Azerbaijan - 3 days in the next supercity BAKU

The mysterious golden bracelet in Azerbaijan

What a modern city in Eastern Europe. Baku has many interesting things to see and most of them are all within convenient reach, without having to constantly use the taxi or bus. It was easy to walk and attractions were often visible from far away. Other things, like the fire temple, are a bit further away but are nevertheless easy to reach by bus.

My plan was to spend 2 full days in the capital and then continue to Iran. That is a practical connection as the flights from Azerbaijan to Tehran are extremely cheap.

Is Baku soon the next best tourist city?

This city seems to be trending in travel and business in general. Azerbaijan strives to join more and more Europe. Modern glasshouses and older buildings renovated to a high standard. There is a lot of oil money and the Azerbaijani capital growing, but appearances are deceptive. Behind the glass windows, there are locals who don't profit much from it, but that's another topic.

Unfortunately, many houses have been removed and locals have been expropriated to make the city ready for big events, like the specially built stadium where the Eurovision Song Contest took place in 2019.

The country wants Baku to become a Dubai on the Caspian Sea, and I think they are well on their way to becoming great. It's not yet ready to compete but it probably soon will.

I was wondering what Baku looks like as I only heard good feedback from people who visited.

Day 1 - Arrival in "the new Dubai" called Baku

The flight from the strange city Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) to Baku was very pleasant as there were only 6 passengers in the 200-person plane. Since most of the departures from Turkmenistan happened in the middle of the night, I arrived at 4am in the morning and was picked up from the hotel.

Not much sleeping was possible as here in Baku are too many things to see. Only needed an E-Visa and so getting here was no hassle.

Was in neighboring Georgia and Armenia last year and back then I hoped to see these three countries all in a row, but the flight and train connections between the countries are not so good as Armenia and Azerbaijan are still in something like a cold war.

What to see in Baku on a tourist map

Lots of things to see in the city center

Starting google maps and followed the pins. I have 2 days' time to check these out, but already now in the evening after one day, I can say that Baku is well worth more days to visit, let alone the rest of Azerbaijan. Food is also very good and cheap for the amount paid.

In summer it's very hot there. But the sea constantly sends some wind and there were many buildings and trees to get shelter from the sun.

Formula 1 Stage at around the "Freedom Square"

It was one of the large international events this year, the F1 car race. Other events which are held this year are for example are the Eurovision Song Contest or the Europea Olympics Festival.

The city is becoming more and more popular in every branch. When I took photos someone told me:

It’s not the track for exciting races but Baku is nice city, and that’s always a bit of a bonus.

The F1 stage in front of the "Freedom Square". They will remove it and rebuild it next year for the next race.

Slow race but interessting to watch when ferraris drive through the Old Town
Inexepensive Offices are opening up in BakuBaku as Startup location for new businesses or Nomad is convenientInexpensive housing for companiesThe new Dubai is AzerbaijanAzerbaijan is the next Dubai?Baku is made for Tourism

Along the Boulevard „Milli Park“

It's a huge boulevard which was nice to walk, and it's long with almost 4 kilometers.

Many restaurants and stalls with food and drinks are there. The view up to the flamethrowers and onto the Caspian Sea will remain in memory.

This Boulevard is fantastic and perfectly for tourists
They are only available in stoneSeen from Baku, with a binocular its possible to see TurkmenistanThere are a few of flags in Baku

The core of the city center around the "Fountain Square"

The main public square of Baku has many restaurants and a shitload of shops built for tourists. 

Not much to add here as it is comparable to almost every other public square and walking road in any other bigger popular city.

Nice cobblestone floor there, but just walked through without a longer stop.

Many shops along the walking road with nice cobble stones. But expensive.
Its lying conveniently next to the caspian seaLifestyle in Baku is like in western countries with lot of fast foodBusy with lots of touristsWalks along the Street

Entering the Old Town via « Gosha Gala Gapisi“

The old town couldn't be easier identified as this as it simply begins when walking through the big ancient gate and basically ends when walking through another gate.

