Day 19: Baku, Azerbaijan

City Sights

We headed to the high point of the city for an overview of the city skyline. At -28m below sea level, it is inperceptible that the area was covered by water, then receded multiple times in the past. The Caspian is called a sea for this reason–that the salt water from what was once part of the ocean differentiates it from from a fresh-water lake.

The Martyr’s shrine commemorates the 200 fallen rebels who led the second revolution in 1990. While being freed from Soviet rule and becoming independent, this was not the first attempt. Azerbaijan was established as a nation in 1920 as told by the Ali and Nino story I mentioned in the last post. Its success was short-lived however. The Russians came back and dominated the country for another 70 years before they relinquished power.

The Flaming Towers are Baku’s latest hotel, office, and condominium high rises that proudly display the city’s oil wealth and future. The capital of Azerbaijan was moved to Baku in the 12th century to this prominent peninsula on the west side of the Caspian Sea.

Shirvan Shah’s Palace and Museum

Architecture Inside Baku’s Old City Walls

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old City in Baku has renovated its historic buildings for public view.

Miniature Book Museum

Founded by an Azerbaijani woman, this museum contains over 8,000 volumes of miniature reproductions from books collected throughout the world, including Western, eastern, and local literature. This museum is cited in the Guiness Book of Records!

Baku’s Friendly People

Heydar Aliyev Center by Zaha Hadid

This new building designed by Zaha Hadid, the world-famous Iraqi architect, has won numerous international accolades for its sweeping bold design. The museum displays Azeri culture and commemorates Azerbaijan’s former president, Heydar Aliyev.

Hadid created a vision and inspiration for the next generation of architects. Its womby curves and vast proportions offers a three-dimensional fly-through in real time. From the exterior, the building looks like a huge beached whale.

Museum Collection and Interior Details

Art Doll Collection

I couldn’t help but become fixated not only by the historic costumes and expressive faces of the dolls in this collection, but also by the exquisite, life-like hand gestures.

9 thoughts on “Day 19: Baku, Azerbaijan”

  1. VF, not sure if its the angle of your photo but many shots that incorporate the street seemed deserted.
    Nick

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    1. Good observation. Some of the sights were shot early in the morning before the city broke into action and my camera definitely tries to avoid humans inadvertently walking through architectural shots. It’s amusing that I received your comment just as I was taking street videos ripping through the city in the car, and catching some of the inner city traffic jams and pedestrian hub-bub. Of the country’s population of 10 million, about 20% of Azeris, or 2 million people, live in Baku. It’s still a very spread out oil town, what feels superficially a little bit of what I imagine Houston to be like. And yes, in 90 degree weather you wouldn’t find too many Americans walking their dogs outdoors either. Gas costs about the same here as in the US but the availability and history cause people to drive more than take public transport. So while streets are not populated everywhere, I do tend to turn the camera away from cars and people unless I am shooting them intentionally.

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  2. Only you two could head off to Baku (never been there) for a cultural investigation. Thanks, enjoyed the photos 👍😍

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    1. The Trans Caucasus countries (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia) are packed with UNESCO World Heritage sites. Being off the beaten track, we can avoid tourist hoards and still immerse ourselves in authentic life that each country experiences.
      This serves as an extension to our Iran cultural exposure last year. This area has adopted an intriguing mix of Persian, Arabic, Turkish, Russian and Muslim influences. It’s an historical rodeo of religions and the world all concentrated in one tiny area!!

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    1. For a place with lots of money invested in the city (like Dubai I guess) but with tons of steeped history and few tourists, what’s not to like? I hope you get a chance to read the book and you will understand even more why we come here. It’s sparkling in the city and the residents are clearly proud it, as well as of its religious tolerance. A truly remarkable place on earth.

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  3. Hi vickie, hi geekin,
    Very impressive and truely fascinating your views and pictures. So much tradition and moderness side by side.
    Helena

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    1. The pictures only scratch the surface of how much effort that has put into improving the city and its cultural legacy. This is another pearl in the Silk Road link! You would love the caravanserais, and learning about the history of the people. The sandstone buildings are well-built and spotless With distinct Soviet influence. Stay tuned, and thanks for checking in!

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