I have visited Azerbaijan, mostly Baku, for a few days. I didn't fall in love with this country but I still managed to find some nice soviet architectures.
Azerbaijan was on my list of priority countries to visit for a while; I was hoping to see more Soviet architecture and Soviet icons but these are getting swapped for flashy boring new buildings.
I arrived in Baku from Kiev ( read here about my long stopover). Passport control was very straightforward as long as you have all your papers in order. I have applied for the e-visa here and it is a very easy process. After a few days, if your visa is approved, you will receive an email with a confirmation PDF. You have to carry this printed PDF with you all the time as I was asked for it a few times even when I boarded a train to Georgia.
One problem I had in Azerbaijan was people accepting their own currency which was totally crazy. Cards are not widely accepted and big notes are not accepted either. I got my cash from a normal ATM machine which unfortunately dispensed only bigger notes and when I had to pay for water or metro tickets simply nobody accepted them...They actually preferred me getting the goods without paying! Why the cash machines are dispensing notes that nobody is gonna use or accept? well, one of the many contradictions in this country!
These are the things I enjoyed in Azerbaijan alongside with map locations on how to get there.
1. BAKU OLD TOWN
This is probably one of the most touristy part of the city and there is nothing super exceptional but still pleasant to walk around for an afternoon.
2. BAKU PROMENADE
This was a nice walk especially because many of the cool architectures are on the promenade. Some new some old and some weird buildings. If it is a nice sunny day like the one I had, this is a must.
THE MUSEUM CENTRE
3. HEYDAR ALIYEV CENTER
This is definitely a must see when in Baku. Fantastic architecture by Zaha Hadid
4. BAKU STATE CIRCUS
5. LOCAL MARKETS
6. FLAME TOWERS
I went to see the flame towers from the base of the buildings. From here you can have also an amazing view of the city and of course I didn’t use the funicolar, just the stairs.
7. BAKU METRO
The metro is a soviet style metro so some of the stations are pretty impressive. Photographs are not allowed! In the metro I also met a group of kids that wanted to practice English.