Baku was one of the reasons, we decided to take the risk and leave Willie behind in Georgia. We had been looking forward to visit this city for a while and did not want to miss it.
We had not had any expectations on the capital of Azerbaijan. It was just a curious feeling that we wanted to get to know it. And it was well worth it!
Baku might not be everyone’s favorite city. It has its very own charm. We liked it in a way though.
With many pictures, we want to give you a feeling of exploring Baku.
The well obviously swank all around the city might be the reason why tourists do not like Baku that much. For many centuries, Baku was just a small village inside its city walls. It changed when the local leader of the Shirvanshahs moved from the destroyed former capital to Baku in 1191. In the following centuries many buildings were added to the city, e.g. the Maiden Tower.
But the big change lasted until the 19th century. The first discovery of oil was the beginning of a new era. The population and the worldwide influence grew rapidly.
Until today, the oil influences Baku’s face mostly. Coming from the villages of the western region, Baku with two million inhabitants is the impressive contrast. The buildings are huge, the streets are clean and everything seems to glitter. One bigger building after the other is in construction. The most expensive boutiques are all around.
As mentioned above, it has its own charm. One can be revolted by that. We just had to smile about all that shine.
There are many buildings with really impressive architecture. The best example might be the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center. We created a gallery just for this building. We could not stop to take pictures. Find the best ones in this gallery.
Beside all the modern architecture, you can find very calm districts inside the old city walls. The Inner City is a great opportunity to relax and enjoy the silent atmosphere. A few buildings were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, e.g. the Shirvanshah’s Palace and the Maiden Tower. Sitting there on a bench with a view to the shiny Flame Towers is a fascinating feeling.
Of course, Baku itself is not famous for its good food. You can find any fast food you like there. But we enjoyed the best food in our travel through Azerbaijan in the restaurant Firuze. It is a big spot, mentioned in every guide book. Nevertheless, our dinner there was just great. We chose some typical Azeri meals and shared them. For every tourist that comes to Baku, it is the best way of exploring the food. Even if you are not going to leave Baku.
Trips for a day
Although, Baku is in the very east of Azerbaijan, you can make some interesting day trips from there.
One day brought us to a fire temple on the Abseron peninsula. Another holy fire place is the natural site of Yanar Dag. There, natural gas comes out of some rocks – and was inflamed by a cigarette from a shepherd in the 1950s, burning since then. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring our BBQ sausages.
Flashback to the 1950s
After seven days in Azerbaijan we left Baku for Georgia. Willie was waiting for us!
We decided to take the night train from the capital to Balakan near the border. Entering the train and taking seat in our private cabin was a funny feeling. It is a train from Soviet times. You feel like being in the 1950s. And then, our neighbors started their radio with some Russian music. We could not stop laughing.
If you want to get this experience, as well, just go to the train station next to the metro station of 28 May. We recommend to buy the ticket a few days in advance. When we bought ours, we got the last one for first class (which are only a little bit more expensive than the tickets for the open compartments). Bring your passport!
Do not expect to get a silent night with a lot of sleep. The train is loud, the tracks are bumpy and there are many stops between Baku and the final destination in Balakan. But it is a ride with a ton of fun.
You can watch a short video from the ride on our Facebook page!
Could we make a goal for Baku with this post? Leave a comment!
Continue reading our Azerbaijan travel guide!