Baku

Baku

Overview
Baku sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 and of the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula
Absheron
The Absheron peninsula, is a region in Azerbaijan. It is host to Baku, the biggest and the most populous city of the country, and also the Baku metropolitan area, with its satellite cities Sumgayit and Khyrdalan....

, which projects into the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. The city consists of two principal parts: the downtown and the old Inner City (21.5 ha
Hectare
The hectare is a metric unit of area defined as 10,000 square metres , and primarily used in the measurement of land. In 1795, when the metric system was introduced, the are was defined as being 100 square metres and the hectare was thus 100 ares or 1/100 km2...

). Baku's urban population at the beginning of 2009 was estimated at just over two million people.

Baku is divided into eleven administrative districts (raions) and 48 townships.
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Encyclopedia
Baku sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 and of the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula
Absheron
The Absheron peninsula, is a region in Azerbaijan. It is host to Baku, the biggest and the most populous city of the country, and also the Baku metropolitan area, with its satellite cities Sumgayit and Khyrdalan....

, which projects into the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. The city consists of two principal parts: the downtown and the old Inner City (21.5 ha
Hectare
The hectare is a metric unit of area defined as 10,000 square metres , and primarily used in the measurement of land. In 1795, when the metric system was introduced, the are was defined as being 100 square metres and the hectare was thus 100 ares or 1/100 km2...

). Baku's urban population at the beginning of 2009 was estimated at just over two million people.

Baku is divided into eleven administrative districts (raions) and 48 townships. Among these are the townships on islands in the Baku Bay
Bay of Baku
Bay of Baku is a natural harbour of the Baku port and local yacht club, on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula in Azerbaijan. It has an area of 50 km² and a coastline of 20 km. The bay is bordered by Sultan Cape in the east, Shikh Cape on the south-west and the islands of Qum,...

 and the town of Oil Rocks
Oil Rocks
Neft Daşları is an industrial settlement in Baku, Azerbaijan. The settlement forms part of the municipality of Çilov-Neft Daşları in Əzizbəyov raion. It lies away from the Azeri capital Baku, and from the nearest shore in the Caspian Sea...

 built on stilts in the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

, 60 km (37 mi) away from Baku. The Inner City of Baku along with the Shirvanshah's Palace
Palace of the Shirvanshahs
Palace of the Shirvanshahs is the biggest monument of the Shirvan-Absheron branch of the Azerbaijan architecture, situated in the Inner City of Baku...

 and Maiden Tower
Maiden Tower (Baku)
The Maiden Tower or also known locally as Giz Galasi located in the Old City, Baku in Azerbaijan is an ancient tower with cultural affinity corroborating the presence Zoroastrians, Sassanians, Arabs, Persians, Shirvanis, Ottomans, and Russians...

 were inscribed as a UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

 in 2000. According to the Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet is the largest travel guide book and digital media publisher in the world. The company is owned by BBC Worldwide, which bought a 75% share from the founders Maureen and Tony Wheeler in 2007 and the final 25% in February 2011...

's ranking Baku is also among the world's top ten destinations for urban nightlife.

The city is the scientific, cultural and industrial center of Azerbaijan. Many sizeable Azerbaijani institutions have their headquarters there, including SOCAR, one of the world's top 100 companies and others. The Baku International Sea Trade Port, sheltered by the islands of the Baku Archipelago
Baku Archipelago
The Baku Archipelago is a group of coastal islands close to Baku, Azerbaijan. The waters surrounding the islands are shallow.The archipelago is made up of the following islands, besides a few small sandbanks.-Islands:Islands located in the Bay of Baku:...

 to the east and the Absheron Peninsula to the north, is capable of handling two million tons of general and dry bulk cargoes per year. Baku is currently bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics
2020 Summer Olympics
The 2020 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, will be a major international sports and cultural festival, celebrated in the tradition of the Olympic Games....

.

Etymology


The name Baku is widely believed to be derived from the old Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 names of the city باد-کوبه Bād-kube, meaning "Wind-pounded city", in which bād means "wind" and kube is rooted in the verb کوبیدن kubidan, "to pound", thus referring to a place where wind is strong and pounding. Indeed, the city is renowned for its fierce winter snow storms and harsh winds. It is also believed that Baku refers to Baghkuh, meaning "Mount of God". Baga (now باغ bagh) and kaufa (now kuh) are the Old Persian
Old Persian language
The Old Persian language is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages . Old Persian appears primarily in the inscriptions, clay tablets, and seals of the Achaemenid era...

 words for "god" and "mountain" respectively; the name Baghkuh may be compared with Baghdād
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

("God-given") in which dād is the Old Persian word for "give". Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 sources refer to the city as Baku, Bakukh, Bakuya, and Bakuye, all of which seem to come from a Persian name.

Various different hypotheses were also proposed to explain the etymology of the word Baku. According to L.G.Lopatinski and Ali Huseynzade Baku is derived from Turkic word for "hill". Caucasian history specialist Kerope Patkanov
Kerope Patkanov
Kerope Petrovich Patkanov was an Armenian scientist-orientalist, professor of Saint Petersburg University; in 1863 he obtained the master degree for his eastern literature study ; in 1864 he obtained the doctor degree in literature for "The Study of the Composition in the Armenian language".-...

 also explains the name as "hill" but in the Lak language
Lak language
The Lak language is a Northeast Caucasian language forming its own branch within this family. It is the language of the Lak people from the Russian autonomous republic of Dagestan, where it is one of six standardized languages...

. The Turkish Islamic Encyclopedia presents the origin of the word Baku as being derived from the words Bey-Kyoy, which mean "the main city" in Turkic. Also another theory suggest that the name Baku is derived from the ancient Caucasian Albania
Caucasian Albania
Albania is a name for the historical region of the eastern Caucasus, that existed on the territory of present-day republic of...

n city which present was called Baguan.

History


The first written evidence for Baku dates to the 1st century AD.

The city became important after an earthquake destroyed Shamakhy
Samaxi
Şamaxı is a city in and the capital of the Shamakhi Rayon of Azerbaijan. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence. The city's estimated population as of 2010 was 31,704...

 in the 12th century, when the ruling Shirvanshah
Shirvanshah
Shirvanshah also spelled as Shīrwān Shāh or Sharwān Shāh, was the title in mediaeval Islamic times of an Arab in Ethnos but speedily Persianized dynasty within their culturally Persian environment. The Shirvanshah established a native state in Shirvan...

, Akhsitan I
Akhsitan I ibn Minuchihr III
- The origins and life before the Board :Mother was Akhsitan Georgian princess Tamar, so with Georgia were established close cooperative relations. Akhsitan was married to Ismataddin - daughter of the Georgian king George III. Byzantine Emperor Andronicus Comnenus was a cousin Akhsitan I. He often...

, chose Baku as the new capital. In 1501, Safavid
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 Shah Ismail I
Ismail I
Ismail I , known in Persian as Shāh Ismāʿil , was a Shah of Iran and the founder of the Safavid dynasty which survived until 1736. Isma'il started his campaign in Azerbaijan in 1500 as the leader of the Safaviyya, an extremist heterodox Twelver Shi'i militant religious order and unified all of Iran...

 laid siege to Baku. At this time the city was enclosed within the lines of strong walls, which were washed by the sea on one side and protected by a wide trench on land. In 1540 Baku was again captured by the Safavid troops. In 1604 the Baku fortress was destroyed by Safavid Shah Abbas I
Abbas I of Persia
Shāh ‘Abbās the Great was Shah of Iran, and generally considered the greatest ruler of the Safavid dynasty. He was the third son of Shah Mohammad....

.

On 26 June 1723, after a long siege and cannon fire, Baku surrendered to the Russians. According to Peter the Great
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

's decree the soldiers of two regiments (2,382 people) were left in the Baku garrison under the command of Prince Baryatyanski, the commandant of the city. In 1795, Baku was invaded by Agha Muhammad Khan
Mohammad Khan Qajar
Agha Muḥammad Khān Qājār ‎‎ was the chief of the Qajar tribe, succeeding his father Mohammad Hassan Khan, who was killed on the orders of Adil Shah. He became the Emperor/Shah of Persia in 1794 and established the Qajar dynasty...

 Qajar to defend against tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

ist Russia's ambitions to subjugate the South Caucasus. In the spring of 1796, by Catherine II
Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great , Empress of Russia, was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia on as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg...

's order, General Zubov's troops began a major campaign in Transcaucasia. Baku surrendered after the first demand of Zubov, who had sent 6,000 troops to capture the city. On 13 June 1796 the Russian flotilla entered Baku Bay and a garrison of Russian troops was placed in the city. General Pavel Tsitsianov
Pavel Tsitsianov
Pavel Dmitriyevich Tsitsianov was the Georgian Imperial Russian military commander and infantry general from 1804. A member of the noble Georgian family Tsitsishvili , Tsitsianov participated in suppression of the Kościuszko Uprising and in the Russo-Persian War...

 was appointed Baku's commandant. Later, however, Czar Paul I
Paul I of Russia
Paul I was the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. He also was the 72nd Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta .-Childhood:...

 ordered him to cease the campaign and withdraw Russian forces. In March 1797 the tsarist troops left Baku, but a new tsar, Alexander I
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

, began to show a special interest in capturing Baku. In 1803, Tsitsianov reached an agreement with the Baku khan to a compromise, but the agreement was soon annulled. On 8 February 1806, upon the surrendering of Baku, Huseyngulu khan
Baku Khanate
Baku Khanate was Persian ruled Khanate on the territory of modern day Azerbaijan from Safavid dynasty to 1806. Baku was one of Khanate which arose during the domination of Iran. During the period of Iranian domination, head of principality was a Khan. Although, the khan could act within certain...

 of Baku stabbed and killed Tsitsianov at the gates of the city.

In 1813, Russia signed the Treaty of Gulistan with Persia, which provided for the cession of Baku and most of the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 from Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and their annexation by Russia.


