A Travellerspoint blog

Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan

Our last country for this adventure :(

sunny 22 °C
View Back in the USSR on MikeinCairns's travel map.

Arrived early into Baku on the fantastic sleeper train from Tbilisi (around $50 each for 1st class sleeper). It's the first time we crossed a border by train. At around 10pm, we were quickly stamped out of Georgia at one station, then half hour later at the next station, an Azerbaijan immigration official took over a compartment in the carriage with his camera and laptop, and we all filed in one by one to be processed. It took nearly 2 hours to check out of Georgia and check in to Azerbaijan!

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The night train to Baku. Our last sleeper train and interestingly, the best one of the whole trip!

Azerbaijan is an oil rich country, and the oil and gas just bubbles up everywhere. In the 19th century, industrial oil production started in Azerbaijan, which supplied 50% of the world's oil. The oil barons included the Nobel brothers (from Nobel prize fame). Even in the suburbs of Baku you will see the "nodding donkeys", pumping up the oil.

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Baku have hosted some major events over the years including Eurovision, European Olympics (apparently it's a thing), and this year the Formula1. Here are "Inje” and “Jasur", the mascots for the recent Islamic Games.

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The transport infrastructure is good in and around Baku. A lot of the transport is being modernised including this regional train we caught. It was possible the best train I have ever been on. Must have been brand new out of the factory. Even had a hostess!!

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Some highlights of the stay in Baku......

Old Town history and architecture.
We stayed in the old city of Baku, consisting of a labyrinth of lanes in which we got lost every time we went out or returned. Even Google maps doesn't work well because when inside the little alleys, the navigation apps cant see the satellites. It was fun and after 5 days we had learnt our way around quite well.

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Soviet Baku and metro

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Science academy

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Town hall

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Palace

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Another town hall

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Pedestrian mall

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Nice fountain

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Entrance to metro

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A train station

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Metro

Modern Baku architecture
Interesting article here.

The most iconic image of Baku are the three enormous illuminated "Flame Towers". Video here.

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And Baku is spending millions engaging architects to design futuristic buildings all over the city. All the following projects have started or are completed. Not all these photos are mine.

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Yep - they have copied our Opera House!

Gobustan petroglyphs
We caught the public bus (1hr $1 each) to the town of Gobustan. Here is an excellent visitor centre ($10 each) explaining about the ancient rock carvings. Nobody knows how old these rock carvings are but 20-40,000 years is an estimate. Some are huge and obvious and others required a bit of imagination!

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Alta mud volcanoes
A short distance from Gobustan are some mud volcanoes. Actually they are all over the Baku peninsula. The mud is cold, and spurts out due to the build up of natural gas. It possible to put a match to the top and see shots of flaming mud.

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Posted by MikeinCairns 08:27 Archived in Azerbaijan Comments (0)

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