Blogs from Baku, Azerbaijan, Asia


Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku August 22nd 2019

We flew to Heyder Aliyev Airport, Baku from Izmir. The airport, very modern and grand, is located a short 30 minutes from the city centre. After we (finally) located our pick up service we got driven to our hotel where we oddly changed to another hotel. On the plus side it was just around the corner from Fountain Square, which is more like a series of squares and several boulevards coming off the main fountain square. The architecture really surprised (and impressed) us. Having been to several former soviet states we were expecting more soviet-style grey apartment blocks. Instead we were greeted with beautiful sandstone Parisian-style buildings with terraces. We wandered around fountain square and the old city , Icherisheher, taking photos. As we were coming back with Intrepid we didn’t go into some of the ... read more
The Caspian sea
Carpet Museum
Hello Baku

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku May 1st 2019

What a busy three days since Sunday's Grand Prix. To start, on Monday, as is often our want when visiting the bigger touristy cities we took a 'Free Walking Tour'. A bit of a misnomer as the expectation is that at the end of the tour you 'tip' the guide according to how good a job you felt they did. Our guide for Baku, Gani, was an early 20s Masters student of Social and European History. And he certainly knew his stuff. The tour's focus was mostly about the Old City which meant that we were walking a lot of the streets we had already walked along, but now with some guidance as to what was what. Firstly, contrary to what we said in our previous blog, most of Baku's city walls are missing.... in so ... read more
Literary Hall
2 girls on a bench
F1 circuit

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku April 29th 2019

Hi all We're back on the road again for three weeks - Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. Baku, Azerbaijan, first, as seen in recent months on both Joanna Lumley's 'Silk Road' and the 'Race Across The World' series, where it was the second check-point, after Delphi. Just an aside - #1 On the 2nd part of our flight over, from Kiev to Baku, there were 3 ladies (not, by it looked, together) each sporting an identical over-the-bridge of the nose surgical sticking plaster arrangement. Is Kiev perchance the rhinoplasty capital of Eastern Europe? Just an aside - #2 Now that I've typed the word 'rhinoplasty ' into the draft of this blog on NotepadFree I'm getting Nose Job and Cosmetic surgery adverts when I go to sites from Google! Azerbaijan regained independence from Russia, the old USSR, ... read more
Fountain Square
City centre
Spot the twins, at each end

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku June 10th 2018

BAKU - Capital of Azerbaijan After checking in to Centrum Hostel near Fountain Square we went straight to the old town Metro station for the 10:30 am daily walking tour run by Eldar. Started in old town, stopped outside Palace of the Shirvanshahs, but didn’t longer in old part. Interesting to see the layers of history through the buildings, clearly Eldar's main interest. Many ancient ones destroyed once oil money arrived. Some very grand early 20th century ones. Complicated history of being taken over by different regional players. Good introduction and a great thing to do after a night flight! Second day: Went with the other participant in yesterday's walking tour with a driver out for a day trip to Qobusta where there are mud volcanoes and the nearby Petroglyph reserve. Just under an hour out ... read more
A mud volcanoe
Zaha Hadid bulding
Baku old town

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku May 30th 2018

Life hasn't always been easy for Bakuvians, as poor infrastructure, poverty, unemployment and conflicts blighted their shakier past, so the success story of the present day is little short of a miracle, especially if we are judging by comparison. Behind all this is the mainstay of the Azerbaijani economy, namely natural gas and black gold (oil, to those in the know), although it is worth pointing out that this has also contributed in no small measure to Baku being the world's most toxic city, on ground level, not that air pollution levels actually match. On a city tour of boomtown Baku, the key starting point is most likely to be the enclave of the Old Town, as a few of the city's main landmarks, namely Maiden Tower, Juma Mosque and the Palace of the Shirvanshahs are ... read more
Yanar Dag; Azerbaijan
Gobustan mud volcanoes; Azerbaijan
Mini Venice, Baku; Azerbaijan

