My Time Capsule: Azerbaijan: Old City Of Baku

3.3.18

Azerbaijan: Old City Of Baku

Baku, October 2017




If you've been following my stories in this blog, you might have noticed that I adore old architecture and ruins. Ancient stuff triggers my curiosity thus I always make sure to explore Old Towns when I travel. I just love getting lost while wandering through those small alleys and the gorgeous maze of cobblestone streets. I would let my imagination go wild thinking about events it has been witnessing through the centuries. Each corners has a story waiting to be revealed.

This post is mostly a photo essay and at the very end of this post I'll let you know what's my thoughts about Baku Old Town...


entering the gate

sandy-coloured buildings




Aliagha Vahid

I walked towards a garden just behind the metro station when I saw this bronze statue. At a first glance there was nothing special about this statue. I thought he looked a lot like one of my uncles. But as I got closer, I was stunned by the detailed sculpture. His hair is actually some inscription which depicts life scenes from sad to happy, also how Azerbaijan was influenced by Iran, Russia and Turkey. To be honest, I've never heard about him before but apparently Aliagha Vahid was born in Baku and once was a well known poet in Azerbaijan. He also helped to translate Persian literary works into Azerbaijan language. He passed away in 1965 at the age of 70. To honour his dedication, in 1990 Rahib Hasanov, Natig Aliyev and Sanan Salamzadeh sculpted the 10-foot-tall bronze. 


European buildings are influenced by the Russians


the wall




Baku Old City or Icheri Sheher is the most ancient part of Baku. Along with the Palace of Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower, it became the first location in Azerbaijan to be classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Not only some historic spot, there's also hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops and museum inside Baku Old City. Now more than 4000 native people still live in this Inner City. Surprisingly it was quite empty when I was there.



contrast of the old and modern city

Bakuvi Mausoleum 




Palace of the Shirvanshahs shouldn't be missed when you are in Old Town of Baku. The complex contains the main building of the palace, Divanhane, the burial-vaults, the shah's mosque with a minaret, Seyid Yahya Bakuvi's mausoleum, a portal in the east, Murad's gate, a reservoir and the remnants of a bath house. Built in 15th century, the palace is now serves as a museum where a series of historic treasure are being kept. The Palace is located hilltop so I could get a nice view of the modern city at the background, including the famous trio Flame Towers. 


Caravanserai Restaurant

cellar underneath 



a laid back city indeed

the Royal Mosque

Baku is undoubtedly a pretty city, however I personally think that the Old City of Baku is somehow lacks of character and soul. Partly this could be the impact from earthquake but also from illegal demolition and uncontrolled development. Sadly, some part of it has lost its authenticity.

I was expecting a more exotic setting like hustle bustle of local doing their daily activities which I experienced in Morocco and in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Or something like coming out from the movie of Aladdin. Though I know that Aladdin doesn't come from Azerbaijan. Some source even confirmed that Aladdin was actually from China? Dang! It really ruins my childhood imagination! Anyway it could be me missing some areas and didn't explore it thoroughly. I definitely should have stayed in one of the hotels inside the Old City. Perhaps I would be able to absorb the atmosphere better.

All in all Baku is still a destination worth to visit. Built on a site inhabited since the Palaeolithic, the Walled City of Baku has been a witness of some era from Zoroastrian, Sasanian, Arabic, Persian, Shirvani, Ottoman, and Russian. It's like a melting pot which is certainly rich in custom and culture. And have I mention that the people are genuinely friendly? While not all destinations would meet our expectation, there's always something unique to immerse. Would I give Baku another shot? Absolutely! There's still many places I want to see and many things to experience there.

Have you been to Baku before? Or is Baku on your bucket list?

21 comments:

  1. What a beautiful city - i really liked the photo showing the contrast of the old and modern city. I think it is a real shame when Old Town's have had their heart sucked out of them, it is often to do with the lack of people living in them or they have been cleaned up for the tourists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most probably the latter. It's sad to see when some ancient architecture are over-restored that it lost the authenticity. But still, Baku is beautiful indeed :)

      Delete
  2. I love the beautiful photos. Baku looks like a place with such great history, architecture and art. I would love to visit someday. I was amazed to see that the statute had an inscription through his hair. I hope we make it to Baku someday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dylan!. Hopefully you will make it soon to Baku and of course the statue of Aliagha Vahid is not to be missed :D

      Delete
  3. Wow Baku is amazing with its very long history! Imagine from paleolithic times! The 10ft statue with several more statues on it is mind blowing. Really hope to see all this one day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazing history indeed, Indrani! I really hope you will experience it yourself soon :D

      Delete
  4. A friend of mine went to work in Baku for a year on a construction project and he loved it there. I have to say, until he went I knew nothing about it. Your photos (and his stories) really bring it to life. I love that sculpture too - the detail on it is incredible!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I had a pleasant stay too in Baku. Very laid back city with beautiful friendly people :D

      Delete
  5. I'm like you and love to wander old towns and avenues. Surprising indeed that with that many inhabitants that the old city was sparcely trafficed. Loved seeing the flame towers over the old city roofs. Travel can sometimes jar our expectations and this did so in a good way I think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! I was amazed to see the contrast between medieval Old Town and the modern buildings :D

      Delete
  6. Baku is so pretty! I'm in love with those old doors. That's funny you thought Aliagha Vahid looked like your uncle.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's true. At first I was stunned because he looked so much like my uncle that I didn't pay attention to the details, hahaha

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am really amazed how beautiful Baku is. Their culture is very rich,
    and the architecture is very nice and unique. I should add this to my lisy and experience Baku. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please do! There are many beautiful places in Azerbaijan, waiting to be explored :D

      Delete
  9. I like you, had different perceptions about what Azerbaijan would be like. The photos and your words give me a much better context. The architecture and statues are beautiful I particularly like the Aliagha Vahid. Nice to see its a laidback city, I've bookmarked and definitely on my list to check out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Dorene! Hope you'll make it there soon! :D

      Delete
  10. looks like a really amazing little city. I'd really love to visit after seeing your pics!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Andrew. Baku is indeed pretty and worth to visit :D

      Delete
  11. History and archaelogy fascinate us too. Hence we find Baku really intriguing. A melting pot of different cultures over history and the place is richer by it. The place is indeed nothing short of a revelation. It seems as if time seems to have stood still as I look at the pictures of this city which has such an old world charm.The cobbled stone street, the buildings all have such a majestic aura. Truly a place straight out of a fairy tale.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the fact that the Old City has been a witness of so many era is just mind blowing! :D

      Delete
  12. Baku’s Old Town looks quite lovely. I’d enjoy wandering around, taking a meal in the little alcove at the Caravanserai Restaurant, and visiting some of those heritage buildings and colorful carpet stores. I’m sad to hear that uncontrolled development is taking a toll on the older buildings, that’s always a challenge as cities grow and change, isn’t it?

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by. Please do leave a little message, it means the world to me. Cheers! :)

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...