Baku is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan with its magnificent buildings, wide boulevards, Absheron Peninsula, skyscrapers that shine brightly at night, historical textures and natural beauties . The Lonely Planet website chose Baku as the eighth most beautiful city in Europe in 2010. The same site placed it at the top of the list as one of the best tourist destinations of 2014.
No country other than Azerbaijan or the ‘Land of Fire’ has experienced such a radical transformation since the Soviet era. The best place to go to see this tremendous transformation first hand is Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. As soon as you step into Baku, you will be surprised how clean and modern the city is. You will find Baku Icherisehir, which keeps the past alive with its old stone structures, and hypermodern buildings together.
In September 2021, I had the opportunity to go to the city I wanted to see for a long time. It was night time when I left the airport and entered Baku with my car. Is it because there is no traffic, the first contact of my eyes with the city is stress-free?
It’s getting easier and easier to get used to and love day by day anyway. Its person is not foreign, its language is not foreign. The signs of Turkish brands that we are familiar with catch your eye frequently. It is even possible for you to experience Deja-vu for a moment and feel yourself at home, like me.
As soon as I saw it with its long and wide streets, old plane trees rising along the street, wide pedestrian sidewalks, green parks and neat buildings at every corner, I thought to myself that I would live in this city. Baku, located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, is called ‘Bad-i Cuba’, that is, ‘City of Winds’, and it is a city with plenty of wind.
Baku Travel Guide
- Baku Icherisehir
- Maiden’s Tower
- Palace of the Shirvanshahs
- Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center
- Absheron Peninsula
- Baku Turkish Cemetery
- Azerbaijan National History Museum
- Flame Towers
- Carpet Museum
- Kobustan National Park
- Gobustan Mud Volcanoes
Baku Travel Guide
Archaeological excavations in Baku revealed that the first human settlement in the region dates back to 3 thousand BC. In written sources, it is known that the Sassanids ruled in Baku between the 5th and 7th centuries. Baku was called Bagavan and Ateş-i Bakvan during the Sassanid period. The city is Bakuye, Bakuh, Baku in 10th century Arabic sources; Baka in 15th century Russian sources; In Persian sources, it is referred to as Badukube.
It is a city spread over the slope that resembles an amphitheater behind the stretching flat coastline. Giant hotels, modern buildings, skyscrapers and luxury shopping centers are lined up on the Caspian coast, where you can see the colorful and modern face of Baku. When you go inside, including the coastal part of the city, you see sand-colored buildings lined up. All of them are in harmony with each other.
Most of the old buildings are made of yellow sandstone called ‘Aglay’ extracted from Baku. You see a synthesis of Neo-classical and Gothic architecture with the ornate façades and ostentatious decorations of the buildings. The sandstone buildings, which darkened over time, were cleaned, and the structures that did not fit the architecture were covered with Baku stone.
All the renovated and cleaned old buildings are illuminated, revealing a city that shines brightly at night. That’s why Baku is very different and more beautiful at night than during the day.
There are traffic police at every corner of the streets. The number of police vehicles also increases during rush hour. It has smooth flowing traffic, where the rules are followed, you will rarely hear the horn sounds. When crossing the pedestrian crossing, vehicles stop and give way.
In the city, there is a huge library with 4 million 600 thousand books and manuscripts on its shelves, many theaters, operas and concert halls, art centers, most of which are inherited from the Soviet regime.
The best time to visit Baku is Spring or Autumn, when the temperature is moderate and the colors of the forests and mountains come alive. Summers can be quite hot and winters can be harsh. It can be extremely windy at any time of the year, so be prepared when visiting Baku.
August and July, the hottest summer months in Baku, can reach 35 to 40 degrees Celsius. The best times to come to Baku are April, May, September and October, as the weather is quite cool or windy during the winter months.
In general, Baku is a fairly safe city, where petty thefts, especially for tourists, are almost nonexistent. I did not feel insecure either day or night. There is nothing to worry about in Baku. If you’re worried about taxi driver scams, use the Bolt or UBER app.
