28 Sep Day 2 – Baku Old City
Day 2 - Baku Old City
Old City, or “Icharishahar”, is truly a unique, historical part of Azerbaijan and is located within the heart of Baku, surrounded by fortressed walls and a place where time seems to have stopped. Walk through its cobblestone streets, ponder on the ancient walls, meander through narrow corridors and admire the intricate art on the doors. Many buildings have been converted into souvenir shops, tea shops and restaurants. See the local merchants play chess or backgammon along the streets, admire beautiful carpets and textiles hung around doorways and why not try a Russian-style woolly hat?
Old City Fortress Walls
The fortress walls, a UNESCO World Heritage site, mark the boundaries of Bakus Old City. It’s oldest building dates back to the 11th century.
You will want to spend a few hours walking around the Old City of Baku, “Ichari Shahar” (inner city), the most ancient part of Baku surrounded by walls. In 2000 “Ichari Shahar” became the first location in Azerbaijan to be classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another major attraction is the fortress wall, which encloses the Old City. It has two entries via the Salyan Gate and the Shemakha (or Shamakhi) Gate, also referred to as ‘Double Gates’. As you enter, step back in time and feel the vibe of an old world with its unique and fascinating architectural monuments. Visit the 12th-century, 97-foot Maiden Tower and the 15th-century Shirvanshah Palace.
Souveniors & Trinkets
Baku was a central trading hub on the Silk Road, an ancient trade route linking the West with Asia and the Middle East. During this time, caravanserais (guest houses or resting places) were constructed all over the city for traders to stop and rest. In the Old City, you will see preservations of this ancient time, and many have now turned into restaurants and shopping bazaars.
Mugam Club is a 17th-century historical and cultural property that used to be a caravanserai. Today it is a hotel and a magnificent restaurant where you can sit at a table in the middle of the yard and enjoy the caravanserai.
Enjoy the national dishes, including the saj with the chicken and beef meat and the luxury-cooked giurza that will devour your taste buds!
Enjoy the exotic music and entertainment of the eternal truth songs called the antic mugam, which starts at 7 p.m
Alternatively, try the Karvansaray Restaurant, another popular place just two minutes from the Maiden Tower, a historical restaurant with a feel of ancient times in the atmosphere of the original design.
The unique and oldest architectural building is ABAD. This government-run enterprise helps local souvenir producers to create branded products, where you can find authentic handcrafted products from local Azerbaijani artisans. You will find many original artefacts, unique local crafts, ceramics, dolls, and ceramic plates, which came with the craftsman’s introduction. ABAD is a historical gem worth a visit to help the local community.
Museum of Miniature Books
A museum worth a visit that showcases the World Guinness Record for having the most extensive collection of miniature books originating in an ancient Persian tradition. The tiniest is a book measuring 2mmx2mm, which can only be seen using a microscope!
The Maiden Tower is recognizable and another major attraction within the fortress wall. Alongside the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, the Maiden Tower is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s simple to understand why once you look past the tower’s imposing and sturdy stone facade and ascend the tower’s stairs to the top. In addition to being a 12th-century memorial, the Maiden Tower offers visitors a singular, breathtaking view of the Old City, Baku Boulevard, and the glistening waters of the Baku Bay. Visit the museum to see how the city has changed through time.
Palace of the ShirvanShahs: The Pearl of Azerbaijan
The Palace of the Shirvanshahs is an enormous ancient mosque from the 15th century with breathtakingly beautiful mausoleums, gran stone pavilions, complex stone carvings, and mosque spires, including a bathhouse there. These are all indications of the Shirvanshah dynasty’s existence, and the stunning palace is still standing tall and majestically, albeit a little dusty and traditionally faded with age. An afternoon spent wandering its lovely stairs and terraces—designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site—would be an afternoon spent being transported back in time.
Azerbaijani poet, Aliagha Vahid
Aliagha Vahid began to write and publish poems from the age of 18. The monument depicts a massive sculpture of his head with a trunk, branches of trees, neck, hair and human figures, symbolizing life’s cyclical nature. The history of the creation of this monument is fascinating.
Jumma Mosque, or Friday Mosque, lies in the old city of Baku, not far from Maiden Tower. It was initially built in 1899.
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