Places To Visit In Baku

A visit to Baku feels like a trip through the streets of time, from its historic roots as a Persian capital, through the periods of oil boom to when it came under Soviet occupation. As the capital of Azerbaijan, the towering skyline of the city blends perfectly into the medieval town that Baku is.

The old town (Icheri Sheher) of Baku is a maze full of mosques, palaces, fortifications and remnants of other historic buildings, cut by alleys and streets such as Nizami street remicient of the older era. These buildings include Maiden Tower, Palace of the Shirvanshahs, etc. They make for the vibrant outlook and vibe of the city, which is further fueled by the cultural festivities that the city boasts of.

Whether you are looking to immerse yourself in a few days of extremely rich, vibrant and diversified history, or just seek an escape into a world that feels uniquely different and a kind of its own that will leave you drenched in its colors, a trip to Baku is the perfect getaway for enthusiasts of all kinds.

The Baku Ateshgah (Fire Temple of Baku) is a religious temple at Surakhani town in Baku, Azerbaijan. This castle-like temple with Persian and Indian inscription was a holy place for Hindu and Zoroastrians. Atash means 'Fire' in Persian and ‘Gah’ means the bed. So, it is the bed of fire 30 kilometers from Baku.

It was a place of sacrifice above a natural gas vent in the Abseron Peninsula. Fire rituals date back to at least the 10th century. The structure is akin to the caravanserais (travelers' inns) where pentagonal walls hem in a courtyard. An altar in the middle of this courtyard is the centerpiece where fire rituals were performed.

Natural gas burning outlets abound in the temple. The gas comes out of the earth's crust and lights up in the presence of oxygen.

Four small flames on the rooftop corners of the pavilion and a large flame in the middle ignite. Small cells surrounding the temple altar used to have the ascetic worshippers and pilgrims. The altar is right at a natural gas vent.

The structure exhibits architectural elements from both Zoroastrian and Hindu faiths. It gives rise to the moot point of whether it was built as a Hindu or Zoroastrian place of worship. The most established theory upholds the temple in the Zoroastrian tradition. Over time, it developed into a Hindu place of worship.

Due to the dwindling Indian population in Azerbaijan, this place was forsaken in the late 19th century. The temple acquired its present look in the 17th and 18th centuries. Hindu community of Baku Sikhs built it originally.

The flamed exhausted in 1969 due to massive exploitation of the natural gas reserves on the peninsula. Baku's main gas supply feeds the flames now.

Temple of Eternal Fire is another name of Ateshgah.  In 1975, authorities converted the complex into a museum, and it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. The Fire Temple Baku stands out as the main mystical attraction at Baku in Azerbaijan.

 

History

The history is long and fascinating. In ancient times, Zoroastrians used to worship the fire at this place. This inextinguishable fire holds a mystical significance for them, and that's why they came here to worship fire.

After the advent of Islam, the Muslims demolished Zoroastrian temples. Most Zoroastrians left Baku and found asylum in India. Again during the 15th and 17th centuries, Parsis came back to Absheron for trading.

They started rebuilding the first part of the temple in 1713. Later, famous merchant Kanchangar supported to build the central part in 1810. Chapels, cells, and caravanserai were constructed during the 18th century.

The temple acquired its present look in the 19th century. In the 19th century, natural gas ceased due to movement of the surface and overexploitation. The Hindus considered it a punishment that their God had left. 

Ateshgah remained a place of worship until 1880. Now, this Zoroastrian Temple is a tourist attraction with artificial fires.

 

Architecture

Its pentagonal structure has castellation and the entrance portal. The temple yard has an attar-sanctuary (in the form of the stone bower) and towers in the center. A well in the middle of the attar emanates, burning gas that lights up.

Apart from the traditional guest room, a big pit was the cremation ground for Hindu to burn the expired Hindus' dead bodies.

The Ateshgah portrays two Punjabi, one Persian, and fourteen Sanskrit inscriptions. Two Sanskrit inscriptions belong to Lord Ganesh, and Jwala Ji and Lord Shiva inscription bear Swastika and motifs of the Sun. As per Abraham Valentine Williams Jackson, the inscriptions' carving took place between 1668 and 1816 AD (After Death).

Work is still in progress, and many rooms have been constructed to enjoy ancient traditions.

