INTRODUCING BAKU

Baku is a city on the up. Fuelled by the area’s oil and gas, the capital of Azerbaijan is now home to über-luxury hotels, flash super cars, chic designer brands and cutting-edge architecture from the likes of Zaha Hadid. It may be increasingly cosmopolitan, but it’s still a place with an old soul. Look beneath the gleaming surface and you’ll find a thriving foodie scene, fascinating Old City and (a short drive away) other-worldly, bubbling mud volcanoes.   

An eclectic clash of ancient history and futuristic architecture

Things to do

HISTORY

Take a walk through time at Baku’s UNESCO-listed Old City. With roots that date back to the 12th century, it’s home to the legendary Maiden Tower, the Juma Mosque, Hamam Mehellesi public baths and Palace of the Shirvanshahs. While you’re exploring, refuel with some typical Azeri cuisine – dolma, plov and (of course) kebabs are all well worth a try.

NATURE

Just a short drive from the city brings you to strange vistas of bubbling, and sometimes explosive, mud volcanoes. For more evidence of the landscape’s hidden power, head to Yanar Dag. This natural gas fire has been blazing continuously since (rumour has it) it was accidentally lit by a shepherd in the 1950s.

CULTURE

Baku is home to some of the world’s most striking and innovative buildings. There’s the Heydar Aliyev Centre with its flowing lines, courtesy of Zaha Hadid. And don’t miss the playful Azerbaijan Carpet Museum with it’s rolled up profile. Both offer a fascinating insight into the region’s long history and multi-cultural influences.   

Driving in Baku can be an adrenaline-fuelled experience, so play it safe and arrange for a driver to show you around.

Top tip from SLH

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