Known for its harsh winds, the city's nickname is "City of Winds". A chaotic but stunning mix of East and West, Baku does however have remnants of Soviet genes floating around the town. The capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, it is also the largest city on the Caspian Sea and in the Caucasus region. The lowest lying national capital in the world at 28 mt below sea level, the city sits on Absheron Peninsula's southern shore in the Bay of Baku. Several large Azerbaijani institutions are based here, such as SOCAR (in the top 100 companies of the world) and the city has hosted any international events. The huge Baku International Sea Trade Port can handle 2 million tons of general and dry bulk cargoes per year.
The scientific, cultural and industrial heart of Azerbaijan, Baku Township is also amongst the top ten destinations according to Lonely Planet for "night life". Forget the throbbing music/drinking venues for a moment and remember that the days can be filled up with fossicking around the inner city of Baku (a walled city) listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will find the Shirvanshah's Palace (a huge royal complex) and the iconic stone Maiden Tower. If the ancient world doesn't do it for you then check out the more contemporary landmarks such as the Zaha Hadid designed Heydar Aliyev Center and the Flame Towers (3 pointed skyscrapers smothered in LED screens). You can leisurely stroll around the pedestrian only tree-lined streets overflowing with exclusive boutiques and amazing stone mansions. Maybe head to one of the verdant lush wooded parks for time-out or the promenade along the Caspian for a bit of a saunter with the locals.
Make sure you look at Martyrs' Alley memorial, have a look inside the impressive Museum of Contemporary Art and for the musician, there is the Museum of Vagif Mustafa-Zadeh. You should check out the vista of the cityscape with its Flame Towers from Baku's seafront or take a jaunt on a boat around the Caspian Sea. If you want to truly get amidst the local action, you should head to the Yashil Bazaar where haggling for local vegies and fruit is the way to go.
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