Exploring Baku

  • Start Maiden’s Tower
  • End Flame Towers
  • Length 4km; at least three hours

From the Maiden’s Tower wander colourfully touristy Zeynallı küç to the Cumә Mosque, then pick your way through the Old City's most lived-in backstreets to the Palace of the Shirvanshahs. Peep into a few art galleries, the free Museum of Miniature Books and the tiny Coin Museum. Exit İçəri Şəhər onto grand İstiqlaliyyət küç near the handsomely renovated Filarmoniya concert hall. Curving northeast you’ll pass the noble, late-19th-century Baku City Hall, the equally grand Institute of Manuscripts and the İsmailiya Palace. Beyond lies the Old City’s sturdy, castle-style Double Gateway, while on your left is the statue-inset facade of the Nizami Literature Museum.

Behind the museum, Fountains Sq is a great place for people-watching and cafe life. Wander beneath outdoor chandeliers that hang over pedestrianised shopping street Nizami küç, cross Molokan Gardens, pass the boutiques of Rasul Rza küç and spy the Soviet-acropolis-style Museum Centre, a former Lenin museum. Tree-lined streets to the northwest are full of pubs, restaurants and century-old ‘oil-boom’ mansions, including one that houses the Historical Museum.

Peruse more glitzy boutiques on Əziz Əliyev küç then use the pedestrian underpass beneath endlessly busy Neftçilər pr to emerge beside the dinky old Puppet Theatre. Stroll along the Bulvar, gazing across the Caspian’s oil-rainbowed waters and passing Veneziya where gondolas punt on a small loop of artificial canals. Admire the International Muğam Centre and visit the big new Carpet Museum. Cross back to the Bahram Gur dragon-slaying statue-fountain and take the free Funicular to reach the huge and impressive Flame Towers.