Attractions in Baku

Top 10 Attractions in Baku

The capital city of Azerbaijan, Baku, has blossomed into a sprawling metropolis over recent decades, where the enchanting blend of ancient mystique and stunning modernity coexists in an extraordinary manner. Nestled alongside the futuristic edifices are quarters harking back to medieval times, creating a remarkable contrast. The harbor of Baku Bay, just as it did centuries ago, continues to welcome ships from around the globe.

So, what is Baku famous for?

Every year, thousands of tourists flock to Baku, drawn to the glittering Flame Towers, the thrill of its Ferris wheel, and the intricate designs showcased at the Carpet Museum. Baku and its surroundings are brimming with fascinating spots. We’ve handpicked the top 10 must-see sights in Baku, an array of the most popular and unforgettable attractions in Azerbaijan’s capital, each one an absolute must-visit. From guiding you through the winding streets of the old city to revealing the location of the best panoramic views of Baku, from introducing you to the country's premier cultural hub to suggesting cool retreats for the summer heat, we've got it all covered.

1. Icheri Sheher

The Maiden Tower (Giz Galasi): Attractions in Baku

Icheri Sheher, the historical and cultural heart of Baku, is a fortified complex housing numerous ancient buildings. As the city's oldest attraction, its origins trace back to the 5th century, though the exact date of construction of this 'Baku Acropolis' remains a mystery. Key highlights include the Maiden Tower and the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, both architectural marvels.

  • The Maiden Tower (Giz Galasi), an iconic symbol of Baku, stands tall on a cliff near the coastline. Its origins are shrouded in mystery, predating the advent of Islam in Azerbaijan. Some theorize it was built for sun and fire worship. The tower is wrapped in legends, the most famous of which involves a king's daughter who, to avoid an unwanted marriage, requested a tower be built by the Caspian Sea. Upon its completion, she tragically leaped to her death. The tower, comprising eight levels connected by narrow spiral staircases, houses a museum and a top-tier observation deck with a breathtaking city view.
  • The Palace of the Shirvanshahs is a magnificent complex featuring a palace, tomb, mosque, mausoleum, and baths. Its hewn stone walls are adorned with exquisite ornaments, showcasing elegance and craftsmanship. The stone-carved airy patterns are a testament to artistic mastery.

Beyond these landmarks, Icheri Sheher also includes fortress gates, caravanserais, numerous mosques and mausoleums, a bazaar square, and more. A stroll through these ancient edifices offers a journey back in time to medieval Baku.

2. The Seaside Boulevard (Baku Boulevard)

The Seaside Boulevard (Baku Boulevard): Attractions in Baku

The Seaside Boulevard (Baku Boulevard) is a jewel in the crown of Azerbaijan's capital. Spanning an impressive 6 kilometers, it's among the world's longest seaside promenades. The boulevard boasts a rich array of amenities, including restaurants, cafes, attractions of Baku for all ages, shops, concert venues, and a sports complex, making it a beloved spot for both locals and visitors.

Lined with lush trees and well-maintained greenery, the boulevard is a picture of elegance and order. It's particularly enchanting in the evening when the coastline sparkles with myriad lights. For a bird's-eye view of Baku, visitors can take a spin on the 60-meter Ferris wheel. The boulevard also offers bicycle rentals and the opportunity for boat or yacht excursions on the Caspian Sea. Other notable Baku attractions along the boulevard include the Carpet Museum and Little Venice, as well as the Deniz Mall and Park Bulvar shopping centers.

3. The Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum

The Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum: Attractions in Baku

The Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum, a treasure trove of traditional patterns and ornaments, boasts the country's largest collection of carpets. For centuries, carpet weaving has been a revered craft and a source of national pride in Azerbaijan. The museum itself, an architectural marvel shaped like a giant rolled carpet, has become a modern symbol of Baku.

Home to over 10,000 exhibits, the museum’s collection predominantly features carpets crafted between the 17th and 20th centuries. These pieces represent a diverse array of schools, directions, and styles, all born from the skilled hands of Azerbaijani artisans across centuries. Beyond carpets, the museum’s halls display a variety of items: glasswork, metalwork, woodcrafts, and intricate pieces in gold and silver, alongside traditional clothing and more.

Visitors will also discover the life and work of Latif Kerimov, a renowned carpet designer and a true legend in his field. To cap off your visit, the museum's souvenir shop offers charming trinkets and, for those inclined, carpets to take a piece of Azerbaijani culture home with you.

4. Nagorny Park

Nagorny Park, nestled in the heart of Baku, is a perfect spot for leisurely strolls and family outings. You can reach it via a short cable car ride from the Carpet Museum, offering stunning views of the city’s skyscrapers and the vast Caspian Sea. The park boasts one of Baku's most spectacular viewpoints, Daghlig Garabagh Park, where the city unfolds beneath you as if in the palm of your hand. Dotted with an array of trees and shrubs, and plenty of comfortable benches, it's an oasis of tranquility.

Adjacent to the park, you’ll find the Green Theater, a vast open-air stage, and the distinctively shaped Gulustan Palace, reminiscent of a colossal spaceship. The palace is a hub for festive events and celebrations. Nearby, Martyr’s Lane (Shehid Alley) serves as a poignant reminder of Azerbaijani civilians who lost their lives in 1990 during the Karabakh conflict. For the best experience, visit Daghlig Garabagh Park at sunset on a calm day.

5. The Heydar Aliyev Center

The Heydar Aliyev Center: Attractions in Baku

The Heydar Aliyev Center stands as the country's premier cultural institution, dedicated to preserving and showcasing Azerbaijani heritage from ancient times to the present. Housing five exhibition halls, it displays an array of folk musical instruments, traditional attire, vibrant carpets, jewelry, and other handcrafted items, all representing the diverse beauty of Azerbaijan. The center also features miniature models of 45 significant historical and cultural structures in Azerbaijan, offering a fascinating glimpse into the country's architectural heritage.