Professor A.B. Wiliams Jackson of Columbia University in his work "From Constantinople to the home of Omar Khayyam" (1911) writes: "Baku is a city founded upon oil, for to its inexhaustible founts of naphtha it owes its very existence, its maintenance, its prosperity...At present Baku produces one-fifth of the oil that is used in the world, and the immense output in crude petroleum from this single city far surpasses that in any other district where oil is found.^ Verily, the words of the Scriptures find illustration here: "the rock poured me out rivers of oil."

Oil is in the air one breathes, in one's nostrils, in one's eyes, in the water of the morning bath (though not in the drinking water, for that is brought in bottles from distant mineral springs), in one's starched linen — everywhere. This is the impression one carries away from Baku, and it is certainly true in the environs."

The first oil well
Oil well
An oil well is a general term for any boring through the earth's surface that is designed to find and acquire petroleum oil hydrocarbons. Usually some natural gas is produced along with the oil. A well that is designed to produce mainly or only gas may be termed a gas well.-History:The earliest...

 was mechanically drilled in the Bibi-Heybat
Bibi-Heybat Mosque
The Bibi-Heybat Mosque is a historical mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan. The existing structure, built in the 1990s, is recreation of the mosque with the same name built in the 13th century by Shirvanshah Farrukhzad II Ibn Ahsitan II, which was completely destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1936.The...

 suburb of Baku in 1846, though a number of hand-dug wells predate it. Large-scale oil exploration started in 1872, when Russian imperial authorities auctioned the parcels of oil-rich land around Baku to private investors. Within a short period of time Swiss, British, French, Belgian, German, Swedish and American investors appeared in Baku. Among them were the firms of the Nobel brothers
Robert Nobel
Robert Hjalmar Nobel was the oldest son of Immanuel Nobel and his wife Caroline Andrietta Ahlsell, brother of Ludvig and Alfred Nobel....

 together with the family von Börtzell-Szuch
Schuch
The Schuch family has its own Coat of Arms and the family title of Baron. The Schuch Family originated from the South part of Lake Baikal near China, in 1200. The ancestors came to Kiev in Ukraine in 1227, with Genghis Khan as Warlords...

 (Carl Knut Börtzell, who also owned the Livadia Palace
Livadia Palace
Livadia Palace was a summer retreat of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, and his family in Livadiya, Crimea in southern Ukraine. The Yalta Conference was held there in 1945, when the palace housed the apartments of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other members of the American delegation...

) and the Rothschild family
Rothschild family
The Rothschild family , known as The House of Rothschild, or more simply as the Rothschilds, is a Jewish-German family that established European banking and finance houses starting in the late 18th century...

. An industrial oil belt, better known as Black City, was established near Baku. By the beginning of the 20th century almost half of world production was being extracted in Baku.

In 1917, after the October revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 and amidst the turmoil of World War I and the breakup of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

, Baku came under the control of the Baku Commune
26 Baku Commissars
The 26 Baku Commissars were Bolshevik and Left Socialist Revolutionary members of the Baku Soviet Commune. The commune was established in the city of Baku...

, which was led by veteran Bolshevik Stepan Shaumyan
Stepan Shahumyan
Stepan Gevorgi Shahumyan was a Bolshevist Russian communist politician and revolutionary active throughout the Caucasus. Shahumyan was an ethnic Armenian and his role as a leader of the Russian revolution in the Caucasus earned him the nickname of the "Caucasian Lenin", a reference to the leader...

. Seeking to capitalize on the existing inter-ethnic conflicts, by spring 1918, Bolsheviks inspired and condoned civil warfare in and around Baku. During the infamous March Days
March Days
The March Days, or March Events, refer to an inter-ethnic strife and massacres of up to 12,000 Azerbaijanis and other Muslims that took place between March 30 and April 2, 1918 in the city of Baku and adjacent areas of the Baku Governorate of Russian Empire.Facilitated by a political power struggle...

, Bolsheviks and Dashnaks
Armenian Revolutionary Federation
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation is an Armenian political party founded in Tiflis in 1890 by Christapor Mikaelian, Stepan Zorian, and Simon Zavarian...

 seeking to establish control over the Baku streets, were faced with armed Muslim groups. Muslims suffered a crushing defeat by the united forces of the Baku Soviet and were massacred by Dashnak teams. On 28 May 1918, the Azerbaijani faction of the Transcaucasian Sejm
Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic , was a short-lived state composed of the modern-day countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia in the South Caucasus.-...

 proclaimed the independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world . The ADR was founded on May 28, 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 by Azerbaijani National Council in...

 (ADR) in Ganja
Ganja, Azerbaijan
Ganja is Azerbaijan's second-largest city with a population of around 313,300. It was named Yelizavetpol in the Russian Empire period. The city regained its original name—Ganja—from 1920–1935 during the first part of its incorporation into the Soviet Union. However, its name was changed again and...

. Shortly after, Azerbaijani forces, with support of the Ottoman Army of Islam led by Nuru Pasha
Nuri Killigil
Nuri Killigil was a general in the Ottoman Army. He was brother of Ottoman Minister of War, Enver Pasha.- Libya :Infantry Machine-Gun Captain Nuri Efendi was sent to Libya by an illegal Greek ship with Major Jafar al-Askari Bey and 10,000 gold...

, started their advance into Baku, eventually capturing the city from the loose coalition of Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

s, Esers
Socialist-Revolutionary Party
thumb|right|200px|Socialist-Revolutionary election poster, 1917. The caption in red reads "партия соц-рев" , short for Party of the Socialist Revolutionaries...

, Dashnaks
Armenian Revolutionary Federation
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation is an Armenian political party founded in Tiflis in 1890 by Christapor Mikaelian, Stepan Zorian, and Simon Zavarian...

, Menshevik
Menshevik
The Mensheviks were a faction of the Russian revolutionary movement that emerged in 1904 after a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, both members of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. The dispute originated at the Second Congress of that party, ostensibly over minor issues...

s and British forces under the command of General Lionel Dunsterville
Lionel Dunsterville
General Lionel Charles Dunsterville CB, CSI was a British general, who led the so-called Dunsterforce across present-day Iraq and Iran towards Caucasus and oil-rich Baku.-Biography:...

 on 15 September 1918. Thousands of Armenians in the city were massacred in revenge for the earlier March Days
March Days
The March Days, or March Events, refer to an inter-ethnic strife and massacres of up to 12,000 Azerbaijanis and other Muslims that took place between March 30 and April 2, 1918 in the city of Baku and adjacent areas of the Baku Governorate of Russian Empire.Facilitated by a political power struggle...

. Baku became the capital of the ADR. On 28 April 1920, the 11th Red Army invaded Baku and reinstalled the Bolsheviks, making Baku the capital of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.

With the initiatives for saving the city in the 21st century, Baku embarked on a process of restructuring on a scale unseen in its history. Thousands of buildings from Soviet period were demolished to make way for a green belt on its shores; parks and gardens were built on the land reclaimed by filling up the beaches of the Baku Bay. Improvements were made in the general cleaning, maintenance, and garbage collection, and these services are now at Western European standards. The city is growing dynamically and developing at full speed on an east-west axis along the shores of the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

.

Geography


Baku is situated on the western coast of Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. In the vicinity of the city there are a number of mud volcano
Mud volcano
The term mud volcano or mud dome are used to refer to formations created by geo-excreted liquids and gases, although there are several different processes which may cause such activity. Hot water mixes with mud and surface deposits. Mud volcanoes are associated with subduction zones and about 700...

es (Keyraki, Bogkh-bogkha, Lokbatan
Lökbatan
Lökbatan is a settlement and municipality in Baku, Azerbaijan. It has a population of 33,245. The municipality consists of the settlements of Lökbatan, Şubanı, and Heybət....

 and others) and salt lake
Salt lake
A salt lake or saline lake is a landlocked body of water which has a concentration of salts and other dissolved minerals significantly higher than most lakes . In some cases, salt lakes have a higher concentration of salt than sea water, but such lakes would also be termed hypersaline lakes...

s (Boyukshor
Lake Boyukshor
Boyukshor , also spelled separately Boyuk Shor is the second largest lake of Azerbaijan and largest on Absheron Peninsula...

, Khodasan and so on).

Climate


Baku has a subtropical semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

: BSk) with hot and dry summers, cold and occasionally wet winters, and strong winds all year long. However, unlike many other cities with this climate, Baku does not see extremely hot summers. This is basically due to its northerly latitude
Latitude
In geography, the latitude of a location on the Earth is the angular distance of that location south or north of the Equator. The latitude is an angle, and is usually measured in degrees . The equator has a latitude of 0°, the North pole has a latitude of 90° north , and the South pole has a...

 and the fact that it is located on a peninsula on the shore of the Caspian Sea.
Baku and the Absheron Peninsula on which it is situated, is the most arid part of Azerbaijan (precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 here is around or less than 200 mm (8 in) a year). The majority of the light annual precipitation occurs in seasons other than summer, but none of these months are particularly wet.
During Soviet times, Baku with its long hours of sunshine and dry healthy climate, was a vacation destination where citizens could enjoy beaches or relax in now-dilapidated spa
Destination spa
A destination spa is a short term residential/lodging facility with the primary purpose of providing individual services for spa-goers to develop healthy habits. Historically many such spas were developed at the location of natural hot springs or sources of mineral waters...

 complexes overlooking the Caspian Sea. The city's past as a Soviet industrial center has left it as one of the most polluted cities in the world.

At the same time Baku is noted as a very windy city throughout the year, and gale-force winds, the cold northern wind khazri
Khazri
Khazri is a name of the cold north Caspian Sea wind which blows across the Absheron Peninsula and particularly Baku throughout the year. Khazri is the gale-force coastal wind and one of the prevailing winds in the area. The speed of khazri sometimes reaches forty meters a second, which damages...

and the warm southern wind gilavar
Gilavar
Gilavar is a name of the warm southern wind which blows across eastern Azerbaijan and particularly in Baku and Shamakhi throughout the year. Gilavar is one of the two main winds that dominates Baku, along with Khazri....

are typical here in all seasons. Indeed, the city is renowned for its fierce winter snow storms and harsh winds.
The speed of the khazri sometimes reaches 144 kph (89 mph), which can cause damage to crops, trees and roof tiles.

