Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, is known for being the largest city in the whole Caucasus region. It’s also the lowest capital in the world, and the largest below sea level (it is 28 meters below sea level!). But these aren’t its only distinctions, as Baku is also home to several beautiful spots worth checking out! Here are some of the best tourist attractions in Baku for your next vacation. [Check out our comprehensive Azerbaijan Travel Guide]
Featured Photo: Heydar Aliyev Center | Photo by Francisco Anzola under creative commons
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Top Tourist Attractions in Baku
The Maiden Tower
This is the most famous of all Baku’s historical sights. Standing at 29 meters, this may not be impressive by today’s standards — but considering the fact that this is was built around the 12th century (exact date still being debated on), the structure’s level of preservation is just outstanding. The name also evokes various folktales about the tower’s origins, and there are several exhibits around it that show some creative fiction. What’s certain, though, is that the tower provides outstanding views of Baku Bay and the capital’s Old City.
Once the seat of the country’s rulers, the palace is a magnificent complex built from smooth sandstone. While the area has been restored starting 2003 (around the time the museums were added), the structure is still mostly the glorious 15th century architecture.
Baku City Boulevard
Every capital needs to have a boulevard with which it can exhibit its best face to tourists, and Baku does it well with this destination, also referred to as the “National Park”. The boulevard is itself a historic monument, built over a century ago and standing as a reminder of the times when this location was the playground of the rich and famous. The park stretches out towards the Caspian Sea, offering great ocean views.
Heydar Aliyev Center
This building is known primarily for its outstanding architecture, having no sharp angles throughout its face. Named after the country’s first republic President, the building is famous for being the symbol of Azerbaijan’s transformation and modernization in recent years.
Going back to historical monuments, this “Fire Temple” is a palace-like complex that was historically used by Sikh, Hindu, and Zoroastrian religions. There are various monastery cells in the pentagonal yard, and there is also an eternal flame lit by gas from the nearby city.
Built in the late 1990s, this is a replica of the mosque that was built in the 13th century. While not an original historical monument, the recreation aptly captured the grandeur of the original. The mosque houses the tomb of one of Muhammad’s descendants. Today, the structure has been expanded even further to suit the needs of the many pilgrims.
Gobustan National Park
This State Reserve, about 40 miles from the capital, is one of the top tourist attractions in Baku, especially for those who want to delve into Azerbaijan’s rich past. Chock-full of archaeological finds, the rock carvings here depict various aspects of primitive Azerbaijan lifestyle, from caravans and dances to warfare and rituals.
There are many beautiful places in the world, and Azerbaijan holds its fair share. If you find yourself crossing the Caspian for this side of the world, make sure to spend time in these top tourist attractions in Baku!