 

Amazing Facts

  • Natural gas comes out of the earth's surface from many holes and burns in contact with the temple's oxygen.
  • Many historians, including the Anania Shirakastsi, the Armenian Geographer, visited this holy place.
  • Zoroastrians were the first worshippers of fire in the whole region of the Persian Empire.
  • The Zoroastrian vanished after the region came under Islamic influence. The Geographer Abu Ishaq Ibrahim recounted in the 10th century that the Parsis lived not so far from the Ateshgah. They did not disappear from the place.
  • Once again, the Hindus, Zoroastrians, and the Sikhs began trading caravan in Baku in the 18th
  • This region falls on one of the most famous trading routes that connect the Indian Sub-continent to the West through Central Asia.
  • Gas pipeline comes from Baku to fuel the fire.

The palace of the Shirvanshahs is the most significant monument of the Shirvan-Absheron branch of the Azerbaijan architecture in Baku. Shirvanshahs' Palace or Şirvanşahlar sarayı in Azerbaijani are other names of the palace.

Baku's old city is a treasure trove for history hunters. Its heritage will teleport you the time of the Shrivanshahs. Shamakhi is replete with Silk Road heritage and history as the capital of the powerful state ruled by the Shirvanshahs during the medieval period.

The palace lies at the highest point of the city in the densely populated area. The palace comprises nine buildings – palace, the courtroom, the Dervish’s Tomb, the Eastern Gate, the Shah Mosque, the Keygubad Mosque, the palace tomb, the bathhouse, and the reservoir.

The Azerbaijani 10,000 manat banknote of 1994-2006 and 10 new manat banknotes issued since 2006 depict the palace on the obverse. Under state protection, it was declared a museum-reserve in 1964.

UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage Site in 2000. It was the first place in Azerbaijan to attain this status.

 

History

In the 15th century, Ibrahim I of the Shirvanshah dynasty shifted the capital from Shemakha to Baku after a devastating earthquake. He built a memorial complex around the sacred place of worship(pir) and a tomb of Helwati Sufi saint Seyyid Yahya Bakuvi.

Helwati Sufi order had the patronage of the Shirvanshahs. Shirvanshah Kalilullah I and his kith and kin were buried inside the palace. The and wells inside the grounds of the ‘Palace’ were believed to have healing qualities.

The ‘Palace’ fell into ruin after the Safavid conquest of Baku in 1501.

 

Architecture

UNESCO termed the Palace of Shirvanshahs as ‘one of the pearls’ of Azerbaijan architecture. Shirvanshah Sheykh Ibrahim I began the construction of the main building in 1411. Fifty different dimensions and outlines of the structures connected with three narrow winding staircases in the two-story building.

Palace and Throne Room

The two-story building of the palace had 52 rooms rich with ancient remnants. After vandalism during history, now only a few rooms remain. King and his family used the second floor, while servants used to live on the first floor.

The special boards put out historical information. Inside, you can listen to medieval music on the iPad. Most relics belonged to the 18th-20th century because Ottoman and Russian empire pillaged Baku’s treasure. 

Carpets, throne models, game board, glazed, and restored wall tiles are a few decorative examples in the Throne room. These reminisce you of the king's chamber during the Middle Ages.

Divankhana

Some say that Divankhana served as a courtroom and official meetings. Others are of the view that king Farrukh Yasar built it as a personal mausoleum. Its construction could not be finished due to frequent battles and historical events.

The palace houses the tombs of the king Khalilullah I(his father) and close relatives.

Bakuvi Mausoleum and Key Gubad Mosque

Sufi teacher and scholar Sayid Yahya Bauvi taught Sufism in Shamakha and Shirvan in the 15th century. He used to live inside the complex, and he had a worship site. After demise, his body was interred in the mausoleum. Adjacent is the Key Gubad Mosque, most parts of it were razed. 

Murad’s Gate

Sultan Murad III invaded Baku in the late 16th century and ordered to build Murad's Gate (eastern gate). This newest part of the whole complex pulls tourists for its ornamental work in its outer side. The gate bears Arabic inscription in the names of Sultan Murad III and the city governor.

Royal Mosque

The palace mosque beside the king’s Khalilullah’s mausoleum has an identical and straightforward style. The water reservoir was used for pre-prayer ablution.

Bath Houses (‘Hamam’)

In the lowest courtyard of the complex, the palace bathhouses were located. Bathhouses were in place to maintain warmth during the winter and coolness in the summer season. King's bathroom had a fancy blue roof.

