No other city is like Baku. Here the modern aspirations merge with mediaeval past. Put simply, the cosmopolitan capital of Azerbaijan is an open-air museum. This oil-rich city contains some wonderful modern architecture that co-exists harmoniously beside the relics of the past. One of the most visited cities of the CIS countries, the post-Soviet city of Baku is a fascinating place to explore. Aspiring to be the Dubai of the Caucasus, the city is fast emerging as a popular destination with its seemingly endless attractions, historical places and superb restaurants and cafes.
Needless to say the number of tourists visiting capital Baku increases annually. According to the estimates, for the past 10 years the number of tourists visiting the Azerbaijan capital has increased by five times.
Heritage and culture
The mazelike Old City (“Icharishahar”) has a rich history and a perfect place to travel back in time.
Tucked inside the city's labyrinthine old town is the sandstone Shirvanshah's Palace complex, built in the 15th century AD when Baku became the seat of govermnet of the Shirvanshahs kingdom. With the enclosure of the palace, which was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the year 2000, are living quarters, burial vaults plus a beautiful mosque and minaret.
Maiden's Tower (Qiz Qalasi) is another landmark located in the Old City. Built in the 12th century the monument is a fairytale, ancient colossus which you must not miss when you are in Baku. The edifice finds its depiction on the Azerbaijani banknotes. From the top of the building you can have panoramic views of the surroundings.
Leisure and Shopping
So after a dose of history, get a breakthrough view of the modern city by visiting Fountain Square. Earlier known as parapet, Fountain Square is the central, café, restaurant, boutique-filled hub of the city which attracts strollers in large numbers specially during the weekend. The waterfront promenade on the Caspian Sea is imaginatively and rightly called a (mini Venice).
Since Baku is a great shopping destination, you should consider setting aside a good amount of time in the city at the end of the trip just to browse for souvenirs.
Baku is a fascinating place to try the unlimited flavours of its delightful and elaborate cuisine. Sample the best traditional food of Azerbaijan in the restaurants of the Old City that provide the perfect ambience to enjoy your food amidst the atmospheric surroundings of the streets and architecture. You will find the best honey here. After dinner, you can enjoy the throbbing nightlife or toast your family or friends in splendid vodka and Azeri brandy.
History weighs heavily in Baku. At the same time it is modernising fast. So don’t waste your time and visit this happening city at the earliest.