oil boom era and their quest for personal glory and fame. The tour offers insider's guide to urban exploration about social, cultural, political aspect of every-day life in Baku with background of stories based on real life of oil barons from late 19th and early 20th century as well as soviet and modern times.
The tour highlights how oil changed Baku as as the new generation of the first era of oil boom
assumed their social responsibility for a change in an oriental conventional Muslim society. You will
hear stories about Azerbaijan’s dilemma of East vs. West, oil barons’ hunger for personal glory and
fame, Influence of Polish architects, change and continuity through times under imperial Russia,
Soviet and Independent Azerbaijan.
What is included/excludedBottled water
Alcoholic Beverages - Alcoholic Beverages - Tour will finish with a glass of local wine/hot chocolate at Coffee Moffie
Entry/Admission - Maiden Tower
Entry/Admission - Palace of The Shirvanshahs
Entry/Admission - Kapellhaus
Departure & ReturnIcherisheher, Baku, Azerbaijan
What to ExpectItinerary
This is a typical itinerary for this product
Stop At: Maiden Tower, Downtown Baku Old City, Baku 1000 Azerbaijan
The Maiden Tower is a Baku landmark, a much loved symbol of the city and of Azerbaijan. It looms dark and enigmatic, looking out to sea from the southern edge of Baku´s old, walled city, the Icheri Sheher. The origins of the tower are shrouded in mystery - no-one knows for certain when it was built or what it was built for or even how it acquired its name Maiden Tower (Qiz qalasi). No written sources survive that record its construction or original function.
Baku historian Sara Ashurbayli calculated that the tower must have been built in the 4th to 6th centuries AD. This was because of the tower’s unusual construction, the difference between the stone used in the tower and the stone of the medieval city surrounding it and the various legends about the Maiden Tower.
Another group of researchers think that the tower was built in the 11th century. The reason is the inscription 14 metres high on the south wall of the tower which reads Qubbeye Masud ibn Davud in old Arabic script. Epigraphist Mashadikhanim Nemat studied the inscription and explained the word qübbə as qüllə or tower, so Masud ibn Davud would have been the tower’s architect. The architect of the 14th century Mardakan Tower, Abdulmajid ibn Masud, is thought to be his descendant.
However, unlike the Mardakan Tower inscription and another inscription on Sabayil Tower in Baku bay, the Maiden Tower tablet does not include the words Amale ustad or Amale memar (constructor or architect), before Qubbeye Masud ibn Davud. Therefore, the inscription does not necessarily refer to the tower’s architect. The location of the inscription stone, high up the tower, implies that it was placed there accidentally or at least not by the design of the architect. Inscriptions are usually positioned so that they can be read by passers-by, but the Maiden Tower inscription is too high to be seen easily.
Historian Bretanitskiy merges both views and say that the tower was built in two stages: in the 5th to 6th centuries and the 12th century. Veliyev links the history of the tower with Zoroastrianism and fire-worship, while Azerbaijani poet Samad Vurgun wrote in his 1960s Epos of Baku that the tower was built 800 years ago.
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: Palace of The Shirvanshahs, Baku, Azerbaijan
Starting from the XV century Baku became a capital of Shirvan, one of the most powerful countries in the territory of Azerbaijan. The heads of that country were living in and governing from the Palace. This was the most prominent architectural complex in the medieval city.
Walking through the pavilions, courtyards, palace rooms, the crypt, the cistern, the Turkish bathhouses, the mosque, etc., you get a real feel for the every day life within the palace walls. The palace complex consists of nine buildings and each of them was recently restored.
Duration: 40 minutes
Stop At: Miniature Books, Gala lane, 1, Baku Azerbaijan
The tiny library of books ins the museum is the result of the private collection of Zarifa Salahova, and has been amassed over the period of more than 30 years. In 2002, when she opened the museum, she finally shared her collection with the public. A large portion of the books also stem from the donation of a Ukrainian collector, who presented his petite books to Salahova in 2001.
The museum has several thousands of the fairy-sized books, including miniature editions of works of Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Gogol, and Chukovsky. The books originate from around the world, and are written in numerous languages, including Azeri, Russian, English, and German. The oldest book in the museum is a miniature copy of the Quran, dating to the 17th century, while the smallest tome (6mm x 9mm) is the Russian book “The Most Miraculous Thing,” which can only be read by using a magnifying glass.
Salahova, herself a dedicated bibliophile, opened the museum to motivate the next generation of readers to engage with reading and literature. She has also published a few miniature books herself, including the Constitution of Azerbaijan, which is also on display in the museum.
