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We have been wanting to go to Baku for years and we’ve finally done it. We found a city with both a charming history and a bright future. Baku is a reimagined Paris or Rome, with ornate splendor alongside the modern infrastructure of a city with a great quality of life. We of course wanted to go sooner, but the visa system was quite hard to navigate until now. The crowds will no doubt catch on soon, so we recommend you get there to have an authentic look at a true gem of history, nature and modern civilization.
This was the first thing that stood out about Baku. Everything from the airport, to the wide boulevards, pedestrian underpasses, parks and side streets is just perfectly clean. There is a lot of building going on and any remnants of Soviet era architecture are being replaced with modern buildings and infrastructure.
The city is full of skyscrapers, apartment towers and more grand hotels than we could count. We stayed at the JW Marriott Absheron which offered commanding views of the Caspian Sea, city shoreline and the hillside on which part of the city stands. From almost anywhere you can get a view of the city’s natural beauty as well as its ornate architecture.
If there is one thing people love to do is spend time in the parks. There are open air restaurants everywhere, families out walking, people exercising, reading books on park benches. The gardens and parks of the city are tended to constantly and offer a meditative feel to the place.
Wrapped like a precious gem in the midst of the modern city sits a beautifully preserved old town. The city walls still stand, rug makers, traditional artefacts, souvenirs, museums and mosques all delighted our senses as we explored this ancient space.
Baku offers every international brand of food, clothing and car it seems and people like the best. Prices are about average for what they would be in any other major city. The hotels and most downtown buildings are either super modern skyscrapers or ornate palaces of stone and glass. The city looks like a modern reimagining of Rome or Paris on every level.
We especially enjoyed the two mile park which stretches along the seacoast planted with trees, bushes and flowers. It is really worthwhile to see the old town with its intact walls, shops and the maiden tower. There is a beautiful grocery chain called Bazar which offers top quality foods from Azerbaijan (including local wine) and gourmet imports from around the world which we really enjoyed. Restaurants are abundant and food is a very good price for the high standard of living which we found here.