Cisterns

The palace had an underground water distribution system. Cisterns were constructed in the lower part of the bathhouse to supply water.

Bayil Castle Stone Panels

The castle collapsed and remained under the waters after a major earthquake in the Caspian Sea in 1306. In the 18th century, destroyed castle’s pieces reappeared on the surface after the water level subsided. It again submerged under the water after some decades.

During the Soviet regime, authorities pulled out these stones to the public vision in the Shirvanshahs's museum.

In 1967, the Azerbaijan State Museum was established as a specialized museum to promote Carpet and Applied Art. Carpet weaving is the spirit of the museum.

The museum researched and displayed the wide variety of traditional weaving and carpets in Azerbaijan before and during the Soviet period. The museum kept collecting carpets throughout the 1970s and 80s.

The museum hosted the first exhibition in 1972 when Juma Mosque used to house the museum in Baku's old city. In the 1990s, the museum was shifted to a new location after the Soviet Union's collapse. By 2007, the government and the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, moved the museum to a Seaside National Park to improve the country's cultural reach. 

The Austrian architect Franz Janz designed the new building in six years. The building, akin to a rolled carpet, opened to the masses in 2014.

Over 10,000 exhibits include metalwork, textiles, embroideries, jewelry, objects from woven materials, flat-woven carpets, pile carpets. The city embraced modern architecture as the building stock began to see massive change.

Azerbaijani carpet has evolved from a simple woven mat to sophisticated forms, such as Palas, Kilim, Shadda, Varni, Zili, Sumakh, Ladi, and Jejim. The ancient origin of the craft dates back to the 2nd millennium BC.

In 2010, UNESCO declared the traditional art of Azerbaijan carpet weaving as an intangible cultural heritage because of its importance and place in shaping world culture.

Ancient Azeri saying goes, "My home is where my carpet is spread."  This ultra-modern carpet museum links past to the present with oriental carpets.

 

Flat-Woven Carpets

The flat-woven carpets date from the 18th to 20th centuries, with around 600 items in the collection. Palas and Jejim styles feature colored stripes of different width with a simple inter-weaving technique, and geometric patterns decorate Kilim with a complex inter-weaving technique. Shadda, Zili, Sumakh, and Varni are other flat-woven carpets.

 

Pile Carpets

Around 2300 pile(knotted) carpets date from the 17th to early 20th century. These carpets form the core of the collection and represent the four major types of carpet weaving in Azerbaijan: Tabriz, Karabakh, Ganja-Gazakh, and Guva-Shirvan.

 

Motifs

Buta

The design comprises motifs, its meaning, and symbols. In Asia, the buta is a widely used motif in carpets. It is linked with divine fire and the 'Bird of Juno.' It is the peacock associated with the Roman goddess Juno's (Greek Hera) chariot. 

 Cross

The cross is another famous motif. It is an ancient religious sign associated with the ideas of abundance and fertility. The form of a diamond-shaped cross with hooks on all four sides is the most wide-spread interpretation of cross on Azerbaijan carpets and flat-weaves.

The dragon

It has been used as decoration. This motif first appeared on the carpet between the 14th and 15th centuries with trade and relations between China and Central Asia. Dragon carpets feature concise and well-laid-out composition, decorative elements, and color palette. 

The gyol

It is a medallion-shaped motif and linked to abundance and wealth. In Azerbaijani carpets, it is used as a popular decorative motif. Gyols describes as ‘elephant’s foot’ motif in the West.

Tree of Life

The ubiquitous Tree of Life is a popular motif in decoration in Azerbaijan. It originated in the region from the black-glazed ceramics of the Bronze Age. The earliest tribes worshipped trees. In many rural areas of the country, childless women used to tie pieces of fabric in the branches of agadj piri, sacred trees for a wish to conceive.

In carpets, the motif portrays pairs of birds, animals, or people by the sides of stylized trees of life. The tree represents the universe where paired images of people and animals like snakes, dragons, and birds correspond to life spheres.

The design can have botanical trees, such as cypress, palm, pomegranate, and stylized plant forms. Vag-vagi is a popular pattern that shows heads of animals and people growing on mythical plants in place of flowers and fruits. 

Religious Motifs

With the emergence of Islam in Azerbaijan from the 8th to 9th centuries, religious motifs with Islamic culture elements began to be found. Samples of Quranic or Arabic calligraphy in the Kufi script were prevalent. 

