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Baku Boulevard, Carpet Museum, & Highland Park- Caspian Sea Walks
Baku Boulevard is a well-known promenade by the Caspian Sea that’s hard to miss in Baku. Conveniently, the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum is located on it, which displays variety of beautiful carpets that the Azeris take pride in. Travelers that love to just walk and soak in the atmosphere, like myself, will surely enjoy what Baku Boulevard has to offer.
The promenade stretches parallel to the Caspian Sea. On there, you’ll encounter landmarks like the Baku Eye, a Ferris wheel that brings an open view of the Caspian Sea, various of high-end malls, and luxury hotels like Hilton and JW Marriott. I began walking from the upper part besides the JW Marriott and walk down south. While you walk on the promenade, you may encounter the Maiden Tower that will lead you to the Old City if you’re on the side closer to the main road Neftchilar Avenue rather than the seaside.
It truly is a beautiful place to simply walk on. There are shops ranging from small stands to cafes within the promenade that sell snacks and drinks. Public bathrooms are on the outer side by Neftchilar Avenue with dubious gender signs that can be easy to miss, so be mindful of that if you mainly walk by the seaside as you won’t find the bathrooms on that side. In my case as a man, I had to pay 30 kapik or 0.3 Azerbaijani manat (AZN) to use the bathroom.
There are also few ports where you could try your luck on fishing. I saw a couple of people who fed seagulls with torn pieces of bread. Although, I found out that it’s actually bad for the birds as they become dependent on humans for food and that bread alone is not very nutritious for the seagulls.
One of the more interesting parts of the promenade is the “Swans Square” where you can get a nice clear view of the contrasting old and new Baku with the imperial architecture buildings with the striking and modern Flame Towers in the background. Azerbaijani music ranging from classical to modern can be heard from the loudspeakers here as well.
Walking further down south, I then found a stray dog that I gave the title, King of the Hill as he was just chilling at his own place until the crows behind him scared him. I haven’t seen a dog ran so fast! Poor guy.
Azerbaijan Carpet Museum
Shortly after witnessing the dog, the carpet museum was within my sights. The exterior of the building definitely lives up to its name! The museum opens at 10 am-6 pm everyday except Monday when it closes for a full day.
To enter, you need to pay 10 manat (AZN). Just like the Heydar Aliyev Center, you also have to go through a metal detector and bag check on the security gate. Unfortunately, none of my credit cards seemed to work. The front desk expressed “American card? No, no.”
Azerbaijan Carpet Museum- Interior
The exhibition starts at the second floor. Admittedly, I didn’t take too much time reading into the history and details and simply took pictures of what I enjoyed looking at.
The folding carpet architecture works very well with displaying the big carpets inside the museum.
One of the more interesting pieces was the mustache cover made of carpet. Men in Azerbaijan highly valued their mustache, so they took good care of it through covering their mustache to keep them pristine (most likely just at home though).
Then, the museum offer more complex and impressive carpet designs on the upper floor.
These are all the pictures I took inside the museum. Overall, I enjoyed looking at the different designs, and they’re certainly art forms that are not seen very often in the Western world.
Baku Highland Park
After exiting the Carpet Museum, I head to Highland Park to get a nice view of the city and the Caspian Sea. On the way, I briefly pass through Daniz Mall, which is a shopping mall that’s shaped like a lotus flower. The area has a nice port to just rest and soak in the view of seaside Baku and the lake’s seemingly endless horizon.
After that, I make my way to the Highland Park which requires crossing the Neftchilar Avenue. Crosswalks are a bit rare in Baku, but they have pedestrian subways instead for people to cross the street underneath. There were signs that no photographs are allowed. The way to Highland Park however, requires lots of steps to reach the top, but it was manageable for a semi-active person like myself. There is a funicular train that can take you up top, but the operation is closed due to the pandemic.
On the way up, I took a brief look on the Eternal Flame monument and Martyrs’ Line. Both serves as a memorial to those who were killed during Black January of 1990 and the first Nagorno-Karabakh War, in which the second has ended with Azerbaijan’s victory in late 2020.
Moving on from the memorial, I made it to the top. The view was simply amazing!
The view is also nice when it’s closer to night time.
Animations are played in rotation of the Azerbaijan flag, flames, and a person waving the Azerbaijan flag during night time.
Overall, I really enjoy the view of seaside towns in general, and Baku certainly delivers!
Baku Boulevard offers free to low-cost attractions of walking on a beautiful promenade by the Caspian Sea, a museum that displays a form of art that’s unusual to the West, and a top-down view of Azerbaijan’s capital. Avid walkers would certainly enjoy these places, as I myself walked on the Baku Boulevard to take it slow on my one week visit to Azerbaijan.