Attractions & Monuments
Baku is the capital – or maybe it is better to say the heart – of Azerbaijan. It is a city that’s changing every second, without losing its identity. There is probably no other place where historical architecture and modern art blend so well together. With new architectural projects, entertainment venues and parks, and many perfectly restored Soviet Union-era buildings, Baku is moving forward, growing and developing as a tourism destination.
The Old City, at 22 hectares (54 acres) in size, contains hundreds of historical monuments, four of which are of world importance and 28 of which are of local importance. Visit souvenir, carpet and antique shops, and workshops of local handicrafts. The Old City became the first location in Azerbaijan to be classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You can see Maiden Tower, Market Square, Karvan Saray Bukhara, Karvan Saray Multani, Baku Khan’s Residence, Shirvan Shahs’ Palace, Aga-Mikhail bath house, Double Gates, and several old mosques in the Old City.
Ateshgah Fire Temple
The Temple of Eternal Fire – Ateshgah – is an authentic Azerbaijani site. It is well-known all over the world. It is located 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the centre of Baku in the suburb of Surakhany. This territory is known for such unique natural phenomenon as burning natural gas outlets (underground gas coming onto the surface contacts oxygen and lights up). The temple in its present state was constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was built by the Baku-based Hindu community related to Sikhs. However, the history of the Temple is even longer. From times immemorial this was the holy place of Zoroastrians – fire worshippers.
Also known as “Burning Mountain,” Yarnadag is true to its name. The mountain has been burning for as long as anyone can remember, and the fire isn’t showing signs of going out any time soon. Situated on the Absheron Peninsula, 25 kilometres (16 miles) northeast of the capital city of Baku, Yanardag is a 116-metre (380-foot) hill located on top of a pocket of natural gas that constantly erupts into flames. These flames jet out at least three metres (10 feet) into the air, through a porous layer of sandstone. Unlike the other mud volcanoes of Azerbaijan, Yanardag has no seepage of mud or liquid, so the fire always burns. A 10-metre (33-foot) wall of fire continuously burns alongside the edge of the hill. This makes for the most spectacular view, especially at night. The air around this open fireplace is always thick with the smell of gas. The heavy Absheron wind, twisting the flames into bizarre shapes, adds to the mystery of the region. Tongues of fire also rise from the surface of the streams located around the hill.
Gobustan and Mud Volcanoes
About 6,000 mysterious rock paintings and scripts describing people and animals, and unique, active mud volcanos: That's the historical-artistic reserve, Gobustan – one of the rarest monuments of world culture and one of the first centres of human civilization. This archaeological reserve is a flatland located 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of Baku and provides a cultural view of drawings on rocks covering an area of 537 hectares (1,325 acres). The Gobustan mountains offer a unique perspective into the Stone Age and later inhabitants of the region.