Architectural motifs of mihrab oriented the faithful to direct their prayers towards Mecca. The geometrical precise proportions and forms of the Kufi script were adaptable to the ornamentation of carpets.

This decoration with a talismanic script is typical to the carpets from Shirvan, Guba, Gazakh, and Baku.

 

Prayer Rugs

16th century saw the appearance of prayer rugs(namazliks). These prayer rugs depicted the mihrab in the upper part of the central field. The small-sized carpets with these motifs were designed for personal use; some rare examples are group prayer.

 

Renaissance Paintings in Medieval Europe

Oriental carpets in Medieval Europe symbolized wealth, and they found a place in paintings from the 14th century onwards. Carpets glorified the sitter and the location of significant action. Renaissance painting had oriental carpets with Christian saints and religious background.

After trade rise between East and West, carpets represented the idea of status, wealth, and luxury because more people could afford luxury goods.  The commissioned portraits of wealthy burghers and merchants depicted oriental rugs. Lotto, Memling, Bellini, and Holbein are the western artists linked with carpets.

The depiction in western European paintings declined after carpets became commonplace in the late 17th and 18th centuries. Carpets lost charm as a status symbol.

A trio of skyscrapers in a triangular shape at Baku in Azerbaijan is known as Flame Tower. The tallest tower is 182 meters high. Baku skyline features Baku Flame Towers, which are visible from all vantage points in the surrounding area.

Perched on a hill, these skyscrapers overlook the Caspian Sea and Baku’s old city center. These towers have drastically changed the skyline of Baku.

The blue-tinted reflective towers look impressive by the day. They grow scintillating after dark when surfaces get a giant display of more than 10,000 LED lights that show the movement of light from massive flames.  The flickering effect of LED lights on the exterior of the towers reinforces the "flame" idea.

LED screens inside the Flame Towers depict the movement of fire. From the city's remotest points, you can witness light show transitions from a figure waving a flag, the Azeri flag colors, giant tanks of water being filled, and massive flames.

The three glass skyscrapers are iconic that houses residences, offices, and the Fairmont Baku Hotel. 

 

History

Baku's long history of fire worship and natural gas resources inspired the construction of three flame-shaped towers. Baku is historically known as the 'region of eternal fires,' and recently, it has gained a reputation in commerce and technology.

The construction began in 2007 and was completed in 2012.

The tripartite design commemorates the Zoroastrian Fire Temple history of this area and the vast supply of natural gas. 

 

Architecture

Flame Towers are the first stop to understand the contemporary architecture in Baku. The curved and triangular designs are akin to three flickering flames. It is regarded as one of the most audacious buildings of the modern era with a simple structure.

Azinko Development MMC spearheaded the Baku Flame Towers project. Hok was the architect, and DIA Holdings was the design and build contractor. Hill International provided project management. HOK carried out the schematic design, concept, and the masterplanning for towers and site.

Head of Retail and Mixed-Use, Barry Hughes, aimed at creating an unparalleled focal point on Baku's skyline. Barry Hughes wanted something great that is structural and spiritual. The estimated cost of the project was to the tune of US$350 million.

Each tower serves a specific purpose; the residential building is the tallest with 39 floors and 130 residential apartments. It houses luxury apartments and offers stunning views of the surroundings. The hotel on the northern corner comprises 250 rooms and 61 serviced apartments over 33 floors.

You can have a spectacular view from 318 guestrooms, and the office tower sits on the western side of the complex. It provides a net 33.114 square meters of grade A flexible commercial office space.

The retail podium provides all retail and leisure amenities to service the three towers, occupants, and visitors to the project's anchor. You will get three levels of leisure facilities, including cinema, restaurants, and boutique shops at the heart of the site, the atrium.

The street's landscape coalesces with the interior to form a fluid boundary between outside and inside space. This fluid boundary between pavilions and the exterior context acts as a connection between the towers and different uses.

It was a challenge to construct a unique glass façade due to the towers' irregular shape and changes at different levels. Concrete slab edges support the curved facades. The curved façade comprises over 10,000 other panels of glass. Werner Sobek applied 3D engineering technology to build flat façade panels in trapezoidal shapes and cover the towers' curved design.

High-power LED luminaries turn it into a giant LED display. The lighting displays video content, burning flames, and additional animations during special events like the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. An integrated control solution regulates functioning.

