The first stop on any travel itinerary for Baku is the Old City, or "Icherisheher". Icherisheher is the pearl of Azerbaijani architecture and culture. There are many galleries and exhibition halls in Icherisheher where you can see and purchase the works of various artists, sculptors and master craftsmen. The most recognisable monuments of Old City are the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, an expansive building that is a testament to Azerbaijan’s impressive architectural heritage and the Maiden Tower, which dates back to the 12th century.
The Maiden Tower is a monument that is shrouded in mystery and legend. The most majestic monument of Baku rises in the south-eastern part of the fortress of Icherisheher. This unique building of the Azerbaijani architecture does not have any analogues in the East. There are numerous debates on the date of construction and purpose of this monument, at present it attracts the attention most of all for its unparalleled form. The symbol of Baku was included into the list of World Cultural Heritage of UNESCO in December of 2000.
Gobustan is famous with its rock drawings dating back to 40,000 years. This site is considered as the one of earliest inhabited settlement of people in Azerbaijan.
In this ancient place we can see the activities of ancient people such as hunting and dancing scenes, carpentry and the images of animals on the rocks. It is located 64 km far from Baku in the south-west part.
The Baku Ateshgah, often called the "Fire Temple of Baku", is a castle-like religious temple in Surakhani, a suburb in Baku, Azerbaijan. Based on Persian and Indian inscriptions, the temple was used as a Hindu and Zoroastrian place of worship. "Atash" is a Persian word and means fire. The pentagonal complex, which has a courtyard surrounded by cells for monks and a tetrapillar-altar in the middle, was built during the 17th and 18th centuries.
It was abandoned after 1883 when oil and gas plants were established in the vicinity, ending the flow of natural gas to the temple and extinguishing the holy fire. The Baku Ateshgah was a pilgrimage and philosophical centre of Zoroastrians from Northwestern Indian Subcontinent, who were involved in trade with the Caspian area via the famous "Silk Road". The four holy elements of their belief were: ateshi (fire), badi (air), abi (water), and heki (earth). The temple ceased to be a place of worship after 1883 with the installation of petroleum plants (industry) at Surakhany. The complex was turned into a museum in 1975.
One cannot miss the Bibi-Heybat mosque as one heads south-past the lower tip of Baku bay; The modern restored mosque is a classic example of the Shirvan architectural school, having three domes following the traditional corrugated, galvanised iron shape of the old mosque and two minarets.
Despite its relatively small size, the original mosque is one of the main sights of old Baku. It blended perfectly with its surroundings and also somehow looks different from various angles.
The Boulevard is the must-see attraction in Baku. It is also known as the Seaside National Park and is the favorite promenade of many Baku residents and visitors. Its establishment goes back to more than 100 years ago. Guests are astonished by the city’s beauty and lighting system, a wonderful landscape design, shadowy alleys, comfortable cafes, many amusement arcades for children and adults. The international Mugham Centre, Carpet Museum of Azerbaijan, the sport and concert complex, Baku Crystal Hall are also located on it.
Baku’s reputation as the "City of Contrasts" is well earned with the city perfectly combining the beauty and intrigue of its ancient past with its ambition to establish itself as a modern European city featuring award winning architecture, business centres and skyscrapers.
The Heydar Aliyev Center is an amazing building which represents the modern face of Baku. The building was designed by the famous architect, Zaha Hadid and is one of the icons of modern architecture. This really deserves a visit.
The centre provides a stunning setting for music performances of world stars, museum exhibits and modern art collections.