What is the Capital of Azerbaijan?

Baku is the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Located on the coast of the country Caspian Sea, the city is the largest city in the Caucasus region.

A map displays Azerbaijan, its capital Baku, neighboring countries, and major geographic features, with terrain highlights.
Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, highlighted on the map.

Baku, a crucial cultural and trade nexus in the Caucasus region, also plays a pivotal role in industry. As a vibrant port city, its significance is further amplified. The Port of Baku stands as the premier port in the Caspian Sea, contributing greatly to the city’s strategic importance and economic vitality.

Where is Baku?

Baku Capital of Azerbaijan pin on map
Baku, the Capital of Azerbaijan, pinned down on the map.

Baku is Azerbaijan’s capital and largest city, located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, in the south of the Absheron Peninsula. It is the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region.

History of Baku

Baku boasts a rich history that stretches back thousands of years.

The earliest signs of human settlement in the area date back to the Bronze Age. Rock engravings found at the archaeological site of Gobustan, 60 kilometers away from Baku, reveal that the area was inhabited by tribes as far back as the 12th century BCE.

During antiquity, various civilizations, including the Persians and the Romans, influenced the city. In the 7th century, Baku became a part of the Arab Caliphate, and Islam became the dominant religion.
During the Middle Ages, Baku was a city within the Shirvanshah kingdom.

The Palace of the Shirvanshahs, built in the 15th century, still stands today in Baku’s Old City and is one of the most prominent historical landmarks in Azerbaijan.

Palace of the Shirvanshahs in Baku
Palace of the Shirvanshahs is thought to be a memorial compound constructed around the sacred site of worship and the burial place of Seyyid Yaxya Bakuvi

In the 19th century, Baku emerged as a significant city due to the exploitation of its vast oil reserves. By the late 1800s, Baku produced more than half of the world’s oil supply. This boom led to rapid growth and development, attracting international attention and investment.

Baku went through significant political changes in the 20th century. After a brief period of independence following the Russian Revolution, Azerbaijan was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1922, and Baku became its capital. The city continued to develop as an industrial and cultural center during Soviet times.

In 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan regained its independence, and Baku has been its capital ever since. Post-independence, Baku underwent extensive modernization and economic development, becoming a cosmopolitan metropolis while preserving its historical core.

Features of Baku

Panoramic view of Baku
Panoramic view of Baku with highlights of the Flame Towers, built from 2007 to 2012.

Baku is known for its unique blend of history and modernity. It hosts impressive modern architecture, such as the Flame Towers – the tallest skyscrapers in Azerbaijan, and the Heydar Aliyev Center with its distinctive flowing design. The city also features UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Inner City (Icheri Sheher), a historic heart of Baku.

Geography and Climate

Baku Eye Ferris wheel at sunrise
The Baku Eye Ferris wheel offers excellent panoramic views of Baku’s skyline, the Old City, and the vast expanse of the Caspian Sea.

Baku is located on a flat plain, with its harbor and downtown area below sea level. The city’s climate is generally mild, with a mix of desert and semi-arid conditions.

Summers are typically hot and humid, while winters can be cool to cold. The “Khazi” and “Gilavar,” specific winds unique to this region, significantly influence the city’s weather patterns.


Fuzuli Street, Qis Park Baku
Fuzuli Street, adjacent to Qis Park offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city where you can take a stroll, relax, or even have a picnic.

The population of Baku is around 2.2 million people, making it the most populous city in Azerbaijan and the Caucasus region. The majority of the population is Azerbaijani, with Russian, Georgian, and other ethnic minorities present.


Port of Baku significant part of Baku's economy
The Port of Baku was one most prominent Ports in the world and the most significant in the Russian Empire.

Baku’s economy is primarily based on the oil and gas industry, with significant contributions from the construction, transport, and services sectors. The city is the financial and business hub of Azerbaijan. Baku has also been developing its tourism industry, focusing on its rich cultural history and modern architecture.

Things to Do and Places to See in Baku

There is a wide variety of things to do and see in Baku. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular sites and attractions in Baku:

1. Icherisheher

Icherisheher, Baku's Old City
Icherisheher is the Old City of Baku and the most ancient part of Baku.

