Azerbaijan, the Land of Fire

We visited Azerbaijan in June 2018, directly after we indeed enjoyed Georgia. To arrive here, we took a twelve hours night train from Tbilisi to Baku. To visit this country we needed a visa, but the complete procedure was fast and not complicated at all.

Although we stayed only a few days, we could easily make an idea about the capital. The architecture in Baku is diverse, from modern Flame Towers to medieval palaces and mosques. As other former socialist republics, the Russian influence is noticeable for some important buildings. Baku is an extremely modern city built thanks to the petrol industry. 

In one of the days, we enrolled for a 2.5 hours Baku Downtown free walking tour. It was a totally exclusive one because it was for the first time when we were the only two participants of the tour. So, we had all the guide Ganni attention during the walking tour. Legends, myths and love stories of Baku were explained. Also, the architectural development of the modern downtown was understood. This tour ended with an energized cup of tea and many recommendations for pubs and restaurants.

Flame Towers, the national symbol

Flames are their national symbol respecting their heritage. Azer means fire in Persian. Culturally, it is considered that the fire gives light and is mystical from the oldest time.

Flame Towers

The magical Little Venice is a pretty place on Seaside Boulevard close to the Flame Towers and Carpet Museum. Little Venice has several islands which are divided by water channels. Beautiful ornate bridges connect these islands. We found this place very relaxing.

The magical Little Venice

Carpet Museum, a beautiful work of art

The building itself, in the shape of a rolled up carpet, is a beautiful work of art. Beside this, there are amazing Azeri carpets from all over the country. Hand made carpets are indeed a significant part of Azeri culture. There are even a couple of carpet weavers on display showing us different techniques of weaving carpets. During our visit, it was also a lady weaving a carpet. Very impressive!

Carpet Museum
Carpet Museum mock-up

Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, breathtaking in every way

A grand and spectacular white building is designed by the famous architect Dame Zaha Hadid. The design is breathtaking in every way, outside and inside. Inside the building, you can appreciate the incredible fusion of form and fiction, with almost no straight lines. There are many famous mock-up buildings in Baku, history of Azerbaijan museum, fashion museum, architecture museum, dolls museum, classic cars, and the life of the former president Heydar Aliyev.

Heydar Aliyev Center mock-up
Heydar Aliyev Center
Heydar Aliyev Center

Nizami street, heart of shopping district

Nizami park is located just around the museum of literature and is very near the central part of town. There is a big statue of Nizami, one of their poets, which can be an attraction. The place is pretty cool to relax after walking around the city center.

Azerbaijan Literature Museum, named after the poet Nizami Ganjavi, mock-up

Pedestrian Nizami street is one of the main streets in Baku. Locals love shopping in fancy and glamorous brand shops, taking dinner in local or international cuisine restaurant located in Nizami street, or just enjoying a tea or a coffee in all happening place in Baku. There are quite a lot of things that can attract everyone.


Philharmonic Fountain Park, so beautiful and peaceful

A nice and quiet place to sit down and relax during your walking tour is the Philharmonic Fountain Park. It is located near the Art Museum, not far from the old center, this haven of water is a beautiful, relaxing area just outside the Old City Walls. It is a favorite spot with locals and tourists alike.

Philharmonic Fountain Park

Amburan club, a nice view of the Caspian Sea

At 40 km from Baku, it is a beach club to the Caspian Sea. For this trip, we took a taxi, and we paid less than 8 EUR for this 40 km distance. The taxi here was very cheap, due to the very low price for gas, approximately 0.3 EUR. So, we used Taxify and Uber daily.

At Amburan club was a very clean and safe place, with a good atmosphere. Beautiful beach, modern pools, good music, and tasty food distinguish the location.

Caspian Sea view

Seaside Boulevard, a perfect place for a walk during sunset

You cannot complete your Baku tour without exploring the boulevard. Walk all the way from one end to another it is a long walk.

The Boulevard along the Caspian is a several kilometer beautiful, large and immaculate area of the city. There are great views of the Caspian sea, interesting sculptures and buildings, good restaurants, and plenty of activities to do. We took a boat trip for a memorable city view.

Baku Boulevard
Sunset on Baku Boulevard
Flame Towers light show

The Flame Towers are amazing to see during day and night. During the night there is a light show visible on this trio of skyscrapers in Baku.

Gastronomic experience

For an authentic experience, we went to a fresh market. Fruits, vegetables, pomegranate juice, and especially caviar was the main attraction.

Every meal was a feast. They eat a lot of lamb dishes, dolma, pilaf, and salads. Variety, taste, and color are describing their must-try cuisine.

Lamb sadj
Iskender kebab
Dolma

Tea culture Azerbaijanis have a deep and strong, almost sacred, relationship with tea. With tea, they are showing warmth, friendliness and, excellent hospitality. They enjoy drinking extremely sweet tea, Arabic coffee, and also, vodka.

Tea ritual

Video

2 thoughts on “Azerbaijan, the Land of Fire

  1. Baku: In your description is cute, new, and occidental. Very modern buildings have been built, as you said, by petrodollars. Azerbaijan is in fact, for tourists, Baku and the Caspian shore. I hardly saw locals in a pictures. I’m interested in faces! I can’t help to remember what you said: just you two for a city trip! Wow! I think also tourists are very rare there despite country’s culture and attractivity. I’ve listen to the music in video: very well chosen. And expressive. Again, I thank you for your article but I think, you saw (and also the tourists that succeed to arrive there) in fact, what “they” wanted you to see: the power of oil but not the real Azerbaidjan. I took a glance on wikipedia (thank you for give me the reason: they have a staggering PIB to whom Romania just dreaming and the most people (arround 28 millions ) in Iran!).
    Keep travelling and keep writing. You do it both so good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, not so many tourists. But despite that you haven’t seen locals in the pictures, the city is full of live and many locals really enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

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