official_name = Baku
native_name = Bakı
imagesize = 250px
mapsize = 150px
pushpin_map_caption =Location in Azerbaijan
subdivision_type = Country
area_total_km2 = 260
population_as_of = 2005
population_footnotes = [cite web
title=Population estimates for Baku, Azerbaijan, 1950-2015
population_total = 2,036,000
population_density_km2 = 7830.76
timezone = AZT
utc_offset = +4
timezone_DST = AZT
utc_offset_DST = +5
latd=40 |latm=23 |lats=43|latNS=N
longd=49 |longm=52 |longs=56|longEW=E
elevation_m = -28
area_code = 12
postal_code = AZ1000
website = [http://www.bakucity.az BakuCity.az]
Baku ( _az. Bakı), sometimes known as Baqy, Baky, Baki or Bakü, is the capital, the largest city, and the largest port of
Azerbaijan. Located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, the city consists of two principal parts: the downtown and the old Inner City (21,5 ha). As of January 1, 2005the population was 2,036,000 of which 153,400 were internally displaced persons and 93,400 refugees. [ru iconcite web|url=http://www.baku-online.com/ru/baku.htm|title=Баку|author= |accessdate=2007-07-15] Baku is a member of Organization of World Heritage Citiesand Sister Cities International. [cite web|url=http://www.bakucity.az/main/index_en.html|title=The main directions of foreign relations of the executive authorities of Baku|author= |accessdate=2007-07-15] The city was also bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympics, but was eliminated June 4, 2008. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/news/story?id=3425680 ESPN - Chicago among four finalists to host 2016 Olympics - Olympics ] ]
Baku is divided into eleven administrative districts, or
raions (Azizbayov, Binagadi, Garadagh, Narimanov, Nasimi, Nizami, Sabail, Sabunchu, Khatai, Surakhany and Yasamal) and 48 townships. Among these are the townships on islands in the Baku Bayand the town of Oil Rocksbuilt on stilts in the Caspian Sea, 60 km away from Baku.
The name Baku is widely believed to be derived from the old Persian names of the city "Bād-kube" "باد کوبہ", meaning "Wind-pounded
city", in which "Bād" means windand "Kube" is rooted in the verb "Kubidan", to pound, thus referring to a place where wind is strong and pounding. Indeed, the city is renown for its fierce winter snow storms and harsh winds. [http://www.iranchamber.com/podium/culture/020920_politicizing_linguistics.php] Dubious|date=March 2008 It is also believed that Baku refers to "Baghkuh", meaning "Mount of God". "Baga" (now "Bagh") and "Kaufa" (now "Kuh") are the Old Persianwords for God and Mountain respectively; the name "Baghkuh" may be compared with "Baghdād" (God-given) in which "dā" is the Old Persian word for "give." Arabicsources refer to the city as "Baku", "Bakukh", "Bakuya", and "Bakuye", all of which seem to come from a Persian name.
Various different hypotheses were also proposed to explain the etymology of the word "Baku". According L.G.Lopatinski [Ган К.Ф. Oпыть объяснения кавказских географических названий. Тифлис, 1909] and Ali Huseynzade [http://window2baku.com/eng/9002toponimbaku.htm The Name “Baku” ] ] "Baku" is derived from Turkic word for "hill". Specialist in the Caucasian history, K.P. Patkanov also explaines the name as "hill" but in
The Turkish “Islamic Encyclopedia” presents the origin of the word “Baku” as being derived from the words “Bey-Kyoy” which mean “the main city” in Turkish.
The first written evidence for Baku is related to the 6th century AD. [cite web|url=http://worldheritage.heindorffhus.dk/frame-AzerbaijanBaku.htm |title=Azerbaijan - Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace...|author= |accessdate=2007-10-14] Infobox World Heritage Site
Name = Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower
State_Party = AZE
Type = Cultural
Criteria = iv
ID = 958
Region = [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Heritage_Sites_in_Asia Middle East]
Year = 2000
Session = 24th
Danger = 2003-
The city became important after an earthquake destroyed
Shamakhyand in the 12th century, ruling Shirvanshah Ahsitan Imade Baku the new capital. In 1501, Safavid Shah Ismail Ilaid a siege on Baku. At this time the city was however enclosed with the lines of strong walls, which were washed by sea on one side and protected by a wide trench on land. In 1540 Baku was again captured by the Safavid troops. In 1604 the Baku fortress was destroyed by Iranian shah Abbas I.
