Baku, also known as Baky or Baki, is the largest city in the Caucasus and Azerbaijan, and is also the capital of Azerbaijan. Baku is located on the coast of the Caspian Sea on the southern tip of the Absheron Peninsula. There are three major divisions in Baku: İçəri Şəhər (the ancient city), the Russian built city, and the newest part of the city. The population as of January, 2003 reached 2,074,300 people.
Getting To-From the Baku Airport GYD Inexpensively
If you are flying out of the airport and you want to save a few AZN it is possible to take the number 135 minibus from near the 28 May train/metro station. It costs 40 qapik, but it is 7-9 AZN cheaper than a taxi. After getting to the traffic circle near the airport, join disembarking passengers in their taxi and give the driver 1 AZN once arriving at the airport. In order to do this from the airport, walk to the traffic circle from the airport- about 15 minutes- and ride the minibus from there. It is a 1 hour trip. Otherwise pay a taxi driver 10 AZN ride the taxi to your destination in Baku.
From Turkmenistan, the costs at the cheapest is around $50 for a steerage bed and it takes two days to reach from Turkmenbashi to Baku. It is better to bring your own food, instead of buying it on the ship because food can be quite pricey. Make sure to get a visa in Tashkent before entering, because it is impossible to obtain one in Turkmenbashi.
Taxi costs about 2-3 manats for trips within the center of Baku.
There are no counters, and it is recommended to negotiate the cost in advance.
Buses and minibuses cost 20 qapik per person and can take you to almost any place within Baku. Destinations are usually posted on the front and the right side of the bus so that people can know where they are going.
The metro goes many places throughout Baku and it costs only 5 qupick. It is the least expensive way to get around Baku besides walking. Be careful when transferring on the only transfer (28 May and 20 January) as there is no signage. Ask a cashier or attendant. Also, the newly implemented Bakı Metropiliten Kart requries people to purchase a 2 AZN card and load it like a normal metro pass. This is more convienent for everyday users, but it can be a hassle for tourists. It is possible to use a Azerbaycan Sosial Kartı like the ones on some Azerbaijani ATM cards instead of having to buy a Bakı Metropiliten Kart. They will be more than happy to help you if you speak either Azeri or Russian.
It is possible to get around Fountain Square, the Boulevard, and the old city by foot, but otherwise it would be better to use a different mode of transportation.
English and Russian are spoken in many places throughout Baku, but it wise to still either bring an Azeri phrase book and/or brush up on your Azeri/Russian/Turkish before arriving. However, everyone over the age of 35 will speak excellent Russian, and about half the people under the age of 35 will speak a little English.
You can take the Baku Electric train from the Baku train station to Suraxani station for 10 qapik. Simply walk through the station to the outdoor platforms where a schedule is posted. You can pay on board or buy a ticket from a kiosk on the platform. From Suraxani station walk about 100 meters and 'you can arrive at the temple. Admission is as follows: children's .20 AZN, student's .40 AZN, adult's 2 AZN. If you want to take pictures it costs 2 AZN in addition to admission.
Shirvan Shah's Palace
Tourist wanting to see the oil rock complex need to get previous authorization from the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan.
Yanar Dag (Flaming Rock)
Guz Qalasi (Maiden's Tower)
The Shirvan Shah's Palace, Maiden's Tower, and Old City are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Baku Business Center (Baku Biznes Mərkəzi, Denizkenari Milli Park (bulvar)) tel: 994 012 4-97-3240; fax: 994 012 4-97-3180; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This building has been in use since 2 February 2004 with exhibition halls equaling nearly 1,100 square meters. This building has conference rooms equipped with projectors and a speaker system and a meeting hall with a 80 person capacity and conference hall with a 130 person capacity.
Baku Entertainment Center (Bakı Ləncə Mərkəzi, Khatai District, F. Bayramov Street, 1130/33) tel: 994 012 490-22-22; fax: 994 012 490-22-05; e-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baku Entertainment center has been around for more than half a decade. It has a shopping center, bowling alley certified by AMF, health club, conference venue with a capacity of 350 people, and various restaurants and clubs.
Luna Park (') tel: 994 012 496-48-48.
This is a small amusement park for kids and adults.
