Baku is one of the oldest cities of the East. It is not surprising that so many monuments of history, architecture and culture have been preserved in the city for many centuries. Today, numerous tourists can see them with their own eyes and enjoy the high craftsmanship of the Azerbaijani people. There are many museums and reserves in Baku, opening their riches for observation. Do not know what to see in Baku during your trip? Especially for you we have made this tourist review, where we have included the most interesting sights of Baku.
There are two points in terms of organizing a trip to the capital of Azerbaijan, which must be decided: what places to choose for a mandatory inspection and how exactly to organize acquaintance with the city. Maximum of interesting information will give guides in Baku, they will take care of organizing transport and the purchase of entrance tickets to museums. Independent planning will require efforts and a lot of time. As for the sights, we suggest to study the descriptions below.
A unique and mysterious monument of ancient architecture has been preserved to this day in excellent condition and today is actually a symbol of the city. The height of the tower reaches 28 meters (8 tiers). There is a spiral staircase that ascends the walls.
Scientists argue about the age of the structure, suggesting dates from the I century AD to the IX. The stones and mortar give different results in the laboratories. A plaque on the wall points to the twelfth century. The preservation of the walls can be explained by their thickness. At the base it is 5 meters thick, but towards the top it is reduced only to 4 meters. There is a well inside the tower, for which the builders had to penetrate 21 meters deep into the rock.
This landmark of Baku can not come up with an explanation for its purpose. There are no conditions for a long stay, and it is impossible to attribute it to any religious denomination with any certainty. Maybe that’s why there are so many legends and tales about the structure in Azerbaijan. It is known only that in XII century it was used as citadel in defense of Baku fortress, in XII-XIX centuries it played a role of lighthouse, and since 1964 museum was organized in its walls which works up to now. The tower is under the protection of UNESCO.
Official website: http://www.icherisheher.gov
What to see in Baku, if not a treat for the eyes - the famous Azerbaijani carpets! Exactly in this country the first museum of Carpet in the world was opened, where a unique collection of national carpet art was collected, technique of production, preservation and interrelation of carpets with other kinds of national art was studied.
The first exhibition was opened in the ancient fortress of Icherishahar, which was located on the territory of Baku. Since it was located on the site of a mosque, the museum had to move to another building (former Lenin Museum) in 1992. Nowadays collection of the museum includes more than 14000 carpets, elements of homespun clothes, samples of world famous national copper embossing and jewelry. Several carpets from private collections date back to the XVII century. There are also unique samples of local weapons and faience utensils of the XII century.
The authorities supported the work of the scientists in every way possible, and in 2008 the construction of a modern building began, allowing the collected samples to be kept in proper conditions. Since 2014 the museum’s expositions have been held in the new building, and it is possible to see the national landmarks of Baku in modern, comfortable conditions.
Official website: http://azcarpetmuseum.az/
On the avenue of the same name in the city of Baku, there is a building recognized as the best in the world for the period of 2014. The unique modern structure shocks not just the eye, but the whole mind. It does not have the usual straight lines and angles. As if woven out of waves, it rises swiftly upwards and easily touches the ground. The project was created by the famous architect Zaha Hadid.
In search of something to visit in Baku, it is worth starting here. The room has three main departments:
The exhibition halls offer a vivid display of the country’s history and achievements. One can have a closer look at archaeological finds, listen to the sounds of old musical instruments and marvel at the miracles of architecture looking at 45 models of the best buildings in the country. You can even get acquainted with the national cuisine from the pictures of Peter Lippmann.
What you must see in Baku is the Heydar Aliyev Museum. Heydar Aliyev Museum. In the museum you can not only trace the whole life path of the famous politician, but also see the cars that he used throughout the period of his leadership of the state. Gifts presented to him by heads of other countries are also collected there.
Official site: http://heydaraliyevcenter
This palace can be safely attributed to the best sights of Azerbaijan. The ancient residence of the rulers of Azerbaijan has been built for four hundred years, starting from the XII century. The complex includes:
It is interesting that the whole architectural composition, despite the many architects who worked on it, is completely integral and harmonious. The walls are decorated with a bizarre pattern that allows you to estimate the skill of masonry.
