Sunset over Baku
I love to arrive at a new destination to wonderful surprises. Azerbaijan and its capital Baku here is doing more than opening my mind to new experiences.. It is wowing my senses, my learning and my want of adventure. From the moment I landed the genuine hospitality of this country is considerable. Whilst here and over the next few posts I hope to show you not only the incredible, diverse history that has shaped this young countries culture, architecture, landscape and pride.
The Capital, Baku, my base sits in the East of the country on the edge of the Caspian Sea, the largest land enclosed body of water on Earth.
From above you see buildings grand, old and new. From the original oil boom, through the soviet era and some great and large new projects. But nestled within all is the ancient walled old city where my feet and mind wandered today.
Overlooking the Old City of Baku towards some of the new.
23 hectares and home still to about 4,000 people this area is so unique. This walled city of Old Baku is a world heritage site dating back to the Palaeolithic period. 12th century walls surrounding the little wonderful narrow streets. Each corner presenting a new look into history. Throughout time the city has had input from the likes of the Persians to the Soviets, the Arabic to the Ottoman to name but a few. This place has not been turned into a ghost museum or over touristic area like in many parts of the world where old ancient cities are. The people live and work here still, in stark contrast to the wide avenues of the larger Baku outside the old walls.
The bakery for instance I could not resist entering. For such a small place I noticed that for the locals it was obviously a special place. I watched them bake the bread in traditional style right in front of me. Just 10 minutes it took to bake in the stone, fire oven, perfectly. Together with the cheese and cream the smells where irresistible.
Throughout the Old City there are many places and caravansari to go into and discover a wealth of dishes to sit down and eat. I love the food in this country.
Wandering around I was mesmerised by the architecture. Still as old but fascinatingly well preserved. The pride and thought that has gone into keeping this area preserved yet still working is unbelievable.
Within these walls are more touches with history than one can imagine. Palaces, old merchant meeting places and mosques dating back to the 11th century. The one shown above here is the Mohammed Mosque dated 1078/79.
Visiting here is more than stepping back in time. It is learning, a wonder to see and feel all around and to think this is only a small part of what Baku and Azerbaijan has to offer. I will be exploring far and wide both within and around the City of Baku plus learning along the way. Over the next few posts I have so much more to say and show I am more than sure.