Public Baths (Hamamlar)
This is the oldest public bath in Baku located near the Baki Soviet metro station, inside the walls of the old city. There are men's and women's days at this public bath, Mondays and Fridays are for women, the rest of the days are for men. Hamam Mehellesi is located in the Old Town. From the station, enter the gate to the old city, turn right and go down the street. The hamam will be a few blocks down, on the left side of the street, you will see a note on one of the walls "hamam mehellesi" and a little further - the bath's domes - this will be the place. Entrace costs 1 AZN and they offer two types of service, hise (skin peel) for 2 AZN and massage for 4 AZN.
Teze Bey Hamami
This public bath is located in the old town and is a male only hamam. They have different types of baths (Finnish, Turkish, etc), so it may be a bit pricier than the other public baths in Baku.
Antiques from Old City (İçəri Şəhər)
There are a great deal of restaurants in Baku.
XVII esr Club-Restaurant (215, B. Safaroglu Street) tel: 944 012 598-17-00; prices 8-15 AZN
Anadolu Turkish/European Restaurant/Catering (Pushkin Street 5) and (Rasul Rza Street 3/5) tel: 944 012 498-87-58; tel: 944 012 498-804; prices 8-15 AZN
The Brewery European Restaurant (28, Istiglaliyyet Street) tel: 944 012 497-14-00; prices 8-20 AZN
U Dali Georgian Cuisine (5, M. Ibragimov Street) tel: 944 012 494-93-56; prices 3-6 AZN
Universal Club International Cuisine (16, Z. Tagiyev Street) tel: 944 012 493-29-12; prices ?-? AZN
Yin Yang Chinese Restaurant (5, Azuz Akuyev Street, 370005) tel: 944 012 492-67-09; prices ?-? AZN
A Cultural Note
Although tea houses (çay xanalar) in Baku usually allow western women to enter, in the regions, it is often forbidden for females to enter such establishments. Women drinking in Baku is a la mode, but it is taboo for women in the regions of Azerbaijan to consume alcohol.
Tea Houses (Çay Xanalar)
There are many outdoor tea houses (çay xanalar) that serves tea and sweets to people in their own individual nooks. It can be a great way to get a sense of the local culture. If you are adventurous, try challenging a local Bakuvian to a game of backgammon (nard) or dominoes.
There is a good selection of cafés dispersed throughout Baku. Expect to pay Western prices for your coffee.
Although tea houses (çay xanalar) (found throughout Azerbaijan) serve local beer (piva) - draft at 50 qapick/glass or bottles at 70 qapick/bottle or vodka (araq) at 2 AZN/bottle. For anything exotic (e.g. tequila, gin, or rum), you will have to go to a normal bar or hotel and pay Western prices there.
Beluga Bar (Bakikhanov Street, located in the Hyatt Hotel) tel:012-496-12-34; prices vary AZN
Britannia Pub (Bakikhanov Street, located in the Hyatt Hotel) tel:012-496-12-34; prices vary
Thousand Camels Hostel Baku (Inside the old city walls, http://thousandcamels.com). This is the best located of all budget options, being in the old city and close to all the sights and shoreline. It's also the only place where you'll find any sort of atmosphere, as it's run by an Aussie whose young friends often hang around the hostel and take guests out on the town. The price is around 20-22 USD for a dorm-style bed.
Araz Hotel (About a kilometer from the ferry port). This is a dormitory style hotel, but it is quite inexpensive but clean. There is hot water 24-7 in the hotel, but it is shared with the whole dormitory. There is a restaurant on the second floor. The patrons of this hotel are quite respectable, even though it is one of the cheapest places in Baku. Room service for tea costs 1 AZN. The rate per night range from 8 AZN.
Baku Station Hotel (24 May Station, Baku, Azerbaijan).There is a hotel in the 24 May Station, and it is 2.4 AZN per person for a 5 person room/per person; 6 AZN for a single room; 3 AZN for a twin room.
The Azerbaijan Hotel tel: 994 12 989-004; fax: 994 12 980-817 (Azadlig Square, located near the Caspian Sea boulevard). Either this hotel is being renovated or torn down at the moment. The rate per night range from 15-45 AZN.
