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Stop At: Maiden Tower, Downtown Baku, Baku Azerbaijan
The Maiden Tower is a Baku landmark, a much loved symbol of the city and of Azerbaijan. It looms dark and enigmatic, looking out to sea from the southern edge of Baku´s old, walled city, the Icheri Sheher. The origins of the tower are shrouded in mystery - no-one knows for certain when it was built or what it was built for or even how it acquired its name Maiden Tower (Qiz qalasi). No written sources survive that record its construction or original function.
Duration: 10 minutes
Stop At: Palace of Happiness, 6 Murtuza Mukhtarov, Baku 1005 Azerbaijan
This was the home of the millionaire Muxtarov who built it as a surprise Valentine gift for his (second) wife. She is supposed to have adored a similar building she'd seen while doing the 'grand tour' in Italy, so Muxtarov simply paid the renowned Qasumov brothers to build a copy. This was the topping to a relationship which reads straight from the pages of fairy-tale legend. Lowly-born Muxtarov, son of a Mardakan carter, was a self-educated technician who became a major supplier of support equipment to the burgeoning oil industry. He fell in love with the daughter of his Ossetian aristocrat host while on business in Vladikavkaz, but his lack of pedigree resulted in the blank refusal of his petitions to marry her.
Duration: 10 minutes
Stop At: Institute of Manuscripts of Azerbaijan, İstiqlaliyyət, Bakı, Azerbaijan
September 1901until March 1918: Empress Alexandra Russian Muslim Boarding School for Girls.
December 18, 1918 until April 20, 1920: Taghiyev gave the building to the Parliament of the first Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan (DRA). It was the first European-style Parliament in the Muslim world. The Parliament continued to function until the collapse of the fledgling republic 23 months later - April 1920 - when the Bolsheviks invaded Azerbaijan.
Duration: 15 minutes
Stop At: Central Botanical Garden of National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, Mikayil Mushfig St., 103, Baku 1004 Azerbaijan
The Ismailiyya Palace (Azerbaijani: İsmailiyyə Sarayı) is a historical building that currently serves as the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan. It is located on Istiglaliyyat Street in Baku.
The palace was constructed for the Muslim Charity Society by Józef Plośko at the expense of the millionaire Musa Naghiyev in commemoration of his deceased son Ismayil, and was named Ismailiyya after him. Construction began in 1908 and ended in 1913.
Duration: 15 minutes
Stop At: Museum of Miniature Books, 67, Bakı 1000, Azerbaijan
Baku Museum of Miniature Books-is the only museum of miniature books in the world, settled in the old part of Baku, called Inner City. Its activity started on April 2, 2002.
Exhibits exposed in the museum were collected by Tahir Salahov’s sister Zarifa Salahova over the period of 30 years. Her own collection consists of more than 6500 books from 64 countries of the world.
There have been collected miniature books in the museum published in post-revolutionary Russia and in the Soviet period.
Besides that there are books from Moldavia, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus and from the republics of Middle Asia and Europe in the exposition of the museum.
There are rare editions of Chukovsky, Barto, Gogol, Dostoyevsky, works of A.S.Pushkin in the fund of museum.
Miniature books of the famous Azerbaijani classics, such as Vagif, Khurshidbanu Natavan, Nizami Ganjavi, Nasimi, Fizuli, Samed Vurgun, Mirza Fatali Akhundov and others are exhibited in the museum.
Duration: 20 minutes
Stop At: Muhammad Mosque, 28 Kichik Qala Old City, Baku Azerbaijan
Muhammad Mosque or Siniggala Mosque is the mosque built in the 11th century in Old City, Baku. The mosque is also known as Siniggala, for the name of its minaret – Siniggala (“damaged tower”). The mosque acquired its second name in 1723, when military squadron of Russian Army, consisting of 15 warships and led by Admiral Matyushkin, approached the city from seaside and demanded its surrender during the Russo-Persian War (1722-1723). Russian warships began to bomb the city after the refusal to surrender. One of the Russian shells hit the minaret of Muhammad Mosque and damaged it. A stormy wind then blew the Russian ships further out to sea. The population of the city interpreted the wind as a divine scourge sent to the occupants. From that time until the middle of the 19th century, the minaret of the mosque wasn’t reconstructed. It remained a symbol of the persistence and courage of the defendants of the tower.
