Blogs from Baku, Azerbaijan, Asia

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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
Buku
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 ... read more

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku April 30th 2017

Baku, Azerbaijan: Baku By Day 4 2017 Baku by Night 4 2017 Baku, Mountain Burning 4 2017 ... read more
IMG_0586
IMG_0587
IMG_0588

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku July 27th 2016

I know, Azerbaijan is not in the Stans or either Central Asia....so 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

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku June 30th 2016

Thursday June 30/Friday July 1 - So Rasim picked me up a little early, at 4:30pm, and then we were away driving towards the petroglyphs. It was quite a ways away, just under an hour or so. On the way there we past some highly secured areas for BP, as they seem to do all the drilling here. There is oil everywhere. When we got there, we found it was closed. Such a bummer - I didn't even realize it would be a place that could close. I figured it was just some drawings in the rocks somewhere. Rasim talked to the guy and said we could come back a bit later and give him a small bribe to get in. So we headed off to the mud volcanoes. Very cool to see actually. Unlike the ... read more
Mud volcanoes
Mud volcanoes
Mud volcanoes

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku June 26th 2016

Sunday June 26 - I didn't sleep well last night and was up by 5:30, still packing and sorting. Poor Jeroen, having to hear all of that. I also had a weird incident with my cat. She was playing with a plastic bag, which she loves, and found herself stuck it in. This caused her to run like mad and luckily I saw what was happening and caught her as she flew out of the bedroom door. I was able to get the bag off but she scratched my finger in a couple places when I caught her. Band-aid required. Jeroen and I walked to the tram stop but saw the bus coming and had a quick good bye instead. I decided to take the bus to the other tram to be faster. I left at ... read more
A view from my street - those are the Flame towers
Entrance to the little street I take to get to the old town
Gate to old town near shiny metro on left




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