Most of the walls surrounding the old town survive, as they were strengthened after the Russian conquest in 1806.
Much of the area enclosed by these walls is closed to vehicles, with some exceptions of course - some foreign oil companies have installed offices inside.
A walk through the narrow streets from the Maiden’s Tower towards the Icari Sahar revealed a real sense of the old Islamic centre of Baku – mosques and minarets, Arabic architecture, carpets, exotic flavours in small shadowed gardens. Shop tenants chatting over tea or playing domino in the sun, fat lazy cats in doorsteps.
The winds of change were slightly blowing though - sleepy policemen or bodyguards here and there, watching over renovated imposing residences with 4WD Porches parked in front, high fences assorted with video cameras, sounds of construction and renovation works.