BAKU | The Most Alluring & Cosmopolitan Destination In Central Asia
Azerbaijan’s capital city may seem an unlikely holiday destination, but Baku tourism has flourished in recent years. Increasing numbers of holidaymakers are now discovering Baku’s unforgettable atmosphere of east-meets-west.
Understanding Azeri Culture
Azerbaijani – or Azeri – culture has been forged by the many competing powers that the country has seen in its lengthy history, including Zoroastrian, Islamic, Turkish, Safavid and Russian influences. It was part of the Soviet Union from 1920 to 1991 and has since become a Republic, but Russian is still spoken across Azerbaijan and in its capital Baku.
Travel around Azerbaijan to discover its many cultural delights. Each year, the city of Goychay in central Azerbaijan hosts a Pomegranate Festival, which celebrates the joys of this local fruit. The country’s many folk dances are also a significant part of its cultural heritage. Typically performed in intricate traditional dress, these dances are showcased at festivals and formal occasions, like weddings.
Classical music in Azerbaijan is called Mugham. Linked to Sufism, it is similar to traditional music in Iran, and a Mugham Festival is held annually in the northern city of Shaki. Elsewhere, Azerbaijani art is also highly revered, and is mostly commonly bought in the form of decorative rugs.
What To Visit In Baku
Baku tourist attractions range from important historic sights to fashionable cultural hotspots. Start discovering Baku in its fascinating Old City, or “Icheri Sheher”, home to a range of medieval landmarks and UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. The 12th century Maiden Tower is the city’s most recognisable monument, attracting thousands of tourists ever year. Nearby is the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, an expansive building that is a testament to Azerbaijan’s impressive architectural heritage.
Another major attraction and essential stop on Baku’s tourism map is Martyr Hill, which can be accessed by a funicular. This monument commemorates the lives that were lost in Baku to the Red Army in 1990, marked by marble slabs and an eternal flame. One of the most impressive sights in Baku is the Bibi Heybat Mosque, recently rebuilt after being destroyed by the Soviet regime. The striking Hajinski Mansion, where former French President Charles de Gaulle once stayed, is worth a visit too.
Fun & Entertainment
Tourism in Baku offers much more than historic sightseeing. All around the city, visitors will find fun and entertaining attractions. Explore Baku’s magnificent Caspian coast on a boat trip or simply by spending the day at one of its many beaches. Moreover. Baku is home to a medley of museums and galleries that shed light on Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage. The Azerbaijan State Carpet Museum is a great way to learn more about this fascinating Azeri art form, and the Museum of Modern Art boasts over 800 works from the 1940s to today. The Museum of Literature also showcases literary exhibits in a grand building that is one of the most photographed in Baku.
Baku is also a very musical city. Heydar Aliyev Palace has hosted some of the biggest names in pop music, while the Baku State Circus carries on a strong Soviet tradition. The Filharmonia hosts thrilling classical music concerts, while the International Mugham Centre is a beautifully designed venue that celebrates the mesmerising sounds of Azeri folk music.
Where To Stay
Standing out amongst other hotels in the city, Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel is situated alongside Bilgah Beach, the most alluring seaside destination in Azerbaijan. Guests can expect exquisite rooms and suites with inspiring views. Choose from spacious king rooms, deluxe suites and comfort-filled three-bedroom cottages that are ideal for families.
Relax in one of the nine restaurants and bars, where guests can sample authentic dishes from the Caucasus as well as refined international cuisine. Signature treatments at the luxurious Talise Spa will help you retreat from the bustle of the real world, as will the well-equipped Talise Fitness gym, saunas and tranquil indoor pool.