First stop was the famous old city of Baku. Old City or Inner City is the historical core of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. The Old City is the most ancient part of Baku, which is surrounded by walls were well protected. In 2007, the Old City had a population of about 3000 people. In December 2000, the Old City of Baku, including the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower, became the first location in Azerbaijan to be classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. We had time for the old tower only.
Next stop was the imposing Zaha Hadid designed Heydar Aliyev center. Wowow. Breathtaking White structure about the contribution of the great leader of this country. The center is named after Heydar Aliyev, the first secretary of Soviet Azerbaijan from 1969 to 1982, and president of Azerbaijan Republic from October 1993 to October 2003. The use of technology and the description was just outstanding.
Poat lunch at the hotel we headed to Atesgah, the erstwhile Zoroastrian temple. So much history in thus place that was part of the silk route. Based on Persian and Indian inscriptions, the temple was used as a Hindu, Sikh and Zoroastrian place of worship. "Atash"(آتش) is the Persian word for fire. The pentagonal complex, which has a courtyard surrounded by cells for monks and a tetrapillar-altar in the middle, was built during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was abandoned in the late 19th century, probably due to the dwindling of the Indian population in the area. The natural eternal flame went out in 1969, after nearly a century of exploitation of petroleum and gas in the area, but is now lit by gas piped from the nearby city.
We spent the evening walking in the old city after dining at a lovely Azeri restaurant.