Baku, Azerbaijan

Location: Baku, Azerbaijan
Dates: May 27-31, 2014

Baku viewed from the Marriott Hotel, with the Government House at right, Hilton at center, and Flame Towers in the background.

I visited Baku, Azerbaijan in late May 2014 to attend the World Forum of Young Scientists, a conference organized and sponsored by the Azerbaijan Ministry of Youth and Sports. I arrived at the airport around 2:00 am via a flight from Istanbul and made my way to the Marriott Hotel by bus through the mostly empty city streets (traffic in the city was terrible the rest of the trip). The hotel was great and situated along the Caspian Sea across from Government House and a park along the coast in downtown Baku.

View from the top of the Marriott

The following morning the conference began at the National Academy of Sciences with the opening ceremony. We then visited the gravesite and memorial to Heydar Aliyev, the former president who led the country during and after Soviet rule, followed by Martyrs' Lane, a memorial and cemetery for those killed in various conflicts. From the Martyrs' Lane there were great views of the city, sea, and nearby Flame Towers. That evening there was dinner and performances by local musicians at Buta Palace, one of the country's premiere performing arts venues.

Mosque at Martyrs' Lane

Flame Towers and Martyrs' Lane

Caspian Sea, Baku, and the view from Martyrs' Lane

The second day of the conference was spent entirely at the hotel with dinner at a restaurant called Mona Lisa, but each night I did explore the city around the hotel. One my third day in Baku, we went back to the National Academy of Sciences and then had a tour of the Old City, which was the historical core of the city. The tour started at the Maiden Tower, which is a 100-foot tall tower built in the 12th century. You can walk through the tower up the narrow staircases to the top where there are 360-degree views of the surrounding city. After walking around the Old City for a couple hours as our guide told us about other sites, we ended on the west side of the Old City at the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and a museum.

Maiden Tower

Old City

On my last day in Azerbaijan, I went on a day trip to Qabala, which you can read about here.

Near the Palace of the Shirvanshahs 

Baku and the Caspian Sea at night

View of Baku from the top of the Maiden Tower

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.


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