Baku Halal Guide
Covid-19 Situation in Azerbaijan
Islam in Azerbaijan
Nearly 99% of the population of Azerbaijan is nominally Muslim. (Estimates include 96.9% Muslim, 93.4% (Berkley Center, 2012), 99.2% (Pew Research Center, 2009). The rest of the population adheres to other faiths or are non-religious, although they are not officially represented. Among the Muslim majority, religious observance varies and Muslim identity tends to be based more on culture and ethnicity rather than religion. The Muslim population is approximately 85% Shi’a and 15% Sunni; differences traditionally have not been defined sharply. Azerbaijan has the second highest Shia population percentage in the world after Iran.
Most Shias are adherents of orthodox Ithna Ashari school of Shi’a Islam. Other traditional religions or beliefs that are followed by many in the country are the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam. Traditionally villages around Baku and Lenkoran region are considered stronghold of Shi’ism. In some northern regions, populated by Sunni Dagestani (Lezghian) people, the Salafi movement gained some following. Folk Islam is widely practiced.
According to a 2010 Gallup Poll found 49% of Azerbaijanis answering no to the question “Is religion an important part of your daily life?”, one of the highest rates among any Muslim-majority country. A 1998 poll estimated the proportion of ardent believers in Azerbaijan at only 20 percent.
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 Old Town), the Soviet built city, and the newest part of the city. The population as of January 2012 was 2,122,300.
The city of Baku is on the hot and dusty Absheron peninsula. The center of Baku is a patch of green in a largely brown area because of the many liters of water that is piped to the city every day. The city has a metro, a well developed bus and mini bus network, and a large area for walking including the Inner Walled City, The Boluvar, and Fountain Square.
Reading the book Ali and Nino is a good way to get into the mood.
Weather 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 variations are less than in many continental regions at this latitude (about 40 degrees north) owing to the presence of the Caspian Sea.
Fly to Baku
- Heydar Aliyev International Airport (former Bina International Airport, Azerbaijani: Heydər Əliyev adına beynəlxalq hava limanı), Khazar, Absheron peninsula (Xəzər, Abşeron yarımadası) (25 km (15 mi) from Baku town center). It is served by major airlines including Aeroflot, Turkish Airlines, [Lufthansa] and Qatar Airways, and a whole host of smaller airlines. The least expensive way 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. – This is the Hub for Azerbaijan Airlines, Silk Way Airlines and Turan Air
Getting from/to airport:
Bus T1 Airport Express runs between the airport and the railway station (the bus waits across the street from the station) with an intermediate stop at Koroglu metro station. The ride costs 1.30 manat, payable by BakiKart (the same one as in the metro). The bus runs every 30 minutes. Additionally, N16 runs between the airport and Samed Vurgun Park, in the heart of Baku. The trip costs 1 manat and takes roughly 40–60 min. Service runs every 30 minutes beginning from early in the morning until late night. The bus leaves outside the airport building, across the parking area. The service terminates at Samed Vurgun’s Park, on the 28 May Street. .
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 0.40 manat.
Taxi: Getting a smooth ride from the airport to town can be a hassle. The lowest price you can get for a taxi to the center should be around 15 manat (old Lada, unmarked taxi). Only one taxi company is permitted to do business at the airport. This monopoly drives up the price to nearly 50 manat and many times it leaves you with no other options, especially when arriving at late hours. 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. For 5 manat you can take a cab from the airport to Metro Azizbeyov. From there it’s four to six stations to the town center – but only from 06:00 until 00:00.
Travel by train to Baku
- Baku railway station (Bakı Dəmiryol Stansiyası), Nasimi (M ’28 May’ 50 m). Departure point for all international and overnight connections, as well as the local train to Sumqayit. Buying a train ticket happens the old-fashioned way with separate windows for buying a ticket and paying for it. But don’t worry, most station staff understand English and are willing to help.
Overnight trains are available from Russia, Ukraine and Georgia on a regular basis. The train to/from Moscow (51 hour) departs once a week, and there are also connections from Rostov and Kharkiv. Trains running through Russia are operated by Russian Railways, schedule and tickets are available at rzd.ru.
There is also an overnight train from Tbilisi in neighbouring Georgia leaving daily. The journey lasts 13-14 hours depending on the length of border checks. The train makes a stop-over in Ganja and several smaller towns. It’s a comfortable journey because the border checks do not take place in the middle of the night (so be careful with your visa opening date). The train is an old soviet train, amenities are not very good, so be prepared. Tea is available en-route for 1 manat.
DepartureArrival3rd class (platskart)2nd class (kupe)1st class (SV)comments
|Tbilisi 20:35||Baku 08:50 (+1)||33 GEL||50 GEL||86 GEL||everyday; cannot be bought online,
only on-spot at Tbilisi central station
|Baku 20:40||Tbilisi 8:55 (+1)||23 AZN||33 AZN||56 AZN||everyday; buy tickets online|
|Baku 3:25||Rostov 9:09 (+1)||2 times per week|
|Baku 1:35||Moscow 3:22 (+2)||every week|
|Baku 1:35||Kiev 10:18 (+2)||every week|
The long-delayed rail link between Georgia and Turkey opened on 30 Oct 2017 for freight only. The start date and timetable for passenger trains has not been announced.
Domestic trains are very cheap, most journeys cost less than 10 manat which makes it cheaper than staying in a hostel.
- Baku International Bus Terminal (Bakı Beynəlxalq Avtovağzalı), Sumgait highway (M:’Avtovağzal’ 200 m), , fax: . The complex handles up to 950 bus movements every day across domestic and international routes, serving around 20,000 passengers. The terminal has four floors served by 14 escalators and 10 lifts. It also features a 93-bed hotel, 700-space car park, shopping mall of 800 shops, 500-seat canteen, bank, medical center, postal office, and waiting and VIP rooms. There is also a station supervisor’s office and bus drivers` rest room facilities. – Buses also operate from destinations in Iran, Turkey and from Tbilisi. Buses run between Baku and Lankaran (departs: 11:50, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00), Sheki (hourly, 6 manat, 6-hr trip). A common rule of thumb for bus rates in Azerbaijan seems to be about 1 manat per hour ride. Example: Agstafa is about 7 or 8 hours away from Baku. About 8 manat. Intercity routes and tariffs
Travel by minivan in Baku
Minbuses operate between Baku and Sheki (6 hr), Lankaran (5 hr), Xachmaz (3 hr), Saatli (5 hr), and Imishli (4 hr).
- Baku International Sea Trade Port (Sea terminal, Daniz Vagzal, Bakı Beynəlxalq Dəniz Ticarət Limanı), Neftchiler Avenue (in the Bay of Baku). The port consists of the Main Cargo Terminal, Dubendy Oil Terminal, Ferry Terminal, and Passenger Terminal (Tel:+994 12 493 1963). – Ferries operate between Baku and Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan (irregularly, roughly every 7–10 days), and Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan (steerage bed, US$50, 2-day trip, bring food). – Make sure you have appropriate visas before embarking, if necessary.
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Travel to Baku by car
- AVIS, Huseyn Javid Ave (M: ‘Elmlar Akademiyasi’), , fax: . Avis Rent a Car provides cars, SUV and 4WD. Airport pick up and delivery service is also available.
London taxi cabs have been introduced in Baku, and travel fees are 0.70 manat per km. A taxi costs 4-10 manat for trips within the center of Baku. It’s important to agree on the price of the fare before beginning the trip or you can expect to be asked to pay far more than you should.
- Baku Airport Transfer. 24 hours. Offers online booking and printed receipts/invoices for airport transfers between downtown and Heydar Aliyev International. English is spoken. 33 manat.
- 189. Call 189 from an Azeri phone, ask for Engling language, wait for a moment and then you can arrange a pickup point destination and get a fair price. Wait for 5-10 min. Get notified by SMS after calling and when your cab arrived incl. the lisence plate, destination and price. Very easy. Also works after midnight when public transport stops.
