Bürgergrotte, Niedeck

Gottfried August Bürger was a German poet who first studied law at the university of Göttingen. There his attention turned away fast from jurisprudence to literature and he became a writer. His most famous work is called Lenore and received attention even beyond German borders. Today the large street around the city center of Göttingen is named Bürgerstraße after him and a bust of him is standing next to. Probably most inhabitants believe that the street is named after themselves (Bürger means citizen in German).

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Xalça Muzeyi

Carpet museum, Bakı

Carpet making has a long tradition at Azerbaijan. There are different schools for that and every region has its unique style. To remember that and to built a bridge between the traditional and the new Azerbaijan the new carpet museum (Xalça Muzeyi) has been opened at Bakı in 2014 directly at the shore of the Caspian sea. The architecture of the museum is special as it copies the shape of a rolled-up carpet (or a jelly roll) – a nice idea, but it seems to make presenting the collection of carpets and rugs a bit uneasy.

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National art museum

Museum of Fine Arts, თბილისი

A fantastic collection of art can be found southeast of the  İçəri Şəhər of Bakı: the Azərbaycan Milli İncəsənət Muzeyi (national art museum). It was founded in 1936 and contains 17,000 items of which 3,000 are on display in two buildings dating back to the first oil boom in Azerbaijan. And that is already the most important thing you need to know: the museum consists of two buildings that are connected and which you both need to see.

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Heydər Əliyev Mərkəzi

Heydər Əliyev Merkezi, Bakı

The most impressive modern building at Bakı is the Heydər Əliyev Mərkəzi: a cultural center built until 2012 and named after the former president Heydər Əliyev (reigning from 1993 to 2003). It was designed by star-architect Zaha Hadid and opened by president İlham Əliyev, the son of Heydər Əliyev. It looks like a giant sculpture without right angles and flat surfaces. The cultural center includes the national museum, exhibition and concert halls as well as a library.

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Flame Towers

Dağüstü, Bakı

The modern icon of Bakı has been built between 2007 and 2013 on a hill close to the old city center. The three Flame Towers are between 160 and 182 meters high and copy the structure of – surprise: flames. In daytime they’re just strangely shaped skyscrapers dominating the skyline. After sundown they become screens that show three things continuously rotating: the Azerbaijan flag, people weaving the Azerbaijan flag and most impressive, huge flames.

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İçəri Şəhər

Bakı, the capital city of Azerbaijan, has in most parts a very modern face: mostly the money gained by SOCAR (the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic) which owns all oil and gas resources of the country has driven the development of high skyscrapers and special architectures often created by international architects. And that is nothing new: it started with the first drilling for oil in 1846. The Nobel family (today known for the science and peace prizes of Oslo) came to Bakı and founded the Nobel Brothers Petroleum Producing Company.

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Palace of the Shirvanshahs, Bakı

The palace of the Shirvanshah at the historic city center (İçəri Şəhər) of Bakı is the perfect place to re-enact the folktales of One Thousand and One Night. It is a wonderful palace on a hill with strong fortifications, Arabic decorations, a garden, the mausoleum, a mosque and the beautiful Murad gate. Very good reasons for a visit and for including it into the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the year 200.

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Qız Qalası

Qız Qalası, Bakı

One of the places often visited first at Bakı is the Maiden’s tower or Qız Qalası. It is part of the fortifications of the old city center İçəri Şəhər and together with it a UNESCO World Heritage site. The foundation of the tower seems to date back to the 5th century CE, it is nearly 30 meters high and the walls are five meters thick. The top has been rebuilt several times as it was the place where cannons were stationed to protect the harbor.

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Heydər Əliyev adına beynəlxalq hava limanı

Airport, თბილისი

The international airport of Bakı (GYD, Azerbaijan) has two terminals (an old a new one) and is located 15 kilometers northeast of the city center. It was opened in 1980, has two runways and is operated by the state-owned airline Azal. I arrived with Azal from თბილისი and landed at terminal 2 which is rather small: just go through passport control, pick your bag, pass the toll control and your done. You still have the chance to exchange or withdraw some money, but there around much other facilities at the terminal.

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Night view from Mtatsminda, თბილისი

The highest mountain of თბილისი is easy to spot: on top of the holy mountain (Mtatsminda) the TV tower with its special shape is located and it is illuminated at night. The 750 meters high mountain is holy because Davit came to Georgia in the 6th century CE to teach Christianity to the Georgians. He was living in a cave within the Mtatsminda and often went to the city to preach. Later the inhabitants turned against him and went to the David Gareji monastery until the end of his life.

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