Baku

Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan.

Understand

Baku, also known as Baky or Bakı, is the largest city in the Caucasus and the capital of Azerbaijan. Baku is on the coast of the Caspian Sea on the southern tip of the Absheron Peninsula. There are three major divisions in Baku: İçəri Şəhər (the ancient city), the Soviet built city, and the newest part of the city. The population as of January 2003 was 2,074,300.

The city of Baku is located on the hot and dusty Absheron peninsula. The center of Baku is a patch of green in a largely brown area because of the many liters of water that is piped to the city every day. The city has a metro, a well developed bus and mini bus network, and a large area for walking including the Inner Walled City, The Boluvar, and Fountain Square.

Reading the book Ali and Nino is a good way to get into the mood.

Climate

A curious fact about Baku is that its average year-round temperature (14.2°C/57.6°F) matches the average temperature of the entire landmass of the earth to within a tenth of degree. Summers are hot and humid, winters cool, wet and breezy. However, seasonal temperature variations are less than in many continental regions at this latitude (about 40 degrees north) owing to the presence of the Caspian Sea.

Get in

By plane

Getting From/To Airport

Bus N16 runs between the airport and Samed Vurgun Park, in the heart of Baku. The trip costs 1AZN and takes approximately 40–60 min. Service runs every 30 minutes beginning from early in the morning until late night. The bus leaves outside the airport building, across the parking area. The service terminates at   Samed Vurgun's Park, on the 28 May Street. .

Minibus 135 runs between the airport traffic circle (15-min walk from the airport) and the 28 May Metro Station. The journey takes an hour and costs 0.40AZN.

Taxi: Getting a smooth ride from the airport to town can be a hassle. The lowest price you can get for a taxi to the center should be around 15 Manat (old Lada, unmarked taxi). Be aware that there is one single taxi company that is allowed to officially do business at the airport. This monopoly drives up the price to nearly 50 Manat and many times it leaves you with no other options, especially when arriving at late hours. Police occasionally force out all cab drivers trying to do business on the fringes of the airport, leaving you stuck with a high fare. Taxis don't have meters so you must negotiate in advance. If you are not finding a reasonable price, go out of the airport, past the taxi stand, and ask the cabbies in the far end of the parking lot. Be cautious since the majority of Baku cabs are unmarked. Don't let the cab driver renegotiate the price with you. It is a common trick to ask for much more on arrival to your destination. You are not obligated to pay what they demand. For 5 Manat you can take a cab from the airport to Metro Azizbeyov. From there it's four to six stations to the city center - but only from 6AM until midnight.

Baku railway station

By train

By bus

By minibus

Minbuses operate between Baku and Sheki (6 hr), Lankaran (5 hr), Xachmaz (3 hr), Saatli (5 hr), and Imishli (4 hr).

Baku International Sea Port

By ferry

Get around

Map of the Baku Metro

By car

By taxi

Taxi in Baku

London taxi cabs have been recently introduced in Baku, and travel fees are 0.70AZN per km.A taxi costs 4-10AZN for trips within the center of Baku. It's important to agree on the price of the fare before beginning the trip or you can expect to be asked to pay far more than you should.

By bike

Baku is a great town to get around in by bicycle. Except for the up-town, the city, including old town (İçəri Şəhər) and down-town is fairly flat, and though there are some streets that are dangerous to ride, there is almost always a safe, fast route to your destination.

While there are no separate bike lanes on the streets, and cars and cyclists often share narrow streets of Baku, the city is very bike-friendly. While cycling on the street, be very careful watch out for other cyclists, always keep closer to foot-walk side of the street, and show other traffic where you are going (e.g., by holding out your hand) in order to avoid accidents and smoothen the traffic flow.

By bus/minibus

Baku City Tour bus

Buses and minibuses cost 0.20AZN per person and can take you to almost any place within Baku. Destinations are usually posted on the front and the right side of the bus.

By metro

The metro goes many places throughout Baku and it costs only 0.20AZN. It is the least expensive way to get around Baku besides walking. Ask a cashier or attendant. You must obtain a Bakı Metropiliten Kart (2AZN refundable deposit) and load it like a normal metro pass. More than one person may use the same card. Alternatively, you can use a Azerbaycan Sosial Kartı like the ones on some Azerbaijani ATM cards. The metro workers will be more than happy to help if spoken to in either Azeri or Russian, and some may understand English.

It runs from 6am until midnight and gets very crowded in rush hours.

Be careful when transferring trains at the transfer stations (28 May and Jafar Jabbarli Cəfər Cabbarlı) as the signage is not easy to spot.

There have been reports of people being arrested while taking photographs of the metro station.

By train

The Baku electric train runs through several parts of Baku and the surrounding area including Sumqait. 1AZN.

On foot

It is possible to get around Fountain Square, the Boulevard, and the old city by foot, but the entire city cannot be covered on foot.

