Baku’s Extraordinary Ancient and Modern Architecture

Baku’s Extraordinary Ancient and Modern Architecture

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Perhaps Baku is not in the list of most visited travel destinations, and in fact, not many travellers have first hand knowledge of the Azerbaijani capital. However, thanks to its eclectic mix of Russian, Turkish, and Azeri cultures, the city does not leave its visitors indifferent.

In particular, architecture enthusiasts find this city simply stunning, as there is a large collection of the most diverse architectural styles on show, and surprises continuously pop around the corners. The local architecture can be divided into four styles, which roughly correspond with the main historical periods that Azerbaijan went through. To gain a bird’s eye view of this unique city, nothing better than booking your stay at one of the best hotels in Baku, the Park Hyatt Baku. From the top of this modern 5-star building you will be able to enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of one of central Asia’s most intriguing cities and of some of the city’s most representative landmarks, including those listed below.

Islamic and medieval architecture

The Azerbaijani capital was founded approximately 2,500 years ago. Some of the city’s oldest architecture reflects the Islamic rule, and the Old City is a must-see in this respect. Dozens of well preserved buildings display their imposing minarets, fountains, calligraphic decorative elements, and traditional geometric patterns.

Maidens Tower, Baku

The Old City is also one of the finest examples of medieval architecture of this part of the world, and it was the first site to receive a UNESCO World Heritage recognition in the country. The walls of the city began to be built in the 11th century and have been preserved almost in their entirety. Today, the Old City walled perimeter encircles key tourist attractions, like the Maiden Tower, the Sirvanshahs Palace, and several medieval bathhouses and caravanserais (the ancient equivalent of roadside inns), which still represent an oasis of peace thanks to their pleasant courtyards and their regal interiors.

Classical achitecture

A new architectural style emerged in the city at the end of the 19th century. As oil was discovered in the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan’s capital began to attract entrepreneurs and business people from Western Europe, which brought into the city not only their money but also their architectural preferences. The buildings that date from this era are a clear example of classical architecture. This is the case of the State Academic Drama Theatre and the Rashid Behbudov State Song Theatre, both of which have grand facades flanked by Greek columns. The buildings that surround Fountains Square are beautiful examples of neoclassicism, especially those around Torgovaya Street.

Baku İcherisheher metro station

Soviet architecture

The country’s long-standing ties with the Russian empire are also evident in the capital’s architecture. Under Soviet rule, the city planners built a number of public structures that are very representative of Stalinist architecture. The Government House, the Heydar Aliyev Palace, the National Assembly, and the central train station are all grandiose buildings that display the well-known mix of styles that characterises Soviet architecture.

Modern architecture

Baku is home to some impressive futuristic-looking architecture. At 620-feet tall, the Flame Towers are set to become one of the city’s icons, as it can be seen from these pictures http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=875700.

Within the next couple of years, two more ultramodern buildings will be built: the Olympic Stadium and the Socar Tower, which will be the largest and the tallest buildings of their kind in the whole Caucasus region. Other interesting architectural projects currently under construction can be found at this link http://www.visions.az/baku,343/