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Walled City of Baku (Icheri Sheher or Old City)


Located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, the ancient Walled City of Baku in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list along with the Shirvan Shah's Palace and Maiden Tower in 2000. The walled fort is built on a site inhabited since the Palaeolithic Period (thought to be between 100,000 BC and 30,000 BC) and archaeologists have found evidence of Zoroastrian, Sassanian, Arabic, Persian, Shirvani, Ottoman and Russian influences. The Shirvan Shah's Palace was built in the 12th century by the Shirvan Shah Dynasty who moved their capital to Baku from Shamakha after an earthquake. Baku developed as an important trading port and was captured and conquered by many warring empires before finally becoming the capital of Azerbaijan in 1920. The Walled City is the old part of the Baku and its maze of alleyways and ancient buildings still thrive with life today with the modern city fanning out around it.


Maiden's Tower (Giz Galasi)


There are a number of competing explanations for the name, According to one of them a Khan of Baku fell in love with his beautiful daughter and wished to marry her. Horrified, the princess tried to delay the nuptials by asking her father to build the biggest tower she had ever seen. When the tower was completed, the princess went up to admire the view and threw herself into the waves of the Caspian, lapping against the tower walls below.

Another explanation for the name is testament to the fact that the tower has never been taken by force (hence a metaphorical reference to 'virginity').

Nowadays, Maiden`s Tower houses a museum, which presents the story of historic evolution of the Baku city.

Climb the multiple spiral staircases inside Maiden's Tower, which overlooks the Caspian in the Icheri Seher, and be privy to a stunning 360-degree view of the city.


Modern Baku


Starting from the year 2000 Baku has been experiencing an incredible building boom. New hotels, office buildings and skyscrapers were built during these years. Old Soviet buildings are being reconstructed. To preserve the ancient part of the city new buildings in the centre are being built in the same architectural style.