a prosperous capital
STEEPED IN HERITAGE
Located on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, Baku is both the political and the cultural capital of Azerbaijan. With 40% of the country’s population in the greater urban area it is, by far, the largest city in the country and has prospered greatly from the renewed development of oil and gas deposits over the past decade.
Baku is an attractive city, famed for its oil industry since the turn of the last century – when it provided over half of the world’s total production. It was here that the Nobel family made their fortune – which later funded the eponymous prize – and the historic Battle of Stalingrad was fought, in large part, to prevent the capture of the Baku oilfields.
The ‘Inner City’ dating from the 5th century has been classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO whilst the ‘Boomtown’ built in the late 19th century has a wealth of attractive ‘’beaux-arts’’ architecture, including the opulent mansions of the pre-revolution oil barons that now house a wealth of museums and art galleries.
At present, the government has allocated significant funds to the Baku authorities for infrastructure improvements and the upgrade of utilities and services. Specific budgets and grants have been dedicated for renovation of the city’s historical and cultural heritage, whilst along the waterfront many large scale developments are underway, focusing on an innovative modern architecture that reflects the international nature of the city.
Dig deeper to discover the impact of Azerbaijan’s wealth of natural resources.