Talk

English and Russian are spoken in many places throughout Baku, but it wise to still either bring an Azeri phrase book and/or brush up on your Azeri/Turkish/Russian before arriving. However, about 80% of population at least understands Russian, and about half the people under the age of 35 will speak at least a little English. - English is well catered for in most shops, restaurants and bars as a result of 15+ years of expats from the oil industry. Very easy to make yourself understood with little local language skills.

See also:

See

Old Town (Icheri Sheher)

There are a number of interesting sites within Baku's walled fortress, the Old City (a UNESCO World Heritage site), which can all be seen on foot in one day:

The Divankhana Pishtaq in the Palace of the Shirvan Shahs
Saray mosque, Palace of Shirvanshahs
Maiden Tower

Out of Old Town

Museums and galleries

Other sites

Absheron Peninsula

Outside the city, on the Absheron Peninsula, there are several interesting sites that are easy to reach via taxi or public transportation. Moreover, the scenery along your route is itself a fascinatingly ugly sight to be seen, a desert wasteland with white salt flats and natural oil pools seeping up to the surface.

Itineraries

Do

In the evening, go to the opera at the national opera on Nizami street. Otherwise, go to the rooftop bar at Sultan Inn in the Old City for a drink and excellent views of the Maiden Tower, Caspian sea and the TV tower.

Beaches

There are a couple of beaches including Shikhov Beach, but they are polluted by sewage and industrial waste. Outside the city, however, there are a few very nice sandy beaches on the Caspian. In particular Bilgəh and Amburan beaches, on the north coast of the Absheron Peninsula are great spots to cool off from heat.

Festivals

Buy

A small bazaar in Baku

ATMs

Eat

There are a great deal of restaurants in Baku.

Budget

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget up to 10AZN
Mid-range 10-20AZN
Splurge 20AZN or more

Mid-range

Azerbaijani/Turkish

Former USSR

Western

Sultan Inn rooftop or Meridien hotel rooftop restaurants for European/fusion with excellent views) or head back to the Fountain Square for greater variety of inexpensive cuisine.

Asian

Splurge

Drink

A Cultural Note

Although tea houses (çay xanalar) in Baku usually allow Western women to enter, in the regions, it is often forbidden for females to enter such establishments. Women drinking in Baku is a la mode, but it is taboo for women in the regions of Azerbaijan to consume alcohol.

Tea Houses (Çayxanalar)

There are many outdoor tea houses (çayxanalar) that serve tea and sweets to people in their own individual nooks. Going to them can be a great way to get a sense of the local culture. If you are adventurous, try challenging a local Bakuvian to a game of backgammon (nard) or dominoes.

Cafés

There is a good selection of cafés dispersed throughout Baku. Expect to pay Western prices for your coffee.

Bars and pubs

Although tea houses (çay xanalar) (found throughout Azerbaijan) serve local beer (piva) - draft at 50 qapick/glass or bottles at 70 qapick/bottle or vodka (araq) at 2AZN/bottle, for anything exotic (e.g. tequila, gin, or rum), you will have to go to a normal bar or hotel and pay Western prices there.

Nightclubs

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Connect

Internet

Internet cafes in Azerbaijan are called "internet klubs" and they are found throughout Baku. Some coffee houses provide wireless internet, but they are quite rare in Baku. Recently public wi-fi service was implemented the central areas. One "klub" with fast internet downtown is VIP, U.Bunyadzade 3. They also have a lot of games you can play.

Post office

Azerpost Office

Azerbaijan Post locations are dispersed throughout Baku. Mailing an international letter generally costs 0.8AZN.

AZAL

As Azal seems to be in a permanent state of flux as to where their offices are located, pop into a travel agent and ask about tickets very carefully before buying anything. In some cases, like Naxcevan or last-minute flights, you WILL ABSOLUTELY have to go this every-moving central office during a few random opening times in order to get your tickets processed. One travel agent who can guide you buy phone is reachable at +994 55 4201220 or +99412 5551320 or 5981619.

Stay safe

Baku is considered a safe city, nevertheless common sense is useful as in all other big cities. Homeless people do not harass or attack people and are very safe to be around. The biggest problem in Baku is driving. Many drivers do not obey rules and speed.

Western clothes are acceptable for the city, but pants for men and long dresses for women are recommended if you go to more remote regions such as Gobustan.

Emergency contact numbers

You must speak in Azeri, Turkish or Russian to communicate your needs. It would be a good idea to memorize key phrases before coming to Azerbaijan - see the Talk section for phrasebooks.

Safety tips

The roads can be treacherous at night due to unseen potholes and dimly lit cars. Most areas in and near the downtown are mostly safe. Try to stay away from the outskirts.

Cope

Embassies

Go next

Day trips from Baku

Mud Volcanoes at Gobustan State Reserve

Next stop

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 18, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.