The cultural city of Baku, capital of Azerbaijan and largest city in the Caucasus area, lies just off shore of the Caspian Sea and is truly a captivating destination. Baku is the centre of a thriving oil and gas industry, but it is also known for its mesmerizing architecture, which makes it definitely worth exploring. Only a few cities around the world have vastly changed over the years as quickly as Baku.
The urbanism and architecture of Baku was heavily influenced by the planning designs of the Soviet Union. Since its independence in 1991, Azerbaijan’s infrastructure has been heavily modernized and developed leaving its legacy as part of the Soviet Union far behind. With its modern futuristic designs combined with beautiful ancient Azerbaijan architecture that formed within a rich culture, Baku’s beautiful buildings are truly a stunning sight. Here’s a list of the most iconic landmarks in Baku.
Heydar Aliyev Centre
The Heydar Aliyev Centre was built in 2012 by acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid. It is distinctively known for its flowing and curved style with no sharp angles. The centre is a 619,000-square-foot building complex that is magnificent. The stunning glass-front structure houses an auditorium, a gallery hall, and a museum that hosts both temporary and permanent exhibitions.
The Maiden Tower is the main landmark of Baku, representing an important symbol of the city and of Azerbaijan. Built in the 12th century looking out to sea from the southern edge of Baku’s walled Old City, the Icheri Sheher, it provides an amazing spacious view from the top featuring Baku’s full beauty. This iconic and majestic building is quite a mystery to locals, as nobody knows the exact date it was built or for what purpose.
Palace of Shirvan Shahs
As the biggest monument of the Shirvan-Absheron branch of Azerbaijan architecture, within the walls of Baku’s Old City, this palace is quite remarkable. It is the perfect example of medieval architecture in Azerbaijan, dating back to the 15th century. The Palace is over the highest hill of the inner city, combining residential structures, mosques, and mausoleums. With its intricate designs and massive beautiful domes, it is definitely a masterpiece.
Azerbaijan Carpet Museum
This museum is one of the most unique institutions available, with the richest collections of Azerbaijan carpets in the world. There are various works of applied art and impressive colourful works by modern weavers and craftsmen. If that is not enough to get you to visit the museum, the exterior of the building shaped like a giant carpet is not to be missed
The Flame Towers are the tallest skyscrapers in Baku with a height of 190 meters. They are located within the heart of Baku creating a breath-taking skyline for the iconic city. With a fascinating design which comprises a trio of buildings forming the shape of a vast fire, try to look upon them from Baku’s downtown seafront or the Old City and you won’t be disappointed. Fairmont Baku Hotel is within one of the three Flame Towers, an award-winning hotel, while the other two are residential and office buildings.