The building is situated on a hill and was previously surrounded by walls but these were destroyed long ago. Due to political unrest and wars, the palace has been rebuilt several times, periodically falling into disrepair and being rebuilt again. It is believed that originally it had 52 rooms and 3 spiral staircases. Today there are museum exhibition halls, and the rich national attractions of Baku highlight the amazing masonry walls and partitions.
The complex is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Official website: http://www.icherisheher.
Bibi-Eybat Mosque is located near Baku in the village of Shikhov. Unlike most cultural monuments of the country, the fate of this one is quite tragic. The large and unique in its beauty temple was built in the 13th century, and since then it has served as a place of worship for sheikhs and many prominent Muslims of the country.
During the Soviet regime, under the auspices of the fight against religion, the temple was destroyed. The main part fell down only after the third explosion in 1920. The perpetrator of the desecration of the ancient monument of architecture was punished, but it didn’t help the mosque. For many years there was a highway on this place, and transport passed on the burial site.
Already in the 80’s began to raise the question of restoration of the building. All surviving materials - photos, pictures, drawings, etc., were brought up to help reconstruct the unique temple. Using them, Sanan Sultanov erected a modern version of the mosque. All possible techniques of canonical architecture were used, and two side minarets were added. The walls were decorated with the patterns of stonework; inside, under the domes there were green and turquoise mirrors. The texts of the Koran are written in gold on them. The walls are decorated with ornaments in traditional styles by architect Fakhraddin Miralai. Today, the mosque is one of the main attractions of Baku.
A relatively young building, the Tezepir Mosque has become a favorite place not only for local believers, but also for tourists looking for something to see in Baku.
Architect Ziver bey Ahmedbeyov built the temple relatively quickly, in 1905-1914. This is due to the generous donations of Nabat-khanum Ashurbekova and her son, representatives of the famous family. Today the building is one of the landmarks of Baku. It occupies 1,400 square meters, generously decorated with ornaments in the oriental style. The prayer hall for men is illuminated by 52 chandeliers, and the women’s section is lined with pistachio wood. The windows and doors in the building are created by skilled cabinetmakers. Even the floor is equipped with a state-of-the-art heating system.
But this was not always the case. When the Soviets came to power the mosque was not destroyed, but it was clearly not used for its intended purpose. After being a cinema and even a barn, the building became a temple again in 1943.
The park officially opened in 2005. In fact, its basis is the Absheron State Reserve, which is part of the city of Baku. The park allows to preserve at a high level the ecological state of the environment in the urban area and at the same time performs nature conservation functions. Many animals and plants listed in the Red Book of Azerbaijan breed here naturally.
Choosing what to visit in Baku, you should definitely include in your program Apsheron National Park. Animals and birds that are rarely seen in nature are not afraid of people here and some can be seen on a normal walk. Jeyran is a gazelle of amazing beauty that weighs only 33 kilograms when it is more than one meter long. But jackals are more difficult to find. Their population is considerable, as well as foxes, but they go into space at night and almost merge with the shadows of the night.
Among birds, the most unique are the herring gull, marsh harrier, red-headed duck, whooper swan and others. List them for a long time, but such natural sights of Baku is better to see with your own eyes.
Since 1977 the whole territory of Icheri-sheher has been recognized as a historical-architectural reserve, and there are reasons for that. This area was inhabited back in the Bronze Age, and it is here that the most ancient architectural landmarks of Baku are located. Until now, about 1,300 families live among the ancient fortress walls along the three main streets.
Houses are also located in small alleys, dead ends, which is so interesting to just stroll along at an unhurried pace. After all, every building here - a trace of the amazing art of the builders of antiquity. Once you go beyond the fortress walls, the height of which is 8-10 meters, you find yourself in another world - quiet, unhurried, filled with the wisdom of centuries and high art.
In general, this area, which has a huge number of museums, exhibitions, historical monuments of culture and art. Here found a place for numerous cafes and restaurants, allowing tourists to feel comfortable. There are also hotels within the territory of the reserve.
The reserve is the first in the country marked by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Official website: http://www.icherisheher.gov.