Duration: 10 minutes
Stop At: Baku Old City, Neftchilar Ave, Baku 1000 Azerbaijan
Old City or Inner City (Azerbaijani: İçərişəhər) is the historical core of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. The Old City is the most ancient part of Baku, which is surrounded by walls which were easily defended. In 2007, the Old City had a population of about 3000 people. In December 2000, the Old City of Baku, including the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower, became the first location in Azerbaijan to be classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Duration: 40 minutes
Pass By: Fountain "7 Gozal", Baku boulevard Across Government house, Baku Azerbaijan
Fountains Square is a public square in downtown Baku, capital of Azerbaijan. The square was previously called Parapet and is often referenced to by the same name now. The name of the fountains square derives from the presence of dozens of fountains throughout the square first constructed during Soviet rule of Azerbaijan.
The square is a public gathering place, especially after business hours and during the weekend. It is an attractive tourist destination with many boutiques, restaurants, shops, hotels and passage. This is one of the most crowd and lively places in the city. The area is great for people watching, and evening will find many locals strolling about. It starts from the Istiglaliyyat Street and walls of the Icheri Sheher and stretches through Nizami Street, also called in popular culture as the Torgovaya street running parallel to Baku Boulevard. The fountains square is a location where the city authorities hold many public festivals, shows and celebrations.
Close to Old Town, the Fountain square is crossroad to everything walking distance in Baku. Different fountains adorn the square, which marks a real centre point of the city, and you will probably end up here at some point during your trip to Baku.
Baku has itself many pretty fountains, like in the Governorґs park, in Philharmonic park, the White Fountain, but the difference with Fountain Square is the quantity and diversity of the fountains, the pedestrian walks and the sculptures around the fountains.
In 2010, the square was renovated by Baku authorities.
Stop At: Armenian Church, Baku, Baku 1005, Azerbaijan
St. Gregory the Illuminator's Church (Azerbaijani: Bakı Erməni Kilsəsi) is a former Armenian Apostolic church in downtown Baku, Azerbaijan. It was built in 1887 and survived through the radical atheist age of Sovietization, and the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Unlike many places of worship that were subject to demolition throughout the Soviet Union in the 1920s and the 1930s, St. Gregory the Illuminator's Church was the only Armenian church that was not demolished. In 1990, during the exodus and deportation of the entire Armenian population from Azerbaijan (as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict), the church was closed down and damaged, and is no longer open to the public.
From 1990 until 2002, its future status remained undetermined. In 2002, the church building underwent renovation and the building was taken over by the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan to be used as one of its libraries. The former church was transformed into the archive department of the Department of Administration Affairs of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan.
Duration: 10 minutes
Stop At: Executive Power of Baku, Baku, Azerbaijan
The Executive Power of Baku City is headquartered on 4, Istiglaliyet Street. The construction of the building of the Executive Power of Baku City commenced in 1900 and finished in 1904. Polish architect I. Goslavski (born in Warsaw in 1865 and died at the age of 39 in 1904. Head architect of Baku in 1892) widely used the baroque style and classic construction methods in the construction of this building. This building was the architect's last work. The facade was decorated with red brick, brought for this purpose from Italy, and colored marble. The central part of the building facade bears the emblem of Baku. Three golden torches in the central part of the emblem symbolize Azerbaijan as the land of fire.