Duration: 10 minutes
Stop At: Palace of Happiness, 6 Murtuza Mukhtarov, Baku 1005 Azerbaijan
The Palace of Happiness or Marriage House in Baku has opened its doors to all couples in love after its full reconstruction.
The newly reconstructed building has regained its historical looks. The first part of the palace is designed for holding business meetings and official receptions, while the second part - for weddings. The building has an indoor terrace. The building has a solemn ceremonial hall designed in classic style and a VIP reception hall in rococo style, as well as a dancing hall and a waiting room.
This enchanting building, the most beautiful architectural pearl of Azerbaijan, was founded by Azerbaijani oil tycoon Murtuza Mukhtarov. It has a very interesting and fascinating history, which could be an inspiration for poets and romantic writers.
Feelings materialized in this delicate and elegant palace, which has delighted local people and tourists for more than a century with its beauty and amazing architectural harmony, looking like a castle in fairy tales with its high vaults, stone gargoyles and dragons, languidly sitting in the roof. This is a monument of true love, which has experienced a lot of its characters in its history.
The founder of this ``castle`` was very resembling to his mansion. Despite being born to a poor family and not having access to formal education, he managed to become a highly-qualified, self-taught engineer and one of the best specialists in Baku. His enormous experience and shrewdness propelled him into his own business in 1890 when he became the owner of an oil company with two divisions, employing 2,500 workers, which manufactured machinery for derricks and bored new oil wells.
The palace was built in 1911-1912 by the Polish architect I. K. Plosko, who designed many architectural buildings in Baku. The building was Mukhtarov`s present to his lovely wife Liza Khanum Taganova, who was astonished by the beauty of a similar building towered up in Venice in the French Gothic style. ``How happy the tenants of this building must be,`` she said looking at the construction in Italy.
The palace was designed in French Gothic and Rococo style. Expressive silhouette composition of the house stands out not only in the surrounding buildings, but also in the urban landscape.
In 1914, the Mukhtarovs` Palace became the residence of the first Female Moslem Philanthropic Society founded by Liza-Khanum. Together with her husband, she financially supported many of these girls so they could continue their education in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Unfortunately, happy life in the palace ended after the incursion of the Soviet Army in Baku in 1920. A tough period came to Mukhtarovs` life and Mukhtarov`s stand against the revolutionaries ended in inevitable tragic death. Mukhtarov resisted them declaring, ``As long as I`m alive, no barbarian will enter my house in soldier boots.``
Mukhtarov shot all ``undesirable guests` riding horseback through the great halls of his mansion and then killed himself.
Liza-Khanum was forced to live in the basement of this very same palace which had been built for her. Deprived of everything she owned, she managed to escape with a diplomat to Istanbul, where she died in 1957.
So, the magnificent building built as a sign a great love lost both of its owners...
This soaring castle incarnated the love and happy family life. But the destiny of its owners was far from this. The house couldn`t bring mirth to the Mukhtarovs` hearts. But today, young couples link here their bond of love and family, sincerely rejoicing. And each time pieces of happiness absorb to the silent walls of the mansion. Even if Mukhtarov`s ghost wanders about the house, he is happy. If only because his creation brings happiness to people which he did not get.
Duration: 10 minutes
Stop At: Kapellhaus, Dilarə Əliyeva Küçəsi, Bakı, Azerbaijan
The Church of Saviour is a Lutheran church in Baku, Azerbaijan. This church built with donations by parishioner Adolf Eichler and consecrated on March 14, 1899. Currently, it was also used a Ministry of Culture and Tourism concert hall. The Gothic-style church features a portal crowned with a decorated pediment. While Azerbaijan's Evangelical community ceased to exist in 1936, the church survived the Stalinist period because of petitions to Joseph Stalin in which the petitioners promised, in return for sparing the church, to pray for him till death. Nevertheless, Pastor Paul Hamburg and seven other members of the local Lutheran community were executed by firing squad on November 1, 1937.
Duration: 5 minutes
Pass By: Saint Gregory the Illuminator's Church, Baku Azerbaijan
Saint Gregory the Illuminator Church, commonly referred to as the Armenian Church of Baku, is a former Armenian Apostolic church near Fountains Square in central Baku, Azerbaijan.
Cancellation PolicyFor a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Additional infoConfirmation will be received at time of booking
Service animals allowed
Near public transportation
Infants must sit on laps
Infant seats available
Transportation is wheelchair accessible
Surfaces are wheelchair accessible
Most travelers can participate
This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate