The City of Winds
Quite of an unexpected last minute trip using the last remaining holidays allowance left for this year, it does also mean this is the very last country in Europe as a continent I have not been. With it, I’ve stepped in all of the 51 countries that are as per-se considered Europe, one way or another, although it is a trans-continental country with soil in Europe and Asia. So completing the Caucasus region coupled with Georgia and Armenia that we’ve visited just few months ago, it is coming closer the time to get farther to the big empty space in my travel map that is Central Asia now that East and Southeast Asia is almost fully completed as well.
Baku, the capital of the country, and actually the only metropolis in Azerbaijan, contains almost every sight worth visiting in the country, together with the nearby natural attractions of the mud volcanoes and fire mountain, and the prehistoric hieroglyphs of Qobustan. Easy to visit it all in merely 3 days without any rush, so imagine that we calculated 4 full days for this trip, that was well an over-estimation, however we knew it. After all, Baku is not just next door from London, and flights are not cheap at all, so we rather enjoy a bit more time and discover other facts and corners outside from the touristy landmarks.
With a history dating back to the Stone Age, the true “modern” Azerbaijan and Baku itself as we know it today with its great architecture is the result of an idyllic location, cross-roads for centuries of trading between Asia and Europe, and Iran taking over its rule in the 10th century from the native Shirvanshahs for centuries, switching thereafter hands to Russia back and forth in the 18th century, including the Ottomans eager for this land, until the Russo-Persian War of 1804–1813 where it became irrevocably part of the Russian Empire and remained as such part of Russia until the Independence in 1918, however captured as part of the Soviet Union until the fall in 1990. (more…)