The daily mean temperature in July and August averages 26.4 °C (79.5 °F), and there is very little rainfall during that season. During summer the khazri sweeps through, bringing desired coolness. Winter is cold and occasionally wet, with the daily mean temperature in January and February averaging 4.3 °C (39.7 °F). During winter the khazri sweeps through; driven by masses of polar air; temperatures on the coast frequently drop below freezing and make it feel bitterly cold. Winter snow storms do occur but are rare and snow usually remain only for a few days after each snowfall.

The average annual temperature in Baku and that of the Earth differ by less than 0.1 C-change : it is 14.2 °C (57.6 °F).

Administrative divisions


Today, Baku is divided into 11 raions (administrative districts) and 5 settlements of city type. The mayor, presently Hajibala Abutalybov
Hajibala Abutalybov
Hajibala Ibrahim oglu Abutalybov is an Azerbaijani politician and the current Mayor of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.Abutalybov was born in Krasnovodsk, Turkmenistan...

, embodies the executive power of the city.
  • Binagadi raion 
  • Garadagh raion
    Qaradag raion
    Qaradağ is a settlement and raion in Baku, Azerbaijan. It has a population of 109,400. It contains the municipalities of Ələt, Çeyildağ, Korgöz, Lökbatan, Müşviqabad, Puta, Qızıldaş, Qobustan, Sahil, and Sanqaçal....

     
  • Khatai raion 
  • Khazar raion 
  • Narimanov raion 
  • Nasimi raion 
  • Nizami raion
    Nizami raion
    Nizami Rayon is a municipal district of the city of Baku, capital of Azerbaijan. The district is named after poet Nizami Ganjavi. Its population is 179,700 and it includes the municipality of Keşlə....

     
  • Sabail raion
    Sabail raion
    Sabail raion is a settlement and raion of Baku, located on the Caspian shore. It contains the municipalities of Badamdar and Bibiheybət and the settlement of Bayil, and is bordered by the raions of Nasimi, Yasamal and Garadagh. Area: 29 km²...

     
  • Sabunchu raion
    Sabunçu raion
    Sabunçu is a settlement and raion in Baku, Azerbaijan. It has a population of 222,600. It contains the municipalities of Bakıxanov, Balaxanı, Bilgəh, Kürdəxanı, Maştağa, Nardaran, Pirşağı, Ramanı, Sabunçu, and Zabrat....

     
  • Surakhany raion 
  • Yasamal raion
    Yasamal raion
    Yasamal is a settlement and raion in Baku, Azerbaijan. It has a population of 233,600.-References:...

     

  • Demographics

    Historical population of Baku
    Year Population Year Population
    1854 8,374 1989 1,795,000
    1863 14,500 1999 1,634,183
    1897 111,904 2003 2,030,000
    1903 155,876 2007 1,873,600
    1913 214,672 2008 1,917,009
    1926 453,300 2009 2,039,700


    Until 1988 Baku had very large Russian, Armenian, and Jewish populations which contributed to cultural diversity
    Cultural diversity
    Cultural diversity is having different cultures respect each other's differences. It could also mean the variety of human societies or cultures in a specific region, or in the world as a whole...

     and added in various ways (music, literature, architecture and progressive outlook) to Baku's history. With the onset of the Karabakh War and the pogrom against Armenians
    Pogrom of Armenians in Baku
    The Pogrom of Armenians in Baku was an anti-Armenian pogrom directed against the Armenian inhabitants of Baku, Azerbaijani SSR.From January 13, 1990, a seven-day pogrom broke out against Armenians in Baku. Most of the deaths were caused by beatings and knife wounds; there were no gunshot wounds....

     starting in January 1990, the city's large Armenian population was expelled.
    Under Communism
    Communism
    Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

    , the Soviets took over the majority of Jewish property in Baku and Kuba. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijani President
    President of Azerbaijan
    The country of Azerbaijan is a presidential republic, with the President of Azerbaijan as the head of state, and the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan as head of government...

     Heydar Aliev
    Heydar Aliyev
    Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev , also spelled as Heidar Aliev, Geidar Aliev, Haydar Aliyev, Geydar Aliyev was the third President of Azerbaijan for the New Azerbaijan Party from June 1993 to October 2003, when his son Ilham Aliyev succeeded him.From 1969 till 1982, Aliyev was also the leader of Soviet...

     has returned several synagogues and a Jewish college nationalized by the Soviets to the Jewish
    Jews
    The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

     community. He has encouraged the restoration of these buildings and is well liked by the Jews of Azerbaijan. Renovation has begun on seven of the original 11 synagogues, including the Gilah synagogue, built in 1896, and the large Kruei Synagogue.

    Ethnic groups


    Today the vast majority of the population of Baku are ethnic Azerbaijanis
    Azerbaijani people
    The Azerbaijanis are a Turkic-speaking people living mainly in northwestern Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as in the neighbourhood states, Georgia, Russia and formerly Armenia. Commonly referred to as Azeris or Azerbaijani Turks , they also live in a wider area from the Caucasus to...

     (more than 90%). The intensive growth of the population started in the middle of the 19th century when Baku was a small town with a population of about 7,000 people. The population increased again from about 13,000 in the 1860s to 112,000 in 1897 and 215,000 in 1913, making Baku the largest city in the Caucasus region.

    Baku has been a cosmopolitan city at certain times during its history, meaning ethnic Azerbaijanis did not constitute the majority of population. In 2003 Baku additionally had 153,400 internally displaced person
    Internally displaced person
    An internally displaced person is someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country's borders. They are often referred to as refugees, although they do not fall within the current legal definition of a refugee. At the end of 2006 it was estimated there were...

    s and 93,400 refugees.

    Religion


    The urban landscape of Baku is shaped by many communities. The religion with the largest community of followers is Islam
    Islam
    Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

    . The majority of the Muslims are Shia Muslims, and the Republic of Azerbaijan has the second highest Shia population percentage in the world after Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

    . Zoroastrianism
    Zoroastrianism
    Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

     had a long history in Azerbaijan, evident in sites such as the Fire Temple of Baku
    Fire Temple of Baku
    The Baku Ateshgah or "Fire Temple" is a castle-like ancient Hindu religious structure in Surakhani, a suburb of greater Baku, Azerbaijan. "Atash" is the Persian word for fire....

     or ceremonies like Nowruz
    Nowruz
    Nowrūz is the name of the Iranian New Year in Iranian calendars and the corresponding traditional celebrations. Nowruz is also widely referred to as the Persian New Year....

    , along with Manichean
    Manichaeism
    Manichaeism in Modern Persian Āyin e Māni; ) was one of the major Iranian Gnostic religions, originating in Sassanid Persia.Although most of the original writings of the founding prophet Mani have been lost, numerous translations and fragmentary texts have survived...

    . The city's notable mosques include Juma Mosque
    Juma Mosque (Baku)
    Juma Mosque is a mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was built in 1899....

    , Taza Pir Mosque
    Taza Pir Mosque
    Taza Pir Mosque is a mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was finished in 1914 and built in honour of the philanthropist.-History:...

    , Bibi-Heybat Mosque
    Bibi-Heybat Mosque
    The Bibi-Heybat Mosque is a historical mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan. The existing structure, built in the 1990s, is recreation of the mosque with the same name built in the 13th century by Shirvanshah Farrukhzad II Ibn Ahsitan II, which was completely destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1936.The...

    , Muhammad Mosque
    Muhammad Mosque (Baku)
    Muhammad Mosque is a mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was built in 1078-79....

     and Taza Pir Mosque
    Taza Pir Mosque
    Taza Pir Mosque is a mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was finished in 1914 and built in honour of the philanthropist.-History:...

    .

    There are some other faiths practiced among the different ethnic groups within the country. By article 48 of its Constitution
    Constitution of Azerbaijan
    The Constitution of Azerbaijan was adopted on 12 November 1995 by popular referendum and amended on 24 August 2002. It carries the "highest legal force" in Azerbaijan as per article 147.-Preamble:...

    , Azerbaijan is a secular state
    Secular state
    A secular state is a concept of secularism, whereby a state or country purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. A secular state also claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential...

     and ensures religious freedom. Religious minorities include Russian Orthodox Christians, Catholic Levantines
    Levant
    The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

    , Ashkenazi
    Azerbaijani Jews
    Azerbaijani Jews are Jews who live in Azerbaijan.-Distribution:...

     Jews
    Jews
    The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

     and Sufi Muslims.

    Economy



    Baku's largest industry is petroleum
    Petroleum
    Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

    , and its petroleum exports make it a large contributor to Azerbaijan's balance of payments
    Balance of payments
    Balance of payments accounts are an accounting record of all monetary transactions between a country and the rest of the world.These transactions include payments for the country's exports and imports of goods, services, financial capital, and financial transfers...

    . The existence of petroleum has been known since the 8th century. In the 10th century, the Arabian traveler, Marudee, reported that both white and black oil were being extracted naturally from Baku. By the 15th century, oil for lamps was obtained from hand-dug surface wells.
    Commercial exploitation began in 1872, and by the beginning of the 20th century the Baku oil fields were the largest in the world. Towards the end of the 20th century much of the onshore petroleum had been exhausted, and drilling had extended into the sea offshore. By the end of the 19th century skilled worker
    Skilled worker
    A skilled worker is any worker who has some special skill, knowledge, or ability in their work. A skilled worker may have attended a college, university or technical school. Or, a skilled worker may have learned their skills on the job...

    s and specialists flocked to Baku. By 1900 the city had more than 3,000 oil wells, of which 2,000 were producing oil at industrial levels. Baku ranked as one of the largest centres for the production of oil industry
    Petroleum industry
    The petroleum industry includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting , and marketing petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are fuel oil and gasoline...

     equipment before World War II. The World War II Battle of Stalingrad
    Battle of Stalingrad
    The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

     was fought to determine who would have control of the Baku oil fields. Fifty years before the battle, Baku produced half of the world's oil supply: Azerbaijan and the United States are the only two countries ever to have been the world's majority oil producer.

