Baku is the Azerbaijan capital city and largest found in the country. The city first became popular after an oil boom in the 19th century. Before this, during the medieval ages, Baku was not the huge capital city it is now, however, it was still an important city because of the presence of a small port in the city. During the 12th century, capital of Shirvanshah’s reign changed from Shamakhi to Baku. This meant the relocation of the capital from Shamakhi to Baku occurred and increased the historical and political significance of Baku. The old city is a core part of Baku, where travelers can find lots of architectural monuments related to Shirvanshah’s Empire. For this reason, it is suggested to book a nice boutique hotel at the heart of the Old City with a great accommodation suggestion being the Museum Inn.Three of the most amazing Things to Do in Baku.Take a look at this list to learn all about what to do in the great city of Azerbaijan.
The Old City of Baku is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a location where the building is dramatically different from the rest of the modern town. The Old Town dates to the sixth century and gives you a sense of the fascinating cultural background of the Zoroastrian, Safavid and Russian cultures in this area. Visiting the Old City is one of the top things to do In Baku and below are three things you shouldn’t miss seeing while traveling in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Below are three important locations found in the Old City of Baku. These are a great starting point for any visitor to Azerbaijan capital city of Baku.
1. Visit the Medieval Palace
The Palace of the Shirvanshahs was built at the Old City’s highest level above the Caspian Sea, in what became one of the most heavily populated regions. It takes around 10-minutes to walk, depending on your fitness level, to the Medieval Palace from the main entrance of the old city named Shamakhi Gates. Ticket costs for entrance are priced at 10 AZN.
The complex’s buildings are clustered in three courtyards which are built 5.6 meters above each other on various floors. Since the palace is constructed on rough terrain, it does not have an architecturally ordered design.
Unfortunately, after the Russian invasion on 10th February 1828, The Palace of the Shirvanshahs become the headquarters of the Russian army, and other palace structures were burnt and damaged. Unfortunately, all the golden tools, throne and ceiling mosaic were stolen from the palace.
The Shirvanshahs Palace Complex was turned into a State Historic-Architectural Reserve and Museum in 1954 before The Soviet Republic authorities voted in 1960, to recognize the palace as a historic landmark.
2. Take in the view of the Old City from the top of the Maiden Tower
The Maiden Tower is a huge cylindrical tower built on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The Baku Maiden is now one of the main symbols of Baku and shouldn’t be missed while visiting the city. The diameter of the tower on the first floor is 16.5 meters and the thickness (width) of the walls on the first floor reaches an impressive 5 meters.
The inner part of the tower is divided into 8 floors and each floor is built from sawn stone and covered with a domed shaped ceiling. There are circular holes in the middle of these stone ceilings and the holes were purposely positioned in the direction of the vertical line. Thus, if you look through the circular hole in the middle of the ceiling of the VIII floor, you can see the floor of the first floor.
The only entrance to the castle is an arched doorway on the west side, 2 meters above the previous surface and 1.10 meters wide. The height of the first floor of the tower is 3 meters, and the height of the other floors is 2.5 meters on average. The connection between the floors is maintained by stairs built inside the south-eastern wall of the castle. Interestingly, the connection between the first floor and the second floor is only possible via a ladder or a connected rope through a circular hole in the ceiling.
It should also be noted that the gate of the fortress, in the past, consisted of several floors. This is evidenced by the remains of construction on the arched ceiling of the doorway, which is up to the width of the castle wall (5 meters). In addition, there were several wells in the past at the front door. If you climb up the Maiden Tower, you will see one of the best panoramic views of the Old City of Baku.
Traditional Restaurants of the old city
There is no doubt that İcharishar is the most visited place in Azerbaijan for both travelers and locals. At every corner, you will able to see traditional restaurants, cooking kebabs, baking tandir bread plus many other traditional Azerbaijan meals.
Most of the traditional food dishes of Azerbaijan are made from either lamb or beef. It’s still not possible to find any vegan restaurant in the Old City, however, there are some located in the downtown area. If you are in the area you must try the famous Shah Plov. The pilaf dish has been called the King of Meals in the East since the 15th century. This dish was among the most valuable dishes. Oriental peoples put pilaf on the table at weddings, big holidays when the dearest guests come. It would be almost criminal to leave Baku without trying it’s the most iconic dish, Shah Plov.
These are three simple but essential things to do in Baku while you are visiting the capital city of Azerbaijan. If you are looking to complete a tour to the above locations or you’re wanting to find out what other activities are possible while traveling in Baku then I suggest you check out one of the top-rated travel companies in Azerbaijan, called Baku City Tours. They have the biggest selection of tours in the city and great reviews from previous travelers on websites like TripAdvisor.
If you are wanting to find accommodation in Baku, then as previously mentioned a great hotel is the Museum Inn. Booking.com has a large selection of Baku accommodation options though so compare the prices and make a choice that suits your traveling budget.
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