Baku is a great town to get around in by bicycle. Except for the up-town, the city, including old town (İçəri Şəhər) and down-town is fairly flat, and though there are some streets that are dangerous to ride, there is almost always a safe, fast route to your destination.
While there are no separate bike lanes on the streets, and cars and cyclists often share narrow streets of Baku, the city is very bike-friendly. While cycling on the street, be very careful watch out for other cyclists, always keep closer to foot-walk side of the street, and show other traffic where you are going (e.g., by holding out your hand) in order to avoid accidents and smoothen the traffic flow.
- MyBike, Asef Zeynalli Street, Ichari Shahar. A bicycle rental shop. Make sure to get a good lock (or two), and to use it. If you want to know the best routes, you should get a copy of the beautifully designed Baku by Bike plan, which is available at all bike rental points of MyBike. A passport or identity card must be shown and a refundable deposit is required. While this service is quite convenient, be sure to bring ID or passport and contact information, including hotel phone number, to speed up the paperwork. 10-20 manat per day.
Buses and minibuses cost 0.30 manat per person and can take you to almost any place within Baku. Destinations are usually posted on the front and the right side of the bus.
Newer buses only accept electronic cash.
Note, there are some buses which are 0.25 manat, e.g. the one to Bibi Heybət Mosque in the south. Which makes charging disposable electronic cards a challenge. That means if you buy the single use tickets, they might not be sufficient if you just load them with 0.40 manat, thinking of going forth and back once.
The metro goes many places throughout Baku and it costs only 0.30 manat. and is the least expensive way to get around Baku besides walking. Ask a cashier or attendant. You must obtain a Bakı Metropiliten Kart (2 manat refundable deposit) and load it like a normal metro pass. You can also buy a limited card (0.2 manat) with 1, 2, 3, or 4 trips (the last one costing 1 manat). More than one person may use the same card. Alternatively, you can use a Azerbaycan Sosial Kartı like the ones on some Azerbaijani ATM cards. The metro workers will be more than happy to help if spoken to in either Azeri or Russian, and some may understand English.
You can buy a metro card at the metro station and some bus stops from a ticket machine. You can change the language of the machine to English.
It runs from 06:00 until 24:00 and gets very crowded in rush hours.
Be careful when transferring trains at the transfer stations (28 May and Jafar Jabbarli Cəfər Cabbarlı) as the signage is not easy to spot.
There have been reports of people being arrested while taking photographs of the metro station. There are clear signage on the stations which prohibits taking photos, on the outside it is ok.
The Avtovaghzal metro station is worthy of seeing from the outside as it is a giant glass pyramid.
Travel by train to Baku
The Baku electric train runs through several parts of Baku and the surrounding area including Sumqait. 1 manat.
There are pedestrian alleys and streets around the Fountain Square, the seafront, and the old town. You can walk to other places, too, but you might have to cross busy streets since there aren’t always pedestrian tunnels available. The zebra crossings work with an “I’m feeling lucky” principle and aren’t usually exactly safe, especially at night. At night, use your phone screen (not your flashlight) to indicate to the approaching cars that you are crossing the street, and follow other people.
The Baku funicular is a great way of getting to the Viewpoint and Flame Towers. It is not too expensive.
Sightseeing in Baku
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 (Shirvanshahs’ Palace; Azerbaijani: Şirvanşahlar sarayı, Russian: Дворец Ширваншахов), Sabayil (Metro Icherisheher 200m), , fax: . Daily 10:00-19:00 (April-October), 10:00-18:00 (November-March). The medieval palace of the Shirvan Shahs is the highlight of the Old City and a must see for any tourist in 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 the bath-house. – The main building of the complex was started in 1411 by Shirvanshah Sheykh Ibrahim I. The two-storey building of the palace numbers about 50 different dimensions and outlines of the constructions connected with 3 narrow winding staircases. The big lancet portal directly leads from the courtyard to the second floor, into a high octahedral lodging covered with a cupola. A small, also an octagonal vestibule, located behind it, connects it with the rest of the lodgings in the palace. – Divankhana is a small stone pavilion. It is located inside a small courtyard surrounded by a gallery-arcade on three sides. The Divankhana pavilion consists of an octahedral hall covered with a stone cupola both inside and outside. The well-proportioned high portal of the main entrance is decorated with an ornament and Arabic inscription. The ornament pictures the interlacing fig and vine leaves. The portal is also decorated with two medallions inside of which there are inscriptions in Kufic Arabic. – The Mausoleum of the Shirvanshahs is of a rectangular shape and crowned with a hexahedral cupola which is decorated from outside with multi-radial stars. The inscription on the entrance doorway indicates the purpose of the building, “Khalilullah I, the greatest Soltan, Great Shirvanshah, the namesake of the divine prophet, the defender of the religion ordered to construct this light burial-vault for his mother and son in 839” (1435–1436). On two drop-shaped medallions in the flannel parts of the portal there are inscriptions with the architect’s name – Memar Ali (architect Ali). – The Palace Mosque (1430s) is located in the lower court of the complex. The laconicism of its prismatic volumes, completed with two slightly pointed cupolas, is shaded by a well-proportioned vertical line of the minaret rising above in the north-eastern corner of the building. There are 2 chapels for prayers in the mosque: a hall of a large size for men and a hall of a small size for women, also a couple of small subsidiary rooms. There is an inscription laid under the stalactite belt of the minaret which reads, “The greatest Soltan Khalilullah I ordered to build this minaret. May Allah exalt the days of his governing and reign. The year of 845” (1441–1442). – Seyid Yahya Bakuvi’s Mausoleum is located in the southern part of the complex. Seyid Yahya Bakuvi was a royal scholar in the court of Shirvanshah Khalilullah. The Mausoleum is of an octahedral shape and covered with an octahedral marquee. It consists of ground and underground parts. The upper part of the Mausoleum served to perform the cult rites, and the lower one housed the sepulchral vault. There are three small lancet windows with a stone bar – shabaka on the southern, eastern and western verges of the Mausoleum. – The Shirvanshahs’ Palace complex also includes the portal of Eastern Gates, the so-called “Sultan Murad’s Gate” (1585). It was built within the walls of the citadel rather later than all the other constructions of the complex during Ottoman occupation of 1585-1603. The gates were named by them in honor of Sultan Murad III. – The Palace Bath-house is located on the lowest terrace of the complex. It was discovered in 1939 and dates to 17th century. The archaeological excavations exposed a big bath-house consisting of 26 rooms. On the basis of the surviving remains of the walls of the bath-house one can say that its rooms used to be covered with cupolas and the light penetrated through the openings in the cupolas. The bath-house was semi-underground for keeping the heat in winter and the cool in summer. Foreigners 10 manat, locals 2 manat, 2 manat to take photos.
- Saray Mosque (Palatial mosque, Shahs-khans mosque, Azerbaijani: Saray məscidi, Russian: Дворцовая мечеть). Plan of the mosque is rectangular. There is a small hall, small prayer room for women and serving rooms. The northern portal, rotated to a burial vault of Shirvanshahs is more solemn than the eastern one. The latter, which was coming down to underground exit, was intended for habitants of the palace. – Interior. Two tier windowed prayer room is covered with cupola with spherical sails. Mihrab is located in the southern end of the palace. Cupola area over one a tier women prayer room ceding to cupola of the hall with its dimensions and replacing its outlines. Aperture of the mosque’s portal is clearly described on severe background of prismatic volume, ended with two cupolas with slightly sharpening calottes. – Minaret. Trunk of the minaret is surrounded by an inscription, a ligature of which has a date of 845 (1441/42). Details of sherefe’s stalactites are subtly modeled.