What's inside? A lot of ancient historical landmarks and souvenir shops and art restaurants.

Horse woman and horse man in the old town of Baku
Azerbaijans Lion is painted on the wallThe flame towers havent burned yetBalcony are the most important construction in the old Town of BakuThis castle is in the old town. Its not very impressive.No entrance fee. Just walk through.Baku has some strange statues in front of the old town

Walk through the Old Town „Icherisheher“

Convenient to walk the city as the old town is one junk of neighborhood and even walled and almost impossible to get lost or walk too far. It was like a zoo without animals but ancient houses where people still live in. Even balconies are meanwhile under UNESCO protection.

I went there to walk through more or less quickly and get to the palace. It was simply too hot to spend much time within the walled alleys.

The old town is not that old and people are still residing there.
UN heritage does exist in AzerbaijanThey dont produce cars but they have lots of ancient examplesNot difficult to find magnets of Azerbaijan and Baku

Visit the "Palace of the Shirvanshahs"

The palace of the Old Town.

As in many other cities and their castles, the castles have a long boring history with many rulers and revolutions.

I didn't inform myself what this thing is all about and I wasn't really interested to know it as I forget it anyway. However, it was nice to see and walk through the rooms which are accessible to the public.

Inside there is a miniature version of the whole Old Town on a large table. I found that more interesting than the real old town as it has a switch to turn on and turn off the lights of all windows in the small houses.

It was the house of many rulers in Azerbaijan
Worth a visit when youre there!The pot is perfeclt to cook Azerbaijan RamenThis green yellow picture shows some warriorThe garden of the Azerbaijan RulerAzerbaijan has a president but he does not live thereOld town and flame tower of Baku

Exit the Old Town towards "Maiden Tower"

Once walking around the Old Town, one exit (or entry) is beside the Maiden Tower. As I figured out it's imprinted on several coins, advertisement papers and chocolate bars. This is one of the most important landmarks in Azerbaijan. A museum is inside but didn't go see it.

Rumors say it was once a prison
Its used as a restaurant and hotelStreets are clean and easy to walk in Baku20 meters high wall protects the old town

Ride the funicular up to the "Flame Towers"

The Flame Towers are the most famous buildings that relate to Azerbaijan. They are spectacular and change color at night. I didn't know the purpose of it so briefly went asking the receptionist:

We are a hotel, we have 250 hotel rooms and over 60 appartments and lots of offices. But it wasnt cheap as it cost 300 million dollar.

A funicular drives up every 10 minutes and costs almost nothing. The road up there was not that steep but didn't want to walk upward in this heat.

This is architect in its finest
For lazy tourists. It brings you all the way up to the flame towers.This mosque is right beside the flame towerThey change colors in the night

The „Martyr Alley“

When exiting the funicular and just beside the Flame Towers, there is the aisle to one of the main monuments in Baku with the "Eternal Flame" Monument at the end of the alley.

This thing is built for the fallen freedom fighters and national heroes who died all the same day about 30 years ago. I don't know exactly what they were fighting for but back then Soviet soldiers attacked the country.

The Russian presidents frequently come here to visit and apologize to Azerbaijan.

It gets cleaned every day. Its their national grave in Baku
Hot flame and is good for barbeque grill. But not allowed.Me in AzerbaijanBaku lookout to see all of Baku

The view over Baku from the lookout "Eternal Flame" 

The public main lookout over Baku and the harbor. As there is no public lookout from the Flame Towers this was the most convenient place to see the city from "above".

Perfect weather to see all of Baku
Nice view from the Martyr MonumentIts a nice city and soon competes with Dubai?Angry and aggressive business in positive way happens in Baku

The "Baku Flyer" and the "Eurovision Song Contest Arena"

I didn't go to the Baku Flyer as I saw it from above here. Also, the famous carpet museum is visible from above here.

This position is very convenient as almost all of Baku can be seen from here. For lazy people, this is the best spot imaginable to see the city.

The 60m tall Baku Ferris Wheel opened in the new extended section of the Boulevard.

