Journey around the sights of Baku
A favorite resting place of the Baku residents and capital guests is Primorsky boulevard (seafront), stretching for a long way along the seashore. The boulevard is picturesquely planted with chestnut, plane trees, and palms. The boulevard abounds with modern cafés and restaurants, cinema theatres and fountains. From there, you will be taken by cable-railway to Nagorny Park, which commands a breathtaking panorama of the city. From the boulevard you can also make a real sea-voyage by pleasure-boat along the Baku Bay. During such boat tour a guide will put up the tourists with interesting facts and legends from the Caspian Sea history.
As far as the historical part of the city concerns it is located in another part of the capital and is called the “Baku Acropolis”. Its other name is Icheri Shekher (literally “Inner Town”). In actual fact it is a historical and architectural reserve. The Icheri Shekher is often referred as a fortress, because this island of history is separated from the modern city by thick walls.
The Old Town territory includes the Palace of the Shirvanshahs (the XV century), Synyk kala minaret (the XI century), Maiden Tower (the VII - XI), “ Baiyl Stones” (the XIII century), Seyid Yahya Bakuvi mausoleum, caravanserais – the Multani (the ХV century), Bukharian caravanserai (the ХV century), Mollahana (the ХIII century), numerous mosques – Muhammad ibn Abu-Bakr, Mirza Akmad ( 1345), Molla Ahmad (the ХIV century), Juma ( the ХV-ХХ centuries), Lezgi (1169), mosque-madrassahs (1646-47), bath-houses (the XV-XIX centuries), hypermarket (the ХVI-ХVII centuries), Baku Khans’ House (the ХVIII century) and also numerous rich residences of the ХIХ century. All the edifices are graceful and decorated with ingenious ornaments and patterns. Holy Myrrh Bearers Cathedral of Russian Orthodox Church, picturesque Iranian district and a quay (one of the beautiful places in the world) are also of great interest.
The majority of large monuments are located in the Icheri-Sheher Fortress. It includes over 10 mosques built in different time, beginning from 1078 (the year, when the city’s first building was erected), the Muhammad Mosque and several madrassahs. An integral part of the city included Bukhara caravanserai, Khan caravanserai (the ХV century), Multani caravanserai (the ХV century), Gasim bay, and also Bazaar Square market place. Everybody, who wishes, may have a look at the Portal of Residential or Khan House, to feel a medieval environment. The presence of bath-houses (hamam) was canonical in Azerbaijan. Icherishkher features the Haji Gayib’s Bathhouse, Aga Mikayil Bathhouse, Gasim bay Bathhouse.
There also shines the largest monument of antiquity – Shirvan Dynasty Palace – being a part of the architectural complex which in addition to the palace itself also comprises a divanhane (a meeting place for foreign ambassadors), the palace mosque with a minaret, Mausoleum of Seyid Yahya Bakuvi, Shirvanshahs burial-vault , eastern portal and bath-house.
All this architectural splendor of Icherisher is crowned by the famous Maiden Tower (Giz Galasi). It is one of the world’s largest Zoroastrian temples: 28-m, 8-floor beautiful tower able to harbor over 200 people, overlooks in the south-eastern part of the fortress. The scientists are still unable to date the real age of this “beauty”. One thing is known, that as early as the ХIII century it served as the main city’s fortification, and in 1858 it lit beacon light for the vessels. “Maiden” means “unconquerable”, “inaccessible”. The local people tell the legend on the tower. “A Shah fell in love with his own daughter and decided to marry her. His daughter, getting frightened from the marriage to come, decided to dissuade him, asking to build a tower, in a hope that her father would come to sense in the long run of construction. But the Shah did not change his mind. Then the girl climbed the Tower and defenestrated to the sea”.
There are many small cozy shops and cafés in Icheri Sheher where it is possible to buy souvenirs and even hand-made carpets and have tasty freshly brewed coffee.