- Maiden’s Tower (Giz Qalasi, Девичья башня), Qüllə (Metro Icherisheher 500m East). Daily 10:00-19:00. 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. – The tower, which is Baku’s most distinguished landmark, described as the “most majestic and mysterious monument of Baku, the Gyz Galasy”, built on solid rock foundation, demonstrates right on the coast line, a fusion of Arabic, Persian and Ottoman influences. It was constructed alongside a natural oil well. It is a cylindrical eight story structure that rises to a height of 29.5 m with a base diameter of 16.5 m. The internal space available in the tower is said to be adequate to accommodate 200 people. A long solid projection to the main tower faces east, which is oriented towards sunrise pointing to the equinoxes, which has led to the conclusion that it was built as an astronomical tower; while the buttress faces east, the door access to the tower faces southeast. Each floor of the tower has a shallow vaulted roof, “a stone cupola” that has a central opening. The thickness of the walls varies from 5 m at the base tapering cylindrically to 3.2–4.2 m at the top floors. All floors are connected by staircase which abuts the circular wall and are lighted by narrow windows or niches which flare inward. The structure built in stone masonry exhibits varying finished surfaces, which is inlaid with local grey limestone. The alternate courses of stone laid in gypsum plaster gives a black and white banded effect. The northwestern part of the tower retains the original surface finish. There is also a beak-like projection, a buttress, curved in shape, made in masonry. The earliest stonework has square corners. – A detailed examination of the construction features of the tower by archaeologists suggests that the stone masonry, both on its interior and exterior surfaces, is diamond shaped and is seen at the top as well as at the bottom of the tower wall. The diamond shaped cut seen as a decorative feature, particularly on the outer face of the west side wall, is ornate at the top and plain at the bottom of the wall; a subtle feature noted throughout the tower suggests that it was built as one monolith unit at one period, however the recent renovations are stated to be crude. – Water Well: Another notable structure seen in the tower is a water well of 0.7 m diameter, which is 21 m deep (its depth is up to the aquifer) that has been discovered at the second floor of the tower. It has an entrance also at the ground level which was discovered by Archaeologist Abbas Islamov during a recent study of the tower. This well has been interpreted as rainwater harvesting structure and the water is said to be clean and fresh (though close to the sea). The ceramic pipe (30 cm in diameter) plumbing seen running down from the niches of the tower into the well was meant as a supply source. Since the ancient plumbing system is said to be in its original form, it needs to be cleaned and its layout ascertained by further studies to describe the drainage network that was built as part of the tower. The ceramics of the plumbing system and the silt deposited in them could also help to fix the age of the tower by using thermo-luminescence technique. – Also seen in the tower, between the 2nd floor and the 7th floor, is a gutter of semicircular shape at every floor. It is made of ceramic pipes fitted one above another and joined by lime mortar. The pipes are presumably produced with the potter’s wheel technique. They are 20–25 cm in diameter with 2.2 cm thick walls and each segment is 40–45 cm long. Similar gutters are seen from the ground floor up to the foundation level but with the four cornered ceramic pipes of 22 cm× 18 cm size, which run outside through the wall. Foreigners 10 manat, locals 2 manat.
- Fortress walls and towers. Built in 11th–12th centuries
- Bukhara Caravanserai (Бухарский караван-сарай) (over the trade highway of Icherisheher). in late 15th century
- Multani Caravanserai (Караван-сарай Мултани) (opposite to the Bukhаrа cаravаnsаrаy).
- Hajji Gayyib bathhouse (Баня Гаджи Гаиба) (opposite the Maiden Tower). Built in 15th century. Intake portal of the bathhouse is rectangular shaped. Whole complex of the bathhouse is divided into 3 groups: dressing-room, changing room and a bathing area. The dressing and changing rooms have octagonal halls, surrounded by small rooms. Vaults and domes have various figured outlines and were implemented thoroughly. There is a pool with warm and cold water in the centre of the hall. Floors are covered with stone plates. Heating is promoted by ceramic pipes or channels under the floors of the rooms. Warm air, produced by water heating circulates along these channels.
- Agha Mikayil bathhouse (Hacı Аğа Mikаyıl Hamami, Баня Ага-Микаила), Kichik Gala street 16?.
- Small Caravansaray (Khan’s caravansaray” (KİÇİK kаrvаnsаrаy, “Хаn kаrvаnsаrаyı”, Ханский караван-сарай), Asef Zeynally St. Built in 1500s.
- Molla Ahmad’s mosque (Molla Əhməd məscidi, Мечеть Молла Ахмеда). Built in 1290s.
- Myrzhy Ahmad’s mosque (Мечеть Мирзы Ахмеда) (South from Molla Ahmad’s mosque).
- Two-Storeyed Caravansaray. constructed in 17th century.
- Hadji Bani (Hajji) mosque (Hacı Bani məscidi, Мечеть Гаджи Бани) (near the Palace of the Shirvanshahs). This is constructed by architect Hadji Bani in the 16th century.
- “Chin” mosque (True mosque, Çin məscidi, Чин мечеть) (near the Palace of the Shirvanshahs). Constructed in 1375.
- Gasim-bek bath (Gasimbey bath, “Shirin” (Sweet) Bathhouse, Баня Гасым-бека), Kichik Gala street (near the Salyan door (gate)). Constructed in 17th century near the Salyan door (gate).
- Gasim-bek Caravanserai (Караван-сарай Касым-бека), Asef Zeynali (SW corner of district).
- Madrasah-mosque (Мечеть-медресе), A.Zeynalli street. The chapel constructed in the 15th century in the yard of Jame mosque
- Seyed Yahya mosque (Seyid Yahya Murtuza mosque, Мечеть Сеид Яхья), Asef Zeynally Street ~16 (South part of the Old City, on the medieval commercial caravan road). Constructed in the early 17th century.
- Jame mosque and minaret remains (Emir Sharaf-ad-din Mahmud mosque and minaret, Mosque Cum, Джума мечеть, Azerbaijani: Cümə məscidi), Kiçik Qala. Founded in 1309-10. The mosque was repeatedly reconstructed during its existence period. A new Friday Mosque was constructed in the place of old mosque in means of Baku merchant Haji Shikhlali Dadashov, in 1899. It was constructed in place of old Friday Mosque and it is considered that it was appeared in that place, where a temple of zoroastrians located. A minaret, constructed in 1437, adjoins Friday Mosque.
- Bazaar Square (Базарная площадь).
- Baba Kukhy Baku mosque (Мечеть Баба Кухи Бакуви) (at the Maiden Tower).
- Cell-madrasa (Келья-медресе) (north from Madrasah-mosque 50 m).
- Gileyli mosque (Гилейли мечеть). built in 1309, rebuilt 1800s
- Lezgi mosque / Ashur Mosque (Лезги мечеть, Ləzgi Məscidi), Asef Zeynally Street.
- Portal of a residential building (Портал жилого дома), Böyük Qala.
- Sultan oglu Sultan Sheikh Ibrahim mosque (Sheikh Ibrahim mosque, Мечеть Шейха Ибрагима) (over the commercial highway changing own direction for reaching the Salyan gate). Built in 1415-16.
- Salyan Gates and Shemakha Gates (Шемахинские ворота) (northeast).
- Muhammad Mosque (Siniggala Mosque, Мечеть Мухаммада) (west 60 m from Cuma Mosque). This is the mosque built in the 11th century in Icheri Sheher, Baku. The mosque is also known as Siniggala, for the name of its minaret – Siniggala (“damaged tower”). The mosque acquired its second name in 1723, when military squadron of Russian army, consisting of 15 warships and led by Admiral Matyushkin approached the city from seaside and demanded its surrender. Russian warships began to bomb the city after refusal. One of the shells hit in the minaret of Muhammad Mosque and damaged it. At that time blew stormy wind and took the Russian ships away to the sea. Population of the city interpreted it as a divine scourge sent to the occupants. From that time till the middle of the 19th century minaret of the mosque wasn’t reconstructed and was the symbol of persistence and courage of defendants of the tower. – It is the first building in Azerbaijan, which is related to Islam and dated for its architectural ligature. – According to Arabic inscription which was saved in front of doorway of northern wall of the mosque, it was built by ustad-rais Muhammad the son of Abu Bakr in 471 of Hijra (1078/79). It means that the architect was not only a master-ustad, but also a rais-head of artificers’ corporation. – A Minaret adjoins new mosque, which was constructed on the basis of the older one’s plan. Trunk of the minaret is strong and slightly thinning. It is constructed from carefully drafted stone. Coarse and flat stalactites of tabling retain sherefe – muezzin’s balcony enclosed by stone plates. A ribbed dome completes the trunk of minaret. Narrow winding stairs are winded within the trunk. Ligature with Koranic inscription was traced under the tabling with archaic kufi alphabet.
