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Joel Bond Travels


By Joel Bond Travels

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Image - Atashgah Zoroastrian Fire Temple
Atashgah Zoroastrian Fire Temple
Joel Bond:This former Zoroastrian temple serves as a museum to Zoroastrian faith and practices -- important for Azerbaijan's cultural heritage. The exhibits are sparse, but most rooms have good textual explanation for the displays. Recommended visit time: 1 hour.
Image - Yanar Dag
Yanar Dag
Joel Bond:An interesting -- if somewhat sparse, kitsch, and manufactured -- attraction in the hills outside Baku. Flames erupt from the hillside, fuelled by natural gas escaping from a fissure in the rocks. A small exhibit hall details the history of Azerbaijan "Land of Fire". Check out the thermal heat map on the wall entering the museum -- a creative touch to a simple exhibit. Recommended visit time: 30 minutes.
Image - Palace of The Shirvanshahs
Palace of The Shirvanshahs
Joel Bond:A nicely appointed museum housed in the former palace of the Shirvanshahs that covers their rule of Azerbaijan from the 1200s-1400s.
Image - Maiden Tower
Maiden Tower
Joel Bond:The origin and reason for the structure remains unknown. The carpet sellers and caravanserais nearby add aesthetic appeal to this part of the old city.
Image - Palace of Shaki Khans
Palace of Shaki Khans
Joel Bond:This diminutive palace and complex is stunningly gorgeous in its interior. Set in the foothills of the south Caucasus mountains, the setting is just as much a part of the magic. Check out the murals in the central room upstairs, complete with images of war victories and severed heads. Around the complex, the Albanian Christian church has a photogenic exterior, though the interior museum -- along with the ethnographic museum across the road -- are largely forgettable. The stained glass workshop makes for a nice visit after the palace. Head into the craft market to the right just inside the main compound gate to see the work in progress. (Note: Photos are strictly prohibited inside the palace itself, and staff can be sharp in regards to keeping this regulation enforced.)
Image - Fəvvarələr Meydanı
Fəvvarələr Meydanı
Joel Bond:The place to see and be seen, Fountain Square is flooded with locals in the evenings just out for a stroll. Numerous cafes and bars ring the plaza. Need to meet up with someone? Tell them to meet by the Girl with the Umbrella statue in front of McDonald's: it seems to be the standard meeting spot for just about everyone.
Image - Shakikhanovs' Palace
Shakikhanovs' Palace
Joel Bond:The winter palace cousin to the more splendidly decorated Shaki Khan palace just up the hill. While there is less flamboyance to the interior of this palace, the central upstairs room is just as lavish as its counterpart. Pay special attention to the mirrored corbelling which adds a certain glamour to the design. Perhaps more compelling to visit as photos of the interior are allowed (as photos are strictly prohibited in the summer palace up the road).
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Recommended Dining Options

Image - Restoran Qaqarin
Restoran Qaqarin
Joel Bond:Outdoor seating and a wide selection of local cuisine. Mixed clientele of locals and visitors -- though don't expect speedy service. Located behind Sheki Palace hotel.
Image - "Khan Wine House / Xan Şərab Evi"
"Khan Wine House / Xan Şərab Evi"
Joel Bond:A nice wine bar serving locally produce wines. Located across the street from Karavanserai hotel, and below the Sheki Palace hotel. Service is excellent, though the wines tend towards the mediocre. Wine tasting available.
Image - Araz kafesi
Araz kafesi
Joel Bond:Standard, but well-loved and frequented by local clientele. Not far from Fountain Square.


Image - Karvansaray
Joel Bond:A character hotel with plenty of charm. Fairly basic rooms and amenities, though the location and architecture is stunning. Expect to pay 3-4 Manat taxi fare from the bus station. A nice wine bar is located across the street, serving locally produced wines. Reservations recommended, though possible to book on arrival.
Image - Maajid Hotel
Maajid Hotel
Joel Bond:Located metres from the Içerişehir metro station, just inside the Old City walls. A bit difficult to find the main entrance (tucked down an alleyway, with a sign that blends in with the stone walls). Helpful front desk staff with clean, modern rooms.

Wonderguide map

  1. Atashgah Zoroastrian Fire Temple
  2. Yanar Dag
  3. Palace of The Shirvanshahs
  4. Maiden Tower
  5. Palace of Shaki Khans
  6. Fəvvarələr Meydanı
  7. Shakikhanovs' Palace
  8. Restoran Qaqarin
  9. "Khan Wine House / Xan Şərab Evi"
  10. Araz kafesi
  11. Karvansaray
  12. Maajid Hotel

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