    Currently the oil economy of Baku is undergoing a resurgence, with the development of the massive Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field (Shallow water Gunashli by SOCAR, deeper areas by a consortium led by BP
    BP
    BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

    ), development of the Shah Deniz gas field
    Shah Deniz gas field
    Shah Deniz gas field is the largest natural gas field in Azerbaijan. It is situated in the South Caspian Sea, off the coast of Azerbaijan, approximately southeast of Baku, at a depth of . The field covers approximately . The Shah Deniz gas and condensate field was discovered in 1999...

    , the expansion of the Sangachal Terminal
    Sangachal Terminal
    The Sangachal Terminal is an industrial complex consisting of a natural gas processing plant and oil production plant, located on the coast of the Caspian Sea south of Baku, Azerbaijan.-History:...

     and the construction of the BTC Pipeline.

    The Baku Stock Exchange
    Baku Stock Exchange
    The Baku Stock Exchange is the main stock exchange in Azerbaijan. A member of the Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges , BSE is organized in the form of closed joint stock company with 18 shareholders...

     is Azerbaijan's largest stock exchange
    Stock exchange
    A stock exchange is an entity that provides services for stock brokers and traders to trade stocks, bonds, and other securities. Stock exchanges also provide facilities for issue and redemption of securities and other financial instruments, and capital events including the payment of income and...

    , and largest in the Caucasian
    Caucasus
    The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

     region by market capitalization
    Market capitalization
    Market capitalization is a measurement of the value of the ownership interest that shareholders hold in a business enterprise. It is equal to the share price times the number of shares outstanding of a publicly traded company...

    . A relatively large number of transnational companies are headquartered in Baku. International banks with branches in Baku include HSBC
    HSBC
    HSBC Holdings plc is a global banking and financial services company headquartered in Canary Wharf, London, United Kingdom. it is the world's second-largest banking and financial services group and second-largest public company according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine...

    , Société Générale
    Société Générale
    Société Générale S.A. is a large European Bank and a major Financial Services company that has a substantial global presence. Its registered office is on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, while its head office is in the Tours Société Générale in the business district of La...

     and Credit Suisse
    Credit Suisse
    The Credit Suisse Group AG is a Swiss multinational financial services company headquartered in Zurich, with more than 250 branches in Switzerland and operations in more than 50 countries.-History:...

    .

    Tourism and shopping



    Baku is one of the most important tourist destinations in the Caucasus, with hotels in city earning 7 million euros in 2009. Many sizable world hotel chains have a presence in the city. Baku has many popular tourist and entertainment spots, such as the downtown Fountains Square
    Fountains Square, Baku
    Fountains Square is a public square in downtown Baku, capital of Azerbaijan.The square was previously called Parapet and is often referenced to by the same name now...

    , the One and Thousand Nights Beach, Shikhov Beach and Oil Rocks
    Oil Rocks
    Neft Daşları is an industrial settlement in Baku, Azerbaijan. The settlement forms part of the municipality of Çilov-Neft Daşları in Əzizbəyov raion. It lies away from the Azeri capital Baku, and from the nearest shore in the Caspian Sea...

    . Baku's vicinities feature Yanar Dag
    Yanar Dag
    Yanar Dag , is a visually stunning natural gas fire which blazes continuously on a hillside on the Absheron Peninsula on the Caspian Sea near Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, which itself is known as the “land of fire.” Flames jet out into the air from a thin, porous sandstone layer...

    , an ever-blazing spot of natural gas. On 2 September 2010, with the inauguration of National Flag Square
    National Flag Square
    National Flag Square is a large city square by Neftchiler Avenue in Bayil, Baku, Azerbaijan. Confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records, the flag flies on a pole 162 meters high and measures 70 by 35 meters which was the world's tallest flag, until it was overtaken by the 165 meter flagpole of...

    , Baku became home to the world's tallest flagpole, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

    Baku has several shopping mall
    Shopping mall
    A shopping mall, shopping centre, shopping arcade, shopping precinct or simply mall is one or more buildings forming a complex of shops representing merchandisers, with interconnecting walkways enabling visitors to easily walk from unit to unit, along with a parking area — a modern, indoor version...

    s; the two most famous city center malls are AF MALL and Park Bulvar
    Park Bulvar
    Park Bulvar is a multi-story shopping mall located on Baku Boulevard, downtown Baku, Azerbaijan.The mall is located 5 minutes of walking distance from Sahil Metro station of Baku Subway and Government House of Baku....

    . The retail areas contain shops from chain stores up to high-end boutiques.

    The city is listed 48th in the 2011 list of the most expensive cities in the world conducted by the Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

    Culture



    The city has many amenities that offer a wide range of cultural activities, drawing both from a rich local dramatic portfolio and an international repertoire. It also boasts many museums such as Baku Museum of Modern Art
    Baku Museum of Modern Art
    Baku Museum of Modern Art is a museum of modern art located in Baku, Azerbaijan.-History:The museum was built at the initiative of the First Lady of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva and opened on 20 March 2009. It was funded by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, of which the First Lady is head. The...

     and Azerbaijan State Museum of History
    Azerbaijan State Museum of History
    Azerbaijan State Museum of History is the largest museum of Azerbaijan, located in Baku, in the former mansion of Azerbaijani oil magnate and philanthropist Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev. It was founded in 1920.- History :...

    , most notably featuring historical artifacts and art. Many of the city's cultural sites were celebrated in 2009 when Baku was designated an Islamic Culture Capital. Baku was also chosen to host the Eurovision Dance Contest 2010
    Eurovision Dance Contest
    The Eurovision Dance Contest was an international dancing competition that was held for the first time in the United Kingdom on Saturday 1 September 2007....

    .

    Among Baku's prestigious cultural venues are Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall
    Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall
    The Magomayev Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall , located in Baku, is the main concert hall in Azerbaijan built in 1912.-History:...

    , Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre
    Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre
    The Akhundov Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater is a theatre in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was built in 1911.-History:...

    . The main movie theatre
    Movie theater
    A movie theater, cinema, movie house, picture theater, film theater is a venue, usually a building, for viewing motion pictures ....

     is Azerbaijan Cinema.
    Festivals include the Baku International Film Festival, Baku International Jazz Festival
    Baku International Jazz Festival
    The Baku International Jazz Festival is an annual jazz event organized by renowned saxophonist and Baku resident Rain Sultanov. The festival aims to showcase Azerbaijan's long-running attachment to the American-born art form, a connection first established in the country during the 1950s and 1960s,...

    , Novruz Festival, Gül Bayramı (Flower Festival) and the National Theater Festival. International and local exhibitions are provided in Baku Expo Center
    Baku Expo Center
    Baku Expo Center - is an international standard, purpose-built events venue. It is located in H.Aliyev ave., Surakhany district, Baku, Azerbaijan. It provides over 30,000m² of exhibition space and includes facilities for hosting conferences, meetings, seminars and presentations...

    .

    Architecture


    Baku has wildly varying architecture, ranging from the Old City core to modern buildings and the spacious layout of the Baku port. Many of the city's most impressive buildings were built during the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
    Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
    The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world . The ADR was founded on May 28, 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 by Azerbaijani National Council in...

     period, when architectural elements of the European styles were combined in eclectic
    Eclecticism
    Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.It can sometimes seem inelegant or...

     style. Baku thus has an original and unique appearance, earning it a reputation as the 'Paris of the East'.

    Late modern and postmodern architecture began to appear in the early 2000s. With economic development, old buildings such as Atlant House were razed to make way for new ones. Buildings with all-glass shells have appeared around the city, the most prominent examples being the SOCAR Tower
    SOCAR Tower
    SOCAR Tower is the tallest under construction building in Baku, Azerbaijan. It is located on Heydar Aliyev avenue. The building will be the headquarters of the SOCAR . Construction has started in 2010 and will be completed in 2013...

     and Flame Towers
    Flame Towers
    Flame Towers is a residential complex with a roof height of under construction in Baku, Azerbaijan. The estimated cost of Flame Towers is US$350 million. When completed, the structure will be one of the tallest buildings in Baku. Construction began in 2008, with completion in 2011.-External...

    . These projects also brought the attention of international media as notable programs as Discovery Channel
    Discovery Channel
    Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

    's Extreme Engineering
    Extreme Engineering
    Extreme Engineering is a documentary television series that airs on the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel. The program features futuristic and ongoing engineering projects. As of April 2011, the show is airing its ninth season. Danny Forster first hosted the series in season 4 and has been...

     featured changes in the city.
    The Old City of Baku, also known as the Walled City of Baku, refers to the ancient Baku settlement. Most of the walls and towers, strengthened after the Russian conquest in 1806, survived. This section is picturesque, with its maze of narrow alleys and ancient buildings: the cobbled streets past the Palace of the Shirvanshahs
    Palace of the Shirvanshahs
    Palace of the Shirvanshahs is the biggest monument of the Shirvan-Absheron branch of the Azerbaijan architecture, situated in the Inner City of Baku...

    , two caravansaries
    Caravanserai
    A caravanserai, or khan, also known as caravansary, caravansera, or caravansara in English was a roadside inn where travelers could rest and recover from the day's journey...

    , the baths and the Juma Mosque
    Friday Mosque
    Friday Mosque is the English translation of the Arabic term masjid al-jumʿa or Jama Masjid . This term is applied as a proper name to many mosques worldwide...

     (which used to house the Azerbaijan National Carpet and Arts Museum
    Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum
    Azerbaijan State Carpet Museum , also known as the State Museum of Azerbaijan Carpet and Applied Art , is a museum located on Neftchiler Avenue, in the center of Baku, Azerbaijan. The museum displays Azerbaijani carpets and rug items of various weaving techniques and materials from various periods...

     but is now a mosque
    Mosque
    A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

     again). The old town core also has dozens of small mosques, often without any particular sign to distinguish them as such.