- Beyler Mosque (Мечеть Бейлер) (East 100m from Palace).
- Haji Eybata Mosque (Мечеть Гаджи Ейбата), Kichik Qala, dönge 8.
- Khan’s house (Ханский дом) (Northeast part).
- Khidir mosque. built in 1300s.
- Khanlarov mosque (Khanlar mosque). built in the late 19th century.
- Tetragonal tower (Donjon bastion, Донжон башни). In the northern mid part of the fortress wall.
- Underground constructions, water reservoir (Подземный ход) (Entrance near to the “Icherisheher” subway station).
- Takiya (Tekkiye) (looks south, at the Maiden Tower). A chapel for dervishes constructed in the13th century.
- S. Gregory Armenian Church (S. Grigor Luysavorich Yekeghetsi) (At the corner of Nizami St. and Mirza Ibrahimov Street, next to Fountain Square.). This Armenian Church was built in 1887. The church closed in 1990, when the Armenian population had to leave. The building is now used as a presidential library.
Out of Old Town
- Mosque of the Martyrs (Turkish Mosque, Azerbaijani: Şəhidlər məscidi), Izzat Nabiyev (Funicular – Shahidlar Khiyabani garden). This is a mosque, near the Martyrs’ Lane. The mosque was built in the beginning of 1990s with assistance of the Turkish government. The mosque is used as an official residence of religious attaché of the Turkish embassy. Opened in 2009. The 154th ayah from Al-Baqara chapter of Quran is written on the façade of the mosque in Arabic and Turkish: “Do not say “Dead!” about those, who died for the sake of Allah. No, they are alive! But you do not feel.”
- Taza Pir Mosque (Tazapir, Teze Pir, Teze-Pir, Tezepir), 7 Mirzə Fətəli Axundzadə. This is a mosque with two minarets. Its construction began in 1905 and was finished by 1914. The idea for the mosque as well as its financing was provided by an Azeri philanthropist, a female, Nabat Khanum Ashurbeyov (Ashurbeyli) – Architecture. Interior of the mosque has an area of 1400 square meters and decorated with ornaments of painting schools of Azerbaijan plus with samples from eastern ornaments. The height of the dome and a half meters. The mihrab and dome of the mosque made of marble, while decorative elements of the mosque, the tops of minarets and labels are made of gold. – The dome, on which 6 times written La ilaha ilallah from Muslim proclamation of faith or Shahada, made from Qızılqaya (Gyzylgaya) stone.
Museums and galleries in Baku
- National Art Museum of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Milli İncəsənət Muzeyi), 31, Istiglaliyat st. Tu-Su 10:00–18:00. The museum consists of two buildings standing next to each other. The museum’s total collection includes over 15,000 artworks. There are over 3,000 items in 60 rooms on permanent display. Seven of the rooms in the first building feature European art, and ten rooms feature Russian art. European art includes works of Italian, French, Dutch/Flemish, German and Polish painters. – The second edifice built in 1885 houses Eastern art, represented particularly by Persian, Turkish, Chinese and Japanese art. Russian art is encompassed notably by paintings of different painters. There are also restored samples of Russian avant-garde. The museum also holds easel and book miniatures of 17th-19th centuries, lacquered miniatures of 18th-19th centuries and collection of sherbet spoons, made from mulberry tree.
- National Museum of History of Azerbaijan (Taghiyev History Museum, Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Tarix Muzeyi, Russian: Музей истории Азербайджана), 4 Hadji Zeynal Abdin Taghiyev str., (M: Sahil), , fax: . M-Sa 11:00-18:00, First Monday of every month closed (– cleanup day). The museum was built in 1893–1902. The Italian Renaissance-style mansion is immense and takes up an entire city block. There are four floors in some parts of the building. It was designed by Polish architect Józef Gosławski. On the second floor of Taghiyev’s residence, side by side there are two major ballrooms. One is based on Oriental designs (Mauritanian) style and the other, on Occidental design. The Oriental Room has enormous plate glass windows, gilded arches, highly ornamental walls, ceilings and chandeliers. The lines in the Occidental Room are more perpendicular to each other – rectangular. The museum has more than 2000 exhibits and includes the following departments: Modern history, Ethnography, Ancient and medieval history of Azerbaijan, Scientific excursion, Fund of Numismatics, Art design group. 10 manat.
- Azerbaijan Carpet Museum (State Museum of Azerbaijan Carpet and Applied Art), Bakı ş., Mikayıl Useynov pr-ti, 28. Tu-F 10:00-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-20:00. The museum hosts a wide range of different carpets, both old and new. It moved to its current location in 2014 (on the waterfront). The building itself is shaped as a carpet. 7 manat.
- Heydar Aliyev Center (Heydər Əliyev Mərkəzi, Центр Гейдара Алиева), Heydər Əliyev prospekti (M Ganjlik 700m West). This is a 619,000 ft² (57,500 m2) building complex in Baku, Azerbaijan designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and noted for its distinctive architecture and flowing, curved style that eschews sharp angles. The Heydar Aliyev Center represents a fluid form which emerges by the folding of the landscape’s natural topography and by the wrapping of individual functions of the Center. All functions of the Center, together with entrances, are represented by folds in a single continuous surface. This fluid form gives an opportunity to connect the various cultural spaces whilst at the same time, providing each element of the Center with its own identity and privacy. As it folds inside, the skin erodes away to become an element of the interior landscape of the center. The center houses a conference hall (auditorium), a gallery hall and a museum.
- Stone Museum. An old factory transformed into a stone exhibition, with samples and replicas from Gobustan and other stone carvings in the region. Free English-speaking guide. Free.
- Art exhibition (On the waterfront, going south past the Carpet Museum). On a reformed old factory, two free art exhibitions in two adjacent buildings. Free english-speaking guide. Free.
- Baku Boulevard.
- Fountain Square (Fəvvarələr meydanı, Parapet sq) (near the Old City). This is a pedestrian street along the center of Baku that has many shopping, dining, and sitting places. The Fountain Sq is a public square in downtown. The square is a public gathering place, especially after business hours and during the weekend. It is an attractive tourism destination with many boutiques, restaurants, shops, hotels and passage. The city authorities hold many public festivals, shows and celebrations here.
- Nizami (Torgovaya) St (Azerbaijani: Nizami küçəsi) (metro station Sahil toward south, and metro station ’28 May’ toward north). This is a large pedestrian and shopping street in downtown Baku, named after famed classical poet Nizami Ganjavi. Nizami Street is home to various outlets, from banks to fashion stores and is one of the most expensive streets in the world. The street also accommodates the embassies. – Buildings mostly from late 19th-early 20th century, 1950s-1970s and a modern period. Most of the buildings, constructed in the first level, were constructed in “neo-renaissance”, “neo-gothic”, “baroque” and “neoclassicism” styles as other buildings of the city constructed in that period. “Neo-Moorish” style also dominates, in which architects attempted to use elements of national architecture in its construction. Houses are dressed with limestone – aglay. – Famous houses: No.20 The building of Caspian—Black Sea Oil and Trade Society (built in 1898-1899); No.30 The building of Central Universal Magazine. – No.34 “Nargiz” shopping center – No.38 Central Library – No.38 St. Gregory the Illuminator’s Church (built in 1869), – No.48 Musa Naghiyev’s house, built in 1911 – No. 50 Neoclassical apartments of Tagiyev brothers, built in 1912 – No.58 Residential house, constructed by architect I.V.Edel, in 1902. – No.64 Lev Landau house, built in 1911 – No.66 Oilmen’s house built in 1956 by Mikayil Huseynov – No.67 “ISR Plaza” office center – No.69 International Bank of Azerbaijan – No.72 Azerbaijan State Theater of Young Spectators, built 1965 – No.74 National Library of Azerbaijan, opened in 1923 – No.75 Haji Rajabli House, built in 1896 – No.76 Azerbaijan State Song Theater named after Rashid Behbudov. – No.79 Murtuza Mukhtarov House, built in 1896. – No.85 Nasimi Park – No.87 State Committee on Capital Issues – No.90 Former mill – No.93 Musa Naghiyev house, built in 1911 – No.95 Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, built in 1911 – No.96 Office center “Landmark” – No.103 residential house, built in 1952 – No.115 Russian Imperial Technical Society, erected in 1899 – No.117 Azerbaijan State Oil Academy
- Dendro Park.
