The Old Town, Baku
The Old Town, with the Flame Towers in the background
After walking around and admiring all the very futuristic architecture of Baku, you soon stumble across the Old Town, the old historical core of the city.
The Old Town Baku, or to give it it’s proper Azeri name, Icheri Sheher, is the oldest historical centre of Baku dating from the 12th Century. It’s surrounded by a turreted wall that’s been beautifully restored, and the tiny inner roads are car free, so it’s really nice to wander round the winding streets without being bothered by cars.
In December 2000, the Old City of Baku, including the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower, became the first location in Azerbaijan to be classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Wandering the streets of the Old Town
The Flame Towers are always visible from the Old Town
Inside the City Walls you will still find authentic businesses as they were originally run, such as this old Hamman (bath-house)….
An Old Authentic Hammam
and this butcher’s shop outside…..notice the carcass at the feet of the old woman…!
Butcher with leg hanging and carcass in the background on the floor….!
and there’s the Azerbaijani Arm Wrestling Federation HQ…..
Azerbaijani Arm Wrestling HQ
And there’s always the obligatory carpet and light shop……
Light and Carpet Shop
The Old Town
The two main historical sites in the Old Town are The Maiden’s Tower and the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, and you’ll come across these as you wander round.
Signposts in the Old Town
The Maiden’s Tower, also known as Giz Galasi, was built in the 12th century as part of the walled city. There is a museum inside the Tower which costs 2 Manats which is around £1.20. You can go up the spiral staircase to the top to have an amazing 360 view of the whole of Baku.
The Maiden’s Tower
View of the Old Town and Flame Towers from the Maiden’s Tower
The Palace of the Shirvanshahs is situated in the Inner City of Baku and contains the main building of the Shah’s palace, Divanhane, the burial-vaults, the Shah’s mosque with a minaret, Seyid Yahya Bakuvi’s mausoleum, Murad’s gate, and the remnants of the bath-house. It costs 2 Manats to enter the Palace which is around £1.20. There’s a lovely illuminated model of the Old Town inside the Palace which shows in detail the little roads and main buildings of the Old Town.
Sirvanshah’s Palace with Minaret
An illuminated Model of the Old Town
Here’s a link to Part 1 of my visit to Baku – Baku to the Future!
TIPS FOR VISITING THE OLD TOWN:
To get to the Old Town by Metro, take the red line and get off at Icheri Sheher metro station.