    In 2003, UNESCO placed the Inner City on the List of World Heritage in Danger, citing damage from a November 2000 earthquake
    2000 Baku earthquake
    The 2000 Baku earthquake occurred on Saturday, November 25, 2000 at 22:10 local time, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale in the epicentre with 6.3 in Baku, Azerbaijan, and three minutes later followed by a quake measuring 5.9...

    , poor conservation as well as "dubious" restoration efforts.

    Parks and gardens



    Baku has large sections of greenery either preserved by the National Government or designated as green zones. The city, however, continues to lack a green belt development as economic activity pours into the capital, resulting in massive housing projects along the suburbs.

    Baku Boulevard
    Baku Boulevard
    Baku Boulevard is a promenade that runs parallel to Baku's seafront. Its history goes back more than 100 years, to a time when Baku oil barons built their mansions along the Caspian shore and when the seafront was artificially built up inch by inch.-Location:...

     is a pedestrian promenade that runs parallel to Baku's seafront. The boulevard contains an amusement park
    Amusement park
    thumb|Cinderella Castle in [[Magic Kingdom]], [[Disney World]]Amusement and theme parks are terms for a group of entertainment attractions and rides and other events in a location for the enjoyment of large numbers of people...

    , yacht club
    Yacht club
    A yacht club is a sports club specifically related to sailing and yachting.-Description:Yacht Clubs are mostly located by the sea, although there are some that have been established at a lake or riverside locations...

    , musical fountain
    Musical fountain
    A musical fountain is a type of animated fountain for entertainment purposes that creates an aesthetic design . This is achieved by employing the effects of timed sound waves and timed light against water particles...

    , statues and monuments. The park is popular with dog-walkers and joggers
    Jogging
    Jogging is a form of trotting or running at a slow or leisurely pace. The main intention is to increase fitness with less stress on the body than from faster running.-Definition:...

    , and is convenient for tourists. It is adjacent to the newly built International Center of Mugham
    International Mugam Center of Azerbaijan
    International Mugam Center of Azerbaijan is the center of Azerbaijani arts and music aimed to promote, preserve and popularize specific genre of Azerbaijani music Mugam. It is located in Baku Boulevard, downtown Baku.-Overview of the center:...

     and the musical fountain
    Musical fountain
    A musical fountain is a type of animated fountain for entertainment purposes that creates an aesthetic design . This is achieved by employing the effects of timed sound waves and timed light against water particles...

    .

    Other prominent parks and gardens include Heydar Aliyev Park, Samad Vurgun Park, Narimanov Park, Alley of Honor and the Fountains Square
    Fountains Square, Baku
    Fountains Square is a public square in downtown Baku, capital of Azerbaijan.The square was previously called Parapet and is often referenced to by the same name now...

    . The Martyrs' Lane
    Martyrs' Lane
    Martyrs' Lane, Alley of Martyrs or Şəhidlər Xiyabanı , formerly The Kirov Park, is a cemetery and memorial in Baku, Azerbaijan dedicated to those killed by the Soviet Army during Black January and later to those killed in Nagorno-Karabakh War.-History:In the closing days of World War I fighting...

    , formerly the Kirov Park, is dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives during the Nagorno-Karabakh War
    Nagorno-Karabakh War
    The Nagorno-Karabakh War was an armed conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan...

     and also to the 137 people killed on Black January
    Black January
    Black January , also known as Black Saturday or the January Massacre, was a violent crackdown of the Azerbaijani independence movement in Baku on January 19–20, 1990, pursuant to a state of emergency during the dissolution of the Soviet Union....

    .

    Nightlife


    Baku boasts a vibrant nightlife. Many clubs that are open until dawn can be found throughout the city. Clubs with an eastern flavor provide special treats from the cuisine of Azerbaijan
    Cuisine of Azerbaijan
    Azerbaijani cuisine refers to the cooking styles and dishes with origins in the nation of Azerbaijan and prepared by Azerbaijani people around the world. Throughout the centuries, Azerbaijani cuisine has been influenced by the foods of different cultures, though at the same time, it remained...

     along with local music. Western-style clubs target younger, more energetic crowds. Most of the public house
    Public house
    A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

    s and bars are located near Fountains Square
    Fountains Square, Baku
    Fountains Square is a public square in downtown Baku, capital of Azerbaijan.The square was previously called Parapet and is often referenced to by the same name now...

     and are usually open until the early hours of the morning.

    Baku is home to restaurants catering to every cuisine and occasion. Restaurants range from luxurious and expensive to ordinary and affordable.

    In the Lonely Planet
    Lonely Planet
    Lonely Planet is the largest travel guide book and digital media publisher in the world. The company is owned by BBC Worldwide, which bought a 75% share from the founders Maureen and Tony Wheeler in 2007 and the final 25% in February 2011...

     "1000 Ultimate Experiences", Baku placed 8th among the top 10 party cities in the world.

    Music and media



    The music scene in Baku can be traced back to ancient times and villages of Baku, generally revered as the fountainhead of meykhana
    Meykhana
    Meykhana is a distinctive Azerbaijani literary and folk rap tradition, consisting of an unaccompanied song performed by one or more people improvising on a particular subject...

     and mugham
    Mugham
    Mugam also known as Azerbaijani Mugham is one of the many folk musical compositions from Azerbaijan, contrast with Tasnif, Ashugs. Mugam draws on Iranian-Arabic-Turkish Maqam....

     in the Azerbaijan.

    In recent years, the success of Azerbaijani performers such as AySel
    Aysel Teymurzadeh
    -Biography:Aysel was born in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, the youngest of the three daughters of a journalist and a university professor. She is a descendant of the nineteenth-century Azerbaijani publicist Hasan bey Zardabi. Her grandmother on her mother's side was half-Russian, half-Ukrainian...

    , Safura
    Safura Alizadeh
    Safura Alizadeh is an Azerbaijani singer and saxophonist. Alizadeh took part in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010, where she brought Azerbaijan on 5th place, with song "Drip Drop". She later released her debut album It's My War, which made its way into several European countries...

    , Elnur Hüseynov
    Elnur Hüseynov
    Elnur Hüseynov is an Azerbaijani pop singer.He was selected as Azerbaijan's representative to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008....

     and Arash
    Arash
    Arash may refer to:* Arash, a mythological archer in Iranian legend and lore* Arash Mahal, a city in Azerbaijan now named Agdash* Ivan Bultinovich Kitanov aka Gavang Arash, Buddhist priest of Kalmykia* Arash , a ward in Tanzania...

     in Eurovision has significantly boosted the profile of the Baku music scene, prompting international attention. Following the victory of Azerbaijan's representative Eldar & Nigar at the Eurovision Song Contest 2011
    Eurovision Song Contest 2011
    The Eurovision Song Contest 2011 was the 56th annual Eurovision Song Contest and was won by Eldar & Nigar performing "Running Scared" for Azerbaijan. The event took place in the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany, following Germany's win in the previous year...

    , Baku will host the Eurovision Song Contest 2012
    Eurovision Song Contest 2012
    The Eurovision Song Contest 2012 will be the 57th annual Eurovision Song Contest. It will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, following Azerbaijan's win in the 2011 Contest with Ell & Nikki's song "Running Scared". The two semi-finals will be held on 22 May and 24 May 2012, with the final on 26 May 2012,...

    .

    2005 was a landmark in the development of jazz
    Jazz
    Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

     in the city. Its been home to legendary jazz musicians like Vagif Mustafazadeh
    Vagif Mustafazadeh
    Vagif Mustafazadeh , also known as Vagif Mustafa Zadeh, was an Azerbaijani jazz pianist and composer, acclaimed for fusing jazz and traditional Azerbaijani folk music known as mugham...

    , Aziza Mustafa Zadeh
    Aziza Mustafa Zadeh
    Aziza Mustafa Zadeh also known as The Princess of Jazz, or Die Prinzessin des Jazz or as Jazziza is an Azerbaijani singer, pianist and composer who plays a fusion of jazz and mugam with classical and Avant-garde influences...

    , Rafig Babayev and Rain Sultanov. Among Baku's prominent annual fairs and festivals is Baku International Jazz Festival
    Baku International Jazz Festival
    The Baku International Jazz Festival is an annual jazz event organized by renowned saxophonist and Baku resident Rain Sultanov. The festival aims to showcase Azerbaijan's long-running attachment to the American-born art form, a connection first established in the country during the 1950s and 1960s,...

    , which includes the world's most identifiable jazz names.

    Baku also has a thriving International Center of Mugham
    Mugham
    Mugam also known as Azerbaijani Mugham is one of the many folk musical compositions from Azerbaijan, contrast with Tasnif, Ashugs. Mugam draws on Iranian-Arabic-Turkish Maqam....

    , which is located in Baku Boulevard
    Baku Boulevard
    Baku Boulevard is a promenade that runs parallel to Baku's seafront. Its history goes back more than 100 years, to a time when Baku oil barons built their mansions along the Caspian shore and when the seafront was artificially built up inch by inch.-Location:...

    , Gulustan Palace
    Gulustan Palace
    Gulustan Palace , formerly known as Gulustan Wedding Palace Complex during the Soviet era is the main state convention center of the Azerbaijani government...

     and Buta Palace
    Buta Palace
    The Buta Palace is one of the principal performing arts centers and music venues of Baku. It consists of two event halls and adjacent parking lot for 800 cars. The greater hall is a caravanserai-stylized venue, capable of accommodating about 2,000 visitors. The minor hall is designed for...

    , one of the principal performing arts center
    Performing arts center
    Performing arts center, often abbreviated PAC, is used to refer to* A multi-use performance space that is intended for use by various types of the performing arts, including dance, music and theatre....

    s and music venue
    Music venue
    A music venue is any location used for a concert or musical performance. Music venues range in size and location, from an outdoor bandshell or bandstand or a concert hall to an indoor sports stadium. Typically, different types of venues host different genres of music...

    s in the city.

    The majority of Azerbaijan's media companies (including television, newspaper and radio, such as ANS
    ANS TV
    ANS TV is a news television channel in Azerbaijan, which owned by ANS Group of Companies since it was founded on March 9, 1992...