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Icheri Sheher is a historical monument of architecture and the main attraction of Baku at Azerbaijan. Icheri Sheher, the old town, forms the central part of Baku. This town marked the beginning of Baku's history. In Azerbaijani, Icheri Sheher means "inner city." 

Locally, it is famous as "Old Town" or "Fortress." Mosques, towers, churches, squares, and other significant buildings of the Shah's reign are the historical complex's main attractions.

The old city became an architectural and historical reserve of Azerbaijan in 1977. Later in 2000, UNESCO included it as a World Heritage Site.

Icheri Sheher is in the center of Baku on a hill in the Sabail district. A wall surrounds the territory of the old city. The town's fencing carries cultural significance, and the high wall of the ancient city is a significant architectural monument.

History

Historians attribute the emergence of the old city in the V century AD. As per historians, the old city emerged in the five-century AD. Excavations and exhibits confirm that Icheri Sheher dates back to the 6th- 1st centuries BC.

The settlement territory was part of a separate administrative unit in the Shirvan region during early medieval times. From the 7th to 10th centuries, there is little information about current Baku. 

The Arab Caliphate collapsed in the XI century, and the Shirvanshah dynasty became the territory's rulers. Later in the 12th century, the capital was transferred from Shemakha to Baku. In this period, the old city of Icheri Sheher was founded.

After the Shirvanshahs shifted their home to Baku, they built a fortress wall and a building (Maiden Tower) in the center of the complex for defense.

Over time, Shirvan developed as an independent state from the 15th to the 16th century. They build bridges, tomb, caravanserai, and Shirvanshahs Palace.

Cultural Aspect

  1. Said “Ali and Nino" had a description of the old quarter in their work. The paintings of E. Kempfer portrayed Baku's historical reserve in 1630 for the first time.
  2. Salakhova, A. Azimzade, A. Kuprina, and others had Icheri Sheher on their canvases. Several Soviet directors shot their famous movies like V. Chebotarev, G. Kazansky, R, Bykov, and L. Gaidai on the old city streets.
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The Maiden Tower is a 12th-century structure and a symbol of Baku’s old walled city. In Azerbaijani, it is called Giza Galasy. It is one of the monuments under the UNESCO World Heritage List 2001 of historical monuments as cultural property, Category III.

The tall cylindrical Maiden Tower is an eight-storied structure, which is 29.5 meters high with a diameter of 16.5 meters. Its walls are 5 meters thick at the base. It can accommodate as many as 200 people inside.

It has always been a center of legends and mystery because its function or historical context is unknown to date. Various legends shroud mystery around Maiden Tower and recount that the king incarcerated young women, maidens, or virgin girls for coercing them into marriage. Ironically, it was christened at a later date to reflect Baku's resilience. 

This UNESCO-listed iconic building has been a source of artistic inspiration for many ballets, plays, and poems. It features on Azeri currency notes and official letterheads as Azerbaijan’s most distinctive national emblems.

 

History

Purpose

The idea prevails that it was built for defense because it is perched on a rocky outcrop on the corner of the former walled city near the Caspian Sea's shores. Its location suits to be a watchtower, but its design has limitations for stout defense.

It was initially a temple and later developed into a defense tower. It served as a beacon to warn approaching ships during the Russian Empire. In 1964, a museum came into existence to portray Baku’s historical story.

When was it built

Scholars are not unanimous about an accurate estimation of its age and millennium. The earliest to most recent guess differ by 2000 years.

Some historians suggest that it is 2500 years old and dates back to the 7th and 8th centuries BC. Others opine that it was somewhere in the 4th and 6the centuries CE.

Most scholars agree some parts were built around the 12th century.

Some experts believe that it was completed in the 12th century with the ancient walled city. The foundation's stones show distinct appearances, and the initial three stories imply the original structure could date back to 600 BC.

Its structure predates the advent of Islam. It might have begun as a Zoroastrian temple. The early Zoroastrians worshipped the four elements of water, air, fire, and earth in today’s Iran and Azerbaijan. Ateshgah (Fire Temple) around Baku is testimony to the ancient fire rituals and religious practices. 

It might have been used as an astronomical observatory. Lunar cycle correlation with the stone protrusions at the lower and upper levels strengthens this speculation.

In all probability, Maiden Tower was believed to have been built at two different periods.

Legend

Local folklore and famous legends make it more enigmatic. The tale goes that princes jumped off the tower and committed suicide to escape from marriage. Famous ballet, fairytales, poems, and plays express myriad variations of this story.