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku February 25th 2018

The journey from Dubai to Baku is just a few hours and the airport is modern having opened not long ago, it was so good I took some photographs which I don’t normally do in airports. Azerbaijan is oil rich, so I wasn’t surprised to see some Dubaiesque skyscrapers with the Flame Towers perhaps the pick of the modern architecture. The guy from the hostel came to meet me at the airport and we travelled into the city centre in a London Cab which was cool. Stopping at the impressive Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre along the way was also worthwhile as its design is certainly futuristic. The city runs along the Caspian Sea and has walled old town surrounded by the 19th century city surrounded by soviet and modern architecture. From here we continued to the ... read more
Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre
Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre
Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku October 12th 2017

First, we must find our train to Baku. It's not that Tbilisi station has a huge number of trains, but the station is hidden inside a shopping centre. We find the platforms on level two, but the information sign, telling us which platform to use, is on level three. Train found, we are soon making ourselves at home in our two berth sleeping compartment, home for the next 15 hours. Our friendly lady conductor is busy keeping her carriage clean and in order, providing clean sheets and bedding as we pull out. The evening passes well, helped by a bottle of Georgian wine, glasses provided by our lovely conductor. After an hour we arrive at the border post to leave Georgia. Lots of uniformed men in big peaked caps but a pretty smooth process. Then a ... read more
Our sleeper
Flame temple

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku June 10th 2017

Azerbaijan is one of those countries that still remain something of a mystery to most. Some people might associate it with Eurovision, others with its frequent hosting of sport events. Yet others think of it as former-USSR, oil-rich, with a poor human rights record. I'll tell you what I knew about it: it's one of the three countries of the Caucasus, so people are actual Caucasians, yes, literally Caucasians, imagine that. Its language is similar to Turkish, the people are predominantly Muslim, and for some reason they hate Armenia. They want Nagorno-Karabakh back from the latter. The closest I've come to Azerbaijan was two years ago, while driving along the Araz River in neighbouring Iran to visit some Armenian monasteries. The soldiers on the Azerbaijani side didn't look friendly, maybe due to the fact that a ... read more
Breakfast fuck yeah!
Maiden Tower
Azerbaijani traditional instruments

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku May 15th 2017

Schöner Morgen, Temperatur ok, nichts zu klagen. Das Wichtigste: Sammys Geburtstag heute. Ich bin sicher, dass Wolfgang ihn mit Extra Streicheleinheiten verwöhnt. Weiterhin Felder, Haselnussplantagen, Pferdekarren, ländlich - sittlich. Die Leute auf der Straße winken mir begeistert zu, ich winke zurück. Dave hat mir einen Geheimtip gegeben und nach Ismailia, etwa halbe Strecke, bog ich nach N ab in den Kaukasus. Zuerst Teer, dann Schotter und Lehm. Gut, dass es in der Nacht nicht geregnet hat. Die Straße ist gesäumt von "Restaurants" und Teehäusern. Manche nur ein Samowar auf dem Holzfeuer, manche mit Tischen und Stühlen und sogar Tischtüchern. Aber es war noch kein Gast da, erst bei der Rückfahrt waren Ausflügler zu sehen. Und offenbar ist draußen picknicken die zweite Lieblingsbeschäftigung hier. 15 km bis Lahac. Ich parkte Paulchen, riß mir die Jacke herunter und ... read more

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku July 27th 2016

I know, Azerbaijan is not in the Stans or either Central little side trip. I did visit Georgia and Armenia with the kids two years ago. We drove all the way back from Yerevan to Tbilisi. But you do not cross that easily from the Christian Armenia to the Muslim Azerbaijan, both country being still officially at war. So this time, in between two entries in Kazakhstan, here I am in Baku. I applied for an electronic visa for 50usd. Pretty easy affair. I took my 3 hours direct flight from Astana on Air Astana. The flight was full, but the service was pretty impressive....way better than I expected. I'm staying at the Sheraton Baku Airport. This has nothing fascinating. But I'm landing just before midnight, and it doesn't feel that bad to walk straight ... read more
That was a hike all the way up here...
Old City main tower
Old City

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