June 26, 1723, after a lasting siege using cannons, Baku surrendered to the Russians. According to Peter the Great's decree the soldiers of two regiments (2,382 people) were left in the Baku garrison under the command of Prince Baryatyanski, the commandant of the city. In 1795, Baku was invaded by Agha Muhammad KhanQajar to defend against the tsarist Russia beginning a policy of subduing the South Caucasus to itself. In the spring of 1796 by Yekaterina II’s order General Zubov’s troops started a large campaign in Transcaucasia. Baku surrendered after the first demand of Zubov who had sent 6,000 militants to capture the city. On June 13, 1796the Russian flotilla entered the Baku bay and a garrison of the Russian troops was placed in the city. General Pavel Tsitsianovwas appointed the Baku's commandant. Later, however, Czar Pavel I ordered him to cease the campaign and withdraw the Russian forces. In March, 1797 the tsarist troops left Baku but a new tsar, Alexander I began to show a special interest in capturing Baku. In 1803, Tsitsianov reached an agreement with the Baku khan to compromise, but the agreement was soon annulled. On February 8, 1806, upon the surrendering of Baku, Huseyngulu khanof Baku stabbed and killed Tsitsianov at the gates of the city. In 1813 , Russia signed the Treaty of Gulistanwith Persia, which provided for the cession of Baku and most of the Caucasusfrom Iranand their annexation by Russia.
The first oil well was drilled in Bibi-Heybat suburb of Baku in 1846. But the large-scale oil development started in 1872, when the Russian imperial authorities auctioned the parcels of oil-rich land around Baku to private investors. Within a short period of time Swiss, British, French,
Belgian, German, Swedish and American investors appeared in Baku, among them were the firms of the Nobel brothers and Rothschilds, and industrial oil belt, better known as Black City, was established near Baku. By the beginning of the 20th century almost half of the oil reservesin the world had been extracted in Baku. [ [http://www.window2baku.com/eng/9001history_3.htm Window2Baku.com] ]
In 1917, after the
October revolution, in the turmoil of the ongoing World War Iand breakup of Russian Empire, Baku came under the control of Baku Communeled by a veteran Bolshevik, Stepan Shaumyan. Seeking to capitalize on the existing inter-ethnic conflicts, by spring 1918, Bolsheviks inspired and condoned a civil warfare in and around Baku. During the infamous March Days, using the support of the Dashnak Armenian militia in the city, and under the pretext of suppressing Musavatparty, Bolsheviks attacked and massacred thousands of Azeris and other Muslims in Baku [Michael Smith. "Anatomy of Rumor: Murder Scandal, the Musavat Party and Narrative of the Russian Revolution in Baku, 1917-1920", "Journal of Contemporary History", Vol 36, No. 2, (Apr. 2001), p. 228] .
May 28, 1918the Azerbaijani fraction of the Transcaucasian Sejmproclaimed the independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic(ADR) in Ganja. Shortly after, Azerbaijani forces, with support of the Ottoman Army of Islam led by Nuru Pasha, started their advance onto Baku, eventually capturing the city from the loose coalition of Bolsheviks, Esers, Dashnaks, Mensheviksand the British forces under the command of General Dunstervilleon September 15, 1918. Thousands of Armenians in the city were massacred in revenge for the earlier March Days[Furuz Kazemzadeh, "Struggle For Transcaucasia (1917 - 1921)", New York Philosophical Library, 1951, p. 143-144] . Baku became the capital of ADR, and two years later - when on April 28, 1920, the 11th Red Armyinvaded Baku and reinstalled the Bolshevik power - the capital of Azerbaijan SSR.
Historical city core
The centre of Baku is the old town, which is also a fortress. In December 2000, the Inner City of Baku with the
Palace of the Shirvanshahsand Maiden Tower became the first location in Azerbaijan classified as a World Heritage Siteby UNESCO.
Most of the walls and towers, strengthened after the Russian conquest in 1806, survived. This section is picturesque, with its maze of narrow alleys and ancient buildings: the cobbled streets past the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, two
caravansaries(ancient inns), the Maiden Tower (nice view of the harbor), the baths and the Juma Mosque (it used to house the Carpet and Applied Arts Museum, but now is a mosqueagain; the carpets got moved to the former Leninmuseum). The old town also has dozens of small mosques, often without any particular sign to distinguish them from the next building.
