Baku, also known as Baky or Bakı, is the largest city in the Caucasus and the capital of Azerbaijan. Baku is on the coast of the Caspian Sea on the southern tip of the Absheron Peninsula. There are three major divisions in Baku: İçəri Şəhər (the ancient city), the Soviet built city, and the newest part of the city. The population as of January 2012 was 2,137,200.
Baku at Night
World’s first flame shaped towers under construction in Baku A curious fact about Baku is that its average year-round temperature (14.2°C/57.6°F)) matches the average temperature of the entire landmass of the earth to within a tenth of degree. Summers are hot and humid, winters cool, wet and breezy. However, seasonal temperature excursions are less than in many continental regions at this latitude (about 40 degrees north) owing to the presence of the Caspian Sea.
Airport Baku – Heydar Aliyev International Airport (IATA: GYD) is situated 25 km (15 mi) from Baku city centre. It is served by major airlines including Aeroflot, Austrian Airlines, Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL), British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa and Qatar Airways, and a whole host of smaller airlines. One of the least expensive ways to get between Baku and Europe is via Aeroflot, with inexpensive flights to/from Moscow daily.
Air Baltic also offers flights with good prices from/via Riga; Turkish low-cost carrier Pegasus Airlines has flights from Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport, however these are code-shared with Azeri flag-carrier Azal, and start from around $130 one-way. WizzAir offered a low-cost option from Budapest to Baku, but this was stopped in March 2015, with no date as to whether it will resume.
Be aware a new terminal is about to be completed at the airport towards the end of 2014, and some flights already depart/arrive there (Azal in particular). The old and new terminals are very close though and easily walkable with luggage, so it shouldn’t be a major problem.
Minibus 116 runs between the airport and Samed Vurgun Park, in the heart of Baku. The trip costs 0.40 AZN and takes over an hour.
Minibus 135 runs between the airport traffic circle (15-min walk from the airport) and the 28 May Metro Station. The journey takes an hour and costs 0.40AZN.
Getting a smooth ride from the airport to town can be a hassle. The lowest price you can get for a taxi to the centre should be around 15 Manat (old Lada, unmarked taxi). Be aware that there is one single taxi company that is allowed to officially do business at the airport. Police occasionally force out all cab drivers trying to do business on the fringes of the airport, leaving you stuck with a high fare. Taxis don’t have meters so you must negotiate in advance. If you are not finding a reasonable price, go out of the airport, past the taxi stand, and ask the cabbies in the far end of the parking lot. Be cautious since the majority of Baku cabs are unmarked. Don’t let the cab driver renegotiate the price with you. It is a common trick to ask for much more on arrival to your destination. You are not obligated to pay what they demand.
As of September 2014, a trip from Baku Airport to the city center cost 20 to 25 Manats (taxi driver will always ask for ridiculous price like “40 Manats”, just stay firm with 20 Manats and they will always accept it) – ask the driver to get a signed invoice which states the agreed price from the little kiosk by the airport exit road, then you will avoid being charged more on arrival at your destination – some will offer to get this for you anyway. Official taxis are dark purple. For 5 Manat you can take a cab from the airport to Metro Koroglu (former Azizbeyov). From there it’s four to six stations to the city centre – but only from 6AM until midnight.
Old Town (Icheri Sheher)
There are a number of interesting sites within Baku’s walled fortress, the Old City (a UNESCO World Heritage site), which can all be seen on foot in one day:
The Palace of the Shirvan Shahs. Daily 10AM-6PM. The medieval palace of the Shirvan Shahs is the highlight of the Old City and a must see for any tourist in Baku. 2 AZN to take photos. Guided tours available in different languages for 6 AZN. 2 AZN.
Maiden’s Tower (Giz Qalasi). Daily 10AM–7PM. This mysterious and eccentric tower was built somewhere between the 7th and 12th centuries and may have served as a fire beacon, defensive fortification, astronomical observatory, or Zoroastrian temple. 2 AZN.
Outside the city, on the Absheron Peninsula, there are several interesting sites that are easy to reach via taxi or public transportation. Moreover, the scenery along your route is itself a fascinatingly ugly sight to be seen, a desert wasteland with white salt flats and natural oil pools seeping up to the surface. Atashgah Fire Temple. You can take the Baku Electric train from the Baku train station to Suraxani station for 10 qapik. (No train service any longer.) Simply walk through the station to the outdoor platforms where a schedule is posted. You can also take Marshrutka 191 from Qara Qarayev metro station or bus number 184 from Azizbeyov metro station. You can pay on board or buy a ticket from a kiosk on the platform. From Suraxani station walk about 100 m (330 ft) and you can arrive at the temple. Children 0.20AZN, student 0.40AZN, adult 2AZN. If you want to take pictures it costs 2AZN in addition to admission.
Yanar Dagh, (Take bus 217 from Koroglu metro station. The last stop is Yanar Dagh(March 2014)). Yanar Dagh is a mountain that has been continuously on fire for one thousand years. The natural gas vents ensure that hot flames roar out of the sides of this hill even when it rains. 2AZN.
Qala, (Take bus 101 or 150 from Koroglu metro station. Leave the bus when you see a new build fortress tower(~30Min) Walk down the street for 1km(April 2014)). Qala has an open air Archeological and Ethnographic Museum. You can also find some camels, sheep and rabbits in the Museum. Next to it is a new build fortress from which you have a nice view of the city. 6AZN.
Artem Island, (Take bus 150 from Koroglu metro station. Goes directly to Artem Island (April 2014)). Artem Island was the first place for oil exploration in Azerbaijan. The island is not the most beautiful but worth a day trip. Hike up the light house and walk over to the island and enjoy the southern tip first before you go of wandering around Artem city. In the side streets you can find several tea houses, shops and other places.
Museums and galleries
Azeri National Costume Museum (Doll Museum), ☎ +994 (12)/ 493 66 85 (+994 (12)/ 493 05 01).
Taghiyev History Museum, Tagiyev St, 4, ☎ +994 (12)/ 493 36 48 (+994 (12)/ 498 52 11).
Latif Karimov Carpet and Applied Arts Museum, Neftchiler Ave, 123 A.
Home of Jafar Jabbarli, 44, S. Gutgashinli St, ☎ +994 (12)/ 43 84 350, [
Nizami (Torgovaya) St and Fountain Sq, (Near the Old City). This is a pedestrian street along the center of Baku that has many shopping, dining, and sitting places.
Oil Rocks. Tourist wanting to see the oil rock complex need to get previous authorization from the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan.
Magomayev Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall, 2, Istiglaliyyat St, ☎ +994 (12)/ 497 29 05 (+994 (12)/ 497 29 01). Built in 1912 and inspired by the Monte Carlo Casino. Houses the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra amongst others.
AF MALL, is located in the heart of the city just off the Torgovaya on Samed Vurgun St 34, ☎ +994 12 5965506. This brand new mall has many trendy shops, summer lounge with tropic garden and pool on rooftop opening by the end of 2011.
Park Bulvar Shopping Mall, Along the boulevard, right across Park Inn Hotel. This brand new mall has many trendy shops, a cinema, a planetarium, a bowling alley and many cozy cafes. There are many famous fast food chains located there, such as KFC and Sbarro.