Sightseeng in Azerbaijan

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Old City

This is a unique pearl of architecture in Azerbaijan. The Old City, is the oldest part of Baku as well as a monument of history and architecture. The Old City is known as Fortress or just the Old City encircled by well-preserved defence walls. Over 1,300 families live here, and a number of historical and architectural monuments are located here – four of them have international status and 28 have local significance; within the City walls there are museums, embassies, hotels, shops, cafe and restaurants. Well-known architectural monuments in the Old City include the Maiden Tower and the Palace of Shirvanshahs, both of which are architectural masterpieces of Azerbaijan. These unique architectural attractions and their large tourism capacity make the Old City a centre of sightseeing for tourists. In the Old City you feel as if you are travelling back in time, feel the spirit of the Middle Ages and feel a great positive energy. Old City is in a subtropical zone with soft climate: the winter is moderate, summer is dry and warm, spring and autumn are moderate and warm, the rains mainly fall in early spring and late autumn.
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Maiden Tower

The Maiden Tower is considered the antique symbol of Baku. The tower is 28 metres tall, the diameter on the first floor is 16.5 meters, and the tower has eight floors. Each floor was constructed with finished stones and the tower has a dome-shaped ceiling. Based on structure of the monument, scholars believe it is of medieval origin from the Zoroastr time – his cabin, fire-worshipers temple, and Mitra and Anahita goddesses. The tower became a museum in 1964 and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.
Maiden Tower is one of Azerbaijan’s most recognisable symbols and is depicted on numerous banknotes and coins. In recent years, the Novruz holiday is celebrated in the Maiden Tower and its surrounding yard.
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National Seaside Park

The National Seaside Park is located in Baku on the Caspian shore. It was established in 1909 and has had National Park status since December 29, 1998. This National Park is the second largest in Europe after the park on the banks of the River Seine in Paris. After the expansion of the Baku boulevard territory to 16 km, city inhabitants and visitors can enjoy themselves throughout its whole area – from Boulevard Hotel in White City, the National Flag Square and all the way around to the Water Sports Palace located at the end of Baku Boulevard. The Boulevard area includes a number of museums, cultural facilities, malls and entertainment centres, including the modern panoramic amusement ride – the Devil’s Wheel, which has a beautiful view over Baku Bay.
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The Palace of Shirvanshahs

One of the treasures of Azerbaijan’s medieval architecture is in the Old City and used to be the residence of Shirvanshahs – Shirvan Kings. The Palace of Shirvanshahs is one of the main historical and architectural sites in Baku. After an earthquake in the 12th century in Shamakhi, Baku was made the capital city of Azerbaijan and the Palace of Shirvanshahs was built on its highest point.
The palace ensemble includes nine buildings – the Palace itself, Divankhane, Darvish’s mausoleum, Eastern Gates (Eastern Portal), the palace’s mosque, Kei-Kubada mosque, the palace tomb, and the bath and ovdan (water reservoir). The complex consists of three yards with buildings located at 5-6 meters height variations relative to each other. All buildings in the complex are constructed with local limestone – badamdam. In 2000 this unique complex was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
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Ateshgah temple

This temple was built by Zoroastrian Indian merchants, named Parsis, in the Surakhani settlement located near Baku. The first temple constructions on this site go back as far as the 2-3 Centuries. This temple was built in the area with the eternal fire – the place where natural gas comes out from the ground – and consists of 26 cells and one main altar. The Ateshgah temple has hundreds of visitors every year and believers of different religions. In the past, such famous persons as Alexandre Dumas, Kenfr, Willot, Berezin, Dmitry Mendeleev visited the temple. In 1998 the Ateshgah temple was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is a state historical and architectural reserve with an area of 1,368 sq.m. and has had museum status since 1972. The torch of the First European Games, held in Baku in 2015, was lit in the Ateshgah temple.
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Heydar Aliyev Centre

The Heydar Aliyev Centre is one of the symbols of modern Baku and includes the city’s largest conference hall, the Heydar Aliyev museum, exhibition halls and office premises. The centre is named after Heydar Aliyev, the third president of Azerbaijan. The project was developed by world-known architect Zaha Hadid in 2007. The building has a curvy shape, with barely any straight lines, and makes a harmonious impression on the viewer. The building’s curves bridge the past and the future. Inside the building there are interactive information booths, where visitors can get information about events and exhibitions held there. The building also has a landscaped surrounding area comprising of natural trees and plants.
In June 2014, the Design Museum in London gave the Designs of the Year award to Zaha Hadid for her work on the Heydar Aliyev Centre.
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Azerbaijan Carpet Museum

The museum was established in 1967 and is the first museum in the world specializing in the collection, preservation and study of carpets. It had its first exhibition in 1972 in the Juma Mosque in the Old City (Icheri Sheher). This museum is a treasure of national culture; it displays carpets in combination with other types of traditional art in Azerbaijan. It holds a collection of 14,000 items including carpets, clothes, copper coins, jewellery, glass, wood and felt items. In 2014 the new four-storey building of the museum was opened. The museum building was constructed by Austrian architect Franz Yantz, and displays all aspects of the Azerbaijani carpet school, a broad range of centuries-long carpets and other carpet items. The building has a distinctive original style and is constructed in the form of a rolled carpet. Currently, the museum exhibitions and collections include over 13,300 exhibits and items. The museum preserves carpets and other carpet items, metal, ceramics, glass, wood, paper, textile, clothes, jewellery items, rare books and photographs.
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Gobustan State Reserve of History and Arts

This is the reserve in Azerbaijan where archaeological monuments are preserved. The reserve is located in the Gobustan settlement in Garadagh region, about 56 km from Baku. There is also a museum there, and the reserve’s monuments mainly go back to the Mesolithic era. There are a number of caves and springs in the area. Over 1,000 rocks in Gobustan have ancient artistic depictions of animals, humans, casual situations, hunting and dance scenes. In 2007, Gobustan was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List and numerous depictions of animals and customs and traditions carved in stone are recorded as “unique historical valuables”.
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Fountains Square

The name of the Fountains Square, which is one of the first central squares constructed in Baku, goes back to Soviet-era fountains which had been installed there. The square is located in the Sabail district on the crossing between Nigar Rafibeyli and Ahmad Javad streets. This square is surrounded with such monuments of architecture as the Nizami Ganjavi Museum of Azerbaijan Literature, Araz cinema, ISR Plaza and Saint George church . Fountains Square is located in a parallel direction to the Baku Boulevard and is also known as Torgovaya, a popular venue for various celebrations and festivals. In 2010 the square was reconstructed and rehabilitated while preserving its original shape, and new elements were added to the overall feature. All three surrounding streets are pedestrian areas.
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Highland Park

Located in downtown Baku, Highland Park is considered one of the most beautiful parks in the capital city. It is also known as Panoramic View Park, as its unique feature is a magnificent panoramic view of the city, Baku Bay and National Seaside Park. The Highland Park area includes the Museum of Azerbaijan Independence and the Alley of Fallen Heroes, where victims of the carnage that occurred on January 20, 1990 in Baku and Karabakh rest in peace.