 

Architecture

It is an epitome of early pre-Islamic Zoroastrian architecture.

Sophisticated design on solid rock with a wooden foundation ensured durability in the event of an earthquake. An intricate plumbing system on the second floor facilitated the collection and storage of rainwater. These were the architectural wonders designed in different eras.

The Maiden Tower narrows moving upward. Its longevity is attributed to deep foundations, the thickness of the walls, and the truncated cone shape.

You will witness old plates, spoons, jugs, and other utensils on the tower's first floor, which has lost their original appearance after excavations. The second floor depicts the three goals of constructing the Maiden's Tower – scientific, religious, and defensive.

You will see a replica of the Maiden's Tower on the third floor in the middle of a well and a hall. Clay ware at the bottom corroborates the well was used for drinking water. The fourth floor impresses with its modern equipment like a large electronic map of the Old City with towering mock-ups of sights.

On the fourth floor, you will see a large electronic map of the Old City. The fifth-floor exhibits e-books. Weapons and daggers are there on the sixth floor. The story of true love ends at the top of the Maiden's Tower.

The Heydar Aliyev Center is one of the most imposing buildings in Baku. It is the largest cultural hub in Azerbaijan. This complex of buildings was built over 57 519 square meters. The center takes its name from Heydar Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, between October 1993 and October 2003.

Iraqi British Architect Zaha Hadid designed the building after an international design competition in 2007. The project was completed in 2012. Rows and grids are the embodiments of traditional Islamic elements as a nod to Azeri national identity.

This site in the center of the city has a pivotal role in Baku's re-urbanization on the Western Coast of the Caspian Sea. This is a must-visit place during the Azerbaijan trip.

 

Architecture

The Heydar Aliyev Center exhibits innovative and avant-garde design, making it a globally recognized architectural work and reference point for contemporary Baku. It is no surprise that the building bagged nominations for the bi-annual Inside Festival in 1913 and the World Architectural Festival prize. 

Azerbaijan became free in 1991 after the collapse of the USSR. Consequently, it departed from the rules of Soviet Modernism. It made tremendous innovations in the development of architecture, infrastructure, and modernization.

Concept

The center was designed as the main venue for national cultural events. It was different from the overall monumental Soviet architecture in Baku. It expressed the sensitivity of Azeri culture and optimism of Azerbaijan for the future.

Spaces

The Baku complex comprises a conference center with auditorium and meeting rooms, museums, a library, a restaurant, and parking. These are connected by an interior space and the fluid and curved outer covering, extending across the whole structure.

Exterior access

Visitors cross a long park to arrive at the building and reach a square paved with white concrete (Cultural Plaza). The culture plaza opens at the arterial road into the city. This is an outdoor space for the Cultural Center and a welcoming space for visitors.

The project consists of a landscape of terraces connecting and routes the underground metro station, the construction, and the public square. This key design feature rules out the requirement for extra excavation.

Culture Plaza

The inside of the building and the surrounding square share fluid and continuous relationships in the design. The plaza hems in an equally public interior space. It ascertains a sequence of event spaces for the composite celebration of Azeri culture.

Zaha Hadid created a series of interlaced terraces with bifurcations, undulations, waterfalls, and water mirrors.  It converts the plaza into an architectural landscape.

Interior

Continuous surfaces twist to transform the walls into slopes and ceilings in the interior of the center. Lobby spaces on the ground floor form public spaces to unite the center's program's different aspects, and fusion persists throughout the building's interior.

The floors transform into walls and ramps, rotating, twisting on soffits and ceilings to form an endless white landscape.

Library

The library in the north has its entrance and takes advantage of the natural light. The levels for archives and reading are stacked one on top of each other.

Ramps connect the floors. The library connects with a ramp from the library's ground floor to the first floor of the museum. The Conference Hall connects the library by a bridge across the entrance hall.

Auditorium

The auditorium and its linked amenities are directly accessible from the plaza. The main entrance is in the space which has been carved out of the exterior layer. The Northside of the building has secondary access.

Structure

Two systems of spatial structure and concrete structure are combined to work together. Large-scale, free spaces of columns allow visitors to experiment with the fluidity of the interior. The walls and curtain wall system absorb vertical structural elements.

Materials

In construction, 19000 tonnes of steel molds, 194,000 formworks, and 121,000 m3 of reinforced concrete were used. There were17,000 individual panels with various geometries. The shape of the external skin consumed 5500 tonnes of structural steel.