    , Azad Azerbaijan TV
    Azad Azerbaijan TV
    Azad Azerbaijan TV is a private television station in Azerbaijan. It has been broadcasting since December 25, 2000. ATV began broadcasting through movies and music videos, but later news, shows and other programmes was added. In the last years ATV claim to be the most popular and the most...

    , Ictimai TV and Lider TV
    Lider TV
    Lider TV, is a private television channel in Azerbaijan. It was founded on 1 September 2000 by Media Ltd....

    ) are headquartered in Baku. The films The World Is Not Enough
    The World Is Not Enough
    The World Is Not Enough is the nineteenth spy film in the James Bond film series, and the third to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film was directed by Michael Apted, with the original story and screenplay written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Bruce Feirstein. It...

    and The Diamond Arm
    The Diamond Arm
    The Diamond Arm is a 1968 Soviet comedy film filmed by Mosfilm and first released in 1968. The film was directed by slapstick director Leonid Gaidai and starred several famous Soviet actors, including Yuri Nikulin, Andrei Mironov, Anatoli Papanov, Nonna Mordyukova and Svetlana Svetlichnaya. The...

    are set in the city, while Amphibian Man
    Amphibian Man (film)
    Amphibian Man is a 1962 Soviet science fiction romance film starring Vladimir Korenev and Directed by Vladimir Chebotaryov and Gennadi Kazansky....

    includes several scenes filmed in Old City.

    Out of the city's radio stations ANS ChM
    ANS ChM
    ANS Radio or ANS ChM is a private news and music radio station located in Baku, Azerbaijan, which broadcasts on the 102 frequency. The station also streams content over the Internet for free...

    , Ictimai Radio, Radio Antenn, Burc FM, and Lider FM Jazz are some of the more influential competitors with large national audiences. ANS ChM was one of the first private and independent FM radio
    FM broadcasting
    FM broadcasting is a broadcasting technology pioneered by Edwin Howard Armstrong which uses frequency modulation to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. The term "FM band" describes the "frequency band in which FM is used for broadcasting"...

     broadcasting service in the Caucasus
    Caucasus
    The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

     and Central Asia
    Central Asia
    Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

     regions when it was established in May 1994.

    Some of the most influential Baku newspapers include the daily Zaman (The Time), Bakinskiy Rabochiy (The Baku Worker), Echo and the English-language Baku Today.

    Sports


    The city's three main football clubs are Neftchi Baku, FC Baku and Inter Baku of whom first two play at the Tofik Bakhramov Stadium
    Tofik Bakhramov Stadium
    Tofiq Bahramov Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan. It is currently used mostly for football matches. It serves as the home ground of FK Baku and the Azerbaijan national football team and holds 30,000, making it the largest stadium in the country.- History :The Tofiq Bahramov...

    . Neftchi has won six Azerbaijani titles, whilst FC Baku and Inter Baku have just two titles for each. Baku also has several clubs in the premier and regional leagues, including AZAL and Ravan Baku
    Ravan Baku
    Ravan Baku FC is an Azerbaijani football club, based in Baku, that plays in the Azerbaijan Premier League.-History:The club was founded in 2009. In May 2011, team secured their promotion to Azerbaijan Premier League after clinching second place in Azerbaijan First Division.- Stadium :Dalga Arena...

     in Premier League
    Azerbaijan Premier League
    -Attendance:- Records :Players in the Premier League compete for the Azerbaijan Premier League Golden Boot, awarded to the top scorer at the end of each season. Nazim Aliyev is the league's all-time top scorer with 183 goals, including 39 in the 1992 season.During the 1995–96 season he became the...

    . The Baku Olympic Stadium
    Baku Olympic Stadium
    The Baku Olympic Stadium is a retractable roof football stadium currently under construction in Boyuk Shor, Baku, Azerbaijan, and planned to be opened in 2015...

    , a planned 65,000 seat football (soccer) stadium
    Stadium
    A modern stadium is a place or venue for outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a structure designed to allow spectators to stand or sit and view the event.)Pausanias noted that for about half a century the only event...

    , is currently under construction and will be based on Boyuk Shor settlement.

    In the Azerbaijan Basketball League, Baku is represented by Gala BC Baku, BC Aztop Baku, NTD Devon Baku whose home is the Palace of Hand Games. The city also is home of the volleyball clubs such as Rabita Baku
    Rabita Baku
    Rabita Baku is an Azerbaijani women's volleyball club.-History:The Rabita Bank was founded in 2001 as Rabitachi Baku, and then take its current name in 2004. Since the first edition of the Superleague , the club is one of the stars of the championship teams, now getting third place...

    , Azerrail Baku
    Azerrail Baku
    Azerrail Baku is an Azerbaijani women's volleyball club which plays its home matches at the Sports Games Palace in Baku.-History:In April 2011, club claimed their second Women's CEV Top Teams Cup in their history as they beat Lokomotiv Baku in all Azerbaijani final.-Team 2010-2011:As of July...

    , Lokomotiv Baku
    Lokomotiv Baku
    Lokomotiv Baku is an Azerbaijani women's volleyball club.-Team 2009-2010:As of December 2009...

    , Igtisadchi Baku
    Igtisadchi Baku
    Igtisadchi Baku is an Azerbaijani women's volleyball club.-History:The Igtisadchi Baku was founded in 2007 and immediately got the right to participate in the Azerbaijani Superleague , qualifying after just one season to the Challenge Cup...

     and VC Baku
    VC Baku
    VC Baku is an Azerbaijani women's volleyball club. -History:VC Baku women volleyball team was founded in 2010. VC Baku participated at Azerbaijan Women's Volleyball Super League 2010-2011 season and finished 6th. The team will enter CEV Challenge Cup this season....

    .

    First class sporting facilities were built for the indoor games, including the Palace of Hand Games and Heydar Aliyev Sports and Exhibition Complex. It hosted many sporting events, including Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships
    Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships
    The Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships are the European championships for the sport of rhythmic gymnastics. They were first held in 1978. Prior to 2006, they were called the European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships. The competition is organised by the European Union of...

     in 2007
    2007 Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships
    The 23rd Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships were held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 29 June to 1 July 2007.- Individual all-around :- Clubs :- Hoop :- Ribbon :- Rope :-References:*...

     and 2009
    2009 Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships
    The 25th Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships was opened on May 15, 2009 in Baku, Azerbaijan in the Heydar Aliyev Sports-Concert Complex and ended on May 17. 186 gymnasts from 32 countries were scheduled to participate....

    , 2005 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships
    2005 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships
    XXVII World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships were held in Baku the capital of Azerbaijan, October 3rd - 10th 2005 at the Heydar Aliyev Sport Concert Complex.-Medal Table:-Individual All-Around:-Groups All-Around:-Groups 5 Ribbons:...

    , 2007 FILA Wrestling World Championships
    2007 FILA Wrestling World Championships
    The 2007 FILA Wrestling World Championships were held at the Heydar Aliyev Sport & Exhibition Complex in Baku, Azerbaijan. The event took place from September 17 to September 23, 2007.-Medal table:-Team ranking:-Men's freestyle:-Men's Greco-Roman:...

     and 2010 European Wrestling Championships
    2010 European Wrestling Championships
    The 2010 FILA European Wrestling Championships was held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from April 13 to April 18, 2010.Because of the ongoing dispute over Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Armenia chose not to compete at this event for the safety of their wrestlers.-Medal table:-Team ranking:-Men's...

    , 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships
    2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships
    The 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships was held at the Heydar Aliyev Sports and Exhibition Complex in Baku, Azerbaijan from September 22, 2011 to October 10, 2011....

    , 2009 Women's Challenge Cup and European Taekwondo Championships
    European Taekwondo Championships
    European Taekwondo Championships is the Taekwondo European Championship organized by the European Taekwondo Union, first held in 1976.- List of tournaments :-External links:*...

     in 2007. As of 2011, the city annually hosts WTA
    Women's Tennis Association
    The Women's Tennis Association , founded in 1973 by Billie Jean King, is the principal organizing body of Women's Professional Tennis. It governs the WTA Tour which is the worldwide professional tennis tour for women. Its counterpart organization in the men's professional game is the Association of...

     tennis event called Baku Cup
    Baku Cup
    The Baku Cup is a tennis tournament held in Baku, Azerbaijan. It made its debut on the 2011 WTA Tour and as one of the international tier of events. This WTA Tour event is an international tournament and is played at the Baku Tennis Academy on outdoor hardcourts.-History:Baku Cup is the first WTA...

    .

    Baku is also one of world's leading chess
    Chess
    Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

     centres, having produced famous grandmasters like Teimour Radjabov
    Teimour Radjabov
    Radjabov's knight sacrifice, 21. ... Ngxe5, was praised by several strong players for its bravery, including English grandmaster Nigel Short. Said Short of the move, "Radjabov plays very imaginatively... he just won't give up, he is extremely tenacious and will always find a way to muddy the...

    , Vugar Gashimov
    Vugar Gashimov
    Vugar Gashimov , born July 24, 1986 in Baku, is one of the leading chess players from Azerbaijan. He is a noted player of Bullet chess and three times Azerbaijani national chess champion .He won at Athens 2005 ....

    , Gary Kasparov, Faik Hasanov
    Faik Hasanov
    Faiq Hasanov is an Azerbaijani chess International Arbiter , coach, television presenter, author and vice-president of Azerbaijani chess federation.-Chess arbiter:...

     and Rauf Mammadov
    Rauf Mammadov
    Rauf Mamedov is an Azerbaijani chess Grandmaster.- Career :Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, Mamedov started playing chess at the age of seven. In 2004, he became a Grandmaster , following his victory during international tournament in Dubai....

    . The city also annually hosts the international tournaments such as Baku Chess Grand Prix, President's Cup, Baku Open and currently bidding to host 42nd Chess Olympiad in 2014.

    It was confirmed on September 1, 2011 that Baku is bidding
    Baku bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics
    Baku 2020 is a bid by the city of Baku to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The IOC will announce the official candidate cities on May 23, 2012. The winning bid will be announced on September 7, 2013 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires. -History:...

     for the 2020 Summer Olympics
    2020 Summer Olympics
    The 2020 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, will be a major international sports and cultural festival, celebrated in the tradition of the Olympic Games....