It would seem that what else can be seen, except for the above described monuments, about which everyone knows? But in fact there are other excursions to Baku, which are able to turn the idea of the city and open to you its unknown facets. We will tell you about the places that are considered the best among tourists and locals alike.
The name translates as “house of fire.” It is a sacred place for Indian fire-worshippers. The place has a natural outlet of burning gas, which has made it revered. Supposedly the temple has existed on this site since the Midian era, and the evidence that has survived accurately points to the 12th century, but in the version that can be visited today, it was built in the early 18th century.
The plan of the complex is entirely classical. The complex is surrounded by a hexagonal wall. The altar is in the middle of the courtyard, in the quadrangular main temple, open to all sides of the world. Above the entrance is the balakhana, the guest room. For a long time Sikhs, Hindus and Zoroastrians came to the altar to pay their respects, and today more than 15,000 tourists go to the temple every year, and among the things to see in Baku, the temple is certainly among the first.
Attractions of Baku perfectly complements the Central Botanical Park, which since its creation (1937) has managed to collect and grow several thousand different tree and herbaceous plants. Among them more than 2000 belongs to the Azerbaijani flora. 12 species are in the “endangered” status.
Not all plants grow in the open air. Some of them require special care, which a roofed greenhouse can create for them. Individual plots are occupied by flowers and citrus fruits, and part of the area is set aside as a forest park. Three reservoirs allow you to grow aquatic plants, which can be admired only in a rare area.
What to see in Baku, visiting the botanical park can be found. After all, you will have to explore about 16 hectares of cultivated areas. The area is located in the foothills, at the Institute of Botany, and is a base for various studies and experiments.
Official website: http://cbg.org.az/rus/index.html
The attraction can be seen from far away, which is not surprising - the height of the wheel is exactly 60 meters. This is twice as high as the previous version. It looks especially beautiful at night, lit by bright colored lights around its circumference.
The modern marvel was built by the Dutch. For a year the company Dutch Wheels has been assembling and testing the new Ferris wheel. In the spring of 2014, it was opened by Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan. It has several speeds, allowing to change the turnover time within 10-30 minutes. There are 30 cabins for visitors, each of them can enter no more than 8 people.
The Ferris wheel is located in the Seaside Park, not far from the State Flag Square. From it you can easily see many sights of Baku.
It’s nice to look at the animals that have a life of ease. Large enclosures, natural greenery around create an impression of free living, which pleases both the animals and visitors. Today Baku Zoo is the largest zoo in the country and occupies 4.25 hectares.
It was not always like this. After its opening in 1928 the zoo had many difficult events, including the reorganization, when in 1942 during the Second World War had to take Rostov zoo. Until 1958 it occupied a small square. Then, in the village of Bailovo outside the city during a landslide killed rare animals, and then the animals were moved to the current location, which happened only in 1985.
Today, the symbol of the zoo is the pink flamingos, which were rescued by the staff in the 1990s. Already 28 species of rare birds have found their home in Baku Zoo. Among the things to visit in Baku is a square, which is home to 160 species of animals with a total number of about 1200. And the development does not stop there. A project has already been created under which construction of a new zoo outside the city will begin. An area of 230 hectares will be developed and the animals will take Australian rare animals and birds into their circle.
Travelers who are interested in the coastal landscape of Baku, the sea in all its splendor will open from the Seaside City Boulevard. On one side of the boulevard opens beautiful views of the Caspian Sea embankment, on the other side there is a magnificent park with a musical fountain, where concerts, street exhibitions are held and where locals and visitors of the city like to stroll along the water. The park along the boulevard has sprawling trees, shady bushes and other decorative vegetation, among which are exotic cacti and baobabs. Of special interest is the 75-meter high parachute tower with the original lighting. Among the other attractions are a system of artificial canals called Little Venice, a carpet museum with a million original products, a 60-meter Ferris wheel.