Lighting

Illumination emphasized the continuous relationship between the interior and exterior. The appearance of light alters as per the time and the perspective during the day. By night, the illumination flows from the interior and transforms the building

Gobustan National Park is a mountain and hill site that occupies the southeast end of the Greater Caucasus mountain ridge. Gobustan is a bridge that connects the past and modern ages. Likewise, Azerbaijan is regarded as a historical, cultural, and economic bridge between Asia and Europe. 

It is about 64 kilometers southwest of Baku on the west bank of the Caspian Sea west of the Gobustan settlement. The site covers an area of 537 ha and is part of the larger protected Gobustan Reservation.

The site covers areas of a plateau of rocky boulders coming out of central Azerbaijan's semi-desert. It has an exceptional collection of more than 6000 rock engravings bearing testimony to 40000 years of rock art.

The site features the remnants of burials, settlements, and inhabited caves. These remains reflect an intensive human use by the area's inhabitants during the wet period that followed the last Ice era from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Middle Ages.

In 1966, Gobustan formally became a national historical landmark of Azerbaijan to preserve gas-stones, mud volcanoes, relics, and ancient carvings in the region. In 2007, UNESCO inscribed Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape on the World Heritage List in the committee's 31st session.

An original tambourine stone, Gavaldash, is another attraction at Gobustan. Tapping them with a small stone, you will get a clear drum-like sound. Gavaldash consists of shell limestone.

It is a flat piece of limestone. The porosity and emptiness of shells are the reason for the distinction of sound. It generates various sounds depending on the density of the shells in the composition of the limestone.

At present, Gobustan is an open-air museum, and thousands of people visit this amazing art gallery every year.

 

History

The first archaeological excavations began in the 1930s on the territory of the reserve. After 1947, Azerbaijani archaeologist Isak Jafarzade conducted systematic explorations after initial discoveries in 1939-40. He discovered and recorded around 3500 rock paintings on 750 rocks apart from drawings, signs, human-made pits, and holes in rocks.

Djafarguly expanded this early inventory with further discoveries and excavations. Numerous Bronze Age structures were discovered after excavations in more than 20 prehistoric sites since 1965.

Rustamov conducted excavations of one cave and uncovered a 2-meter stratigraphy covering 10,000 years. It had a fallen engraved fragment, which gave a terminus ante quem for this anthropomorphic figure.  Archaeological research was carried out for more than 20 dwellings or shelters and 40 burial mounds.

In 2016, work began to create a digital database catalog for rock arts in the Cingirdag-Yazilitapa area of Gobustan.  Around 541 new images were found in the reserve area of Cingirdag-Yazilitapa. The latest number of recorded rock arts has exceeded 7000 on the site.

Norwegian traveler and explorer Thor Heyerdahl visited Azerbaijan and studied the Gobustan petroglyphs to find the kinship of Azerbaijanis and Norwegians. He found similarity of the vessels used by the seafaring Vikings to the ships portrayed on the rocks. He concluded that the Vikings began their journey westward from here. 

 

Outstanding Universal Value

Gobustan carries outstanding universal value for the density and quality of its rock art engravings. These engravings portray images of lifestyles, flora, fauna, and hunting in prehistoric times and the cultural continuity between prehistoric and medieval times.

These engravings are an exceptional testimony to a way of life that has vanished. You can see graphical activities linked to fishing and hunting when the vegetation and climate were warmer and wetter than today.

It portrays ritual dances, bullfights, primitive men, animals, warriors with lances in their hands, boats with armed oarsmen, sun, stars, and camel caravans. All of these dates back to 5000-20000 years on the average.

The Jinghirdag Moutain-Yazylytepe hill and Kichikdash Mountain are the most undisturbed and remote landscapes. These areas warrant protection to keep their authenticity intact.

Boyukdash is the most visited place with more disturbances in installations such as stone quarry and prison. It has to be managed as part of the plan.

The knowledge does not extend evenly across the whole rock art reservation. A large-scale survey of the wider environment is desirable to ensure the rock art corpus' overall integrity.

Adequate legal protective measures are in place for the property. Documentation needs to be completed. Technical competence and active conservation measures are required to conduct necessary urgent conservation work.

Baku Boulevard (Dənizkənarı Milli Park, National Park) is a promenade that runs parallel to Baku’s seafront. It is the oldest park and a valuable monument of garden-park art in Azerbaijan.

