48 Hours in Baku, Azerbaijan: Discovering the Pearl of the Caucasus
Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, is a stunning city located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. With its captivating Old City, modern architecture, and scenic boulevards, Baku has emerged as a popular tourist destination in recent years. In this article, we will take you on a two-day itinerary of Baku, exploring its must-visit landmarks and cultural sites.
Day 1: Exploring Baku’s Old City
Baku’s Old City, also known as Icharishahar, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with ancient walls, cobbled streets, and historic buildings. Start your day at the iconic Maiden Tower, a 12th-century structure that offers panoramic views of the city. Next, head to Shirvanshahs’ Palace, a 15th-century royal residence that features stunning Persian-inspired architecture.
After exploring the palace, wander around the narrow streets of the Old City and discover its hidden gems, such as the Juma Mosque and the Caravanserai. Be sure to stop by the iconic Fountain Square, a lively gathering spot surrounded by cafes and shops.
For lunch, head to the nearby Azerbaijani Restaurant for a taste of local cuisine. Try the delicious pilaf, dolma, and kebabs, which are all staples of Azerbaijani cuisine.
After lunch, head to the National Museum of Azerbaijan History which is located in a beautiful early 20th century palace. The museum’s collection includes artifacts and exhibits that showcase Azerbaijan’s rich history and culture.
End your day with a walk along the city’s majestic seaside promenade, which features lovely views of the Caspian Sea.
Day 2: City Highlights and Traditional Experiences
Begin your second day in Baku by visiting the modern and futuristic Heydar Aliyev Center, a cultural and architectural marvel designed by the late Iraqi-British architect, Zaha Hadid. From there, visit the nearby carpet museum, one of the most unique buildings in the city, which showcases Azerbaijan’s famous carpet weaving traditions.
Next, head to the historic and atmospheric Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, which has been showcasing world-class performances for over a century. After enjoying a performance, enjoy a traditional Azerbaijani tea at a local teahouse.
In the afternoon, head to the nearby Mud Volcanoes, a unique natural phenomenon where mud and gas are emitted from the ground. This natural wonder is an hour’s drive from the city, but worth the trip for its stunning and rare sights.
Return to the city in the evening for dinner at the traditional Azerbaijani restaurant, Firuza. Try the local favorite dish, the piti, which is a hearty lamb soup cooked in a clay pot.
End your day with a visit to one of Baku’s lively pubs, such as The Shakespeare or The Diplomat, both of which are popular among locals and tourists alike.
Baku is a city that offers the perfect mix of ancient history and modern innovation. From its stunning Old City to its awe-inspiring contemporary architecture, there’s something for everyone in this charming city. We hope our two-day itinerary helps you to explore the best of Baku and discover the pearl of the Caucasus.