Icherisheher, also known as the Old City or Inner City, is the historical heart of Baku. Enclosed by fortress walls, the area dates back to the 12th century and possibly much earlier.

The architecture reflects Baku’s rich history with influences from Zoroastrian, Sassanian, Arabic, Persian, Shirvani, Ottoman, and Russian cultures.

Notable landmarks include the 12th-century Maiden Tower and the 15th-century Palace of the Shirvanshahs, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

2. Flame Towers

The Flame Towers in Baku
The Flame Towers of Baku reference the Azerbejian’s nickname “The Land of Fire”

Flame Towers are the tallest skyscrapers in Baku. They are an iconic part of the city’s skyline and symbolize modernization. The towers are covered with LED screens displaying the movement of a fire, creating the effect of giant flames.

The complex consists of three towers — a hotel, a residential tower, and an office tower, and they offer a stunning view of the city and the Caspian Sea.

3. Heydar Aliyev Center

Heydar Aliyev Center building complex in Baku
Zaha Hadid is the architect’s mastermind behind Heydar Aliyev Center. The complex was named after the first secretary of Soviet Azerbaijan.

The Heydar Aliyev Center is a cultural complex named after Heydar Aliyev, the former president of Azerbaijan. Designed by the late renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the building is a masterpiece of contemporary architecture, with its distinctive wave-like, flowing form that eschews sharp angles. The center houses a museum, a gallery hall, and other cultural facilities.

4. Gobustan National Park

Gobustan National Park around 60km southwest of Baku
Gobustan National Park is rich with prehistorical rock carvings that date back as far as 40,000 years.

Gobustan National Park, located about 60 kilometers from Baku, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is known for its archaeological and ecological features. The archaeological part includes more than 600,000 rock engravings dating back 5,000-40,000 years.

The site also features remains of inhabited caves, settlements, and burials. The park’s geological features include its famed mud volcanoes.

5. Nizami Street

Nizami Street in Baku
Nizami Street is a vibrant and bustling location notable for its stunning architecture.

Nizami Street, named after the famous Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi, is a large pedestrian and shopping street in downtown Baku. Nizami Street is enriched with various boutiques, restaurants, and cafes; it’s a perfect place to enjoy Baku’s vibrant street life.

The street’s architecture, featuring 19th-century buildings with beautiful facades, is a must-see. At night, Nizami Street is brightly lit and bustling with both locals and tourists.

6. Bibi-Heybat Mosque

Bibi-Heybat mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan
The Bibi-Heybat site is considered one of Baku’s architectural gems due to its elegant construction and the beautiful views it offers of the Caspian Sea.

The mosque dates back to the 13th century, initially constructed by Shirvanshah Farrukhzad II Ibn Ahsitan II, who was a devout follower of a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, Seyyid Yahya Bakuvi, who is buried there.

The mosque was named after Bibi-Heybat, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, and it’s believed that her tomb was also in the mosque complex.

In 1936, during the Soviet era, the original Bibi-Heybat Mosque was destroyed. It wasn’t until the 1990s, following Azerbaijan’s independence, the mosque was reconstructed. The architects of the new structure used existing photographs and drawings to adhere as closely as possible to the original design.

Image Sources and Copyright Information
  • image-323: © Mappr
  • Map Pin on Baku Location: © Yusuf Ucuz/Shutterstock
  • Historical Palace Complex at Sunset: © Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock
  • Aerial View of Baku Cityscape: © Milosz Maslanka/Shutterstock
  • Sunrise Behind Ferris Wheel: © MasyuraN/Shutterstock
  • City Park with People and Historic Architecture: © Milosz Maslanka/Shutterstock
  • Baku Port with Cranes and Ships: © Andreas Wolochow/Shutterstock
  • Old City of Baku with Minaret: © xalien/Shutterstock
  • Baku Flame Towers Against Blue Sky: © alionabirukova/Shutterstock
  • Modern Curvilinear Building at Twilight: © Elnur/Shutterstock
  • Tourists Exploring Gobustan National Park Rock Formations: © posztos/Shutterstock
  • Evening View of a Bustling City Street with Illuminated Buildings: © ArtEvent ET/Shutterstock
  • Bibi-Heybat Mosque under blue sky: © kosmos111/Shutterstock