The park was awarded medals and diplomas of various degrees and won previous republican and All-Union competitions. The park conflates architectural elements of the East and the West.

Baku Boulevard is the largest boulevard in the Soviet Union in terms of distance. Modern Azerbaijan necessitated increasing the length of the boulevard. The length of Baku Boulevard will reach 14-15 kilometers after the construction of coastal strips in the flag square.

The territory of the Seaside National Park is being expanded to the State Flag Square. In the extended area along the coast, landscaping works, concrete slabs, fastening, and cleaning works are underway.

In the Eurovision Song Contest, Employees of the Seaside Boulevard Office and facilities attend English language training to serve foreign guests. A large monitor on the boulevard put out information on the culture and history of Azerbaijan.

State Flag Square

State Flag Center is a memorial park in the Bayil area of Baku. It is a beautiful architectural monument spread across 60 hectares. The text of the anthem, the coat of arms, and a map are the state symbols of Azerbaijan that it depicts. This is the highest and largest flag in the world, with a height of 162 meters. 

The Clock Tower

The Clock Tower served as a Parachute Tower in the 1930s. It was restored to give it a modern look during reconstruction work in the Seaside National Park.

Other Places

The yacht club is a spectacular building with its originality. The international Mugam Center and the Baku Business center add to the beauty of the park. The long-renovated town of Venice stands out for its aesthetics.

Flora

Around 100 species of evergreen plants, ornamental shrubs, and rare trees were brought from across the globe and planted in the park. Argentina, Australia, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, The Netherlands, and Turkey are some countries.  These imported trees included chantorria, Canary palm, magnolia, baobab, and European olive.

More than 8 species of roses and 100 cacti (6 species) from Mexico were imported to the park.

History

Its history is 100 years old when Baku oil barons built their mansions alongside the Caspian shore, and the seafront was built up artificially.

Baku City Duma decided to build the seaside boulevard in 1909. Famous engineer Mammad Hasan Hajinski, Kurevich, and architect Adolf Eichler contributed to its implementation and development after qualifying a competition. 

A green belt between the seashore and the newly built Alexander Street (Neftchilar Avenue) was planned as per the proposal. Initial two years, fertile soil was transported here from abroad, and various rare plant species were brought from Azerbaijan and Europe. 

Boulevard developed into a beautiful green and recreation area during the Soviet era. The state carried out reconstruction work on the seaside boulevard in the 1970s due to the expansion of landscaping in Baku.

Some valuable plant species were destroyed due to rising Caspian levels and impact. Non-recreational facilities were built here.

In 1998, given all these development, national leader Heydar Aliyev decreed to give the Seaside Boulevard the status of a National Park as a national treasure.

The president established the Seaside Boulevard Office under the Cabinet of Ministers in 2008.  It followed a lot of restoration, preservation, protection, and reconstruction, keeping in view Baku's modern architectural requirements.

During reconstruction and landscaping work, New plants were planted, and crushed-decorative stones replaced asphalt cover.

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FAQs

Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, Flame Towers, Baku Old City, Baku Boulevard, Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum and the clubs and bars of Baku are the best and most popular places to visit in Baku. Natural parks like Highland Park and Upland Park are amongst the top places to visit in Baku for enjoying the natural landforms, flora and fauna.
Baku is famous for its Eurovision Song Contest, F1 Grand Prix races, European Games and the constantly buzzing Baku nightlife amongst tourists, besides being the hub of business and oil company-related travel.
The entire city of Baku illuminates with colorful and glowing lights on buildings and at plazas after sunset, reflecting the lively and bustling Baku nightlife. There are several night clubs and pubs in Baku, such as Buddha Bar, Otto Club and Enerji Club.
Climbing up the Maiden Tower or admiring the architecture of the Palace of the Shirvanshahs in Old City Baku, taking casual strolls down the marketplaces of Baku and engaging in the buzz of the Baku nightlife are some of the most popular and fun activities to do in Baku.
Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum and Old City Baku are the best places to visit in Baku for culture related to the history and traditions of the place. Other cultural places to visit in Baku are Flame Towers, Ateshgah (Fire Temple) and Fountain Square.
Nizami Street and Taza Bazaar are the best places to visit in Baku for shopping purposes. You will be able to find the famous ceramics, carpets and jewelry local and distinctive to Baku and its culture at these places.