Baku Azerbaijan

Baku is the largest city in Azerbaijan, boasting an urban population of more than two million people. It also serves as the country’s capital and is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in the Caucasus region. It can be found on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which juts out into the Caspian Sea along the Azerbaijan coast. A very forward-moving metropolis, Baku also offers a rich history. Its fascinating Old City certainly contrasts with its more modern neighborhoods, and among the main things that visitors will notice is the city’s varying architecture. Also lending to the reputation of Baku are its East meets West infusion and its vibrant nightlife. Dining and shopping are just two more things to take an interest in while in town, and the city’s numerous hotels are testament to its re-emergence as a popular travel destination.

History

History
History

Traces of human settlement in the Baku region date back to the Stone age, while the first written evidence for the city dates back to the 1st century AD. Baku didn’t really come into major importance until the 12th century, however, when it was chosen to be the new capital of what was then a region known as Shirvan. Approximately 2,000 years later in 1501, the ruler of Iran – Safavid Shah Ismail – laid siege to Baku. The city’s strong walls couldn’t keep the invaders out. Baku would again be captured by Safavid troops in 1540, and in 1604, Safavid Shah Abbas I destroyed the city’s fortress. Prior to the destruction of the Baku fortress in 1604, English men who visited the city on missions noticed the wealth of oil and petroleum in the region. This led to the drilling of the first oil well outside of Baku in 1594. By 1636, Baku had no less than 30 oil fields. This helps to explain the interest that Russia took in Azerbaijan. Baku eventually surrendered to Russia in 1723 after a long siege. The real oil boom didn’t begin until the 1840s, however. The drilling of the world’s first oil well actually occurred near Baku in 1846. The Baku oil boom continued into the 20th century, and to this day, the city and the country of Azerbaijan in general owe much to the oil and petroleum industries.

Old City

Old City
Old City

The Old City district of Baku is a true joy to wander. A picturesque enclave enclosed in medieval walls, it features a maze of narrow alleys to go with its collection of ancient buildings. Among the ancient buildings are a number of mosques, and no discussion about this UNESCO World Heritage Site would be complete without mentioning the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the Maiden Tower. Work on the main building of the Palace of the Shirvanshahs complex began in 1411, while the Maiden Tower dates back to the 12th century. In reference to the architecture of Baku in general, it is important to note that many of the city’s most impressive structures were built in the early 20th century. A number of more modern buildings are also found in the city, and the resulting mix of architectural styles has led some to nickname Baku the “Paris of the East.”

Attractions

Attractions
Attractions

The Old City is without question one of Baku’s main attractions, if not its top attraction overall. Visitors can also interest themselves in the city’s other cultural attractions and activities. Example of such attractions include the Baku Museum of Modern Art and the Azerbaijan State Museum of History. On the activity side of things, cultural enthusiasts can consider taking in a performance at either the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall or the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. When a break from cultural pursuits is in order, Baku boasts many popular tourist and entertainment spots, including Fountains Square, Shikhov Beach, and Oil Rocks. A number of parks and gardens also provide Baku visitors with options for things to do, and when the sun goes down, the city’s vibrant nightlife can surely inspire the urge to stay out late. Some even rank Baku among the world’s very best destinations for urban nightlife. Shopping at local malls and along the rather expensive Nizami Street is just one more option for things to do in Baku, and when you get hungry, finding something to satisfy your culinary preference shouldn’t be difficult. Baku has restaurants to fit a wide variety of tastes and budgets. 

Baku Hotels

Baku Hotels
Baku Hotels

Many of the world’s largest and most recognizable hotel chains have a presence in Baku. This is good news for visitors who fancy the familiar when it comes to vacation accommodations. Also in good supply are luxury Baku hotels, with prime examples being the Four Seasons Hotel Baku, the JW Marriott Absheron Baku Hotel, and the Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel (pictured). For those who wish to stay close to the airport, it is hard to beat the Sheraton Baku Airport Hotel. When value is the aim, Baku hotels like the Days Inn Baku and the Hotel Hale Kai are among the best choices. Plenty of other hotels in Baku offer a lot in the way of quality, so the traveler will do well to consider as many lodging establishments as possible when making a final accommodations decision. 

Compare Travel Sites and Save!

Baku

Baku

Baku is the largest city in Azerbaijan, boasting an urban population of more ...

Latest Topics

things to see in Baku

Baku is easily one of the most beautiful cities in Central Asia, boasting mosques, cathedrals and...

More Forum Posts »