Upon arrival in Baku, your driver and guide will be waiting for you just outside of baggage claim and customs to transfer you to your hotel. You will be staying in one of the most beautiful hotels in Europe, the stunning Four Seasons Hotel Baku, perfectly located at the edge of Old Town and directly on the Caspian Sea.
Baku is a city of huge contrasts; minarets have been superseded by the iconic architectural landmark of The Flame Towers. While Old Baku had a reputation of a city blighted by oil extraction, it has recently been transformed into a 21st Century capital with seaside promenades and extraordinary architecture by such luminaries as Zaha Hadid and Sir Norman Foster. This is a city, indeed country, reborn with oil wealth that for the first time is being spent at home.
After taking some time to freshen up and unpack you will meet your guide in the hotel lobby and set off for an orientation walk through the Old Town. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town is one of the oldest continuously inhabited parts in the region. Archaeological digs have revealed Bronze Age burial chambers, dating back 1,500 years.
This is the most popular area of the city, a maze of alleys, winding streets and caravanserais sometimes called the ‘Acropolis of Baku.’ You’ll see carpet shops and cafes and you shouldn’t miss a stop into a tea house to sample hot lavash bread pulled straight from the clay oven.
Continue on to the Walled City of Baku and the Shirvanshah’s Palace. The walls are well preserved and date from the 12th century whilst the Palace was built in the 15th century. While many of the treasures that were once the pride of Baku were taken by the Ottomans to Istanbul, you can still feel the history of the palace when wandering from the residential areas to the baths, through the mosque and beyond. Here in Old Town, you’ll also see the Maiden Tower, hear its sad history, and if still open for the day, climb to the top for a wonderful panoramic view.
Exeter Services: Airport Transfer; Guide (4 Hours)
Hotel: Four Seasons Baku