- Oil Rocks. Tourists wanting to see the oil rock complex must get authorization from the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan.
- National Flag Square (Azerbaijani: Dövlət Bayrağı Meydanı). This is a large city square
- Alley of Honor (Azerbaijani: Fəxri Xiyaban, Honorary Alley), Parlament Prospekti. This is a public cemetery and memorial in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Alley includes burials of famed Azerbaijanis and Azerbaijan-affiliated expatriates, including several Presidents, scientists and artists. There are 242 burials in total.
- Martyrs’ Lane (Alley of Martyrs or Şəhidlər Xiyabanı (transliterated to Shehidler Khiyabani)), İzzət Nəbiyev street. Formerly the Kirov Park, it’s a cemetery and memorial in Baku, dedicated to those killed by the Soviet Army during Black January and later to those killed in Nagorno-Karabakh War.
- International Mugham Center of Azerbaijan (Beynəlxalq Muğam Mərkəzi, Международный центр мугама), Baku Boulevard (Neftçilər Prospekti, просп. Нефтяников) (Funicular ‘Shovkat Alakbarova’). This is the center of Azerbaijani arts and music aimed to promote, preserve and popularize specific genre of Azerbaijani music Mugam. – The center covers 7,500 m² and has 3 stories. The design of the building was based on elements and shapes of Tar, Azerbaijani musical instrument used in performing Mugham. The concert hall fits 350 people. The center also has a club, restaurant, study halls and record studios.
- Magomayev Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall, 2, Istiglaliyyat St. Built in 1912 and inspired by the Monte Carlo Casino. Houses the Azerbaijan State Symphony Orchestra among others.
- Palace of Happiness (Azerbaijani: Səadət Sarayı, Palace of Marriage former Mukhtarov Palace), Sabail Raion, Istiglaliyyat St. 4 (Metro Nariman Narimanov (Nəriman Nərimanov) 600m N). This is a historic building in the center of Baku, Azerbaijan, built in Neo-Gothic style in 1912. The building was built by an Azerbaijani Oil Baron Murtuza Mukhtarov for his wife Lisa. The designer was the Polish architect Józef Plośko. After the Sovietization in 1920 the building was given to the Club of Liberated Turkic Women, after which it functioned as Shirvanshahs Museum. During the existence of Azerbaijan SSR, the palace functioned as the Palace of Marriage Registrations. On 2 August 2001, by a resolution issued by the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan, the building was listed as real estate of historic and state importance and was to be protected as a monument of Azerbaijani culture. The street lying on the right side of the building carries the name of Murtuza Mukhtarov.
- Gulustan Palace (Azerbaijani: Gülüstan sarayı, Gulustan Wedding Palace Complex), 1 Istiglaliyyat Street, (M: Icherisheher). The Complex during the Soviet era is the main state convention center of the Azerbaijani government. From here overlooking the whole city of Baku and Baku Bay. The palace serves as an official facility for governmental and non-governmental organizations holding various types of formal events. It is notable for having hosted such important events as the Contract of the Century and other significant oil and gas contracts, signing of TRACECA project, the wedding of Leyla Aliyeva, the daughter of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, international and state conferences, etc.
- Ismailiyya building (İsmailiyye palace, Azerbaijani: İsmailiyyə Sarayı), Istiglaliyyat Street, (M: Icherisheher). This is a historical building that serves as the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan. – The palace was constructed in 1913, for the Muslim Charity Society by Józef Plośko at the expense of the millionaire Musa Naghiyev in commemoration of his deceased son Ismayil, and was named Ismailiyya after him. The building was constructed in the Venetian Gothic style.
- Baku TV Tower (Azerbaijani: Televiziya Qülləsi, Телевышка), Sabail district (Bus to ‘Abbasqulu Abbaszadə’). Built in 1996, is a free standing concrete telecommunications tower in Baku. With a height of 310 m, it is the tallest structure in Azerbaijan and the tallest reinforced concrete building in Caucasus. The tower has become one of the most prominent trademarks of Baku. – A rotating restaurant on the 62nd floor (175 m) of Azeri TV Tower was opened in 2008. Friendly staff. 20 manat.
- Flame Towers (Ismailiyya Bldg, Azerbaijani: Alov Qüllələri), Mehdi Huseyn Street (Next to Parliament – Take the ‘Funicular’ or bus to ‘Milli Məclis’). This is the tallest skyscraper in Baku, Azerbaijan with a height of 190 m (620 ft). The buildings consist of apartments, a hotel and office blocks. The estimated cost of Flame Towers is around US$350 million. Construction began in 2007, with completion in 2012. The facades of the three Flame Towers are turned into gigantic display screens with the use of more than 10,000 high-power LED luminaires, supplied by the Osram subsidiary Traxon Technologies and Vetas Electric Lighting. Definitely worth seeing from the old town.
- Oil Pump Fields. The famous oil pump fields from the opening scene of the James Bond picture The World is Not Enough.
- Bibi-Heybat Mosque (Azerbaijani: Bibiheybət məscidi)), Salyan Highway (Salyan şossesi) (5km South). This is a historical mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan. The existing structure, built in the 1990s, is a recreation of the mosque with the same name built in the 13th century by Shirvanshah Farrukhzad II Ibn Ahsitan II, which was completely destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1936. – The Bibi-Heybat Mosque includes the tomb of Ukeyma Khanum (a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad), and today is the spiritual center for the Muslims of the region and one of the major monuments of Islamic architecture in Azerbaijan. – It’s locally known as “the mosque of Fatima” – The old mosque was situated in the southern part of the tomb, while there was a 20 meter high minaret in the west part of the mosque. Later a crypt and two niches were added to the mosque to the south of the minaret. On the niches there were inscriptions containing the name of Fatali Khan, whose tombstone marble slab is now in the Azerbaijan State Museum of History. – From 1305 to 1313, Mahmud Ibn Saad built the mosque’s minarets. The top of the thread and stalactites, raised by a small pillar, surmounted by a semicircular dome of Rebrov. Railing minarets were patterned with stone grill. Graphic studies showed that the height of the minaret was about 22 m. – The rich interior of the complex has been decorated with ornaments. The inside of mosque included an oblong rectangular room with a lancet arch. Under the dome, there were chandelier-candlestick (shamdan), and a hook on which it hung was surrounded by stained glass. – On the north side of the minaret and the mosque instantly adjoining the tomb, there was an inscription which was discovered by Johannes Albrecht Bernhard Dorn. From the inscription it was clear that this mausoleum was built in 1619 and interred here by Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Bin Abid, who died the next day after work. – The modern restored mosque is a classic example of the Shirvan architectural school. The mosque has three domes, which have kept the traditional corrugated galvanised iron shape of the old mosque and two minarets. The domes are decorated with the green and turquoise mirrors, which are bordered with gilded inscriptions from Qur’an. Men’s praying room is located on the south side of the complex, while women – on the north side. Between them is the mausoleum. – The builders used local varieties of limestone such as Gulbaht. On the inside the walls of marble carvings with calligraphic inscriptions such as muhaggah, Suls, Jami-Suls, Kufic, kufi-shatrandzh, musalsag, sofa and tugra. Also widely used such ornamental compositions as islimi, shukyufa, Bandy-Rumi, zendzhiri Selcuk (Seljuk chain), Shamsi, Jafari and Achma-yumma.
