Ali and Ninowalking tour of Baku
First published in Vienna in 1937, the novel ‘Ali and Nino’ tells the story of a romance between an Azerbaijani nobleman (Ali) and a Georgian princess (Nino), set against a backdrop of major historical events: World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. The novel is mainly set in Baku, but also moves to Shusha, Ganja, Tbilisi, Dagestan and Iran, and covers the period from 1909 to 1920. Besides being extremely beautiful and moving, it’s also a useful guide to the complex ethnic and cultural contrasts of the Caucasus in the early 20th century. Meanwhile, the mysterious identity of the book’s author, writing under the pseudonym Kurban Said, adds an extra layer of intrigue.
This walking tour takes you to the main places in Baku featured in the book, from the Oriental Old City which Ali inhabits and adores, to the Occidental downtown area where Nino lives, and all the places where the plot thickens – the Philharmonic Hall, Governor’s Park, Istiglaliyyat Street landmarks (City Hall, Ismailiyya Palace and Institute of Manuscripts), the National History Museum, and more. As you move from place to place, you’ll be able to relive key scenes from the book while discovering the beauty of Baku’s Oil Boom-era architecture and learning about important historical events. Overall, the tour is a great opportunity to discover Azerbaijan’s vibrant capital through the prism of one of the country’s most beloved books.