Baku – capital and largest city of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan’s 25 largest cities

There are only 4 big cities in Azerbaijan. The rest do not include even 100 thousand people. The smallest of a list of less than 18 thousand inhabitants, but the capital has overcome a mark in a million and a quarter. Baku has become not only the most important port of the Caspian Sea, but also the largest city in the Caucasus. Part of the country is located in a seismically active zone, so earthquakes in the long history of settlement of these lands have destroyed many historical monuments.

However, excavations are actively carried out here, which allowed the discovery of many archaeological monuments. For instance, a medieval settlement with a cemetery was found near Kyurdamir. We should not forget that Islam is widespread in Azerbaijan, so there are mosques in every city. Especially curious is the mosque in Khachmaz: it is misoriented in relation to Mecca.

The biggest cities of Azerbaijan

A list of the largest cities in the country in terms of population.

The capital of Azerbaijan, the largest port on the Caspian Sea and the largest city in the Caucasus. Districts of Baku contrast with each other: some resemble a metropolis with high-rises and bright lights, even at night, while in others the old buildings are preserved, although most have been restored. Shirvanshahs Palace, Shahid Alley, Museum of Miniature Books, IcheriSheher quarter, Maiden’s Tower – the main beauties of the city.

Population – 1,259,300 (2019).

In 1926, Baku was the first in the USSR to electrify a section of the railroad connecting the city and suburban workers' settlements.

Sumgayit

A young city on the coast of the Caspian Sea. It is only 30 kilometers from the capital. In memory of the conflict between Azerbaijanis and Armenians in the 1980s, a monument has been erected in Sumgayit. The beaches around the area are covered with tiny seashells. A stadium and tennis center with four courts are available for sports. A water park is open, with recreation areas for both adults and children.

The population is 341,200 (2018).

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Ganja

Until the beginning of the 19th century was the capital of the Ganja Khanate. The “Khan’s Garden” park is a green exotic corner where you can relax your body and soul. Another park, more austere and restrained, is called “Nizami Ganjavi”. Javad Khan Street with its walking area is picturesque in any month of the year. The former Lutheran Church has been given over to a puppet theater. And Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Church receives parishioners to this day.

The population is 332,600 (2017).

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Mingechevir

These lands were inhabited long ago, but the city in its present form began to take shape only in the 40s of last century. At the same time, a hydroelectric power plant was built here. On the coast there are recreation centers, motor boats sail along the reservoir, fishing and underwater hunting are available most of the year. The main attraction is the ancient settlement of Sudagalan.

The population is 104,955 (2019).

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Nakhichevan

Located near the border with Turkey and Iran. There are several iconic mausoleums in the city: Noah’s Mausoleum, dating back to the 16th century, Momine Khatun Mausoleum with painted 25-meter walls, Gulistan Mausoleum – a perfectly preserved example of medieval architecture. Near the town lies the Dzhulfa caravanserai, an architectural monument of the 12th century.

Population – 78,900 (2017).

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Yevlakh

Transport hub, standing on the Kura River. The architecture is dominated by the Eastern style, although Yevlakh is not without its Soviet legacy. There are not many modern facilities, among them the stadium and the Olympic complex, which was laid out in the suburbs. In addition to the folk theater, a puppet theater was opened. The valley is covered with green meadows, contrasting with the snow-capped peaks of the Lesser Caucasus.

The population is 62,800 (2019).

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Lankaran

Lankaran was founded as a trading city back in the 10th century. Lankaran has contrasting landscapes: a lot of greenery because of the subtropical climate, snow-capped mountain peaks in the west, and black sand beaches on the east side. The water level of the Caspian Sea has dropped, so the local lighthouse was in the city limits. Preserved fortress of XVIII century. Two mosques are functioning on its territory.

The population is 52,534 people (2018).