If you are looking for a local sim card to buy, Azercell is a great option. Buy one at the airport or downtown when you arrive. The price range varies depending on the package you want. The 10 GB package cost 21 AZN.
There is quite a lot to do in Baku and some attractions will require very little distance, I recommend spending at least 2 full days (3 nights) in Baku. If you have the time and want to see everything in this guide, I recommend spending about 3 full days (4 nights) in Baku before exploring the rest of the country.
Visit the Carpet Museum on Baku Boulevard on the first day and spend the afternoon exploring Icherisehir. See the Maiden’s Tower, the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, the Miniature Book Museum. Take an evening walk along Baku Boulevard.
On the second day, go to Kobustan National Park, see the petroglyphs. From there, head to the Mud Volcanoes. On your way back, stop by Bibiheybet, which I expect will be one of the favorite districts of Baku in the future, wander around its streets, and visit the Bibiheybet Mosque.
Visit Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center before noon on the third day. Afterwards, visit Atesgah and Volcano. Go to the farthest part of the Absheron Peninsula. Spend the rest of the evening on Nizami Street.
In the evening of the fourth day, wander around Icherisehir, climb the Maiden’s Tower and the TV Tower. Visit the Turkish Cemetery.
1. Baku Icherisehir
Icherisehir (İçərişəhər), popularly known as the ‘Old City’, is the first settlement of Baku and its most valuable historical and architectural reserve. It is a reflection of the richness that the historical Silk Road brought to Baku, which has a strategic location. For several centuries, from the late 1300s to the 1500s, the Shirvanshah dynasty made Baku its capital.
Some old buildings were built during this period, including the Shirvanshah Palace and some of the oldest mosques. The place, which contains many old buildings along its cobblestone streets and where 3 thousand people live, is under protection in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Stretching along the Caspian Sea, Icherisehir is surrounded by fortifications built in the 12th century to defend the city. Once upon a time, there were also walls in the area open to the Caspian Sea. The walls were demolished, the cut stones were sold and Baku Boulevard was built with the income obtained. The stones were used in the construction of Baku outside the city walls.
Most of the limestone buildings with ornate balconies share the same colours. The narrow and winding streets of Icherisehir resemble a maze. The inside of the walls is full of local souvenir shops, boutique hotels, cafes and restaurants. With more than 1,300 unique structures, this place looks like a living history.
The Maiden’s Tower, castle walls, Shirvanshahs Palace, Mohammed Mosque, small caravanserais, mosques, baths, museums and other architectural monuments are worth seeing.
2. Maiden’s Tower
The Maiden’s Tower was built in a cylindrical form on a giant rock inclined towards the Caspian Sea coast of Baku. It is estimated that the tower structure ‘Qız Qalası’, or ‘Maiden’s Tower’, which once reached the bottom of the Caspian Sea, was built in the 12th century. There are historians who claim that the history of its base dates back to the Sumerians. One of the most important landmarks of the city.
Based on the structure of the tower, the purpose of which is unknown, it is thought that the tower is related to the Zoroastrian dahma, the fire temple, the hymns of Mitra and Anahit. The tower, about which many legends are told and which is also located in the Azerbaijani currency Manat, was used as a lighthouse in the 18th and 19th centuries.
It is bright at night, with many souvenir shops and cafes lined up around it. It hosts Newroz Festival celebrations every year in the Maiden’s Tower and the square around it. It has been operating as a museum since 1964.
The thickness of the wall on the first floor of Baku Maiden’s Tower reaches 5 meters. The interior of the castle consists of 8 floors built with cobbled stones. It has been operating as a museum since 1964. The remains of monumental buildings unearthed during the excavations around the Maiden’s Tower, which makes an important contribution to the silhouette of the old city, can be seen. The remains of a mosque belonging to the Xth century were also unearthed during the excavations.
3. Palace of the Shirvanshahs
The Palace of the Shirvanshahs , the most valuable heritage of Icherisehir, is on the UNESCO List. It is the work of the Shirvanshah dynasty, which used Baku as its capital for several centuries, from the late 1300s to the 1500s. It was built in the 15th century, during the reign of Ibrahim Khalilullah, the king of the Shirvanshahs Dynasty.
