This is a rich adventure – the opportunity to explore the city in one day and see the main sights outside of it. Waiting for your bright cycle of impressions: winding streets behind the walls, ancient palace, the highest point of the city, miniature books, European architecture of new Baku, Zoroastrian temple and eternal natural flame.
Baku is one of those cities where you can give up by accidentally buying a ticket at night after a good booze in a bar.
What awaits you? East exotic, black caviar, mysterious kyufta-bozbash, and the Caspian Sea – about these and other reasons why you need to visit Baku. Here are eight reasons to visit Baku for the weekend!
The Caspian sea
Baku – the city is located on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Of course, by and large, this is a big lake, but Baikal is a “glorious sea” here and all sorts of reservoirs. You can not swim in the city – there are no beaches, there is a lot of garbage in the water, but only half an hour on a minibus – and you are on one of the country beaches. You can swim until the middle or even until the end of September.
Dubious pleasure, to visit Baku for the sake of oil if you are not the seller or the buyer of the latter. However, here, as in Texas, you can see the whole field of “rocking” noble black liquid. Oil floats here in seawater is sold in barrels from under the floors, and it seems that if you drive a stick into the ground, it will flow from the hole. It was thanks to oil that Baku in tsarist times was called the “Black City.”
If you watched “The Diamond Hand” and you liked it, then you are right here. It was here that the famous episodes were filmed from “Schorta Poberi” and “Russo tourist – the image of morality.” Narrow streets, old houses, threateningly hanging balconies, linen on the ropes, and other joys in abundance. Over the past 100 years, virtually nothing has changed here. Except that tourists increased. For the tourists opened numerous shops with souvenirs, antiques, and other junk. So if you need a sheepskin burka, a fur cap, an old kettle or an iron wrapped in a carpet, then you are here.
Carpets are the national pride of Azerbaijan. They can be bought at every corner, and the price starts from $ 100 to infinity. The plots are very different – rhombic crosses, portraits of leaders, warriors, elders, lines from the Koran … For the sake of these precious carpets, a whole carpet museum was built in the very center of Baku. Admission is 7 euros, from the exhibits – any inventory for shearing sheep, spinning threads and, of course, carpets. Inside it is cool, but, frankly, boring. But if you are fans of its busting, you can not miss this museum.
In the capital of Azerbaijan, a dozen sports complexes have been built. Azerbaijanis – the nation is not particularly sporting. But there are a lot of locations for running: the Boulevard, which runs along the coast, stretches 8 kilometers so that a good run can be arranged.
Barbecue, kyufta-bozbash, kourma – all this must be eaten. In general, they feed decently almost everywhere. The portions are large. It is more difficult with alcohol: everything decent is expensive, so local Muslims drink Russian vodka. For lovers of European cuisine, I can recommend the cafe “Paris,” near the fountain square. Works year-round and 24 hours.
Those who visited Baku for the first time, worth visiting restaurant-museum Sirvansah – there you can eat and learn more about the culture of Azerbaijan: the restaurant is located in the ancient building of the caravanserai, and its owner has collected a good collection of objects of art and life. And for travelers who have already visited Baku more than once, I advise you to go to the favorite place of local residents Topkapi – there is simple and cozy, and very tasty.
Black Caviar is not surprising, and it is a fact. But if you drifted onto the Caspian, then you must eat caviar. In the cafe, of course, it is not served, and you can buy black gold only on the market on the outskirts. The price for a jar of 50 grams is about $ 100 a barrel for two barrels of oil. As for the sturgeon – then it is in almost every restaurant. 35 euros per serving, like a bush.
It’s good to walk around Baku in the evening when the illumination comes on. Plane alleys are cozy, the dam is immersed in intimate twilight, and over the city hang like the tentacles of a giant octopus, the peaks of the tower-petals, which shimmer with lights, and in general look very stylish. There are numerous cafes and beckon to go to the kebab, a cup of coffee and a glass of vodka. A cool breeze blows from the sea.
Places to absolutely visit in Baku.
I would recommend to men in Azerbaijan to go to a public bath, after which they serve traditional tea from a samovar with tasty jam. For women, also, there are saunas, the best is almost in the center of the city – Sultan Saba SPA.
From historical sites, the ancient temple of the Ateshgah fire-worshippers, located 30 kilometers from Baku, is obligatory to visit. It emerged on the site of “inextinguishable” fires – burning natural gas outlets. At various times, Ateshgah was a sacred place for Zoroastrians, Hindus, and Sikhs, and its name is translated from Azerbaijani as “House of Fire.”
Second place, traditionally attracting the attention of travelers – this is Gobustan reserve, a real open-air archeology museum just 60 kilometers south of Baku. The mountains of Gobustan are replete with the most exciting rock paintings, once inhabited caves, destroyed tombs and traces of ancient housing from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages. On one of the stones a Latin inscription is even carved, which was left by one of the soldiers of the Roman XII Lightning Legion in the 1st century of our era; thanks to her, scientists believe that no one went east further than this legion in the history of ancient Rome.
Futuristic skyscrapers resembling flames are located in the heart of the city. At night, their mirror walls depict the movement of fire – it can be seen even from the most remote places of the city. Another Baku sight not to be overlooked is the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center. The undulating sculpture of the British architect Zahi Hadid houses a museum named after the third president of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, and a concert and exhibition hall. Here you will see the historical and cultural masterpieces of Azerbaijan, the city of Baku in miniature, as well as official cars of Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijani carpets and Azerbaijani culinary art in photographs.
The old town of Icheri Sheher – real historical and architectural reserve in the center of Baku. Labyrinth of medieval streets, fortress walls, mosques, baths are able to captivate the traveler for the whole day. Icheri-Sheher pearl – Palace complex of XIII century Shirvanshahs, and still the Maiden’s Serf Tower, over whose age and purpose historians still puzzle over. In the 12th century, the tower was the central citadel of the Baku fortress, then there were legends that one of the Shah’s daughter had fled from here, so as not to marry the unloved, and now the May Art Festival is held here every year.
What time of year is best to visit Baku?
Every season is beautiful to me, but tourists usually travel Baku from early April to late October. I do not know what this is connected with, because in winter Baku is incredibly beautiful. Also, there are ski resorts in Azerbaijan with five-star hotels on Shahdag and Tufan, which will compete with European ski resorts.