- AF MALL, in the heart of the city just off the Torgovaya on Samed Vurgun St 34. This 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.
- Philharmonic Fountain Park (Just near the Icherisheher metro station.). A charming park with fountains and kiosks you can pass through when going to the boulevard from the Metro.
Outside the city, on the Absheron Peninsula, there are several interesting sites for a day trip 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.
In addition, the Baku Region is well known for its active mud volcanoes that might also be reached within a day. The Mud Volcano which is supposed to be 15 km north of Baku city centre| alat=40.432184|long=49.699572}} according to several online maps. It’s a mud volcano but without any active mud vents, but instead the waste of the neighbouring communities, however it might provide for a quite apocalyptic photo scenery, in case you have too much time on your hands or are nearby.
See Baku Region for all the details.
What to do in Baku
In the evening, go to the opera at the national opera on Nizami street. Otherwise, go to the rooftop bar at Sultan Inn in the Old City for a drink and excellent views of the Maiden Tower, Caspian sea and the TV tower.
- Boat tours of Baku. Offered from the Baku Blvd. Lasts 40 minutes. 6 manat.
- Pantomima theatre (Pantomima Teatrı), 49 Azadliq Ave. Offered from the Baku Blvd. Lasts 40 minutes. 6 manat.
- National Opera and Ballet (Opera Və Balet Teatrı), 95 Nizami St.
- Baku Funicular Railroad. You can take this funicular train from the square on Neftchilar Avenue up to the Alley of the Marytrs. 0.2 manat.
- Aqua Park Baku, Rashid Behbudov, 59. US$19 for ages 7 and up.
- Baku Entertainment Center (Bakı Əyləncə Mərkəzi), Khatai District, F. Bayramov St, 1130/33, , fax: . Baku Entertainment center has been around for more than half a decade. It has a shopping center, bowling alley certified by AMF, health club, conference venue with a capacity of 350 people, and various restaurants and clubs.
- Mini-Venice. 10:30-23:30. A charming little complex of man-made waterways accessible on a boat. There are also some restaurants in the immediate proximity. The ticket booth is 10-15 meters to the right when coming from the North. It doesn’t cost too much but the signage to the ticket booth is lacking.
- Watch football – Three teams in the city play in the Premier League, the top tier of football in Azerbaijan. These are Qarabağ FK who play at Azersun stadium (capacity 5,800), Keşla FK (formerly Inter Baku) at Inter Arena (capacity 8,200), and Neftçi PFC Bakı at Bakcell Arena (capacity 11,000). As these are all small by European standards, big club games may play at the international venue, Tofiq Bahramov Stadium. This is 1 km north of city centre, metro Ganjlik.
- Hamam Mehellesi (Public Baths (Hamamlar)) (Hamam Mehellesi is in the Old Town. From the station, enter the gate to the old city, turn right and go down the street. The hamam will be a few blocks down, on the left side of the street, you will see a note on one of the walls “hamam mehellesi” and a little further – the bath’s domes – this will be the place). This is the oldest public bath in Baku located near the Icharishahar metro station, inside the walls of the old city. There are men’s and women’s days at this public bath, Mondays and Fridays are for women, the rest of the days are for men. 1 manat and they offer two types of service, hise (skin peel) for 2 manat, and massage for 4 manat.
- Aga Mikayil Bath House (XVIII century hamami), Icheri sheher, Kichik Gala 3/16. Daily 09:00-23:00, Women only: Monday & Friday. Sauna and pools, nice ambiance. 10 manat, plus massage 10 manat.
- Naftalan Bath (close to Kempinski Hotel). Oil baths are famous for Naftalan, a city close to Ganja. However you can also get an oil treatment in Baku, with Naftalan oil imported from there. It’s like a small hospital and it’s not a recreactional thing to do usually. However it’s great fun and positively strange to dip for 15 min into hot crude oil. Choose yourself whether this is a save and healthy thing to do. 20 manat for medical checkup, 20 manat for one oil bath.
- The Spa at Park Hyatt Baku, Park Hyatt Baku Hotel, 1033 Izmir St.
- Teze Bey Hamami (Taze Bey Bath). Public baths (Hamamlar). This public bath is in the old town and is a male-only hamam. They have different types of baths (Finnish, Turkish, etc.), so it may be a bit pricier than the other public baths in Baku.
There are a couple of beaches including Shikhov Beach, but they are polluted by sewage and industrial waste. Outside the city, however, there are a few very nice sandy beaches on the Caspian. In particular Bilgəh and Amburan beaches, on the north coast of the Absheron Peninsula are great spots to cool off from heat. Further afield are the northern beaches and resorts of Northeastern Azerbaijan.
- AF Beach Club, Novkhani. This complex has 5 swimming pools, fast food, restaurant with cooks from Azerbaijan and Europe, disco, game hall, Wi-Fi, water sports, beach volley, beach football, entertainments, professional animation team . 80-600 manat.
- Amburan Beach Club, Bilgah, , fax: . This complex has a 3 swimming pool, fast food outlets, restaurant with cooks from Azerbaijan and Europe, disco, game hall, Wi-Fi, water sports, beach volley, beach football, entertainments, professional animation team.
- Baku Jazz Festival. Organised by famous saxophonist and Baku resident Rain Sultanov to showcase Azerbaijan’s love of Jazz which grew during the Soviet era when it was banned by the authorities. Features acts from around the world, the annual festival lasts for a week, and will run from 7-14 Jun. Tickets can be purchased from Baku Jazz Center, 19 Rashid Behbudov St or by phone.
Shopping in Baku
- Antiques from Old City (İçəri Şəhər)
- Apples from Quba
- Tea and Talish Stockings from Lankaran
- Halva from Sheki
- Traditional dolls created by ladies’ groups in Barda
- Chiraq bookstore, Istiqlaliyyat 47, (Zərgərpalan, Улица Истиглалият) (near M: İçəri Şəhər (Old City)). Phrase books, maps and guides can be found here.
Bankomats (ATMs) are available all around the town, mainly in downtown and metro stations exits. If you have a cell phone with either a Bakcell or Azercell SIM card, you can recharge your account balance using various ATMs. The International Bank of Azerbaijan has a list of their ATMs in Baku. Some of them have Euros and US Dollars available.
Where to eat in Baku
There are many restaurants in Baku and kebab shops can be found easily for a quick meal.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
|Budget||up to 10 manat|
|Splurge||20 manat or more|
- Half Way Inn, 6, 28 May St (Bus 2, 61, 85, 88, 90, 95 to Milli Bank). International cuisine. 5-10 manat.
- L’aparte, 51, Istigaliyyet St (ул. Истиглалият) (M Icherisheher SW 0.4km). European and Azeri cuisine. 6-10 manat.
- Lebanese, 12, Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev Street (M ‘Sahil’ 0.5km West). Lebanese cuisine on Fountain Square. 4-8 manat.
- Onassis, 3, Inshaatchilar Ave ( İnşaatçılar prospekti) (Near to ‘Huseyn Cavid Park’ – M ‘Elmlar Akademiyasi’). Greek and International cuisine. 2-7 manat.
- U Dali, 5, Mirza Ibrahimov Street (Bus to ‘Şahmat məktəbi’ or M ‘Nizami’ 0.6km N). Georgian cuisine. 3-6 manat.
- Lavas/Fasali (Right outside Icherisheher metro, on the left). Two take-away places, one next to the other, run by the same people. Do a wide range of usual Azeri/Turkish take-away food – but good quality, very popular with the locals, expect to queue! 3 manat for a kebab/pancake which will completely fill you up.