The Palace of the Shirvanshahs, which is considered one of the most magnificent architectural works of the Near East, serves as a museum today after being used as a hospital and barracks in the past. In the museum, which you can visit every day of the week between 10.00-18.00, handmade works such as stained glass and carpets, as well as special belongings of the kings, are exhibited.
Baku Miniature Book Museum is located right next to the Palace of the Shirvanshahs. It was closed when I visited, but if you have time and it is open, you should definitely visit it. Opened in 2002, the museum is the first and only miniature book museum in the world. The founder of the museum and owner of the miniature book collection, Zarife Salahova, started collecting miniature books 30 years ago and currently has 5,600 books in her collection.
4. Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center
Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center (Heydər Əliyev Mərkəzi) – The center, designed by British architect Zaha Hadid, of Iraqi origin, winner of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Award, and opened in 2012, is the city’s most important cultural structure. Turkish Cypriot architect Saffet Kaya Bekiroğlu also designed the details.
The iconic cultural center breaks with the monumental Soviet architecture so prevalent in Baku, expressing instead the sensitivities of Azerbaijani culture and the optimism of a future-looking nation. The cultural center with its extraordinary and futuristic architecture was opened on the 89th anniversary of Heydar Aliyev’s birth.
The building, which symbolizes the rise of the Caspian Sea and evokes a sense of infinity, looks quite complex from the outside, but inside is incredibly simple and spacious. It has been a beautiful place designed for Azerbaijanis to both present and use their own culture.
Opened in 2013, the magnificent building is a multifunctional venue housing a 1000-seat auditorium, temporary exhibition spaces, a conference center, workshops and a museum. The Automobile Museum on the ground floor displays very valuable examples for the enthusiasts. You can visit the permanent and periodical exhibitions on the upper floors.
The cars used by Heydar Aliyev in different periods are exhibited on the ground floor of the museum. On the first floor of the museum, the life and activities of Heydar Aliyev and the important milestones of the Azerbaijani people in the 20th century are reflected with photographs and video presentations and many unique items.
There is an impressive Classic Car Exhibition in the basement of this magnificent building. It is definitely worth your time to visit this exhibition. Unfortunately, while I was there, the vehicles were taken into maintenance.
Treasures of Azerbaijan: Through the Wave of History hall, which shows the cultural heritage and history of Azerbaijan, is one of the most interesting places of the center. The Azerbaijan Treasures Exhibition, consisting of 6 sections, reflected the ancient history and cultural heritage of Azerbaijan.
All periods of the history of Azerbaijan were explained in the exhibition. Artifacts found in archaeological excavations in Azerbaijan, artifacts related to different areas of Azerbaijani culture were exhibited. You can see unique examples of ancient handicrafts, especially Azerbaijani carpet weaving, and Azerbaijani clothes.
Be sure to see the museum, which houses many valuable musical instruments from Azerbaijan’s oldest musical instruments made of clay and animal bones to modern musical instruments. When you stand in front of the musical instruments on display, music made with musical instruments begins to play.
Designed to be the main building of the country’s cultural programs, the center is close to the Nariman Narimanov metro stop. Haydar Aliyev Cultural Center entrance fee is 15 AZN (75TL). If you want to enter the Classic Car Exhibition section, which was under maintenance at the time I visited, you have to pay an additional 10 AZN.
Designed to be the main building of the country’s cultural programs, the center is close to the Nariman Narimanov metro stop. Haydar Aliyev Cultural Center entrance fee is 15 AZN (75TL). If you want to enter the Classic Car Exhibition section, which was under maintenance at the time I visited, you have to pay an additional 10 AZN. If you visit the museum with artsandculture.google.com , you can get valuable information about the artifacts.
Atesgah ( Atəşgah ), one of the three Zoroastrian temples in the world. Ateshgah, which is located in the Surakhani Town of the Absheron Peninsula, 30 km from Baku, means the temple of fire. According to the Zoroastrian holy book, the Avesta, a god named Hormuz lives in Heaven. The sun is his eye, and the flame on earth is his reflection.
