Sights of Baku

Baku is a wonderful city on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Centuries-long history is reflected in its medieval landmarks, where the special place is given to the Old city called Icheri Sheher. On the other hand, it is a fast-growing megapolis with glittering skyscrapers and unusual architectural monuments of the 21st century.

Oriental past and hi tech future is entwined in the way that it gives an impression of taking a journey through time. Here are the best 10 local sights of Baku recommended by us.

Maiden Tower

If you are visiting Baku, you will surely notice the Maiden Tower – one of the most emblematic sights of Azerbaijan, rising near the shore of the Caspian Sea. The walls are made of thick brick, and the tower contains a total of eight levels. The top can only be reached via a winding staircase, but the view from the top opens to a beautiful panorama of Icheri Sheher, the Caspian Sea, and the rest of the city.

Because of its unique shape and design, Maiden Tower has become the unofficial symbol of Baku. Since the Caspian Sea is 28 m below sea level, and the bottom of Maiden Tower is at the water level, it means that when you are standing at the top of the tower, you are actually at sea level.

Shirvanshah Palace

The Palace of the Shirvanshahs is a 15th-century palace built by the Shirvanshahs and described by UNESCO as “one of the pearls of Azerbaijan’s architecture”.

It is located in the Inner City of Baku, Azerbaijan and, together with the Maiden Tower, forms an ensemble of historic monuments inscribed under the UNESCO World Heritage List of Historical Monuments. Earlier, there was an ancient mosque, next to the mausoleum. There are still ruins of the bath and the lamb, belong to the west of the tomb.

It is situated in the Old Town as mentioned already and can be reached in 5 minutes by foot from the “Icharishahar” metro station.

Ateshgah Temple

The Temple of Eternal Fire – Ateshgah – is an authentic Azerbaijani exotic. It is well-known practically all over the world. It is located 30 km from the center of Baku in the suburb of Surakhany. This territory is known for such unique natural phenomenon as burning natural gas outlets (underground gas coming onto surface contacts oxygen and lights up). The temple in its present state was constructed in the 17th-18th centuries. It was built by the Baku-based Hindu community.

From times immemorial this was the holy place of Zoroastrians- fire worshippers. Ateshgah as a place of worship existed until 1880. Today this ancient Zoroastrian temple has been opened for tourists attracting them with artificial fires.

Yanar Dag

Yanar Dag is a natural gas fire which blazes continuously on a hillside on the Absheron Peninsula on the Caspian Sea near Baku. Flames jet into the air 3 metres from a thin, porous sandstone layer. Administratively, Yanar Dag belongs to Absheron District of Azerbaijan.

One of the most famous and popular tourist places of the “eternal flame” in Azerbaijan is the mountain of Yanar Dag. People occupy the benches to watch the blazing hill in the evening, when the its sight is most effective.

Yanar Dag is located 25 km to the north from Baku, in Mehemmedi village. There are buses running to it from the city, so you can get there fairly cheap and easy. From the year 2007 Yanar Dag is declared a state-protected conservation area.

Gobustan Rock Drawings

Museum of Petroglyphs is another name for Gobustan – a mountainous place in the southeast of the Major Caucasian ridge located 60 km from Baku. The archaeologists found there the ancient sites of primitive people who left behind numerous rock drawings – Petroglyphs.

This primitive art displays the culture, economy, outlooks, customs and traditions of ancient people.

The drawings clearly reflect the entire evolution of humans.

Since 1966 the territory of Gobustan has been regarded as national reserve. Annually this stone picture gallery is visited by thousands people from all over the world. Today Gobustan is  an open-air museum.

Gala Museum

40 kilometers from Baku there is Gala, the well-known open-air historical and ethnographic museum. The museum, founded in 2008 at an archaeological site located in the same-name village, is dedicated to the history of the Absheron Peninsula. There, you can see how the Azerbaijani lived, what they ate and drank and how they managed a household over the period from the XVI to XIX centuries.

The Gala Museum territory hosts also several exhibitions, where the tourists can see ancient household items, glassware, jewelry and other interesting exhibits cased in glass.

A guide, whom is best to hire in the museum, will help you not to get lost in the maze of the history of the Apsheron Peninsula.

Mud Volcanoes

They lie about 10 km south of Gobustan. These volcanoes are quite unique as they are not as high as usual volcanoes, with height getting maximum 2 meters. Still, nearly half of the mud volcanoes in the world are located in Azerbaijan (more than 350 out of 800 in the world) and the greatest mud volcano in the world is also in Azerbaijan (1000 meters high). The mud bubbles right from the inside of the volcano and it is usually cold, rather than hot as you might think. Also, the mud is said to be good for face and is commonly used for medical reasons.

Local people call them “yanardagh” (burning mountain), “pilpila” (terrace), “gaynacha” (boiling water) and “bozdag” (grey mountain) alongside its geographical name – mud volcanoes.

Baku Boulevard

Baku Boulevard (Azerbaijani: Dənizkənarı Milli Park, also known as National Park) is a promenade established in 1909[1] which runs parallel to Baku’s seafront. Its history goes back more than 100 years, to a time when Baku oil barons built their mansions along the Caspian shore and when the seafront was artificially built up inch by inch.

The park stretches along a south-facing bay on the Caspian Sea. Since 2012, the Yeni Bulvar (new boulevard) has virtually doubled the length to 3.75 km

In 2015 White City Boulevard added a further 2 km to the east of Freedom Square and reports have suggested that eventually the boulevard might be as long as 26 km, including Bibiheybət.

Icherisheher

The history of Icherisheher dates back to ancient times. It is difficult to determine the exact date in history when the city was built by our ancestors, but it has existed for thousands of years which is evidenced by the many ancient monuments which still remain today.

Icherisheher is the pearl of Azerbaijani architecture and culture and many significant restoration works have been undertaken within recent years.

With the establishment of the State Department of the Historical and Architectural Reserve of Icherisher, this ancient heart of Baku has undergone rehabilitation and  reconstruction appropriate to the environment of the old city.

Highland Park

Highland Park Highland Park, located in the heart of Baku and one of the favorite leisure places of the local residents, is regarded as one of the most beautiful parks of the capital city for a long time. Another commonly known name of the park among people is Viewing Square.

In Soviet era, this park was named after Sergei Kirov. The one particular reason that makes the Highland Park unique is that it has a panorama looking over the city, Baku bay, Seaside National Park stretching along the bay. That explains the reason the park was called “Highland”.

Azerbaijan Independence Museum, Martyrs’ Lane where lie the victims of Black January of 1990 and those who were killed in Nagorno Karabakh war are located in the Highland Park.

The Eternal Flame memorial at Martyrs’ lane often covered by wreaths is usually attended by many presidents and dignitaries of Baku.The idea of establishing the “Eternal Flame” memorial complex initially was put proposed in 1994.