Not far from the Azerbaijan Navy base, the National Flag Square is an important place for the whole country, with the flag in the center, which shows the Republic’s emblem and the map of Azerbaijan in gilded bronze. This place can be called a relatively new landmark, which opened in 2010 in the suburbs of Bailovo. The place for the square was not chosen by chance - the flag can be seen from any part of the city, and the highest 162-meter flagpole and 70-meter long flag contribute to it. The entire structure weighs over 200 tons. In 2012, the Baku Crystal Hall was erected on the square, the walls of which are made in the form of glowing crystals, creating an impressive architectural illumination. Another remarkable object is the Museum of the national flag in the form of an 8-pointed star, where medals, orders, flags and other historical attributes are exhibited.
If you have 5 days in Baku, you should pay attention to Fountain Square located in the center - you don’t have to go far. Even in pre-revolutionary times a vast space was formed in Baku - the wasteland, where since 1806 they wanted to arrange a place and build an Orthodox Church and the People’s Theatre, and an Orthodox Church, but in the end in 1856 stopped at the creation of the park. Fountains are really quite a lot - some of the classic form, others - modern and creative form. There are some noteworthy structures, too, such as the caravanserai, which houses the Museum of Azerbaijani Literature, or the ancient Armenian Church. Together with Nizami and Aziz Aliyev Streets, the square forms a single pedestrian mall. For convenience in 2010, reconstruction was carried out - new benches, market stalls, lanterns were installed and the square became the face of the new modern part of Baku.
The highest buildings in Azerbaijan are the Flame Towers - a complex of three buildings, which, despite their visual identity, have different heights - the highest one rises to 190 meters, each successive one is 20-30 meters lower than the previous one. The most beautiful view of the towers opens at night, when the lights go on and the structures seem to come to life, turning into dancing tongues of flame. From afar, all this splendor looks like a giant bonfire, raging on the western hill of Baku and illuminating the surrounding area with a reddish glow. Today, inside the towers are office and residential facilities, as well as a chic modern hotel. The entire complex was built about 5 years and was completed by 2012. To admire the most impressive views of the “burning” towers, you can look into the Sky Opera Club, located in the skyscraper in the city center.
For those who are interested in architectural sights in Baku, the presentation offers another unusual structure - the Juma Mosque built in the 12th century, located in one of the streets of the old town of IcheriSheher. It is an excellent example of the splendor of oriental mosques, beautiful in their traditional and at the same time exquisite beauty. Stylistic design of the mosque is typical for typical medieval buildings of Azerbaijan: carved facade with colonnade is wonderfully decorated with wooden and stone patterns, and the interior is decorated with tiled stones, on the pastel walls there are ancient inscriptions with quotations from the Koran, made in the style of Arabic script. Today, every Friday at noon, people in peculiar Muslim garb flock to the entrance of the temple, as members of the Shiite community gather to pray together.
The Heydar Mosque is a real religious symbol of the city, located in the Binagadi district and bearing the name of the former president of the republic, Heydar Aliyev, a charismatic, revered by the Azerbaijani people. In his time, he made a significant contribution to the development of the state and national consciousness. The grand opening of the shrine was held very recently, in 2014, with the head of state himself taking part in the ceremony. The mosque together with the surrounding areas occupies 12 thousand square meters, the area of the building itself is also impressive - more than 4 thousand square meters. The facade of the building is covered with special stone in the Shirvan-Absheron style; minarets rise to 95 meters, the height of the central dome is 55 meters. The interior decoration is decorated with design décor, the dome is covered with quotations from the Holy Koran.
Speaking about the architectural features of Baku, we cannot say that the appearance of the city is characterized by any particular style, uniting the buildings into a single whole. In the heart of the city, for example, there is a building in the French Gothic style, the Mukhtarov Palace, built at the beginning of the last century at the expense of the millionaire oilman Murtuza Mukhtarov, which is not typical of the capital. Impressed by Venetian architecture during a trip to European countries, the oil magnate decided to build his own Venetian palace. But the mansion ended up looking more like a medieval Gothic temple than an Italian palazzo. Nowadays, there is a wedding palace in the castle, and the interior is lavish and elaborate in every detail, with a predominance of neo-Gothic elements with a touch of Art Nouveau and classicism.