Atesgah, the temple of the Magi, was the accommodation place of the caravans passing through at that time until the 7th century. It was destroyed twice in the past and rebuilt a third time. Ateshgah, which is very sacred according to the Magi, lost its importance in the 7th century when the Azerbaijanis accepted Islam.
Today’s temple with 24 cells and guest rooms in a hexagonal shape was built in the 17th century. According to Zoroastrianism, the temple, which is located only in Azerbaijan apart from Iran and India in the world, is as sacred as Mecca. In 1713 there were 12 Iranian and Indian Temple Priests, while in the early 19th century their number increased to 70. When the last fire priest died in 1864, the temple lost its religious character and fell into silence.
The temple, which is also mentioned in the work of the French writer Jules Verne, was restored in 1975 and took its place among the cultural heritages of Azerbaijan. In Ateshgah, which was flooded by visitors on March 21, Nevruz, those who believe in the Zoroastrian religion visit the rooms that were used as an ordeal in the past, which have now been turned into a museum.
It has a very large garden with an architecture resembling a madrasah, and there are cells at the bottom of the walls surrounding the garden. Cells called çilehane under the walls were in the past the rooms where Zoroastrian pilgrims suffered just by eating salt and drinking water. The cells now serve as museum rooms where information about Zoroastrianism, Ateshgah and the history of the time is shared.
Ateşgah is open to tourists, entrance is 2 Manat. You can use Uber or Bolt for transportation. After visiting Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center in the morning; You can continue with Atesgah, Yanardag and Absheron peninsula and create a one-day route to Baku.
Yanardag is one of the most interesting sights of Azerbaijan. The volcano has an appearance reminiscent of our Yanartaş, with the igniting of the gas coming out of the underground. While Yanartaş has a weak fire that comes out at many points, it is a fire that comes out from only one point in Yanardağ, reaches 10 meters in length and burns quite strongly.
In Yanardag, a constantly burning natural gas fire, the height of the flames sometimes reaches 3 meters due to the pressure in the gas source. Burning strong enough to burn you as you get closer to it, flames rise from a clearing under the slope. The surfaces of nearby streams are also said to be easily ignited with a match, as natural gas seeps through the porous layers.
Yanardağ, which is the reason why Azerbaijan is called the Land of Fire, was a place of worship for the Fire Zoroastrians from Iran, India and Pakistan in the past. At the beginning of the 20th century, when oil began to be extracted in this geography, such mountains were extinguished. Some went out on their own when the oil was removed.
Opposite the volcano is an amphitheater with a capacity of 500 people for open-air concerts. There is also a cafe above where you can watch the view. You can also visit the museum that gives information about the region in Yanardag, which is under protection, which was declared a National Park in 2007.
7. Absheron Peninsula
The Absheron Peninsula is a peninsula that extends 60 km into the Caspian Sea and is 30 km at its widest point. The peninsula, which is one of the eastern extensions of the Caucasus Mountains, consists of slightly undulating plains, which are characterized by numerous salt lakes and salt lakes, and partly split by ravines. Baku and its satellite cities Sumgait and Khirdalan are located on the Absheron Peninsula.
The peninsula is also preferred as the holiday island of Baku with its beaches. It is one of the most popular places in Azerbaijan with its suitable climate, natural conditions, warm and clear sea, fine sandy beaches, mud used for therapeutic purposes and healing waters.
I had planned to see the most extreme part of Baku, called Shahdili, extending to the Caspian Sea. I couldn’t go because I couldn’t grow it, but I heard that it is beautiful at sunset. You can take your shorts with you and go.
8. Baku Turkish Cemetery
Baku Turkish Cemetery is a cemetery overlooking the bay, established in the most beautiful place of the capital. Azerbaijan, which made an agreement with the Ottoman Empire in 1918, asked the Ottoman government for help against the invasion of Bolshevik troops and Armenian gangs. More than 10 thousand soldiers were sent to save Baku and other provinces of Azerbaijan from this occupation.