    .

    Transport



    Throughout history the transport system of Baku used the now-defunct horsecar
    Horsecar
    A horsecar or horse-drawn tram is an animal-powered streetcar or tram.These early forms of public transport developed out of industrial haulage routes that had long been in existence, and from the omnibus routes that first ran on public streets in the 1820s, using the newly improved iron or steel...

    s, trams and narrow gauge railways. As of 2011, 1000 black cabs
    Hackney carriage
    A hackney or hackney carriage is a carriage or automobile for hire...

     are ordered by Baku Taxi Company, and as part of a programme originally announced by the Transport Ministry of Azerbaijan, there is a plan to introduce London cabs into Baku. The move was part of £16 million agreement between Manganese Bronze
    Manganese Bronze
    Manganese Bronze Holdings PLC is an engineering company based in Coventry, England. Since the sale of its components division in 2003 the company has only one operating division—LTI Limited, trading as The London Taxi Company—which manufactures and retails London Black Taxis.The London...

     and Baku Taxi Company.

    Local transport includes the Baku Metro
    Baku Metro
    Baku Metro is a rapid transit system serving Baku the capital of Azerbaijan. First opened on November 6, 1967, during the time of the Soviet Union, it has the features found in most other ex-Soviet systems, including very deep central stations, and exquisite decorations that blend traditional...

    , a rapid transit
    Rapid transit
    A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

     system notable for its art, mural
    Mural
    A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.-History:Murals of...

    s, mosaic
    Mosaic
    Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

    s, and ornate chandelier
    Chandelier
    A chandelier is a branched decorative ceiling-mounted light fixture with two or more arms bearing lights. Chandeliers are often ornate, containing dozens of lamps and complex arrays of glass or crystal prisms to illuminate a room with refracted light...

    s. Baku Metro was opened in November 1967 and includes 22 stations
    Metro station
    A metro station or subway station is a railway station for a rapid transit system, often known by names such as "metro", "underground" and "subway". It is often underground or elevated. At crossings of metro lines, they are multi-level....

     at present; 170 million people used Baku Metro over the past five years. In 2008, the Chief of the Baku Metro, Taghi Ahmadov, announced plans to construct 41 new stations over the next 17 years. These will serve the new bus complex as well as the international airport.

    Baku's Central Railway Station is the terminus for national and international rail links to the city. The Kars–Tbilisi–Baku railway, which will directly connect Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

    , Georgia
    Georgia (country)
    Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

     and Azerbaijan
    Azerbaijan
    Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

    , began to be constructed in 2007 and is scheduled for completion by 2012. The completed branch will connect Baku with Tbilisi
    Tbilisi
    Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

     in Georgia, and from there trains will continue to Akhalkalaki
    Akhalkalaki
    Akhalkalaki is a small city in Georgia's southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti with a population of 60,975. Akhalkalaki lies on the edge of the Javakheti Volcanic Plateau. The city is located about 30 km from the border with Turkey. 90 percent of the city's population are ethnic Armenians...

    , and Kars
    Kars
    Kars is a city in northeast Turkey and the capital of Kars Province. The population of the city is 73,826 as of 2010.-Etymology:As Chorzene, the town appears in Roman historiography as part of ancient Armenia...

     in Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

    .
    Sea transport
    Ship transport
    Ship transport is watercraft carrying people or goods . Sea transport has been the largest carrier of freight throughout recorded history. Although the importance of sea travel for passengers has decreased due to aviation, it is effective for short trips and pleasure cruises...

     is vital for Baku, as the city is practically surrounded by the Caspian Sea
    Caspian Sea
    The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

     to the east. Shipping services operate regularly from Baku across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenbashi
    Türkmenbasy, Turkmenistan
    Türkmenbaşy , formerly known as Krasnovodsk and, more properly, Kyzyl-Su, is a city in Balkan Province in Turkmenistan, on the Krasnovodsk Gulf of the Caspian Sea. It is located at latitude 40.0231 North; longitude 52.9697 East, at an altitude of 27 meters. The population was 86,800, mostly...

     (formerly Krasnovodsk) in Turkmenistan
    Turkmenistan
    Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

     and to Bandar Anzali
    Bandar-e Anzali
    Bandar-e Anzali , also Romanized as Bandar-e Pahlavī, Bandar Pahlavi, and Bandar Pahlevi, or simply as Pahlavī, Pahlevī, and Pehlevi; earlier, Enceli and Enzeli) is a city in and the capital of Bandar-e Anzali County, Gilan Province, Iran...

     and Bandar Nowshar in Iran. The commuter ferries, along with the high-speed catamaran Seabus (Deniz Avtobusu), also form the main connection between the city and the Absheron
    Absheron
    The Absheron peninsula, is a region in Azerbaijan. It is host to Baku, the biggest and the most populous city of the country, and also the Baku metropolitan area, with its satellite cities Sumgayit and Khyrdalan....

     peninsula.

    The Baku Port was founded in 1902 and since then has been the largest Caspian Sea port. It has six facilities: the main cargo terminal, the container terminal, the ferry terminal, the oil terminal, the passenger terminal and the port fleet terminal. The port's throughput capacity reaches 15 million ton
    Ton
    The ton is a unit of measure. It has a long history and has acquired a number of meanings and uses over the years. It is used principally as a unit of weight, and as a unit of volume. It can also be used as a measure of energy, for truck classification, or as a colloquial term.It is derived from...

    s of liquid bulk and up to 10 million tons of dry cargoes.
    Beginning in 2010, the Baku International Sea Trade Port is being reconstructed. The construction will take in three stages and will be completed by 2016. The estimated costs are 400 Million US$. From April to November the Baku Port is accessible to ships loading cargoes for direct voyages from Western European and Mediterranean ports.

    The State Road M-1 and the European route E60
    European route E60
    European route E 60 is a E-road running from Brest, France , to Irkeshtam, Kyrgyzstan...

     are the two main motorway connections between Europe and Azerbaijan. The motorway network around Baku is well developed and is constantly being extended.

    The Heydar Aliyev International Airport
    Heydar Aliyev International Airport
    Heydar Aliyev International Airport is the international airport in Azerbaijan located northeast of the capital Baku. The airport is the home of Azerbaijan Airlines, the national flag carrier...

     is the only commercial airport serving Baku. The new Baku Cargo Terminal
    Baku Cargo Terminal
    Baku Cargo Terminal of Heydar Aliyev International Airport is one of the biggest cargo terminals in the Commonwealth of Independent States. The construction project was estimated at $19,000,000. The building was opened and the operations started on March 23, 2005...

     was officially opened in March 2005. It was constructed to be a major cargo hub in the CIS
    Commonwealth of Independent States
    The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

     countries and is actually now one of the biggest and most technically advanced in the region. There are also several smaller military airbases near Baku, such as Baku Kala Air Base
    Baku Kala Air Base
    Baku Kala Air Base is a military airbase in Baku , the capital of Azerbaijan.-Facilities:The air base resides at an elevation of above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 18/36 with a concrete surface measuring ....

    , intended for private aircraft, helicopter
    Helicopter
    A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

    s and charters.

    Education


    Baku has many universities, junior colleges, and vocational schools. Many of Azerbaijan's most prestigious universities are in Baku, including Baku State University
    Baku State University
    Baku State University is a public university located in Baku, Azerbaijan. Established in 1919 by the Parliament of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the University started with faculties of history and philology; physics and mathematics; law and medicine with an initial enrollment of 1094...

    , Azerbaijan State Oil Academy, Academy of Public Administration, Azerbaijan Medical University
    Azerbaijan Medical University
    Azerbaijan Medical University, named after Nariman Narimanov is the formal name of the public medical school located in Baku, Azerbaijan. Due to difficulties with translation, the school is sometimes called: Azerbaijan Medical University, Azerbaijan State Medical University, Azerbaijan State...

    , and Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences
    Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences
    Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences , located in Baku, is the main state research organization in Azerbaijan...

    . Some of the biggest educational institutions in Baku are Azerbaijan State Economic University, Azerbaijan Technical University
    Azerbaijan Technical University
    Azerbaijan Technical University is a public university, specialized in engineering, located in Baku, Azerbaijan. The University has 9 schools and 54 departments, 884 faculty members and approximately 6500 students....

    , Azerbaijan Architecture and Construction University
    Azerbaijan Architecture and Construction University
    Azerbaijan Architecture and Construction University is a state university located in Baku, Azerbaijan, specializing in civil engineering and architecture...

    , Azerbaijan University of Languages
    Azerbaijan University of Languages
    Azerbaijan University of Languages is a public university located in Baku, Azerbaijan. The student body consists of approximately 4000 undergraduates and 900 graduate students...

    , Baku Slavic University
    Baku Slavic University
    Baku Slavic University , sometimes referred to as Baku Slav University, is a public university located in Baku, Azerbaijan.BSU's history is tied to Azerbaijan's at tenuous times in history with Russia...

    , Azerbaijan Tourism Institute and Baku Academy of Music
    Baku Academy of Music
    The Hajibeyov Baku Academy of Music is a music school in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was established in 1920 in Baku and was previously known as the Hajibeyov Azerbaijan State Conservatoire.-History:...

    . After Azerbaijan gained independence, the fall of communism led to the development of a number of private institutions, including Qafqaz University
    Qafqaz University
    Qafqaz University is a private university located in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was founded in 1993 and was the first and the only foreign private university in the country.- Foundation :...

    , Odlar Yurdu University
    Odlar Yurdu University
    Odlar Yurdu University is a private university located in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was founded in 1995, and became a degree granting institution in 1999...

    , Khazar University
    Khazar University
    Khazar University is a private university located in Baku, Azerbaijan.-Campuses:...

     and Western University
    Western University
    Western University is a private university located in Baku, Azerbaijan. Founded in 1991 by Husein Baghirov, it has six schools, 25 majors, 180 faculty and approximately 1000 students. The university took its name because it is modeled after Western universities in style of instruction and...