The largest museum of art in the republic is the National Museum, which holds more than 17,000 exhibits - art masterpieces. The museum was opened in the 1940s in honor of the famous artist R. Mustafayev. The collection of the museum grew out of a collection of art objects gathered by the former Azerbaijan State Museum. Contemporary exposition includes articles of arts and crafts, sculpture, painting, skilful carpets and other creations of fine art. Canvases are painted by Russian, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish and German painters. There is an exhibition devoted to Ancient Egyptian art. Of particular interest is the collection of antique Azerbaijani items - ceramics, crockery, embroidery, jewelry, metal, national costumes and ornaments, as well as a selection of traditional precious belts.
In the heart of Baku, not far from Fountain Square is the Museum of Azerbaijani Literature named after poet Nizavi Ganjavi, Azerbaijan’s main center of acquaintance with the written culture of the state. It is located in an old colorful building of the former caravanserai, built in the 19th century. Especially for the 800th anniversary of Nizami, who is considered to be the national poet of Azerbaijan, the opening of this memorial museum was timed. For this purpose, the mansion was radically restored, two floors were added, and the facade was complemented with sculptures. The exhibition includes many different evidence of the centuries-old history of various poets - ancient manuscripts, memoirs, illustrations to ancient poems, poets’ household items, autographs, samples of painting, sculptures, jewelry and much more. A book store also operates in the building of the museum, where printed editions of Azerbaijani poets may be purchased.
Official website: https://nizamimuseum
Those who are planning to visit the old city of Baku, the sights of this historical place will certainly not leave you indifferent. It is only worth visiting the National Museum of History of Azerbaijan, where you can get in touch with such a distant, but living past, see valuable relics, understand the secrets of the Azerbaijani people and learn some moments of history. The walls of the museum have been welcoming visitors since 1921 and up to now one can enjoy a huge variety of curiosities covering the country’s history since ancient times - there are more than 300,000 exhibits in total, most of which are ancient coins, archeological artifacts and weapons. Thus, the first floor of the museum is occupied by expositions devoted to the Stone and Bronze Ages, covering the period starting from 6 millenniums ago. The second floor is the expositions of the 18th and 19th centuries: household items, samples of art of carpet weaving, silk fabrics, as well as sections on the politics of the state in our time.
Official website: http://azhistorymuseum
Among the most youthful cultural institutions in the country is the Museum of Modern Art, opened in 2009 by the wife of the head of Azerbaijan, M. Aliyeva. Especially remarkable is the creative approach to the design of the building, which implements the principle of free space - it can be traced in the architecture, where there are no corners, the walls have a different slant, there are open passages everywhere, there are no rigid frameworks or any restrictions. The building itself is an art object, and its collections occupy not only the halls but also the areas outside them. The collections include original works of art and conceptual creations: works in the modernist direction, canvases by Chagall, Dali, Picasso. The highlight of the exhibition is a selection of visual and sculptural works in the avant-garde genre from the middle of the last century to the present.
Official website: http://www.moma.
And where to go in Baku to see something really unusual and original? Perhaps the first thing that deserves attention in this vein is the Museum of Miniature Books in Baku, a phenomenon truly unique not only for Azerbaijan, but for the whole world. Once it all began with the private collection of Z. Salakhova, the sister of the talented artist T. Alakhov. Traveling around the world, she collected small books everywhere and spent about 30 years for that. Today this collection has found its place in the museum and has grown to 6,500 books, brought in from more than 60 countries. The museum was opened in 2012 and today it exhibits samples of Azerbaijani literature, works by foreign authors such as Nizami Ganjavi, Vagif, Nasimi, even the Bible, the Koran and works by Lenin. Russian classics are represented by works by Gogol, Pushkin, Chukovsky, Barto and Dostoevsky.
The Russian Drama Theater in Azerbaijan appeared in 1920 on the basis of two theater groups at once - one was the liquidated group “Momus”, the other was the divided collective “Flying Mouse”. Initially it was a satirical theater, and its repertoire included satirical plays, dance performances, various humorous dramatizations. In its early years it enjoyed special success with such dramatizations as “The Gadfly”, “Lake Lul”, and “The Bear’s Wedding”. In the post-perestroika years, the theater lost its popularity, but it soon regained recognition and the flow of spectators resumed in the temple of art - comedy plays by national, Russian and foreign playwrights appeared on the stage, entertaining dramatizations and entertaining parodies of famous TV shows were staged. Today’s cast of the theater group are mostly young actors, graduates of the theater’s drama studio, the University of Arts and Culture and the Choreography School.
