Historic Center in Baku

Old City (Icherisheher)

Explore Icherisheher's rich history through medieval landmarks, museums, local cuisine, and markets in Baku's walled heritage core.

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Nestled in the heart of Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, Old City or Icherisheher is a walled historical core that dates back to at least the 12th century. This UNESCO-listed heritage site is distinguished by an array of medieval architecture including the iconic Maiden Tower and the ornate Palace of the Shirvanshahs. The narrow, winding streets and ancient buildings give visitors a glimpse into Baku's long and storied past, while the area's small shops and cafes offer a taste of local life.

Palace of the Shirvanshahs

The Palace of the Shirvanshahs stands as a testament to Azerbaijan's architectural achievements during the medieval period. This 15th-century palace complex includes a mosque, mausoleum, and bathhouse, each rich in historical significance and offering a unique look at royal life centuries ago. Visitors should allocate time to explore each segment to fully appreciate the intricate stonework and historical relics within these walls.

Maiden Tower

The Maiden Tower is an enigmatic structure and one of Baku's most recognizable landmarks. Its origins and purpose are shrouded in mystery, but it is believed to date back to the 12th century. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views over Icherisheher and the Baku bay beyond.

Museums and Cultural Institutions

For those looking to delve deeper into the region's history, Icherisheher houses several museums that showcase Azerbaijani culture and heritage. The Baku Museum of Miniature Books and the Azerbaijani Carpets Museum display fine examples of local craftsmanship, and are conveniently located for visitors weaving through the city’s historical pathways.

Traditional Azerbaijani Cuisine

To experience local flavors, visitors should seek out restaurants serving traditional Azerbaijani dishes such as plov (rice pilaf), kebabs, and dolma (stuffed grape leaves). Tea houses are also widespread in Icherisheher, where you can enjoy freshly brewed Azerbaijani tea paired with local sweets, such as baklava or shekerbura.

Markets and Shopping

For those interested in shopping, Icherisheher has numerous small shops and markets where artisans sell handmade crafts, traditional Azerbaijani rugs, and souvenirs. The Market Square, in particular, offers a variety of goods, from ceramics to jewelry, providing shoppers with an array of choices for unique mementos.

Cultural Events and Festivals

Throughout the year, Icherisheher hosts several cultural events and festivals that celebrate Azerbaijani music, dance, and art. These events provide a lively atmosphere and are an excellent opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in local customs and traditions.

Accommodation Options

Icherisheher caters to a range of travelers by offering various accommodation options. Budget travelers can find hostels and guest houses tucked within its narrow alleys, while those looking for more luxurious stays may choose boutique hotels set in historic buildings.

Safety and Public Transportation

Icherisheher is generally considered safe for visitors. To navigate around, walking is often the best option given the compact nature of the area. However, public transportation options are available just outside the city walls for those wishing to venture further into Baku or beyond.

Community Life

Engaging with local residents is one of the pleasures of visiting Icherisheher. By visiting tea houses or simply strolling through the streets, you can observe daily life and potentially interact with locals who are generally welcoming to tourists and may share stories about their city.

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