Regularly hosting thematic exhibitions, lectures, and seminars on history, architecture, science, and art, the center is also home to a museum dedicated to Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan's third president. Visitors can explore his life and legacy and even see the luxurious retro cars he used. The building itself, a marvel of modern architecture by Zaha Hadid, beautifully complements Baku's cityscape and is a standout attraction in the city center.

6. The Flame Towers

The Flame Towers: Attractions in Baku

The Flame Towers, three towering glass skyscrapers erected in Baku in 2012, have quickly become a signature landmark. Their flame-like shape not only echoes Baku's coat of arms but also subtly resembles the opening of a pomegranate, another emblem of Azerbaijan's fertile land.

By day, the skyscrapers mirror the Baku sky; by night, their LED-screen adorned walls come alive with red and yellow hues, creating an illusion of flickering flames in the heart of the city. Housing the Fairmont Baku hotel, elite apartments, a business center, restaurant, café, and cinema, these skyscrapers stand at heights of 161, 165, and 182 meters, collectively covering an area of 227,000 square meters. Their grandeur is sure to capture your attention and leave a lasting impression in your travel photos.

7. Bibi-Heybat Mosque

Bibi-Heybat Mosque: Attractions in Baku

Bibi-Heybat Mosque is one of the most beautiful mosques of the capital of Azerbaijan, which has an ancient history and a complicated fate. It was originally erected in the XIII century, and the building we see now is an exact copy of the original construction. The mosque stood in Baku for at least seven centuries, but in the 1930s, when the Bolshevik government declared the struggle against any religious movements, the building was blown up. Only 60 years later the mosque was erected again in its original place, becoming a symbol of revival and faith.

Bibi-Heybat Mosque is incredibly beautiful both outside and inside. The building has three huge domes and two minarets. The interiors are decorated with detailed paintings with national patterns and ornaments. The windows are decorated with colorful stained glass, the lancets between the halls are covered with gilding, and all the floors are covered with carpets. In addition, inside you will find a beautiful carved tomb of Uqeima Khanum, the daughter of the seventh Shiite Imam Musa al-Kazim, who was a follower of the Prophet Muhammad.

8. Fountains Square

Fountains Square: Attractions in Baku

Fountains Square is an original public space filled with fountains of different shapes, unusual sculptures and art objects. On the perimeter it is built up with nice buildings of XIX and XX centuries. It is pleasant to stroll around the square and the streets nearby, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of quiet, measured rest. Around the fountain square there are cafes and restaurants where you can always have a hearty snack or a cup of coffee. People stroll casually, take photos, relax on benches or take children on carousels. Absolute idyll in the heart of the bustling Azerbaijani capital. In the evening, the fountains and buildings around the perimeter of the square are illuminated, which makes the space even more cozy. Often you can listen to live music here, and chess connoisseurs can play this game with huge pieces.

During the New Year period the whole square is lit up with bright lights, and between the fountains there are fairgrounds where you can buy souvenirs and drink hot chocolate.

9. Little Venice

Little Venice: Attractions in Baku

Little Venice is another interesting zone in the center of Baku, where you can spend a pleasant time. The space is a network of small water canals, on which you can take a gondola ride, enjoying the stunning views of the surrounding area. It's always green in the warm season, and the canals offer great views of the Carpet Museum and the Flaming Towers. On a boat ride, you'll pass under neat arched bridges that add to the place's resemblance to Italy's Venice.

On the banks of the green islets scattered between the canals are restaurants with an impressive selection of food. Tender dumplings dusbara, lavangi - fish stuffed with fragrant herbs, and succulent lamb steaks can be enjoyed here. Besides, there is a teahouse in Little Venice where you can drink strong Azerbaijani tea with sweet baklava.

In the evening and night time colored lighting completely transforms this place and gives it a truly fabulous look. Little Venice is a real oasis in the middle of the hot summer heat on the embankment. In the cold season this attraction of Baku is no less beautiful. Walking along the canals of Little Venice is a great idea for a romantic date or a serene family vacation.

10. Ismailia Palace (Ismailiyya)

Ismailia Palace (Ismailiyya), an incredibly beautiful building, completes our top 10 best attractions in Baku. This architectural masterpiece, erected in the early 20th century, was built in memory of the son of Azerbaijani oil producer Musa Nagiyev, Ismail, who died of tuberculosis at a young age. Nagiyev turned to the famous Polish architect Joseph Ploszko for help and sent him to Italy to choose a suitable style for the future masterpiece. Preparation of the project took the master 3 years. The building was built in the Venetian Gothic style with high lancet windows, carved ornamentation, stucco and narrow turrets on the roof. Currently, the building houses the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan.

Museum of Miniature Books: Attractions in Baku

Beyond the top 10 attractions of Baku, there's a wealth of other noteworthy sites to explore in the Azerbaijani capital. For a unique experience, consider a visit to the Museum of Miniature Books, showcasing an intriguing collection of tiny-sized book rarities. Cultural enthusiasts can enjoy a concert at the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall or witness a performance at the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater. Another must-visit is the Heydar Mosque, one of the largest in the Caucasus.

Baku attractions extend beyond the city itself, with the surrounding areas equally rich in fascinating sites. Venture to the perpetually aflame Yanardag Mountain, or delve into the ancient past at the Ateshgah temple, a historic site of fire worship. The rock carvings of early humans in Gobustan are a window into prehistoric life, while the Archeological-Ethnographic Museum Complex Gala offers an immersive experience as an ethnographic open-air museum. Baku is a city of many gems, and Advantour is ready to guide you through these Eastern treasures.