On the late afternoon before my departure flight, I decided to check out the area near the metro station Koroglu, as this was said to be the place from where buses and taxis have the shortest route to the airport.
When I came out of the metro station I was really surprised about the newly refurbished area across the Heydar Aliyev Avenue. On a small hill there was a park with a fountain and several benaches. I later found out that the fountain can be beautifully illuminated by night. The park was inaugurated by president Ilham Aliyev in December 2011.
Here I got in contact with a young couple sitting on one of the benches. They were quite happy to speak to me in English, while I tried my basic Russian. They explained me some things about the area and we took a selfie all together.
The whole area seems to be one of the main venues for the 1st European Games in 2015. From the fountain I could see the brand new National Gymnastic Arena, the construction site of the National Stadium and the Athelete's Village.
As it was my last day in Baku I unfortunately did not have enough time to check all these buildings out in detail, but if I ever return to Baku I would definitely go here again.
The Flame Fountain, the National Stadium, the National Gymnastics Arena and the Athlete's Village are located in an area just around the metro Station "Koroglu".
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Books - the size of your fingernails
I had a VT-er friend visiting from the US recently and he told me I must put this tip on VT. So here it is – there is a Museum of Miniature Books in the Old Town in Baku. The founder is Zarifa Salahova and all of the books belong to her personal collection. 3,700 miniature books are displayed in the museum and about 1,500 books are at her home. Books are in different languages, published in different parts of the world. The smallest book in the world, also displayed here, is 3.5 mm by 3.5 and made in Japan. You can open it with tweezers and read it with a magnifying glass. The museum is full of really interesting and tiny little books and the girl sitting at the registration desk offers a tour in Azeri, Russian and English languages. The entrance is free but you can leave some donation in the small box when upon exit.
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You cant swim in Hazar sea in other words Xazar Lake in Baku and if you want to enjoy the sea or the lake you have to go a little to north
Mardakan's beach (Sahil beach) is on of the best in the Apsheron peninsula.
Luxury accomodation is available at the "Khazar Golden Beach Hotel & Resort ", a Caribbean style resort built right at Sahil beach. A cash machine is available Yesenin street (International Bank of Azerbaijan).
East of Mardakan is the small coastal island of Pirallakhi, with the small setlement of Artyom. Further east is Chilov island.
(25 km north-east of Baku)
Since the times of the legendary Silk Rout, Baku has always been an international city being a major stop over for the travelers on their journey to and from China. So it is not surprising that this city has an overabundance of cuisine choice to satisfy the most sophisticated and the most basic of tastes.
Traditional Azerbaijani cuisine can be described as an intriguing mixture of Turkish, Iranian, Central Asian and even Indian influences. Food is an important part of the Azerbaijani culture.
One of the favorite of visitors in Baku is a traditional Azeri restaurant (Karvan sara) in the heart of the old city where you can sit in the open-air courtyard and enjoy all kinds of kebabs with fabulous fresh and tasty Azerbaijani vegetables and lavash (warm bread).
Food shopping in Azerbaijani bazaars is worth and fun. Goods range from extremely fresh and organically grown products and a taste of the country’s culture at the same time. There is always a beautifully displayed selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, which varies according to season. Fish comes out of the Caspian, from the country rivers or frozen from Dubai or anywhere.
Exploring Taza Bazaar
Baku shows a European facade on Nizami Kuchasi, but the Taza Bazaar is distinctly Central Asian. The entrance to the bazaar is located about a block south of the "Blue" Mosque on Vurgun.
Walk past the shops near the entrance selling hardware to get to the heart of the bazaar. Particularily good buys include:
Pommegranate and Honey flower jams. Azeris consume coupius amounts with tea. A bottle should cost 1/2 Shirvan, so bargain.
Most foreigners come to the bazaar to buy fresh beluga. The fresh beluga is sold in 113g glasses and you should not pay more than 10 Shirvan a glass, especially during the summer. The fresh caviar, despite my religious attempts at refrigerating it, does not keep for over two weeks. Recommend you consume fairly quickly.
The famous region for tea is Lankaran, near the border with Iran. The quality varies, from extremely tannic (staining your teacups) to fairly mild. If you want to buy in bulk, the bazaar is the best place to do it. They sell tea in 1kg bags. If you want smaller samples, stick to the local Beta brand tea. Going price, about about 4 Shirvan/kg.
ps: 1 Shirvan is 10,000Manat. Locals refer to the note as the "Shirvan" as it depicts the Shirvan Shah's palace in the Old City. 1 Shirvan is approx: US$1.90
Opposite the circus is Baku's main market, the fascinating Taza Bazari. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but don't be put off...dig deep and you'll come across stalls piled high with spices and nuts, stallholders modelling the latest in Azeri headgear, and calls from the shadows to taste illicit caviar fresh from the Caspian. It is quite a walk from the old town, but worth the detour.
Not really a tourist site, but worth visiting if you are at all interested in Azerbaijani modern history, Martyrs' Lane is a cemetary primarily for those who died under Moscow's tanks at the time of Azeri independence in 1991, and now includes many soldiers who have died in the on-going war with Armenia over the region of Nagorno-Karabagh. When I went, the place was eerily quiet, but it certainly is a beautiful location for a cemetary, on top of a hill overlooking the Bay of Baki.
donkey repair centre
On the track to Lahic you'll find roadside places to get those essential repairs done that will arise from the rough terrain.
A quiet street in an old part of Baku
This was the most interesting part of Baku, because there were a lot of historic sights (e.g. Caravan Seraij which was one of the end points of Silk Trail from China).
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With car it takes approx 1,5 hours to drive to Gobustan. The landscape is really fascinating specially the oil fields that is close to the country.
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