Azerbaijan travel: Baku hotels, tours to Azerbaijan, visa support


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Baku (Baki)

Cities&Places

The medieval walled city - Icheri Sheher - within Baku has been restored, and retains a distinctly Middle-Eastern and relaxed atmosphere, with its tea-houses and busy street-life. Its attractive narrow streets and stone buildings spread up from the waterfront, where the 12th-century Maiden's Tower (Gyz-Galasy) looks out over the bay. Locals claim that the view from the top of the tower rivals the beauty of the Bay of Naples. Nearby are two caravanserais (inns), one dating from the 14th century, the other from the 16th century, originally built to accommodate traveling merchants from northern India and central Asia. The caravanserais, with their courtyards and vaulted roofs, have been restored and now function as restaurants.

There are also a number of mosques located in the medieval city, one of which, the Dzhuma Mosque, houses the Museum of Carpets and the Applied Arts, with a fine display of Azeri carpets, as well as jewellery, embroidery, woodcarving and filigree metalwork. The Synyk Kalah Minaret dates from 1093 and is the oldest building still standing in the city. Beyond the minaret is the 15th-century royal court complex, the Palace of Shirvan Shahs. The palace, mausoleum and law courts are all open to the public. Equally distinctive are the opulent houses and public buildings built during the Baku oil boom at the turn of the century. Millionaire oil merchants indulged themselves with neo-gothic, mock oriental and pseudo-renaissance fantasies in stone, developing a local architectural confidence, which spilled over into the Soviet period: the Sabunchinsky railway station for example, dating from 1926, is designed to resemble an enormous madrassah (Islamic religious academy).


Surakhany Temple
A number of tourist sights are located near enough to Baku for one-day excursions to be feasible. Some 20km (12 miles) northeast of Baku is the Surakhany Temple, established by Parsee fire-worshippers living in Baku in the 18th century. The temple was predated by a much older Zoroastrian shrine on the same site. Surakhany remained a popular destination for Indian pilgrims until the revolution. Some of the pilgrims' cells now house a wax museum, intended to introduce the rudiments of fire worship to the uninitiated.

The Apsheron Peninsula
Stretching out into the Caspian Sea beyond Baku, peninsula has several 14th-century fortresses, built by the Shirvanshahs fearing attack from the sea. Best preserved are those at Ramana, Nardaran and Mardakan. Ramana also features the remains of ancient oil fields where Zoroastrian fire-worshippers still occasionally stage ritual dances, leaping over the flames which rise from the oil-soaked ground over natural gas vents. The tip of the peninsula is a nature reserve.



ateshgah, zoroastrism


ateshgah general viewateshgah interior
Azneft26 Baku Commissars









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maiden_tower_baku
Underground stationMonmartr in Baku

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yacht_club
Rail station
mosque_taza_piropera and ballet theater in baku


shirvanshah_cemetryBaku from bird's view
baku_circus










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