After 30 hours of fierce fighting in September 1918, Baku was liberated. The Ottoman soldiers, who were greeted with enthusiasm by the people in Baku, organized a parade in the city. 1130 martyrs were given in the struggle for the liberation of Baku.
You can also visit the martyrdom, which can be reached on foot from Icherisehir, but the road is quite steep. There are 14 Turkish martyrdoms where Caucasian Islamic Army soldiers are buried in many regions of Azerbaijan such as Baku, Sheki, Shamakhi, Gobustan, Goyçay, Kürdemir, Neftçala, Hacıkabul and Kuba.
There is also a monument and a mosque built by the Turkish Republic General Staff in 1999 in memory of the Ottoman martyrs in this important cemetery. If you go in the evening, you can also watch the night view of Baku.
The Baku Turkish Cemetery is located in the Martyrs’ Veil, where the victims of the massacre carried out when the Soviet Army entered the capital Baku on the night of the 19th to the 20th of January 1990.
At the same time, the TV Tower , which is very close to the Baku Turkish Martyrdom , is one of the tallest structures in Azerbaijan with its height of 310 meters. You can watch Baku view from the restaurant on the 65th floor of the tower.
9. Azerbaijan National History Museum
Azerbaijan National History Museum is the largest museum in the capital Baku. Located on Tagiyev Street, the museum was founded in 1920. In the museum, which consists of two separate sections, there is another section where the houses and places where the famous oil merchant and philanthropist Haji Zeynelabidin lived, apart from the National Museum section where archaeological and ethnographic materials obtained from the oldest periods of Azerbaijan are exhibited .
Archaeological materials belong to the periods of Manna, Med, Skif, Atropatene, Albans and Hurrems. Valuable ethnographic works compiled from the geography of Azerbaijan are also on display. In the museum, which hosts a collection of 300 thousand pieces, it is worth seeing the mirror, hand-drawn, plaster and hand-drawn decorations.
10. Flame Towers
Flame Towers (Alov Qüllələri) is perhaps the most interesting building complex in Baku, consisting of three iconic buildings that occupy a prominent place in the skyline of the Azerbaijani capital, perched on a hill overlooking the Caspian Sea and Baku’s old city centre. It received the best hotel and tourism complex award in 2013.
This structure, which consists of 3 towers with a height of 181 meters, used as a hotel, office and residence, is actually the first skyscraper of Azerbaijan. It received the ‘Best Hotel and Tourism Complex’ award by MIPIM in 2013.
I recommend you to see the Flame Towers, the new symbol of the city, illuminated in the evening. These buildings are illuminated with 10 thousand lamps at night, and the Azerbaijani flag takes shape. The LED lights reflected in the flickering concept create a ‘flame’ effect.
11. Carpet Museum
Carpet Museum is a museum designed in the form of a folded carpet, located near the Icheri City and hosting the largest collection of world-famous Azerbaijani carpets. Azerbaijani carpet art , which is in the list of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage, has a deep-rooted history. The world’s first carpet museum was opened in Baku in the 1967s.
Azerbaijan’s carpet weaving tradition has found a place in the works of many ancient writers from Herodotus to Xenophon. Let the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum, where you can see the best examples of Azerbaijani carpet art , be on your list of places to visit in Baku. Century-old rugs and carpets are exhibited in the museum building.
More than 10 thousand ceramics, metal artifacts from the 14th century, jewelery from the Bronze Age, carpets from the 17th and 20th centuries according to features such as weaving density, pattern, composition, color harmony and regions are in the museum, which has been serving since 2019 in this new modern building. and rugs are exhibited. You can also see silk embroideries, national clothes and embroideries.
Right next to the carpet museum, there is Little Venice , which consists of canals and you can travel by boat . Don’t be fooled by the name, it’s a very small place, the name is a bit of an exaggeration. A 30-minute boat ride costs 3 Manat per person.
If you want to sit down and have a drink after visiting the Carpet Museum, Deniz Mall is a good choice with its interesting architecture on the shores of the Caspian Sea . You can take your coffee and drink your coffee on a bench under huge trees in Baku Boulevard, as I did.
