Mar 08 2008

Azerbaijan: The nicer side of Baku

by in Azerbaijan, Eastern Europe & the Caucasus

Poor Baku just can’t get a break. It’s like the Houston of the Caucasus. Forbes magazine recently listed it as the dirtiest city in the world, which is quite a blow to their long shot aspirations of hosting the 2016 summer Olympics:

Unless you’re in the oil business, there’s little reason to brave the choking pollution of Baku, Azerbaijan. Fetid water, oil ponds and life-threatening levels of air pollution emitted from drilling and shipping land the former Soviet manufacturing center at the bottom of this year’s list as the world’s dirtiest city.

On the contrary, I found Baku an interesting city to visit. It’s not all leaking pipelines and fetid pools of oil (but yes, there is plenty of that to see).

view of Old Town Baku from Maiden Tower

This is a view of Old Town Baku from the top of the Maiden Tower. Besides a large population of carpet salesmen, the Old Town consists of the aforementioned Maiden Tower (12th century), the Palace of the Shirvanshahs (15th century), and beautiful, narrow streets that would rival those in Dubrovnik. In 2000, the Walled City of Baku, the Maiden Tower, and the Palace of the Shirvanshahs were deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If this doesn’t quite win you over, you could always visit the gigantic Dubai like “Death Star” hotel they are building on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The beach, as shown in the artistic rendering of the hotel (complete with tiki torches and beachside dining), sure does look tempting.

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4 Responses to Azerbaijan: The nicer side of Baku

  1. From Ayten Giyasova:

    Thank you for this. I hope you dont mind I have posted your article on my blog on Sheki (city in Azerbaijan)

    Posted on March 13, 2008 at 1:45 am #
  2. From Kelly:

    My husband may have a job offer in Baku and i am doing research as we have a 16 month old. I have heard nothing but lovely things about Baku AND bad things about the pollution.
    Any chance you can give me a little perspective? I am all for moving and experiencing new cultures and places but i do not want to move to a city where the pollution is so bad that it could affect my son’s health.

    Thank you so much for your time

    Posted on October 25, 2011 at 8:01 am #
  3. From Sarah:

    no kelly Baku isn’t very polluted city. You can live there. And you will see that azerbaijanians are very good peoples

    Posted on October 28, 2011 at 10:00 am #
  4. From swtravelAzerbaijan:

    Thanks for this! For more up-to-date information on the city check out our blog:

    Posted on August 21, 2013 at 5:00 am #
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