Have you ever been to this prime location? A state filled with a unique and contrasting blend of old and new architectures plus landmarks? Baku is a culture and oil-rich destination for tourist located in Azerbaijan next to the Caspian sea. The great city houses cutting-edge 21st-century facilities like the flaming towers while telling the stories of several empires.
Visiting this unique, up and coming prime tourist destination, you get to see and know the story behind iconic sites like the Shirvanshahs Palace, The old city wall, Maiden Tower, and so much more. Baku offers visitors a chance to witness an enthralling blend of culture, innovative buildings, landmarks, and great food. There lots of things to do in Baku. When next you go touring, here are the eight things to do in Baku that you don’t want to miss!
1. Check out The Maiden Tower (TOP THINGS TO DO IN BAKU)
As with most iconic sites, there are thrilling stories and structures to unearth. The Maiden Tower, in the walled city of Baku, is one of such places you don’t want to miss! Coming under the protection of UNESCO in 2001, you can only view its secrets during the day.
There is no known date when the first tower was constructed. However, it is believed to have been as far back as 700BC and a part of the Zoroastrian temple. The current tower was built later on in the 12th century CE and has lots of stories behind its creation. One prominent one is the tale of a King and his daughter. The King had taken the challenge to build the tower just to coerce her to marry a man his age.
The Maiden Tower, or Giz Galasi as the locals call it, is a fascinating but difficult place to photograph. However, when you manage to get to the top of the building, the view is so worth it! You get to see all the glory of the old city. And while on your way up, there are so many thrilling artefacts to discover. Entrance fee is as low as 15 AZN (9 USD)
2. Explore the Shirvanshahs Palace
Another exciting place to experience in the inner city of Baku is the Shirvanshahs Palace. Its construction began as far back as the 12th century and was completed in the 15th century. The Shirvan Palace is one of the preserved marks of the Shirvan dynasty that existed during the middle ages. Currently, the landmark went under some major renovation during 2003 and now serve as a museum.
UNESCO has highlighted this treasured site as “one of the architectural pearls of Azerbaijan.” When you head there, make sure to take some pictures and look around. There is the Hammam, Mausoleum, Mosque, Minaret, and living quarters to explore.
One of the most breathtaking spots to find yourself is in the courtyard! This area expressively captures the picturesque blend of modernization meeting medieval. Viewers get to see most of the Palace and the Flaming Tower all at the same time.
There are other amazing sites to check out and lots of relics telling a story about the history of Azerbaijan, mostly during the Shirvanshahs era. Entrance fee is only 15 AZN (9 USD).
3. Stuff Yourself with scrumptious local delicacies!
Baku is not only known for its great landmarks, hospitality, and innovative development. There is also an ample array of delectable and appealing traditional meals to crave for. When on your exploring trip, one of the things to do in Baku is google or ask the locals for the best restaurants to visit!
If you are a vegan and wondering how to survive there, you are in for a treat. Though vegan meals are not much in Baku, the city houses a few varieties to keep you asking for more. However, it is good to note that most of the foods here contain coriander (cilantro). So, if you don’t have the stomach for it, don’t forget to pick it out from your meal!
4. Appreciate The Flaming Towers
One of the things to do in Baku is to find the right spot to view one of the luminary figures of modernization in Azerbaijan. The flame tower attracts lots of viewers every day, even from the locals. These three iconic buildings stand as a symbol of fire for the country. It also symbolizes Azerbaijan as the birthplace of the fire prophet Zoroaster.
At night time you will find 10,000 led lights on at the surface of the towers. These lights are bright and colourful. First taking the colours of Azerbaijan national flag, they soon flicker to that of a fierce burning flame. Therefore, making the magnificent building more spellbinding. It is surely a spectacle to behold.
You don’t need to get into the Flame towers to take photos of it. The US$350 million building which was completed in 2012 sits on a hill. Therefore, it is pretty high and can be spotted from many parts of the city.
Heading indoors or going too close will surely limit your chances of taking an entirely stunning photo of it. The best place to find yourself for full coverage is at the TV tower. However, prepare yourself to spend at least 20 AZN (12 USD).
Other viewpoints that still provide great coverage of this notable construction are the Soviet Circus, the Shirvanshahs Palace, the Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku Boulevard, and some other parts of the Old Town.
5. Cease the city view from the Upland Park
If you are looking for the right viewpoint to take in all of the city, Upland Park is the right place to be. This park sits next to the Flame Towers and is the highest point in Baku. From it, you can take a great view of the tower, the Caspian Sea, and other iconic locations.
The Upland Park was first named Kirov’s Park until Black January. Now going as Upland Park, both this location and the Martyrs’ Lane stand to show respect to the victims of the incident.
As one of the things to do in Baku, take a funicular from Neftchilar Avenue and stop at Martyrs’ Lane. From there you can stroll through the Upland Park, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere and panoramic view.
While at the Martyrs’ Lane, don’t forget to pay your respect to the 15,000 people who died and were buried on the site. You will find the Shahidlar Monument, a shrine with the eternal flame torch erected at the end of the lane.
6. Visit Baku Boulevard!
When you head to Baku, don’t miss the chance to ride the Baku eye on your way to the Crystal Hall. This colossal Ferris wheel is one of the Baku Boulevard’s attraction, and it cost way cheap than other known Ferris at 5AZN (3 USD).
The Boulevard is one large strolling location erected in 1909 during the time Baku oil barons lived at the seafront. The city promenade spreads adjacent to the seafront of Baku and is the biggest park in the city. The entirety of the place continues to extend further from the National Flag square to the Freedom Square. At the moment, the park consists of a 5km walk, and there are plans to extend it further up to 26km.
Here you can meet many of the locals, enjoy the nice view and feels, or explore some of the notable structures. Aside from the Baku eye, there is the Park Bulvar, luxurious mansions, and the Crystal Hall to check out!
If you are planning to spend your new year eve in Baku, then don’t miss the chance to see the fireworks alongside residents of the city from the Baku Boulevard! It is an experience worth remembering.
7. Get to know Azerbaijan better at the National Museum
One of the things to do in Baku before completing your tour is getting to know Azerbaijan. An excellent place to start is at the National Museum of History.
The museum sits in the former mansion of one of the countries renowned philanthropist and oil magnate, Haji Taghiyev. The residence was repurposed as a museum in 1920. As of 1921 it became open to visitors and has remained the biggest archives in Baku.
In there you will find much information about various matters concerning Azerbaijan. Most of its records shed light on prehistoric people, the conflict with Armenia, and recent events regarding Azerbaijan.
8. Enjoy the view and mingle with the locals at Fountain Square
Fountain Square is a lovely place to find yourself. The free walkthrough and hangout section of downtown Baku was first named Parapet. The new name Fountain Square comes from the dozens of fountains that used to be in this location during the soviet rule. However, the place still has a grand fountain that steals attention mostly in the night.
One of the things to do in Baku’s fountain square is to treat yourself to the local and international meals there. The location is really the main downtown of Baku as there are various unique restaurants, hotels, plus stores to explore.
If you are not in the mood of buying or eating, you can still take time to appreciate the scenery and people. Here, you will find lots of families, group of friends, and couples walking around or enjoying the beauty of the place.
There are so much to see and things to do in Baku, the low-lying city of Azerbaijan. If you are planning a trip to Baku, you have the chance to experience it like never before in our Baku old and Modern city tour.
All pictures right reserved by our photographer customer Altaf Ahmed. Don’t miss to check his more amazing pictures of Azerbaijan’s Diary on his page.