Baku Old City Tour
Today, we begin our discovery of the city of Baku, enjoying a sightseeing tour of Baku’s most absorbing sights. We’ll visit to the city’s main monumental, historical and architectural attractions before climbing to the city’s highest point at Upland Park for an impressive panorama of the Azeri capital and its bay. From there we’ll descend to the old city, known locally as Icheri sheher. This was all there was of Baku until the mid-19th century when, as a result of the oil boom, a growth spurt caused the city to spill beyond its defensive walls.
Azerbaijan has many historical and cultural monuments that have also been included in the World Heritage UNESCO. The old town is at the top of this list with structures like the Maiden Tower the highest museum complex in inner settlement with a cult legend is considered and the largest Shirvanshahs' Palace.
Most of the buildings here on the territory of the city of 22 hectares of total area belong to the 11th century AD.
At all times, this country has been located at an excellent geographical point connecting the trade routes of Europe and Asia. So since the millenniums of the Great Silk Road, caravanserais were built here, which served as a place for merchants to stay overnight.
Today, just 1300 families call Icheri sheher, this city within a city, home. It’s a delightful place to take an evening stroll through the maze of streets to the gathering place of Fountains Square. There are also plenty of opportunities for shopping, should you wish.
The thousand-year history of Azerbaijan let us know that here at different times people worshiped different religions. Among them were religions like paganism, Judaism, Christianity as well as Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism is a religion based on fire worship. Fire worship originated in the first millennium BC, and according to some sources, Zoroaster, who was the main prophet of fire worship, came from Azerbaijan. Also, as in many mature religions, Zoroastrianism has the concept of good and evil, and good always overcomes evil. The god of right deeds, goodness and justice was called Ahura Mazda. And the god of anger, evil and bad deeds was called Ahriman. Naturally, there were many more followers of Ahura Mazda than the god of evil, so good always defeats evil and the followers of good and faithful deeds will find eternal life and happiness in the next world.
The holy book of fire worshipers is the Avesta. There are several temples of Zoroastrianism on the territory of Azerbaijan. The largest sanctuary is the temple of fire worshipers "Ateshgah" in the village of Surakhani in Baku. The very name "Ateshgah" means a house of fire or a place of fire. The temple was built in the 18th century, but it was in this place that there was already a place of belief in fire worship.
At the moment, the temple is used as a museum complex and is visited daily by thousands of tourists from all over the world.
At a distance of 70 kilometers from the center of Baku, there is a real historical and archaeological treasure of the country, which is called Gobustan. The name "Gobustan" means "valley of ravines" or "land of ravines", since "Gobu" means a ravine, a depression, and "stan" is a land or a country.
Gobustan National Park is world famous for its rock paintings.
More than 40 thousand years BC, the ancient people, who were looking for shelter, stopped here, forming tribes. This is not strange, because it was on the Caspian coast in this valley of ravines that they had everything to ensure life.
The first archaeological excavations in Gobustan began in 1939 by the Azerbaijani archaeologist Iskhak Jafarzade. He studied the territory with a total area of 537 hectares, where in the mountains of Gobustan called Boyukdash, Kichikdash, Jingyldag, Shikhgaya and Shongardag, he discovered 3500 rock paintings, sites of an ancient man, many tombstones and even several mounds. In 1948, an inscription in Latin was found, which confirms the presence of one of the Roman legions in the territory of Gobustan, and there is also an inscription in Persian dating back to the 14th century.
In total, about 6000 rock paintings were found in Gobustan, which archaeologists call "petroglyphs".
In 2007 National Park was included in the UNESCO World Heritages.
This is one of the most popular places for lovers of history and archeology
27 kilometers from the central streets of Baku in the settlement of Mehemmedi there is a limestone mountain on the slope of which a hot gaseous medium flares up. This eternal flame includes Yanardag, which means fiery mountain. Scientists have determined that the eternal fire is about 5000 years old and it was he who served as a source of inspiration for fire worshipers in Azerbaijan. The fiery mountain was formed during a thunderstorm when lightning struck the trees near the mountainside and the flames flared up due to a leak of fuel supply gas. Azerbaijan has a large number of sources of gas in the form of a flame. Not for nothing is Azerbaijan called the “land of fires”
Many travelers reported about the eternal flame in their notes, books, and among them also the famous Italian Marco Polo.
At the moment, this place is used as a museum complex and its fame is growing day by day.