In 2003 , UNESCO placed the Inner City on the List of World Heritage in Danger, citing damage from a November 2000 earthquake, poor conservation as well as "dubious" restoration efforts [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/958] . The
Martyrs' Lane, formerly the Kirov Park, is dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives during the Nagorno-Karabakh Warand also to the 137 people who were killed on Black January, 1990.
During Soviet times, Baku was a vacation destination where citizens could enjoy beaches or relax in now-dilapidated spa complexes overlooking the Caspian Sea. The climate is hot and humid in the summer, and cool and wet in the winter. During the winter gale-force winds sweep through on occasion, driven by masses of polar air (strong northern winds "
Khazri" and southern " Gilavar" are typical here); however, snow is rare at 28 m below sea level, and temperatures on the coast rarely drop to freezing. The average annual temperature of Baku and that of the Earth differ by less than 0.1 °C (14.2 °C). [ [http://www.window2baku.com/eng/9000capital.htm Window to Baku] ] The southwestern part of Great Baku is a more arid part of Azerbaijan (precipitation here is less than 150 mm a year). In the vicinities of the city there are a number of mud volcanoes (Keyraki, Bogkh-bogkha, Lokbatan and others) and salt lakes (Boyukshor, Khodasan etc.).
Until 1988 Baku had very large Armenian, Russian, and Jewish population that contributed to cultural diversity and added in various ways (music, literature, architecture) to Baku's history treasure chest. Under Communism, the Soviets took over the majority of Jewish property in Baku and Kuba. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijani President
Heydar Alievhas returned several synagogues and a Jewish college nationalized by the Soviets, to the Jewishcommunity. He has encouraged the restoration of these buildings and is well-liked by the Jews of Azerbaijan. Renovation has begun on seven of the original eleven synagogues, including the Gilah synagogue, built in 1896, and the large Kruei Synagogue. [ [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Azerbaijan.html JewishVirtualLibrary.org] ] . The new Azerbaijan constitution grants religious freedom and asserts that there is no state religion.
Currently vast majority of the population of Baku are ethnic
Azerbaijanis(more than 90%). The intensive growth of the population started in the middle of the 19th century when Baku was a small town with the population of about 7 thousand people all in all. The population increased again from about 13,000 in the 1860s to 112,000 in 1897 and 215,000 in 1913, making Baku the largest city in the Caucasus region. [ [http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-946.html Country-data.com] ]
Baku has been a cosmopolitan city at certain times during its history, meaning ethnic Azerbaijanis did not constitute the majority of population. [Audrey Altstadt, Conflict, Cleavage, and Change in Central Asia and the Caucasus, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 112, table 4.1, Ethnic composition of Baku, 1897, 1903,1913]
More than 94% of the residents of Baku practice various forms of
Islam(vast majority Shia). A small minority of the population (about 4%) are Christians(majority Russian Orthodox Church, Georgian Orthodox Churchand Molokans). Baku also has three different Jewish communities, namely the Ashkenazim Jews, the Mountain Jews, and the Georgian Jews.
The basis of Baku's economy is
petroleum. The existence of petroleum has been known since the 8th century. In the 10th century, the Arabian traveler, Marudee, reported that both white and black oil were being extracted naturally from Baku [http://www.azer.com/aiweb/categories/magazine/22_folder/22_articles/22_historyofoil.html] . By the 15th century oil for lamps was obtained from hand dug surface wells. Commercial exploitation began in 1872 , and by the beginning of the 20th century the Baku oil fields were the largest in the world. Towards the end of the 20th century much of the onshore petroleum had been exhausted, and drilling had extended into the sea offshore. By the end of the 19th century skilled workers and specialists flocked to Baku. By 1900 the city had more than 3,000 oil wells of which 2,000 of them were producing oil at industrial levels. Baku ranked as one of the largest centres for the production of oil industry equipment before WWII. The World War II Battle of Stalingradwas fought to determine who would have control of the Baku oil fields. Fifty years before the battle, Baku produced half of the world's oil supply: Azerbaijan and the United States are the only two countries ever to have been the world's majority oil producer. Currently the oil economy of Baku is undergoing a resurgence, with the development of the massive Azeri-Chirag-Guneshlifield (Shallow water Gunashli by SOCAR, deeper areas by a consortium lead by BP), development of the Shah Deniz gas field, the expansion of the Sangachal Terminaland the construction of the BTC Pipeline. The old Inturist Hotel was one of Baku's largest, now being renovated, but overshadowed by the newer HyattPark, Hyatt Regency, Park Inn and Excelsior. Baku Stock Exchangehas been operating since February 2001.
