Chinar”, ” Sadilli, Agstafa, Guzel, Baku Lights, Cahors, Old Baku, Nagshi-Jahan, Ganja, Babek, Gek-Gel and others.
When buying black caviar, keep your receipt and keep in mind that you can export 250 g of this product per person from the country.