Baku wheel it not worth to see
Its position is right beside the deformed buildingBaku was the host and has now a new building4 km waterfront Boulevard. Its nice!

Day 2 - Extended things around Baku

Went up early today to be ahead of the sun. Even in June, the weather here can be very hot.

It's only an easy bus ride down here and the building is just across the bus stop in Bibiheybat. Also, it was easy to get back to Baku city center as the ride was without changing the bus.

People are very helpful here in Azerbaijan, I think over the last recent years they smell that tourists bring a lot of money and that we like to see a city like Baku. Also maybe the recent F1 races and the Eurovision Song Contest were like boot camps for the infrastructure and the locals.

What I realized here in Baku is that I didn't hear any Muslim prayers and the mosques don't have speakers or at least not using them. In many other Muslim countries, the decibel of these mosques sound blasters wakes people up already at 4 in the morning. But not here.

A trip to the South of Baku to see “ Bibiheybat“

I took the bus all the way to the south of Baku to a town called „Bibiheybat“, as there is a big mosque.

This one was completely destroyed and then rebuilt 30 years ago. That's the reason it looks so new.

The view from there over the Caspian sea is nice – from here is just 250 Kilometers to the coast of Turkmenistan.

Going there as a tourist. Almost a must see attraction! Nice.
The mosque is unique and very new. Its trending in Baku30 minutes from Baku city center and directly at the roadVery clean and fantastic to take a look atHere happens the industry. Maerskmoments!Great view on the industry rise of AzerbaijanAlmost. But maybe the next generation will have expensive cars?

On the way to the Fire temple is the „Heydar Aliyev Center“.

From the south of Baku back to the city center is about 30 minutes and from the city center to the east of Baku ist about 45 minutes.

As the internet told me there is the Fire Temple in the east and I thought it looked interesting, I decided to spend the afternoon going there.

The deformed exhibition center is fantastic. It can even compete with the buildings in Turkmenistan.

Iraqi-British architect construction
The building was featured in Extreme EngineeringThis building looks like it was made in TurkmenistanNot the president lodge but the the building was featured in Extreme EngineeringIs a 57,500 m2 building complex. Huge modenr building in Baku.Painters and artists on the grassThe most important building in Azerbaijan

Now, it's time for the "Fire Temple"

Had to change from bus to train to bus and the last stop was called „Surakhani“. On google maps, it looks like there is a train going there but that's fake news.

The train is not working anymore and only local buses drive there… or taxis… of course. But the bus was easy for people again very helpful when asking for the fire temple.

What?? Fire temple? What fire temple? You mean the Atashgah Zoroastrian Fire Temple of Baku?

Well yes, I'm glad there is only one fire temple in Baku and the locals all seem to know it by all its nicknames. And so they show the right buses and ways and then there it is.

It's only in a small area but it has a lot of tourist buses.

It's not crowded though. Enough space to get around and also see the small fire in the middle of the compound.

Around the fire are some stalls, each of the stalls has a different theme and show some history. Some of the stalls have life-sized figures and animal dummies and are appearing behind a curtain like in a horror theatre.

MUST SEE when having a few days in Baku
Nominated for List of World Heritage SitesBaku is the city of fire. Flame towers, Fire temples, Eternal Flame. All in BakuThe firetemple has some surprises for horror fansHideout for Talibans?1 hour bus ride from BakuIn 2019 there is not train from Baku to the Fire Temple

Day 3 - The Airport Express brings me to Iran

My flight to Iran was in the morning. Baku is very touristic and so is the transport to and from the airport. By using the so-called „Airport Express“ it's only 2 Euro from the „28th may“ central train station.

Change money back to Euro? - No problem.

Also, it's no problem to exchange money back to USD or EUR. Unlike as in many other countries where I had to leave with a pocket full of foreign currency which is worth like a piece of stone outside the country.

Airport Express leaves every 30 minutes from there and takes about 30 minutes to the airport.

Next stop, Iran.

Intersection with the Airport Express
28may Train Station in BakuEverybody is going to work and so its busyA flag hangs at a wall on a House in Baku

No comments