Bulk power supply of Baku is provided by five 110
kVlines. As of February 8, 2008 three of them (total length 23,6 km) have been completely refitted and modernized with their carrying capacity being doubled.ru iconcite web|url=http://www.azeri.ru/papers/news-azerbaijan/13024/|title=Выполненные ОАО "Бакыэлекрикшебеке" обеспечивают стабильность электроснабжения Баку|author= |accessdate=2008-03-07] Three 110 kV and twelve 35 kV substations were commissioned recently.Water supply is secured by several lines, the purest water comes from Khachmaz and Shollar lines. [ru iconcite web|url=http://water-resources.iatp.az/water-resources/Rus/Institutional%20Aspects.html|title=Институциональные аспекты управления и охраны водных ресурсов в Азербайджане|author= |accessdate=2008-03-07]
Transport and communication
Baku is served by the
Heydar Aliyev International Airportand the Baku Metro. There were once also trams. There are two official taxi companies in the city: the yellow Star cabs and the white taxis with blue sign from "Azerq Taxis". The vanbuses stop at any point along that route when flagged down or told to stop. Shipping services operate regularly from Baku across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenbashi (formerly Krasnovodsk) in Turkmenistanand to Bandar Anzaliand Bandar Nowsharin Iran. The city's main Internet providers are ADaNetand AzInternet Services.
As Azerbaijan's centre of education, Baku boasts many universities and
vocational schools. After Azerbaijan gained independence, the fall of Communism led to development of a number of private institutions. Baku also houses the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijanfounded here in 1945 .
Azerbaijan Medical University(founded 1930)
Azerbaijan State Economic University(1930)
Azerbaijan State Oil Academy(1920)
Azerbaijan Technical University(1950)
Azerbaijan University of Languages(1973)
Azerbaijan Architecture and Construction University(1975)
Baku Academy of Music(1920)
Baku Slavic University(1946)
Baku State University(1919)
Azerbaijan International University(1997)
Odlar Yurdu University(1995)
Baku has a vibrant life regarding theatre, opera and ballet, drawing both from the rich local dramatic portfolio and from the international repertoire. The main movie theatre is "Azerbaijan Cinema". The
Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, designed by architect N. G. Bayev, is one of the most ornate music halls in the city. The State Philharmonic Hall with excellent acoustic conditions often holds performances outside, in a pleasant park. The Carpet and Applied Arts Museumexhibits the carpets from all periods, styles and from both Azerbaijan proper and the Azeri provinces in Iran. Baku also houses country's biggest art museum- Azerbaijan State Museum of Art, a depository of both domestic and foreign works of art, Western and Eastern. Heydar Aliyev Palaceis one of the main venues featuring sizeable performances (e.g. that of Coolio), though it is currently closed for a major refurbishment. Some of the most popular discotheques and night clubs include, "X-Site", "Capitol Night Club", "Le Chevalier" at Europa Hotel, " ZagulbaDisco Club" and "Le Mirage". Most of them are open till the early hours of the morning. The "Capitol Night Club" is a lively night spot with gayelements, playing a blend of local, Russian and Western music, R&B, trance, europopand techno.
Most of the pubs and bars are located near
Fountain Squareand are usually open until the early hours of the morning. There are several British, Scottish and Irish style pubs, among them [http://www.caledoniabar.com The Caledonia] , "Corner Bar", "Shakespeares", "Finnigans" the "Rig Bar", "O'Malley's" and the "Phoenix Bar". There is also a Jazz Club. The Baku International Jazz Festivalis organized annually.
Notable beaches include
Shikhovoand "One Thousand and One Nights".
Honolulu, United States
Houston, United States
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Vung Tau, Vietnam
London, United Kingdom
Partnership relations at different levels were established with
Berlin, Paris, Aberdeen, Vienna, Stavanger, Tbilisi, Astana, Minsk, Moscow, Volgograd, Tashkentand Chengdu. [ru iconcite web|url=http://www.azerbaijan.az/_GeneralInfo/_Capital/capital_02_r.html|title=Executive Power of the Baku City|publisher=Azerbaijan.az|author= |accessdate=2008-04-08]
Famous people from Baku
Because of intermittent periods of great prosperity and as the largest city in the Caucasus and one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse in the Soviet Union, Baku prides itself on having produced a disproportionate number of notable figures in the sciences, arts and other fields. Some of the houses they resided in display commemorative plaques.
