Baku (Azerbaijan), 15.05.2013
Two days in this city have been a positive surprise, and have shown the Janus face of a country that we got to know from the bad side. The first day we slept mostly to recover from our nightlong drive, but for dinner we explored the new old part of town. From the hotel it was half an hour walking through different styles and epochs of buildings. From the 20th century part of town, that sees new construction along soviet buildings that get a makeover, you reach the 19th century town, that appears to have been restored recently to a beauty and splendor we have rarely seen in these kind of restauration operations. Not even in Eastern Germany, where whole antique city parts were saved from collapse after the reunification in the 90ies streets looked as old and modern alike, buildings as impressive. As the last part we entered the old city gates, walked through stone paved roads, to admire the Maiden Tower, the excavations before it, some caravanserais. It is an amazing old city, and there are relatively few people around.
We ate in one caravanserai, that also gave the restaurant its name, and found Azeri cuisine to be delicious! The pickled vegetables we had as starters included plums, and a fruit we had never heard about before and whose name we forgot, it looks like little potatoes. The dolma were much smaller then we know from Georgia or Greece, and with stronger tasting meat. And we had two types of flat bread, one with herbs on it and the other with minced meat, both dipped in yogurt. Tasty tasty!
Our second day we dedicated to some practical things we had to do and to exploring the surroundings of the city. We drove towards Mardakan and Ciria all the way down to the Absheron Natural Park. On the way we visited the Mir Mövsüm Ağa Ziyarətgahı, that we had to enter separately through the entrance for men and women. We liked the relaxed and casual atmosphere of a place dedicated to religion. The bling of the decoration made of thousands of pieces of mirror felt a bit overloaded, but impressive. We then tried to find the nature park, but drove until the end of the road through a desert like land and peninsula without finding it. There is quite some construction going on, making the roads dusty and slow. On our way back we went to see the local Land Rover dealer, to find a replacement for our broken tyre. We spent over an hour through crazy Baku traffic to reach the place, late for the mechanics that had already stopped working for the day. We’ll have to come back tomorrow early in the morning, to not loose time before we head to our next serious border.
Pics to be added once we find a decent Internet connection.
Trip data (Day/Total)
– Km driven: 199/11.460
– Hrs driving: approx 6h/-
– Diesel l/100km: 8,5/9,4