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Jalilabad

The current name was given to the city in 1967 in honor of the writer Jalil Mammadkulizade. Locals grow grapes and make wine en masse. There are about 50 historical monuments scattered around. Among them: the mounds of Yedditepe and Bejiravan, as well as the palace of Gazan. The nearby forests are inhabited by many species of animals. Jalilabad region borders Iran.

Population – 43,300 (2012).

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Goychay

The name is translated as blue river. The town is pinned by the Akhal Mahal Mountains to the north and the river of the same name to the east. Surkhay fortress, built during the Arab Caliphate, an underground bath of the XVIII century, the mosque Abulfaz Lil Abbas – the landmark of the city. You can learn more about them and other attractions in the history museum. Its collection is small in size, but comprehensive.

The population is 42,500 (2016).

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Khachmaz

It is located on the Kudialchai River. The city is surrounded by orchards. Juma Mosque is located incorrectly in relation to Mecca due to an error of the designers. There are busts of honored artists in the Park of Artists. Near Khachmaz, on the coast of the Caspian Sea there are conditions for recreation. The beaches are sandy and pebbly. One can rent boats and snorkeling equipment.

The population of the town is 39 900 inhabitants (2012).

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Barda

Located east of the Murovdag Ridge. Earthquakes have prevented many historical sites survive to this day. Of the survivors are especially interesting: the tower mausoleum of the XIV century, the ruins of the mausoleum of Akhsadan Baba of the same period, the mosque of Ibrahim with four minarets. Also in the neighborhood there are ruins of a medieval fortress and a mosque of Ugurbeyli from the village of the same name.

Population – 38,500 (2012).

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Salyan

It was founded on the ancient caravan route and occupies the land on the right bank of the river Kura. The stadium of the local club “Mugan”, which performs in the highest soccer league of Azerbaijan, has a capacity of 5,000 spectators. The best hotel of Salyan is called “Kyur”. Next to it there is a park named after Heydar Aliyev. Near the town there is a national reserve “Shirvan”.

The population of the town is 36,800 people (2012).

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Imishli .

Located on the left bank of the Arax River. The building of the museum of local lore was built in the national style. Hydroelectric power station and a sugar refinery are in operation. The main arena of the city is the Heydar Aliyev Stadium. A monument to the former president has also been erected. There are sculptures and busts of artists in Imishli, such as poets Sabir and Samed Vurgun.

The population is 35,500 (2017).

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Agdash

A city of the central part of Azerbaijan. In 1999, Agdash was hit by an earthquake and was fully restored. In 2019, the Solodkovo Industrial Park was launched. There is a historical and local history museum, and the excursion tour includes a tour of the ruins of fortresses and defensive fortifications. A park named after Heydar Aliyev with a spruce forest included is laid out.

Population – 31,700 people (2016).

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Zagatala

Located in the foothills of the Main Caucasus Range. The area is wooded, the Talachay River adds beauty to the local scenery. The tourist sphere is developing: more and more rest houses are opened, there are several sightseeing excursion routes. There are many monuments in Zagatala. Among others, there is a full-length sculpture of the former president in the Central Park of Culture and Recreation named after Heydar Aliyev.

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The population is 31,300 (2013).

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Sabirabad

In the past, this place was an important trading post, connecting Europe and Asia. The current settlement began to form in the middle of the century before last. Two major monuments of architecture and culture appeared in the city in the early years of the twentieth century: the Old Haram and the Shamakhi Mosque. Since 2008 the Olympic Sports Complex has been commissioned.

Population – 30,776 people (2019).

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The alternative pronunciation is Kuba. Both factory and handmade carpet weaving are developed in the city. One of the carpets is on display in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2003, a 16-hectare Olympic complex was commissioned. The Chukhur Hamam bathhouse, two mosques, the Gudialchai Bridge, the Genocide Memorial Complex and the mass grave of the victims of the 1918 massacre are iconic sites for Guba.

Population 30,000 (2019).

