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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Manatı and Qəpik

Manatı, Bakı

If you need to pay at Azerbaijan you’ll have to use the Azərbaycan Manatı (AZN, ₼). The currency symbol is like the Euro sign but rotated 90 degrees to the right and that is not the only connection to the Euro: the Manatı notes and coins might look familiar to Europeans as they’ve been designed by the same currency designer, Robert Kalina. The Manatı is divided into 100 Qəpik and all available coins are Qəpik, the smallest note is one Manatı.

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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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Airport Express, Bakı

Do you want to travel through Bakı using public transport? Then you’ll can’t get around the BakıKart, a rechargeable plastic card that you can use on buses, the metro and the Airport Express bus oscillating between the city center and the airport. It can be received from vending machines primarily at the airport and in metro stations. There you can also add money to your card; afterwards you only need to put it on entrance gates in the metro or readers in buses.

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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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