Inside Edge

Locals that you meet beyond the very centre of Baku are often fascinated by foreigners. Accepting invitations for long chats over tea can be a great way to gain insight to local youth culture, which is very much group based, if frequently sex-segregated. However, as in many a big, vibrant city, getting in touch with the 'real' cultural Baku can take some effort. The city's more interesting happenings tend to be under-publicised with much information spread by word of mouth. Though only in local languages, websites like Citylife.az and more off-beat MyEvents are useful starting points. There are several innovative Facebook groups: BagBaku has various activities aimed at helping foreigners meet English-speaking locals for conversation and shared events including free/inexpensive city walks. Camping Azerbaijan also brings together locals and foreigners for weekend hiking getaways, mostly to the Quba mountain villages. BakuExpats is mostly aimed at longer term residents and is useful for answering questions about life in the city.