By Katie May
Welcome to the old city Baku, the vibrant capital of Azerbaijan, where the city unfolds like a captivating tale, blending the enchantment of yesteryears with the brilliance of contemporary allure. Known as the "Pearl of the Caucasus," Baku is a spellbinding metropolis that invites you to immerse yourself in a tapestry of breathtaking experiences seamlessly woven against a backdrop of historical landmarks and modern wonders. If you're planning to explore Baku further or are considering relocating, be sure to check out the Azerbaijan Immigration Services website for valuable information and assistance.
In this article, let’s dive into the top 7 incredible things to do in old city Baku with us!
How To Reach Baku, Azerbaijan?
Getting to Baku from overseas is a relatively straightforward process. Here are some ways to reach Baku, Azerbaijan:
Flying to Baku
Baku, with its international airport facilitating direct flights, stands as a convenient gateway for travelers. Whether arriving from distant locations or opting for budget-friendly choices like Wizz Air, the city ensures seamless accessibility. Upon landing at Baku airport, navigating to the enchanting Old City is a breeze, thanks to well-connected transport options. So, embark on your journey quickly, as the transition from Baku airport to Old City becomes a seamless part of your travel experience.
Traveling by Train to Baku
Train travel is an alternative for individuals leaving Georgia. It is vital to remember that the border with Armenia is now closed. As a result, the most direct route is by sleeper trains from Baku to Tbilisi. Consider stopping at Sighnaghi (Georgia), crossing the border to Azerbaijan the following day, and touring the Silk Road city of Sheki. Take the sleeper train from Sheki to Baku for a memorable trip through Soviet times.
Traveling by Ferry to Baku
Consider taking a boat to or from Baku as an intriguing option. Ferries go from Baku to Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan (17 hours) and Aktau in Kazakhstan (30 hours). Although there is no set schedule, ferries typically leave every 3 to 5 days. Prices vary from $80 to $150. More information regarding ferry services may be obtained at Caravanistan.
Getting to Baku from overseas is a relatively straightforward process
Top 7 Incredible Things To Do In Old City Baku
Encased in the protective embrace of Baku’s Old City walls, happily spend an entire day exploring the area. Small, but there’s a lot to do, especially if you enjoy getting lost on backstreets and practicing your street photography. Here are the top 7 incredible things to do in old city Baku:
1. Climb The Maiden Tower
The Maiden Tower is one of Baku's most iconic monuments. The Maiden Tower has inspired several Azerbaijani books, ballets, and operas. Until now, its structure and the origin of its name remain unknown. The 12th-century tower is still one of Azerbaijan's national symbols, and it appears on the country's banknotes. You may visit the Maiden Tower to glimpse the historic town from above. A tunnel that connects the Maiden Tower to the Shirvanshah Palace was recently discovered.
The Maiden Tower is one of Baku's most iconic monuments
2. Marvel At The Arcades On Bazaar Square
The excavated Bazaar Square, located below street level, is one of the most remarkable archeological sites in Baku's Old City. From an elevated vantage point, you can gaze upon the stone procession that once served as Baku's central plaza. Ascend the steps to access stone cloisters adorned with meticulously symmetrical stone arches. The square's central area hosts tombs, intricately carved sculptures, and various other precious relics.
3. Visit Bibi-Heybat Mosque
Bibi-Heybat Mosque has become popular with pilgrims from all across Azerbaijan, particularly ladies because it is a site of devotion for barren women. Legend has it that some women came here on foot, worshipped, and gained the ability to give birth within a year.
A big mosque on the slope of a mountain is located just outside of the city center, along the southbound route. From the outside, it may appear to be a typical mosque. However, the true beauty of the mosque resides within the stone walls. The Bibi-Heybat Mosque has the grave of Ukeyma Khanum, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, which is wonderfully ornamented with shimmering green walls and ceilings. Islamic elements may be seen in nearly every part of the building.
Bibi-Heybat Mosque has become popular with pilgrims from all across Azerbaijan
4. Explore The Palace Of The Shirvanshahs
Shirvanshah Palace is Baku's most important historical monument, built in stages over several centuries. During the Middle Ages, it was the center of power and residence of the ruling dynasty in northern Azerbaijan. When the palace was restored in 2003, the main structure was designated for use as a museum. It displays an extensive collection of fabrics, costumes and artifacts. Tree-shaded gardens connect the complex of crypts, mausoleums, gates, baths and water reservoirs. All have splendid stonework and fluent writing.
5. Admire The Hypermodern Beauty Of Heydar Aliyev Centre
The Heydar Aliyev Center in the heart of Baku symbolizes Azerbaijan's self-made (super) modernity - a symbol of stability and developmental momentum. The centerpiece is the most dramatic figure in a city known for its bold architectural statements. Designed by architect Zaha Hadid and completed in 2012, the Center was a clear step back against the unimaginative Soviet style that dominated the Baku neighborhood. Moreover, the building is joyful and dynamic; you’re allowed to walk on its perfectly manicured grass lawns and clamber up the sides of its enveloping walls.
The Hypermodern beauty of Heydar Aliyev Centre
6. Learn About The History Of Zoroastrianism At Ateshgah Fire Temple
Another popular tourist destination near Baku is the Ateshgah Fire Temple, a 17th-century temple visited by Hindus, Sikhs, and, most notably, Zoroastrians. The temple's name refers to its inherent perpetual flame. Unfortunately, the perpetual light went out in 1969, following a century of gas production in the surrounding region. The fire has been reignited as a result of a gas pipeline connecting to another city. The temple is housed in a castle-like structure, with a fire in the middle and halls leading to the museum around it. The entry charge to the Fire Temple is 4 AZN for adults and 1 AZN for students.
7. Spend The Night Away At Nizami Street
This bustling and energetic avenue in Baku's core provides a unique combination of entertainment, shopping, and gastronomic pleasures that lasts late into the night. Nizami Street definitely comes alive after dark, with a plethora of stylish cafés, restaurants, and dessert shops. Stroll down this pedestrian-friendly promenade, where you'll find a variety of stores, foreign brands, and local vendors selling anything from traditional crafts to modern clothes. Nizami Street is home to exquisite hotels that provide a pleasant and stylish escape. Spend the night in the city center, waking up to the vibrant energy of Baku's downtown sector.
Nizami Street definitely comes alive after dark
Is It Safe In Baku?
Baku is renowned for its safety, allowing visitors to adhere to standard precautions without concern. The city boasts low crime rates, making it perfectly safe to walk alone, even during nighttime.
Nevertheless, it is essential to be mindful of specific scams in Baku. Foreigners may encounter taxi drivers overcharging, so it's advisable to be cautious. Additionally, when dining out, thoroughly review restaurant bills to ensure there are no unauthorized charges, and always double-check your change.
The Palace of the Shirvanshahs is a 15th-century palace built by the Shirvanshahs
When Is The Best Time To Visit Old City Baku?
Optimal periods to explore Baku are during the spring and autumn seasons, characterized by pleasant temperatures and favorable weather conditions. Summers in Baku are marked by hot and arid conditions, while winters are relatively mild. Visiting during winter is a viable option for those seeking respite from the summer heat. Although snow is infrequent in Baku, it can still get chilly, so packing warm clothes is advisable if you choose to visit during the winter months.
With its blend of old-world charm and modern allure, old city Baku invites you to embark on a journey that transcends time. Apply for an Azerbaijan visa today and get ready to join in an unforgettable experience, weaving together the threads of tradition, innovation, and the vibrant spirit of this dynamic city.