Polish heritage in Bakuthe Paris of the Caucasus
How did Polish architecture appear in Baku and other regions of the country? In the 19th century Azerbaijan and Poland were part of the Russian Empire, and during the rapid development of the oil industry in Azerbaijan many Poles came to Baku in search of work and a better life. Besides them, the local Polish community also included Poles who had been exiled to the Caucasus for participating in national uprisings. Although the Poles lived mainly in Baku, Polish architectural heritage can be found in other regions of Azerbaijan.
During this period, three Polish architects served at different times as the chief architect of Baku: Jozef Goslawski (1892 – 1904), Kazimierz Skorewicz (1904 – 1907) and Jozef Ploszko (1907 – 1910). And the architectural gems created by one more Polish architect, Eugeniusz Skibinski, breathed new life into the city. Among their works are the Baku City Hall, the Azerbaijan National History Museum, the Institute of Manuscripts, the Palace of Happiness, and many other luxurious buildings.
The tour features 19 stops, including many of the city’s architectural gems, the grave of the Polish engineer Pawel Potocki, and also the house museum of the cellists of Polish origin, Leopold and Mscislaw Rostropowicz. The overall length is 3 km, so we recommend that you wear comfortable shoes. To join the tour you simply need to approach a sign at one of its stops, scan the QR code, read the information and then walk on to the next stop. In such a way, you can devote your day to walking along and finding out about the world’s first school for Muslim girls, the love stories of Baku’s oil millionaires, the fates of the Polish architects, the scandal involving the “Flour King” and many other interesting stories. Along the route you will also come across lots of cafes, so don’t forget to order a nice takeaway tea or coffee! Doing the tour is free.