Again, the magnificent Baku Boulevard , where you can take a walk along the seaside, parallel to Neftçiler Street from the Carpet Museum, is a wonderful place for evening walks. The stylish and spacious park, which has all the qualities that a city should have, has long walking years, sitting areas, tea houses, pools and squares.
11. Kobustan National Park
Kobustan National Park (Qobustan National Park) is an archaeological reserve that witnesses the prehistoric period of the existence of primitive people, with its history dating back to the Neolithic era, when matriarchy existed, where evidence of the life of people in the Stone Age and later periods is concentrated. There are more than 6,000 rock paintings called petroglyphs at the prehistoric settlement, which was discovered by Azerbaijani archaeologist Ishaq Caferzade in 1939.
Encompassing many mountain passes (‘qobu’ in Azerbaijani) and three rocky plateaus, the rich flora and fauna includes caves, settlements and cemeteries that were inhabited until the last Ice Age. The mountainous area 64 km from Baku was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007.
The Kobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape Area (Qobustan Qaya Sənəti Mədəni Landşaftı) contains caves, settlements, and cemetery remains that inhabited primitive peoples. The petroglyphs, which were carved into stones by ancient people and offer vast information about the historical period, are perfectly preserved.
In the national park, where up to twenty different habitats have been discovered, many petroglyphs can be seen telling the history of life, hunting and entertainment of the primitive tribes. Drawings of game animals and hunting scenes depicted on the rocks can still be seen clearly today.
Visit the museum, which more clearly portrays and describes gazelles, bulls, pigs, snakes, lizards and other creatures and figures in some of the drawings that are vaguely visible on the rocks in the national park area.
The entrance fee of the National Park and the museum together is 8 AZN (40 TL). I had rented a car and gone. You can go to the village of Kobustan by public transport and take a taxi from there. The main entrance and the museum building are side by side, but the rocky area with the Petroglyphs is about 2 km from the entrance.
12. Gobustan Mud Volcanoes
Mud Volcanoes is an interesting geological formation located on the hill behind the village of Kobustan. When I first saw the mud volcanoes of various sizes, located on a barren hill overlooking the Caspian Sea, I had the feeling that I was on another planet.
Large and small mud volcanoes, located approximately 60 km southwest of Baku and 13 km from the petroglyph museum, are one of the largest mud volcanoes in the world. It is estimated that about 400 of the estimated 700 mud volcanoes on our planet are located in Gobustan, Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea.
The mud that comes out of the ground here has created small hills on which you can climb. When you walk between the hills, you can hear a constant “rattling” sound. The mud or gases coming out of the ground make these sounds.
The slime here is said to be good for skin diseases, but I was not sure. This is a geography where oil comes to the surface on its own. Some people rub the mud on their body. Then it is cleaned in a small pond just below.
A vehicle is a must to reach the mud volcanoes. Even if 4×4 vehicles are better, if you say that you will go slowly and patiently, you can go with normal vehicles. There are no controls or gates, entry is free.
Those who want to use public transportation can reach Lökbatan by bus number 125 from 28 May metro station, and from there to Kobustan village by bus number 195. Many taxi drivers who want to tour both the petroglyph museum and the mud volcanoes will be waiting for you at the entrance of the village. In foreign blogs, it was stated that the fee was 15-20 manats. I would not recommend going to the mud reserve on foot. It looked like you would have to walk a barren road maybe 1-2 hours.
Apart from these, there are many addresses to visit in Baku. The Bibiheybet Mosque, which is one of the beautiful examples of Islamic architecture and dates back to the 13th century but was unfortunately destroyed at the beginning of the 20th century and then rebuilt in its original form, can be added to the list of places to visit in Baku. It seems that the district where the mosque is located may be like Alaçatı in the future.
You can visit Fountain Square, one of the most touristic spots in Baku. On the other hand, you can watch a show at the International Mugham Center, the State Puppet Theater or the State Opera and Ballet.