Duration: 10 minutes
Pass By: Juma Mosque, M1 Sabayil, Baku Azerbaijan
Juma mosque or mosque in the Icheri-sheher has been functioning since the 12th century. This mosque was built in 1899 at the funds of Baku philanthropist Khadja Shikhali Dadashev. In 1888 the Russian academician A.Pavlinov took measurements of the Juma Mosque. The mosque was built on the site of the temple of fire worshipers. Only four uncoated arches remained from the old building, they allegedly belonged to the temple. According to many modern archaeologists, there was a pagan sacred center on the site of Juma Mosque, where the fire worshipers gathered.
In the 14th century pagan temple was converted into a mosque. According to the inscription on the Mosque, "in the month of Rajab in the year 709 Hijri (1309) Amir Sharaf al-Din Mahmud ordered to update this mosque." In the 15th century, minaret was attached to the north side of the Mosque. By the end of the 19th century the old mosque came into disrepair and was replaced by a new one - Juma Mosque.
Juma mosque itself is small. There is little hall for men, women's prayer rooms. The conical dome of the building, which rests on four pillars located in the center of the Juma Mosque ,is of special interest.
Stop At: Baku Boulevard, Neftchilar avenue, Baku Azerbaijan
The Boulevard along the Caspian is a beautiful, several kilometer long parkway that is a real gem of the city. Baku Boulevard (also known as National Park) is a promenade established in 1909 which runs parallel to Baku's seafront. Its history goes back more than 100 years, to a time when Baku oil barons built their mansions along the Caspian shore and when the seafront was artificially built up inch by inch.
The park is about 3 km and 750 m in size and located in south coast of the Caspian Sea. It starts at the National Flag Square and ends at Freedom Square. According to the Azerbaijan Cabinet of Ministers, the boulevard's size is expected to reach 26 km, which will cover areas including Bibiheybet and Bay of Baku by 2015.
The project on expansion of the Baku boulevard aims at creating more comfortable conditions for the residents of the capital city and the guests to have a rest and take sports in more comfortable conditions at the Caspian seashore. Before the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 the boulevard was extended to the National Flag Square.
Duration: 15 minutes
Pass By: Philharmonic Fountain Park, Sabayil, Baku Azerbaijan
The Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall was constructed throughout 1910–1912 at the request of the city elite and designed by the Armenian architect Gabriel Ter-Mikelov in the Italian Renaissance (exterior) and German Rococo (interior) styles. Its design was inspired by the architectural style of buildings within the Monte-Carlo Casino, particularly l'Opéra de Monte-Carlo. The society (known as the Summer Center for Public Gatherings prior to 1936) was originally organized as a club for the wealthy of Baku, who attended it for banquets and entertainment. During the Russian Civil War it served as a place for public rallies. In 1936, the club was reorganized into a residence for the Philharmonic society aimed at promoting Azerbaijani classical and folk music. On 11 August 1937 after the building underwent renovation it was named after composer Muslim Magomayev.
In 1995, the hall was closed down for the more than 8 years for another renovation. However no restoration works were performed for the most part of that period, much to the discontent of many residents of Baku. Azerbaijan's Minister of Culture explained such delay by the fact that underground waters had damaged the base of the building over time. Nevertheless, there were reports (mainly in the opposition media) that the money provided for the renovation by the government or donated by various prominent musicians (such as Mstislav Rostropovich, a Baku native) was largely misappropriated by the bureaucrats and officials who were in charge of funding the project. It was not until November 2002 that the restoration works resumed due to President Heydar Aliyev's special decree. The opening of the fully renovated building took place on 27 January 2004.The opening ceremony of the newly-renovated building was held on January 27, 2004. Several famous people attended the ceremony like President Ilham Aliyev, former minister of culture Polad Bulbuloglu, outstanding cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, professor Ferhad Badalbayli.
Pass By: Palace of the Shirvanshahs, Zamkovskaya Side-street, 76, Baku Azerbaijan
Walking through the pavilions, courtyards, palace rooms, the crypt, the cistern, the Turskih bathhoous, the mosque, etc., you get a real feel for the every day life within the palace walls. The palace complex consists of nine buildings and each of them was recently restored.