- Anadolu, Pushkin St 5 & Rasul Rza St 3/5. Turkish/European restaurant. 8-15 manat.
- Bəh Bəh, 20 Shihaliyev St.
- Izmir Garden Restaurant, 5 Izmir St.
- Jennet Baghi, 82, Acad, Hasan Aliyeve St.
- Karvan Saray, 1 Gala St, Ichiri Sheher. Have Azeri food dinner in a unique ambience.
- Lido, Cnr of Nkhchivani St. European and Azeri cuisine.
- Masal, Khagani St.
- Mugam Club, 9 A. Rzayeva St. European and Azeri cuisine. 10-15 manat.
- Namli Kebab, Targoviy Centre, Gogul St (close to Russian Dramatic Theatre and Austin Hotel). European and Azeri cuisine. 10-15 manat.
- Respublika Luks, 24 Khagani St. European and Azeri cuisine. 2-15 manat.
- XVII esr, 215 B. Safaroglu St. Club-restaurant. 8-15 manat.
Sultan Inn rooftop or Meridien hotel rooftop restaurants for European/fusion with excellent views) or head back to the Fountain Square for greater variety of inexpensive cuisine.
- Caviar, 1025/30 Tbilisi Ave. International cuisine.
- Corleone, 40 Khagani St. Italian cuisine.
- Ego’s, 19/13 Khagani St. European cuisine. 8-15 manat.
- Gazelli Evi, 93 Nizami St. International cuisine. 5-16 manat.
- Dolce Vita, 9 Aziz Aliyev St. Italian restaurant.
- Grand Hotel Europe, 1025/30 Tbilisi Ave. International cuisine.
- Greasy Barney’s, G. Abbasov 72, Apt 1A. Sandwich shop.
- Le Mirage, 34 Nizami St. European cuisine. Nightclub.
- Cafe City, Rashid Behbudov St (St closest to the L side of Park Bulvar, close to Sahil Bagi and Central Public Library). Mixed cuisine cafe.
- Le R Restaurant, 123/6 Remontov St. European cuisine.
- Mexicana, 17 Z. Tagiyev St. 6-14 manat.
- München, 125 Nizami St. German cuisine. Large selection of draft beer.
- Nara, 4 Aziz Aliyev St. French cuisine.
- Park Inn’s Glory, 1 Azadlig Ave. European cuisine. 8-18 manat.
- Pauza, 28 May St. International cuisine. 5-15 manat.
- Pizza Holiday, 119 Lermontov Kuchasi (Near Baku Soviet). Pizza and Italian cuisine. 5-15 manat.
- Soho, 6 R. Aliyarbekov St. International cuisine.
- The Red Lion Inn, 7 Mammadaliyev St. English cuisine. 6-16 manat.
- Universal Club, 16 Z. Tagiyev St. International cuisine.
- Paris Bistro, 1/4 Zarifa Aliyeva street. 24 hr. French cuisine. 6-19 manat.
- Buddha, 2 A.Z. Tagiyev St. Fusion Cuisine. 6-12 manat.
- Maharaja, 131 Akivsat Gykuyev St. Indian cuisine. 8-15 manat.
- Taj Mahal, 18 Khagani St. Indian cuisine. 3-14 manat.
- Chinar, 1 Shovket Alekperova St. Pan-Asian cuisine, modern tea house and late night cocktail bar. 20-70 manat.
- House of Sultans, Icheri Sheher Boyuk Gala #20. International and Azeri cuisine.
- Mezzo, Bakikhanov St (in Hyatt Hotel). Mediterranean cuisine. 20-70 manat.
- Shanghai, 31 Rasul Rza St. Chinese fare. 3-25 manat.
- Terrace Garden, 20 Boyuk Gala (Icheri Sheher (Old Town)). European and Azeri cuisine. 7-26 manat.
- Toscana, 12 Basti Bagirova St, Kermur Plz. Italian cuisine. 4-20 manat.
Tea houses (Çayxanalar)
There are many outdoor tea houses (çayxanalar) that serve tea and sweets to people in their own individual nooks. Going to them can be a great way to get a sense of the local culture. If you are adventurous, try challenging a local Bakuvian to a game of backgammon (nard) or dominoes.
There is a good selection of cafés dispersed throughout Baku. Expect to pay Western prices for your coffee.
- Aroma Cafe, 18, U. Hajibayov St.
- Azza Cafe, 1, I. Safarli St/Fountains Sq. 12-23.
- Baku Roasting Company (Near Ramstore in Elmlar). Tu-Su 09:00-21:00. 2.5-7 manat.
- Chocolate, 21, Boyukgala St/4 Mamedaliyev St.
- Cottage Café (opposite Villa Petrolea).
- Gourmet Shop, 5, Mardanov Gardashlari St.
Where to stay in Baku
|Note: There is a dodgy host working on AirBnB and Booking.com named Royal. Once you arrive he will state the room is already taken, and it’s problem caused by booking.com and try to take you to another place that charges far more. He will start threatening you if you don’t go along. Avoid such situations or be determined and insistent – you have nothing to fear of such touts in Baku.|
- Baku Station Hotel, 28 May Station?. Dorm bed 2.4, single 6, twin 3 manat.
- Caspian Hostel, Asef Zeynalli 29 (Old Town, around the cnr from Meridian Hotel, above Thousand Camels Hostel). Great location in the Old Town. 2 dorm rooms and 1 private room. Dorm bed 16 manat.
- Guest House Inn, Harbci St? 17, Icheri Sheher (Baki Soveti metro station), , fax: . Check-in: any time, check-out: at noon. This hotel is in the center of Old Town in a calm area, 10 minutes on foot to the nearest metro station, very friendly staff. Room with TV, fridge, private bathroom, hot water 60 manat per person.
- Hotel Velotrek (slightly hidden behind the Respublica Velotrek bicycle race course through a tall iron gate on the left hand side. 20 January Metro Station). A few kilometers north of the centre, this budget hotel has clean rooms with TV, private bath and hot water in the mornings. Single 15 manat, double 30 manat.
- Baku City Center Guest House, Nizami küçəsi 78 (not 87) (walk through the hallway from the boulevard, take the stairs to the right up, and the apartment is right at the other end of the open terrace). 50 manat.
- Cheeky Carabao Backpackers Hostel, 171 Tolstoy Street 1st floor. (Next to Face Studio. Easy to miss as the outside of the building is under construction and the sign keeps getting stolen.). Upbeat hostel with lots to do. Ping pong, Wii, movies on the projector etc. Very clean has kitchen, dorms, privates, laundry service. Good location. Dorms sleep 8.
- Araz Hotel, (Y səfərov küç, Сафарова Юсифа) 30, Xatai/montino (From Baku Railway Station 0.5km East). About a kilometre from the ferry port. double US$60.
- Altstadt Hotel, Mammedyarov str. 3/2A (Ilyas Efendiyev str.3/2A), Icheri Sheher, AZ1001, Baku (Exit at Icheri Sheher metro, enter the Old Town, walk uphill to the left – and ask. Or use new technology!). A “better” two-star hotel, with buffet breakfast, spotless private facilities, A/C, Wi-Fi, colour TV. Offers excursions, helps with visas if necessary. Run by the very friendly Mr. Elmin (Beatles fan) who is always happy to give info and help guests. 50 manat for double/twin.
- Consul Hotel, 92c Hasan Aliyev St (From Metro ‘Ganjlik’ West 1.2km). This is a hotel option in the Genclik district. Twin 50 manat.
- Days Hotel Baku, Babek Prospect, 21/99, , fax: . 15 minutes’ trip from the Heydar Aliyev International Airport and 10 minutes from the town center. 102 rooms with Wi-fi internet access, one international restaurant, one lounge-bar and two conference rooms. 75-105 manat.
- Diplomat Hotel, Suleyman Rahimov St, 185, , fax: . Located centrally. Credit cards accepted. Double 90 manat.
- Empire Hotel, Xaqani St 49, , fax: .