Nizami Street is a street in the city center of Baku that appeals to shopaholics. The street named after Azeri poet Nizami Ganjavi is closed to vehicle traffic. There are many historical buildings as well as shops where you can shop on the 3.5 km street. The pedestrian road, which cuts the city center on the west-east plane, has the ideal atmosphere for vacationers who love to take photos thanks to its evening lighting.
The Museum of Azerbaijani Literature , located in this part of the city, where you can examine the life stories of important figures of Azerbaijani literature from the beginning to the present , was opened to visitors in 1945. In the museum, more than 3,000 manuscripts, rare books, paintings and sculptures, memorabilia and other objects of the authors are exhibited in 30 main and 10 annex halls.
Baku Boulevard (Seakenari National Park), on the other hand, is the most popular place in modern Baku with its quite wide street built on the edge of the Caspian Sea and around it cafes, restaurants and shops. In addition to walking and cycling paths on the wide boulevard, there is Park Boulevard, which is a large shopping center.
Crystal Hall is a multifunctional indoor arena located in Baku. The Crystal Hall, where the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest was held, has a capacity of 25 thousand people. Concerts of world-famous artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna and Shakira are held in the arena.
Azerbaijan State Philharmonic (Azərbaycan Dövlət Academic Philharmonic) is the national philharmonic orchestra of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Classical western music and Azerbaijani music works are presented in the repertoire of the philharmonic. If you can, you can go to a concert.
Baku food and drink
The capital, Baku, has a sophisticated traditional culinary culture that stands out as a historical city. On the other hand, fast food culture and world cuisine have an important place in the city cuisine. Many restaurants, kebab houses, tea houses and street vendors where you can taste the cuisines of countries such as the Middle East, Turkey, Iran, Asia and India are quite common in the city.
Azerbaijani dishes, which are very diverse, usually consist of meat, vegetable, milk, pastry dishes, pilafs and soups. Another remarkable feature of Azerbaijani cuisine is that there are many varieties of foods of the same type. For instance, it is known that there are more than 30 types of stuffing and stuffing, and more than 100 types of pilaf. This also applies to soups, pastries, meat and vegetable dishes, desserts, and salads.
Kebabs prepared from meat and fish varieties, dream made with small ravioli, kutab, which resembles pastries in our country and is served with yoghurt and sumac, are among the most consumed. The city cuisine is also famous for its liver and vegetables. On the other hand, the famous fish of the Caspian Sea, Acetrin grill, is one of the dishes that should be tried.
Piti from the cuisine of the city of Sheki, containing lamb, tomatoes, potatoes, chickpeas and spices, cooked in a special casserole in the oven for at least 7-8 hours , fish and chicken, one of the dishes unique to the city of Lankaran, stuffed with a mixture of ground walnuts, tomato paste and onions, and cooked in a tandoor. The taste of dovğa soup made with levengi , yoghurt and greens will remain in your palate.
Among the desserts, traditional Azerbaijani baklava, sugarbura, badambura, qoğal, which can be prepared as sweet or salty, and Sheki halva are among the different flavors that should be tasted. In addition to these desserts, jam types prepared organically from sour cherries, cherries, grapes and many other fruits and freshly brewed tea served with sliced lemon will enrich your eating and drinking experience in Baku.
When it comes to eating and drinking in Baku, the pedestrian area in the city center and the Nizami street I mentioned above should come to mind first, there are many options for eating and drinking here.
Shops on Nizami Street, which come to mind especially when shopping is mentioned, will also be useful for those who love modern shopping, Deniz Mall, Park Bulvar, 28 Mall, which is the largest shopping center in the Caucasus, located on Baku Boulevard.
At the same time, Neftçiler Caddesi is the promenade of those who follow fashion closely in Baku. The world’s most famous boutiques such as Tiffany, Gucci, Dior, Bottega, Veneta and Burberry are lined up on this street.
You can find authentic carpets and souvenirs in the cute shops in Icherisehir. Decorative and applied art products reflecting the rich historical past of the Azerbaijani people are among the souvenirs that will remind Baku and Azerbaijan.
