Confession: I had never heard of the country Azerbaijan until about five years ago when we started to operate flights to its capital, Baku. This gem of a country is hidden between the Caspian Sea and its more popular neighbors, Armenia and Turkey.
Known as the “City of Winds”, I had first-hand experience of just how vicious the gusts are when we visited. I even have windburn on my lips until now! 😥 But no regrets. I enjoyed touring the city, windburn and all. 🙂
I love how modern architecture meets old town vibes in Baku. The Walled City, which has preserved castles and fortresses built in the 12th-14th centuries, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Azerbaijani culture is somewhat similar to Turkish and Persian customs being that they’re in the same region, but it has its own unique heritage. Combined with influences from the Soviet occupation in the 1920’s, modern-day Azerbaijan is a country forged by a rich history.
According to my phone’s app, we walked a total of 14 kilometers that day. It was cold, but the city is one of the cleanest that I have ever been to, and it’s not overpopulated. You will be able to enjoy a cup of coffee, or play on one of the gigantic chess boards without disturbance in the public park.
I love walled cities! Just like our Intramuros in Manila, theirs also has canons jutting from the barricades. They’re a bit more bad-ass though because they have a catapult. Hahaha! I asked the tour guide if it was a genuine one or just a display, to which he answered me with silence. 😛 Yeah, english is not a common language to them so it was a bit of a struggle communicating.
Anyone who knows me know that I love museums. During our half-day walk in Baku, we passed by numerous museums of the most peculiar things. Besides the usual national museum, there was a puppet museum, a carpet museum, and miniature books and ancient coins exhibits. I badly wanted to go to all of them, but we did not have enough time, as always. 😦
I would definitely plan a more detailed tour the next time I visit Baku. It’s impossible to capture all the beauty of this place in one day. 🙂