- Guesthouse Inn, Azadlig Pros. 16/21, , fax: . Between the Oil Academy and the Landmark, the Guesthouse Inn should not be confused with the Guest House Inn in the old town. 4 Single and 5 Double rooms, all ensuite with air conditioning, fridge, satellite TV, internet access.
- High Park Hotel, 10 B Babek Ave, , fax: . US$100.
- Holiday Inn Baku Airport, Heydar Aliyev International Airport (25-min trip from the city centre). Facilities include a kids stay and eat free program, internet access in all rooms, various restaurants, complimentary shuttle to downtown and a spa.
- Hotel Hale Kai, 18 Mirza Ibrahimov St, , fax: . American boutique hotel, 24 all-suite rooms, free Wi-Fi throughout hotel, breakfast included. 130 manat.
- Park Inn, Azadlig Ave 1, , fax: . Fully-equipped business centre, restaurant, bar and coffee shop, five modern conference rooms and an elegant ballroom with a large foyer. Also offers Wi-Fi in all guest rooms, gift shop, free airport shuttle, 24 hour room service, workout room, open parking facilities, 24 hour concierge. 169 manat.
- Rigs Hotel, 27 Gadjibekov St, , fax: . 24 rooms
- Swan Hotel, Rostropovich (Leopold və Mstislav Rostropoviçlər), 17 (off Nizami street), , fax: . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: noon. Near Icheri Sheher Metro station. Dbl US$75.
- AF Hotel Aqua Park, Novkhana, 1130/33. Check-in: Noon, check-out: Noon. There have been complaints with this hotel – please check online reviews.
AF Hotel is the largest hotel and resort in the Caucasus. This complex houses pools, saunas, salons, water slides, entertainment center, and hotel facilities. From 80 manat for a standard double room up to 500 manat for a presidential.
- Amburan Beach Club, Bilgah, , fax: . This complex has a 3 swimming pool, fasfood outlets, restaurant with cooks from Azerbaijan and Europe, disco, game hall, Wi-Fi Internet, water sports, beach volley, beach football, entertainments, professional animation team.
- 12 Bulvar Inn Baku.
- Crescent Beach Hotel, Salyan Hwy, Shikhov, , fax: . This complex has an indoor and outdoor pool, beach front, bar, and tourism services. High-speed Wi-Fi zone covering 10 hotel buildings, Hotel yard, restaurant, bars and beach. Please contact Hotel reception.
- Excelsior Hotel Baku, 2 Heydar Aliyev Ave, , fax: . With a 5-star rating, the Excelsior Hotel is one of the nicest hotels in Baku. The rate per night range from US$250-2,450, but will be converted to manat at the hotel’s rate.
- Hyatt Regency Baku, 1 Bakikhanov, , fax: . Services include: high-speed internet access, chauffeur-driven limousine rental, hotel shops, Wi-Fi, business center, The Grill, Gourmet Shop, Beluga Bar, Club Oasis Fitness Center, swimming pools, tennis courts, squash courts, ballroom, 10 meeting rooms, 2 boardrooms, and pre-function and social function space. 270-405 manat.
- Olimpik Hotel, Absheron d, Novxani Settlement, , fax: . A 4-star resort 20 kilometers from Baku city centre and 2 kilometers from the northern coast on the Caspian Sea at Absheron peninsula.
- Park Hyatt Baku, 1033 Izmir St. 5-star hotel adjacent to a comprehensive Meeting & Conference Centre. Club lounge for free continental breakfast, evening cocktails and boardroom access.
- Radisson SAS Plaza Hotel, 340 Nizami St, , fax: . An all-suite hotel located on the top floor of the ISR Plaza Business Centre with views over the old and new cities. Has a gym, sauna, indoor pool, lounge and business centre.
Telecommunications in Baku
Internet Cafe’s in Baku
Many cafés in Baku now have free WiFi. In general, internet cafes in Azerbaijan are called “internet klubs” and they are found throughout Baku. Public WiFi service is available in central areas and attractions, making it comfortable to the tourists to connect.
Azerbaijan Post locations are dispersed throughout Baku. Mailing an international letter generally costs 0.8 manat.
AZAL (Azerbaijan Airlines)
As Azal seems to be in a permanent state of flux as to where their offices are located, pop into a travel agent and ask about tickets very carefully before buying anything. In some cases, like Naxcevan or last-minute flights, you will absolutely have to go the ever-moving central office during a few random opening times in order to get your tickets processed. One travel agent who can guide you buy phone is reachable at +994 55 4201220 or +99412 5551320 or 5981619.
Stay safe in Baku
Baku is considered a safe city, nevertheless common sense is useful as in all other big cities. Homeless people do not harass or attack people and are very safe to be around. The biggest problem in Baku is driving. Many drivers do not obey rules and speed.
Western clothes are acceptable for the city, but pants for men and long dresses for women are recommended if you go to more remote regions such as Gobustan.
The security is rather high, with regular security checks at some attractions and metro stations. The metro has police guarding on the both ends of the escalators.
Emergency contact numbers
- Ambulance: 103
- Fire: 101
- Gas Emergency 104
- Speaking Clock 106
- Police: 102
You must speak in Azeri, Turkish or Russian to communicate your needs. It would be a good idea to memorize key phrases before coming to Azerbaijan – see the Talk section for phrasebooks. The police are friendly and nice and try to help you as much as they can. Try to be nice and understanding and don’t get frustrated if you don’t understand each other instantly. Write down your phone’s IMEI code in case it gets lost so it is easier for the police to find.
The roads can be treacherous at night due to unseen potholes and dimly lit cars. Most areas in and near the downtown are mostly safe.
Embassies & Consulates in Baku
Many details can also be found here: https://www.embassypages.com/azerbaijan
- Bulgaria, Oktay Kerimov str. 34, , fax: .
- Greece, Kichic Gala 86-88, , fax: .
- United Kingdom, 45 Khagani Street (Əfzələddin Xaqani), AZ1010 (Metro ‘Sahil’), , fax: . Monday to Friday 09:00-17:00.
- United States, 111 Azadlig Ave, , fax: .
- Nabran – Relax by the Caspian on the beach or in a resort. Azerbaijan’s biggest tourism destination for international travellers and a coastal city close to Khachmaz.
- Quba – Its urban suburb is home to the largest Azerbaijani Jewish community in the mountains and is considered one of the largest Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union.
- Khinalug (Xinaliq) – A scenic, remote and ancient mountain village, and the mountain of the same name nearby. Once a centre of Zoroastrianism; today the few inhabitants are an ethnic isolate believed to be descendants of the Caucasus Albanians (unrelated to modern-day Albanians of Albania).
- Sheki – A 7-hour bus ride to the northwest. A beautiful city in the Caucasus mountains with lots to see and do. It has one of the largest densities of cultural resources and monuments that span 2,700 years of Azerbaijani history.
- Lahich – A cozy and remote highland village, on the way to Sheki. Famous for its copper work.
- Shamakhi – A town that used to be the capital of the Medieval state of Shirvan. Famous for its traditional dancers, Şamaxı dancers, and its impressive mosque. An ancient history and once one of the key cities along the Silk Road.
- Naftalan – A well-known petroleum spa resort, the centre of medical tourism in Azerbaijan. Go and enjoy the oil baths.
- Ganja – One of the oldest cities in the Caucasus.
- Nakhchivan (region) – The Baku Airport is one of the few in the world offering flights to Nakhchivan and travelers heading that way should book a flight from here.
- Georgia – There are direct buses and trains into Tbilisi from Baku.
- Iran – Buses take international travellers onwards from Baku there.
- Turkmenistan – A ferry departs daily from Baku across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenbashi. This ferry has become somewhat of a sleeper hit with backpackers on the Silk Road, but is very uncomfortable and should only be taken by adventure-seekers.
- Kazakhstan – A ferry depart irregularly to Aktau (every 7–10 days maybe). Docks are located 2 km to the west of the old town. It is difficult to get tickets!