You can also find the oldest and most traditional forms of carpet weaving in Azerbaijan, and you can buy objects and handmade products that reflect handicrafts such as jewellery, stone, metal and wood carving, weaving, printing, pattern, knitting and embroidery.
Baku nightlife is slightly above the price average in Turkey. The heart of the nightlife in the city beats around the Fevvareler Square. This area, where many famous places are located, is frequented by both local people and tourists visiting the city.
Nightlife in the city is shaped according to your budget, including pubs, nightclubs and luxury venues. Pubs are mostly used for a few drinks and socializing. Night clubs are perceived as the equivalent of taverns in Turkey. Luxury nightclubs usually accept customers by reservation. At the entrance to the places visited by people above a certain income level, attention is paid to dress and shoes.
Accommodation in Baku is generally affordable compared to European cities. It is possible to find hotels and hostels suitable for every budget in and around Baku. There are many boutique hotels in Icherisehir, the historical part of Baku. While you can find many hotels with views of the Maiden’s Castle and the Caspian Sea, you can also choose a hotel in the city center.
In the city center, Four Seasons Hotel Baku , Park Inn by Radisson Baku Hotel and Hilton Baku are within walking distance of attractions. I stayed at Baku Hilton Hotel for the first 2 days of my Baku trip. After my trip to the northern regions, I stayed at Park Inn by Radisson for 3 days.
Both are very comfortable and centrally located. On the last two days of my Baku trip, I stayed at the magnificent hotel Four Seasons Baku , right next to Baku Icherisehir .
How to get to Baku
Turkish Airlines, Azerbaijan Airlines, Buta Airways and Pegasus have reciprocal flights between Baku and Turkey. There are direct flights to Baku from Istanbul by Turkish Airlines, Azerbaijan Airlines, and from Ankara by Azerbaijan Airlines.
I flew directly from Izmir to Baku. Pegasus Airlines flies from Izmir to Baku on certain days of the week . Both of my trips to Azerbaijan were direct from Izmir.
Unfortunately, there are no direct flights with Pegasus from Istanbul and Ankara. You can go to Baku from Istanbul by connecting Izmir. In the summer period, starting from April, Pegasus organizes direct flights between Alanya-Gazipaşa and Baku.
On the other hand, it is possible to reach Baku by land via Georgia and Iran. Another way to reach Baku is to first go to Iğdır, then to Nakhchivan and from there to Baku by plane.
Heydar Aliyev International Airport is used for international flights in Baku, which you can reach by direct flights lasting approximately three hours. You can reach the city center by bus from the airport, which is located 20 km northeast of the city center. 30 min. between the airport and 28 May Metro Station. There is also an Aero express bus service. Tickets are bought from ‘BakıKart’ vending machines.
Urban transportation in Baku is provided by bus, trolleybus, metro and taxi. Baku Metro was put into service as the fifth metro of the Soviet Union in 1967, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. Baku Metro, whose total length of metro lines reaches 36.6 km, has 25 metro stations and underground roads.
In order to use the metro, you need to buy a fixed card with a charge + top up ‘BakıKart’. ‘BakıKart’ is plastic, 2 Manat fixed card is charged and can be filled. Before each turnstile pass, you have the card scanned by special machines at the station and deduct the toll from the card. If there is a balance on the old cards, they can be replaced with new cards. Bakucards are also valid on the red BakuBus MMC buses and many other buses. Card buses can only be boarded from the front and with a card.
Before each turnstile pass, you have the card scanned by special machines at the station and deduct the toll from the card. It is necessary to spend the BakıKart Mehdud balance within 45 days after the first use. If there is a balance on the old cards, they can be replaced with new cards. Bakukarts are also valid on Red BakuBus MMC buses and many other buses. Card buses can only be boarded from the front and with a card.
Use Bolt, Uber and government-operated purple London taxis. They all have taximeters.
Baku is the most important city of Azerbaijan as well as the geography it is located in, in all respects. It blends its touristic addresses, culture and art centers, natural beauties and historical textures, and local characteristics with a modern perspective. I loved this city and I am sure I will go again.