Official website: http://rusdrama-az.com/
The Baku Opera, as the capital’s opera theater is otherwise called, has the greatest prestige in Azerbaijan - its posters are full of the names of world stars: for the many years of the theater’s work, such famous actors as M. Plisetskaya, M. Caballe, A. Volochkova, F. Chaliapin and other famous personalities have visited its stage. In terms of history, the theater opened in the pre-revolutionary years - a luxurious two-tier building was built at the expense of oil magnates Mailovs and accommodated more than a thousand people. Boris Godunov” opera was its first production in 1911. In those years, the repertoire included operettas, ballets, operas and other compositions in the native and Russian languages. Throughout its history, the theater has remained at the heart of Azerbaijan’s national culture, and classics of opera and ballet are presented on its stages today.
Fans of the sports theme will also find interesting places in Baku - on the shore of the picturesque Lake Beyuk Shor the Baku Olympic Stadium, equipped with the latest technology for almost 70,000 spectators, is located. This is the main venue for the grandiose events of both national and global scale Thus, in 2015, the opening and closing of the first European Games were held here, and in the future it is planned to hold the European Football Championship. The stadium, opened in the spring of 2011, has an excellent infrastructure - there is a large parking area, park, boulevard, a lot of outdoor and indoor facilities for various purposes. Therefore, in addition to large-scale events, today you can hold negotiations or a banquet in one of the presented conference halls, visit one of the restaurants, go in for sports and explore the stadium in a fascinating tour.
Official website: http://bos.az/ru/
A would-be visitor to Azerbaijan before his trip asks himself a thought: I’m going to Baku - what to see, to see the picturesque cityscapes? One of the best examples of the art of gardening is the Nagorno-Park, spread in the heart of the city over the waters of the bay. It is an area consisting of observation decks, park areas, and a memorial complex. Construction of the park began in 1935 - the chief architect Ilyin very successfully and competently used the natural features of the local landscape, laying on the natural hills a number of sites to review the surroundings. In 1960, a funicular began operating in the park - it takes visitors to the observation sites. Another interesting object of the park is the Green Theater, a stage on which even today local and foreign pop stars perform. Since 1982, this area is also home to the Gulistan Palace, listed as a national heritage monument.
The upper part of the Nagorny Park in Baku is known as Shahid Alley, an infamous mass grave where the heroes who fought for the independence of their country in 1990 are buried. They were victims of the so-called “Black January” - the events of January night in 1990, when against the background of political opposition and the Kabah conflict, a rally was held which it was decided to stop by force - so 126 people were killed. These Azerbaijanis are buried in Nagorny Park, which used to be called Kirov Park. There used to be a Muslim cemetery on the site of the Alley, but in 1920 it was destroyed by the Bolsheviks. Since 1990, every year people from all over the country flock to Shahid Alley to honor the memory of national heroes. At 12 noon on January 20, all businesses and transport stop their work, the signals of cars and ships are heard from everywhere, and flags are lowered as a sign of mourning memory.
A number of landscaped parks with well-developed infrastructure, many cafes and restaurants, amusement rides and playgrounds - all this is another facet of modern Baku. Photo of the garden named after Khagani reflects the original landscape plan, the central place of which is taken by a pool of unusual shape, decorated with a sculpture of “Three Graces” in the form of elegant statues of women on a stone pedestal. From the pool is a colonnade of garden pavilion, and the paths of the park are arranged so that all of them pass through the park on the diagonal, be sure to envelope the central element - the pool. Many citizens like to relax in the cozy surroundings of the garden, in the broad shade of greenery. This small square was created in the 19th century, in the neighborhood, where lived especially wealthy people. During later reconstructions the garden has been added by many architectural forms, and it was named after Khagani Aliev.