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Gazakh

The former capital of the Kazakh Khanate. The city has several museums, including the Museum of Sultan Molla Panah Vagif and the museum of the poet Molla Veli Vidadi. Excavations were conducted in the Damdjily cave, in the course of which a Stone Age settlement was discovered. Ruins of medieval fortress are situated in 15 km from Gazakh. Hand-made carpets are the best souvenir from these places.

The population is 28,000 (2019).

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Beylagan

An important agricultural and industrial center of the country. Even the coat of arms has an image of grapes. The status of the city was obtained in 1966. In the last century, it was named Zhdanov in honor of the party figure for 50 years. In 15 kilometers from Beylagan are the ruins of a medieval city. The excavations were conducted in several stages. The main findings came in the 1950s.

The population is 27,000 people (2017).

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Siazan

The city is “stuck” between the Greater Caucasus and the Caspian Sea. Siazan has several monuments and parks. The counties are much richer in attractions. The Chirah-Kala fortress was once part of the defensive line of the Caspian coast. Now only ruins of it remain. At the foot of the Five Fingers Mountain is Pir Khidir Zundzha, a complex that attracts Muslim pilgrims.

Population – 24,300 people (2012).

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Bilasuvar

First mentioned in chronicles in the 13th century. Economy is based on 2 large enterprises: machine and melioration station and cotton-cleaning factory. Agriculture is well developed in the area. The proximity of Iranian border affected the culture and trade ties Bilasuvar. Burial mounds dating back to the Iron Age, and ruins of medieval fortresses are vivid sights.

The population is 22,800 (2018).

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Kyurdamir

It stands on the left bank of the Kura River. In 2008, the Olympic complex was inaugurated. The most popular sports are wrestling and volleyball. Kurdamir red wine has been produced for almost 100 years. It has repeatedly won at exhibitions and festivals. Near the town there is an archaeological monument – a settlement and cemetery, dating from the Middle Ages.

The population is 22,300 (2019).

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Ismailli

Located on the slopes of the mountains and in the valley of two rivers at once makes the local scenery unforgettable. The area is characterized by a difference in altitude, which affects the climate. Tourists are attracted by the mountain climbing centers open all year round. Ancient mosques, fortress ruins, medieval baths are the main attractions of the city. Hand-painted shawls and homemade cheeses are the things worth taking away from Ismaillah.

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Population – 20,660 (2014).

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Terter

The city only received its current name in 1991. There are 24 historical and cultural monuments in Terter and the county. The most important of them are the burial mounds of the Stone and Bronze Ages. Excavations have shown that the ancient locals were engaged in growing grapes, believed in the afterlife and had a complex hierarchical system of society.

Population – 19,419 (2010).

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Göygöl

Founded by colonists from the German Schwab ethnic group in the first half of the 19th century. There is a liquor store at the local winery. Ethnographic museum occupied the building of the Lutheran church. In the vicinity, archaeologists found an ancient burial ground. In the mounds rested not only the dead, but also their slaves, horses, as well as weapons and valuables.

Baku (the capital of Azerbaijan)

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Baku city is first of all natural conditions: climate, fertile soil, vast pastures, the shore of the Caspian Sea and, of course, she – naphtha, oil: combustible and curing of many diseases, when staying in that substance, which would later be called naphthalan. The main proof of this is petroglyphs and ancient sites of Gobustan (Kobustan), located 70 km away from Baku, which are dated to IV-II millenniums B.C.