Hotel Velotrek (20 January Metro Station, slightly hidden behind the Respublica Velotrek bicycle race course through a tall iron gate on the left hand side. It is few kilometers north of the centre). This budget hotel has clean rooms with TV, private bath and hot water in the mornings. It is 15 AZN for a single room and 30 AZN for a double.
The Absheron Hotel Baku, ☎ 994 12 493 75;994 12 493 20 56;994 12 598 54 88 (email@example.com, fax: 994 12 598 54 88), . Has 343 rooms and suites, 139 of them are tastefully decorated and equipped to the proper standards. The wide windows in the rooms give a good view to Azadliq Square and Caspian Sea. The spacious rooms have cable TV, telephone, air conditioning, comfortable beds, plenty of furnishings, and room service. Internet Access is available in the hotel. The hotel will help you with travel and tickets arrangements, in–city tours, restaurant reservations, and car rentals.$70-170 USD (Major credit cards accepted).
Park Inn, Azadlig Ave 1, ☎ 994 12 (fax: 994 12), . Fully-equipped business centre, restaurant, bar and coffee shop, five modern conference rooms and an elegant ballroom with a large foyer. Also offers wireless internet access in all guest rooms, gift shop, free airport shuttle, 24 hour room service, workout room, open parking facilities, 24 hour concierge.
Excelsior Hotel Baku tel: 994 12 496-8000; fax: 994 12 496-8008; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (2 Heydar Aliyev Avenue). With a 5 star rating, the Excelsior Hotel is one of the nicest hotels in Baku. The rate per night range from 250-2,450 USD, but will be converted to AZN at the hotel's rate.
Hyatt Regency Baku tel: 994 12-496-1234; fax: 994 12-496-1235; e-mail: email@example.com (Bakikhanov Street, Baku, Azerbaijan 370065, located a five-minute drive from Baku city center). This is one of the more luxurious hotels in Baku with a plethora of amenities and services at the disposal of patrons. Services include: High-Speed Internet Access, Chauffeur-driven Limousine rental, Hotel Shops, Wireless High-Speed Internet Access, Business Center, Dining & Entertainment, Regency Restaurant, Gourmet Shop, Beluga Bar, Club Oasis Fitness Center, Swimming Pools, Tennis Courts, Squash Courts, Ballroom, 10 Meeting Rooms, 2 Boardrooms, and Pre-Function and Social Function Space. The rate per night range from 200-320 AZN.
Radisson SAS Plaza Hotel tel: 994 12 498-2402; fax: 994 12 497-2451; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (340 Nizami Street, Baku, Azerbaijan). The Radisson SAS Plaza Hotel, Baku is an exclusive all-suite hotel. Located on the top floor of the ISR Plaza Business Centre, a prominent 17 story building, the hotel offers decorated suites enhanced by views over the old and new cities of Baku and the Caspian Sea. The hotel is on Fountain Square within walking distance of the Old City, national park boulevard and other city sights Free Broadband including wireless Internet access is available throughout the hotel, Plaza Health and Fitness Club has a gym, sauna and indoor pool, The Lounge and Business Centre on the 17th floor caters for business needs. Both meeting rooms can accommodate up to 120 guests.
Aqua Park (59, R. Beybutov Street, 1130/33) tel: 994 012 447-03-03; fa
This complex houses pools, saunas, salons, water slides, entertainment center, and hotel facilities.
This complex has an indoor and outdoor pool, beach front, bar, and tourism services. High-speed wireless internet access is available for guests. You can connect with laptops, notebooks or PDA's. Wi-Fi zone is covering 10 hotel buildings, Hotel yard, restaurant, bars and beach. Please contact Hotel reception.
Internet cafes in Azerbaijan are called "internet klubs" and they are found throughout Baku. Some coffee houses provide wireless internet, but they are quite rare in Baku.
Azerbaijan Post locations are dispersed throughout Baku. A typical international letter/stamp combination costs .8 AZN.
Emergency Contact Numbers
Gas Emergency 104
Speaking Clock 106
You must speak in Azeri, Russian, or Turkish to communicate your needs. It would be a good idea to memorize key phrases before coming to Azerbaijan - see the Talk section for phrasebooks.
Pack a flashlight (especially in fall-spring) as the streets are not always well lit.
Travel outside the city only during the day time, unless taking a night train. The roads can be treacherous at night due to unseen potholes and dimly lit cars.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!