When Azerbaijan gained its independence from the former Soviet Union in the early 90s, there was a lot of work to be done. Starting in the early 2000s, the restructuring began on a scale unseen in the history of the city of Baku as well as the country. Today, we – as visitors – are reaping the benefits of the work of the Azerbaijan people and, in particular, the residents of Baku as it is a beautiful mash-up of both medieval and modern wonders. These are the sites you must include when you visit Baku.
Azerbaijan Carpet Museum
Created by decree of the Azerbaijan Council of Ministers on March 13, 1967, the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum was the first museum dedicated to the art of carpet weaving. As the ancient center of carpet weaving, the Azerbaijani people know their rugs. A pro tip, though, is to avoid buying a rug from a vendor in Old Town and opt for a purchase at the museum. They have staff on hand that will be able to fully and adequately explain the history of each rug including its origin and why the materials used are significant as well as the design. You’ll still be able to haggle your way into a great deal, but you’ll have a greater knowledge of the rug on which to base your decision. After visiting the museum and dealing on a rug, you’ll return from Azerbaijan as a local carpet expert.
A beacon lighting up the skyline of this ancient city, the Flame Towers is a trio of skyscrapers which includes the tallest building in the country at a height of just under 600 feet. The towers change colors throughout the night and during both day and night, offering observation decks for a panoramic view of Baku. Also included in the towers are offices, residences, a shopping mall, and a lovely hotel, The Fairmont Baku Flame Towers. This extraordinary, award-winning hotel makes an excellent place to stay for your visit to Baku. With three bars, a restaurant, a pool, a fitness center, and some spa services including massage, you’ll enjoy a luxurious stay in a location that will allow you to easily explore the city whether by foot, car, or even taking some in on a boat (the hotel has sailing facilities nearby).
Erected in the 12th century as part of the fortress of Ichari Shahar and the walled city. While the exact date of the building’s construction is unclear as is the original purpose of it, today’s purpose is quite clear – climbing to the top for the sweeping views of Baku’s Old Town and beyond. Maintained proudly under the watchful eye of the Icherisheher Living History which is managed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan, Maiden Tower – known locally as Giz Galasi is considered by the Ministry to be of universal value and appeal.
Other recommendations for a successful visit to Baku as well as anywhere in Azerbaijan include a stroll along Seaside Boulevard will take your breath away as the sun rises over the Caspian Sea; see the first known fireplace at the Azikh Cafe; prepare your palate for an Azerbaijani diet in which lamb, spices, and pickles figure prominently; and visit the Teze Bazar for a taste of local produce and to feel connected with the vibrant culture of Baku. Do not, however, mention the country’s enemy of the Nagorno-Karabakh war – Armenia; and, always blow your nose in private.
Are you ready to visit Baku? We think you’ll enjoy the experience. After your visit to Baku, you may wish to find your inner peace in India with A Spiritual Getaway to India’s French Colony.