History of the city

Not far from Baku, there is also an inscription in Latin (80-90s A.D.) carved in stone: “Time of Emperor Domitian Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Lucius Julius Maximus, Centurion of the XII Legion Lightning. It is unlikely that the Romans went where there were no settlements. During the archaeological excavations in the courtyard of the palace of the Shirvanshahs, a jug from the 4th century B.C. and fragments of ceramics from the 4th-1st centuries B.C. and the 1st-2nd centuries A.D. were found, However, historians consider the first written evidence of the city of Baku, which can be fully trusted, to be the notes of Byzantine Priscus of Pania of the early 5th century. Describing the Caucasian Albania, he mentions a settlement on the shore (Hyrcanian) Caspian Sea, near which “flames rise from an underwater rock”. However, even before Priscus, Byzantine, Arab, Iraqi, Iranian and other merchants-travelers exported oil and salt of Shirvan from the “country of fires” in wineskins. From the 8th century onwards, information has been recorded that there is a “city behind the fortress wall”. As for the origin of the name Baku, historians have many versions. One of them derives its name from a word combination in Persian “blow by the wind,” although some linguists argue that it appeared only in the XVII century. Others suggest that it is a synonym for an ancient expression of similar meaning. Indeed, it accurately describes one feature of the local climate: in winter, strong northern winds – “hazri” blow frequently and for a long time over the Baku Bay, and southern winds – “gilavar” in summer. Even a cursory glance at the history of the city may give an idea of how many influences it experienced and absorbed in its culture. In the 7th century Baku was part of the Shirvan Province of the Sassanid Empire. In the VII-X centuries Baku was subjected to the raids of the Turks and the Russians. In the 10th-1st centuries when the Arabic Caliphate collapsed, the Shirvanshahs began to rule independently. By that time Baku was already a firmly established city and port. But it was periodically attacked by Seljuk Turks and already at the end of the XII century Shirvanshahs were subordinated to Ildegezids, a Turkic dynasty of Atabeks. In 1220 and 1231 the Mongols passed through Absheron. Many cities fell, but Baku resisted longer than others. After the collapse of the Mongol Empire in the early 14th century, the Shirvanshahs fought the Chobanids, a dynasty of the Mongolian Turkic Suldus tribe, and then the Jalairids, sultans of another Mongol tribe. Nevertheless, the city was expanding, handicrafts were developing, and trade with the Golden Horde, Russia, Genoa and Venice was going on. In the 15th century, the Shirvan Khanate gained independence, maintaining diplomatic relations with the Timurids. But the tranquility did not last long, in the XVI-XVIII centuries. Baku changed hands many times, from the Sevefids to the Ottomans and again to the Sevefids, each time undergoing destruction. In 1747 the city became the capital of Baku khanate, in 1806 this state joined the Russian Empire, which was preceded by its military campaigns, conflicts with Iran and Russian war with Iran, started in 1804 and broke out because of the division of spheres of influence in Transcaucasia. After the revolution of 1917, Baku was first ruled by the Bolsheviks, then the Dashnaks and the Mensheviks, and in 1918 became the capital of the independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, and remained so until April 1920, when the Red Army entered the city. This is true, although Islam has never lost its position here. The first school for girls in the Muslim world was opened in Baku in 1901, and in 1918 women were given the right to vote.

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Baku, capital of Azerbaijan.