Abbasgulu Bakikhanov, philosopher
Kerim Kerimov, one of the founders and head of Soviet space programfor 25 years
Lev Landau, physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physicsof 1962
Lotfi Zadeh, inventor of fuzzy logic
Max Black, philosopher
Polad Bul-Bul Oglu, singer.
Fikret Amirov, composer.
Alexey Ekimyan, composer and police general.
Artemi Ayvazyan, composer and conductor.
Gara Garayev, composer.
Uzeyir Hajibeyov, composer.
*Muslim Magomayev, famous opera and pop singer.
Vagif Mustafazadeh, iconic Soviet jazz pianist, composer.
Alim Qasimov, Mugham singer(a nearby village).
Mstislav Rostropovich, cellist.
Lutviyar Imanov,famous opera singer.
Larisa Dolina, Russian pop singer
Literature and Arts
Sattar Bahlulzade, painter
Huseyn Javid, poet and playwright
Mikayil Mushfig, poet
Lev Nussimbaum, writer, author of the best-selling novel "Ali and Nino"
Tahir Salahov, painter and draughtsman
Garri Kasparov, grandmaster and world champion
Elmar Magerramov, grandmaster
Teimour Radjabov, grandmaster
Emil Sutovsky, grandmaster
Tatiana Zatulovskaya, grandmaster
Vladimir Bagirov, grandmaster
Vugar Gashimov, grandmaster
Rasim Ismaylov, film director and writer
Rustam Ibrahimbeyov, screenwriter and Academy Awardwinner
Magsud Ibrahimbeyov, writer
Murad Ibrahimbeyov, film director
Abbas Sharifzadeh, actor and director
Vladimir Menshov, Academy Awardwinning film producer.
Sergo Zakariadze, actor
Henry David, actor
Vagit Alekperov, founder of the leading Russian oil company LUKOIL
Murtuza Mukhtarov, oil industrialist and millionaire
Musa Nagiyev, industrial magnate in late 19th - early 20th century
Zeynalabdin Taghiyev, industrial magnate and philanthropist
Araz Agalarov, real estate businessman, founder of Crocus International Group
Khalilullah I, (1417-1465), ruler of Shirvan
Mammed Amin Rasulzade, politician, founding father of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Georgy Shakhnazarov, Soviet political scientist
Alimardan Topchubashev, politician, foreign minister of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Ziya Bunyadov, Hero of the Soviet Unionand Academician
Mehdi Huseynzade, Hero of the Soviet Union
*Rafael Kapreliants (Gabrielyan),
Hero of the Soviet Union
Musa Manarov, cosmonaut
Samedbey Mehmandarov, Russian tsarist general, Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Ali-Agha Shikhlinski, Russian tsarist lieutenant-general, Deputy Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Richard Sorge, famous Soviet spy
Anatoliy Bonishevskiy, football Football players of Azerbaijan, playing in different years for the USSR team.
* [http://gallery.azlink.info/gallery/folderview.asp?folder=Baku Baku Photo Gallery]
* Abbasov, Mazakhir. "Baku During the Great Patriotic War".
* Madatov, G. "Azerbaijan During the Great Patriotic War". Baku, 1975.
*wikitravel [http://www.caledoniabar.com The Caledonia Bar one of Baku's expatriate establishments]
* [http://www.azerbaijan24.com Azerbaijan travel information]
* [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/958 UNESCO World Heritage Site listing Walled City of Baku]
* [http://www.bakupages.com Baku Pages]
* [http://www.traveller.az Baku hotels directory]
* [http://www.hotels.az Baku Hotels]
* [http://www.usembassybaku.org American Embassy in Baku Azerbaijan]
* [http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1056117176152 British Embassy in Azerbaijan]
* [http://www.advantour.com/azerbaijan/baku.htm Baku travel guide and photos]
* [http://www.satellite-sightseer.com/id/4211/Azerbaijan//Baku/City_of_Baku Azerbaijan Satellite view (Google Maps)]
* [http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=610923 Building projects and real estate development in Baku]
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