    . Publicly run kindergartens and elementary school
    Elementary school
    An elementary school or primary school is an institution where children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as elementary or primary education. Elementary school is the preferred term in some countries, particularly those in North America, where the terms grade school and grammar...

    s (years 1 through 11) are operated by local wards or municipal offices.

    Baku has numerous libraries, many of which contain vast collections of historic documents from the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Soviet periods, as well as from other civilisations of the past. The most important libraries in terms of historic document collections include the Nizami Museum of Azerbaijan Literature
    Nizami Museum of Azerbaijan Literature
    The Nizami Museum of Azerbaijani Literature - was established in 1939, in Baku. It is located in the centre of the capital of Azerbaijan, not far from the fountains square and near the entrance of Icheri Sheher...

    , National Library of Azerbaijan, Mirza Alakbar Central Library, Samad Vurgun Library and Baku Presidential Library.

    Health care


    The city has many public and private hospitals, clinics and laboratories
    Laboratory
    A laboratory is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific research, experiments, and measurement may be performed. The title of laboratory is also used for certain other facilities where the processes or equipment used are similar to those in scientific laboratories...

     within its bounds and numerous medical research centers. Many of these facilities have high tech
    High tech
    High tech is technology that is at the cutting edge: the most advanced technology currently available. It is often used in reference to micro-electronics, rather than other technologies. The adjective form is hyphenated: high-tech or high-technology...

    nology equipment, which has contributed to the recent upsurge in "medical tourism
    Medical tourism
    Medical tourism is a term initially coined by travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly-growing practice of travelling across international borders to obtain health care...

    " to Baku, particularly from post-Soviet countries such as Georgia
    Georgia (country)
    Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

     and Moldova
    Moldova
    Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

    , whose governments send lower-income patients to the city for inexpensive high-tech medical treatments and operations.

    Notable residents


    Because of its intermittent periods of great prosperity as well as being the largest city in the Caucasus and one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse in the Soviet Union, Baku prides itself on having produced a disproportionate number of notable figures in the sciences, arts and other fields. Some of the houses they resided in display commemorative plaques. Some of the many prestigious residents include: Academy Award winners Rustam Ibrahimbeyov and Vladimir Menshov
    Vladimir Menshov
    Vladimir Valentinovich Menshov is a Soviet and Russian actor and film director. He is noted for depicting the Russian everyman and working class life in his films. Like many other Russian filmmakers, he studied acting and directing at the state film school VGIK, the world's oldest educational...

    , one of the founders and head of the Soviet space program Kerim Kerimov
    Kerim Kerimov
    Lieutenant-General Kerim Aliyevich Kerimov was an Azerbaijani-Soviet/Russian aerospace engineer and a renowned rocket scientist, one of the founders of the Soviet space industry, and for many years a central figure in the Soviet space program. Despite his prominent role, his identity was kept a...

    , Nobel Prize winner and physicist Lev Landau
    Lev Landau
    Lev Davidovich Landau was a prominent Soviet physicist who made fundamental contributions to many areas of theoretical physics...

     and famous musicians such as Gara Garayev
    Gara Garayev
    Gara Abulfaz oghlu Garayev , also spelled as Qara Qarayev or Kara [Abulfazovich] Karayev, was a prominent Azerbaijani composer of the Soviet period...

    , Uzeyir Hajibeyov
    Uzeyir Hajibeyov
    Uzeyir bey Abdul Hussein oglu Hajibeyov was an Azerbaijani and Soviet composer, conductor, publicist, playwright, teacher, translator, and social figure from Azerbaijan. He is recognized as the father of Azerbaijani classical music and opera...

    , Muslim Magomayev, Vagif Mustafazadeh
    Vagif Mustafazadeh
    Vagif Mustafazadeh , also known as Vagif Mustafa Zadeh, was an Azerbaijani jazz pianist and composer, acclaimed for fusing jazz and traditional Azerbaijani folk music known as mugham...

    , and Alim Qasimov
    Alim Qasimov
    Alim Qasimov is an Azerbaijani musician, and one of the foremost mugam singers in Azerbaijan. He was awarded the International Music Council-UNESCO Music Prize in 1999, one of the highest international accolades for music. His music is characterised by his vocal improvisation and represents a move...

    . World-famous cellist Mstislav Rostropovich was born and raised in Baku.

    International relations



    Twin towns and sister cities


    Baku is twinned with:[in chronological
    Chronology
    Chronology is the science of arranging events in their order of occurrence in time, such as the use of a timeline or sequence of events. It is also "the determination of the actual temporal sequence of past events".Chronology is part of periodization...

     order]

    Country ity tate / Province / Region / Governorate ate
     Senegal Senegal Dakar
    Dakar
    Dakar is the capital city and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland...

    Dakar Region
    Dakar Region
    Dakar région is the smallest and most populated région of Senegal, encompassing the capital city of the country, Dakar, and all its suburbs along the Cap–Vert Peninsula, Africa's most westerly point.-Administration:...

    1967
     Italy Italy Naples
    Naples
    Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

    Campania
    Campania
    Campania is a region in southern Italy. The region has a population of around 5.8 million people, making it the second-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km² makes it the most densely populated region in the country...

    1972
     Iraq Iraq Basra
    Basra
    Basra is the capital of Basra Governorate, in southern Iraq near Kuwait and Iran. It had an estimated population of two million as of 2009...

    Basra Governorate 1972
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Sarajevo
    Sarajevo
    Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

    Sarajevo Canton
    Sarajevo Canton
    The Sarajevo Canton is a canton of the Federation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The capital is Sarajevo.The Canton is basically the metro area of the city it is named after that is inside the Federation...

    1975
     United States United States
    Houston
    Houston, Texas
    Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

    Texas
    Texas
    Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

    1976
     Early Modern France France Bordeaux
    Bordeaux
    Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

    Aquitaine
    Aquitaine
    Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

    1979
     Iran Iran Tabriz
    Tabriz
    Tabriz is the fourth largest city and one of the historical capitals of Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters at the junction of the Quri River and Aji River, it was the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s, one of its former...

    East Azerbaijan Province 1980
     Turkey Turkey Izmir
    Izmir
    Izmir is a large metropolis in the western extremity of Anatolia. The metropolitan area in the entire Izmir Province had a population of 3.35 million as of 2010, making the city third most populous in Turkey...

    İzmir Province
    Izmir Province
    İzmir Province is a province of Turkey in western Anatolia on the Aegean coast, whose capital is the city of İzmir. On the west it is surrounded by the Aegean sea, and it encloses the Gulf of İzmir. Its area is 11,973 km.2, population 3.948.848 . The population was 3,370,866 in 2000...

    1985<
     Vietnam Vietnam Vũng Tàu
    Vung Tàu
    Vũng Tàu is a city in southern Vietnam. Its population in 2005 was 240,000. The city area is including 13 urban wards and one village. It is the capital of Ba Ria-Vung Tau province, and is the crude oil extraction center of Vietnam. It is also known as one of the most beautiful cities of tourism...

    Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu Province 1985

    Partner cities

    • Aberdeen
      Aberdeen
      Aberdeen is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 25th most populous city, with an official population estimate of ....

      , Scotland
    • Mainz
      Mainz
      Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

      , Germany
    • Stavanger
      Stavanger
      Stavanger is a city and municipality in the county of Rogaland, Norway.Stavanger municipality has a population of 126,469. There are 197,852 people living in the Stavanger conurbation, making Stavanger the fourth largest city, but the third largest urban area, in Norway...

      , Norway


    Partnership relations also exist at different levels with: Berlin
    Berlin
    Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

    , Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

    , Vienna
    Vienna
    Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

    , Tbilisi
    Tbilisi
    Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

    , Astana
    Astana
    Astana , formerly known as Akmola , Tselinograd and Akmolinsk , is the capital and second largest city of Kazakhstan, with an officially estimated population of 708,794 as of 1 August 2010...

    , Minsk
    Minsk
    - Ecological situation :The ecological situation is monitored by Republican Center of Radioactive and Environmental Control .During 2003–2008 the overall weight of contaminants increased from 186,000 to 247,400 tons. The change of gas as industrial fuel to mazut for financial reasons has worsened...

    , Moscow
    Moscow
    Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

    , Volgograd
    Volgograd
    Volgograd , formerly called Tsaritsyn and Stalingrad is an important industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd Oblast, Russia. It is long, north to south, situated on the western bank of the Volga River...

    , Kizlyar
    Kizlyar
    Kizlyar is a town in the Republic of Dagestan, Russia, located in the delta of the Terek River northwest of Makhachkala. Population: 30,000 ....

    , Tashkent
    Tashkent
    Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and of the Tashkent Province. The officially registered population of the city in 2008 was about 2.2 million. Unofficial sources estimate the actual population may be as much as 4.45 million.-Early Islamic History:...

     and Chengdu
    Chengdu
    Chengdu , formerly transliterated Chengtu, is the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. It holds sub-provincial administrative status...

    .

    See also

    • Ganja
      Ganja, Azerbaijan
      Ganja is Azerbaijan's second-largest city with a population of around 313,300. It was named Yelizavetpol in the Russian Empire period. The city regained its original name—Ganja—from 1920–1935 during the first part of its incorporation into the Soviet Union. However, its name was changed again and...

    • Sumgait
      Sumqayit
      Sumgayit is one of the largest cities in Azerbaijan, located near the Caspian Sea, about 31 kilometres away from the capital, Baku. The city has a population of 308,700 , making it the third-largest city in Azerbaijan after the capital Baku and Ganja. The city has a territory of 83 km². It...

    • Mingachevir
      Mingachevir
      Mingachevir , sometimes spelled Mingecevir, is the fourth-biggest city in Azerbaijan with a population of about 100,000. It is known as city of lights because of its hydroelectric power station on the Kur River, which splits the city in half....

    • Nakhchivan
    • List of cities in Azerbaijan
    • Administrative divisions of Azerbaijan
      Administrative divisions of Azerbaijan
      Politically, Azerbaijan is divided into:*59 districts ,*11 cities ,*1 autonomous republic , which itself contains:**7 districts**1 city...


    External links