And, also for the first time in the East, opera and ballet were staged in Baku, a conservatory and a circus were opened. Secular openness and a new style of life in Baku was brought by the Europeans who appeared in the city in large numbers at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries, when the active development of Baku oil fields, the main asset of Azerbaijan and its capital, began. The industrial revolution took place in the city: cement and mechanical plants, power stations, foundries were built, banks and shipping companies were founded. In 1883 the railroad connecting Baku and Tbilisi, and in 1900 the Baku-Petrovsk (Makhachkala) line was opened. In 1879, the joint-stock company the Nobel Brothers Association was opened in Baku, which became one of the largest oil companies in the world. In the 1880s, came here the French capital in the 1890s – British, by 1916, there were already 104 oil companies, about a third of them owned by Baku. After Baku became Soviet, all these companies were nationalized. A decisive role was played by Baku oil during the Great Patriotic War. In 1941, Baku oil workers reached the level of oil production of 23,482 thousand tons, this record has not been surpassed so far. With the collapse of the USSR and Azerbaijan’s independence in 1991, after the instability of the transition period from a planned economy to the laws of the world market, oil and gas production in Azerbaijan is mainly carried out by the multi-sectoral State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR). It controls these processes onshore and offshore, production of specialized equipment, oil refining and transportation, engineering geology, etc. Today Baku citizens have worldwide reputation of excellent specialists in oil production. The world’s largest oil and gas companies also work in Baku; several pipelines start from the Caspian coast in the vicinity of the city and new ones are under construction. Along with the oil boom Baku begins to acquire a respectable architectural look. At the beginning of the XX century there appeared buildings in the styles of Neo-Renaissance, Neo-Gothic, Neo-Baroque, Neoclassicism, Art Nouveau and in the so-called Moorish style, with the use of traditional elements of national architecture. What united this mixture of styles and gave individuality to the city was that local warm limestone was used for the lining of most public buildings and solid mansions. And today in Baku is built a lot and good quality, preserving the historical sites: many of them are now scaffolding – restorers are working. This year it is planned to open a new cultural center, which promises to be one of the main attractions of Baku. The author of the project is the world famous British architect of Arab origin Zaha Hadid, who creates in the style of deconstructionism. The area of the new complex will be 52,000 m2 (premises) and 111,000 m2 (sculpture park). The Center will have a conference hall, three auditoriums, a library and a museum. Along with other city facilities, the Center already bears the name of Heydar Aliyev (1923-2003), the first president of independent Azerbaijan, a former Soviet political figure, including the chairman of the KGB of the republic. The current president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev is his son. The other members of the family are also not without state posts: in fact there is a new ruling dynasty, but Baku citizens are calm about it: the East is the East.

General Information

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Ethnic composition: Azerbaijanis – 86.1%, Russians – 6.5%, Tatars – 1.5%, Ukrainians – 1.4%, Lezgins – 1.4%, others – 3.1%.

Figures

Economy

Baku city is a big transport junction where local and international overland roads cross, sea port, ferry crossing connects it with Turkmenistan, regular flights connects it with Iran and Russia.

Other industries: oil production equipment, building materials, petrochemicals, chemicals, machinery, light industry, and food processing; ship repair.

Climate and weather

Attractions UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The town of IcheriSheher and Gobustan cultural landscape with rock paintings 70 km south of the town;Located in IcheriSheher are

In the territory of IcheriSheher there are: Maiden’s Tower (6th-8th centuries), the ensemble of the Shirvanshakhs’ Palace (12th-15th centuries), the Shemakhi Gate, the Baba-Kuhi-Bakuva Mosque (7th century), the Mohammed Mosque and the Sinyg-Gala Minaret (11th century). Lezgin mosque (XII century). The Bukhara Caravanserai, the Chin Mosque (14th century), the Donjon Castle, the Kasim Bey Caravanserai, the Gileili Mosque (14th century), the Madrasah Mosque (14th century), the Gadji Banu Mosque (16th century), the Geybat Mosque (18th century). There are also a number of historical buildings such as the Juma Mosque (19th century), the House of Baku Khans (18th century), the bath house of Haji Hajib, the bath house of Agha Mikayil, Khan’s caravanserai, Kasim bey’s bath house, Multani caravanserai and other historical buildings;Gobustan (Kobustan)

– is more than 4000 unique rocky sites, caves, rock fortresses and burial grounds, spread over an area of more than 100 kmg. The age of about 6,000 drawings is about 10,000 years. There is also a rock with a Latin inscription left by the Romans in the I century.

Interesting facts

From 1858 to 1906 the Maiden’s Tower served as a lighthouse. To make the fire better visible, a wide white stripe was painted on the tower.

The Nobel Prizes were established in accordance with the will of Alfred Nobel. Nobel earned about 12% of the fund of this prize from the sale of Baku oil. His nephew Emmanuel Nobel continued this business and presented his own Nobel Prize in Baku – for his works in the field of oil production and refining technology and achievements in such branches of science as oil geology and oil chemistry. The first winner of this prize in 1909 was Baku petrochemist V.F. Herr.

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