Three spectacular flame-formed towers, symbolic of ‘The Land of Fire’
It’s a blustery morning in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and from my excessive vantage level we have a sweeping view of the silvery Caspian Sea, a crescent of the flamboyant structure of the oil increase period and the outdated citadel with its historical wall, minarets and domes.
Fuad Akundov, my participating information is delivering a nugget a minute, and he ventures an outline; ‘Today Baku looks like Paris, with the layout of Naples, a citadel that reminds you of Damascus, and the winds of Chicago!’
The outdated metropolis, as soon as a sleepy backwater, got here to life as a result of of its harbour and its key place on the outdated buying and selling routes.
Natural flames have emanated from the bottom for millennia, and it’s mentioned that earlier than the Arab conquest in 861 CE, these people had been fireplace-worshipping Zoroastrians.
Our visit for the day earlier than, to Yanardag on the outskirts of Baku – the place I warmed my palms on a strip of fireplace alongside a hillside that has been around for 3000 years – was adopted by exploring the close by Ateshgarh temple, constructed and added to by Indian merchants from 1710-1813.
Now a museum, the construction nonetheless has scared fires burning within the sanctums, and the Gayatri Mantra was taking part in in a single of the chambers.
A busload of guests from India decanted and flowed properly in. I realized that again in time Brahmins got here right here, ‘to seek their physical death in the land of holy flames in order to achieve spiritual immortality.’
Interestingly, the very first oil tanker constructed and utilized by the Nobel brothers right here in Baku in 1879 was named ‘Zoroaster’
Today’s Baku is an oil-enriched,
gleaming metropolis of spectacular artwork galleries, world-class eating places and sumptuous trendy structure such because the Heydar Aliyev Centre designed by Zaha Hadid, the Carpet Museum with a half-rolled Azeri rug for a roof, and the triad of Flame Towers that home places of work, flats and a resort. At evening, they’re lit by the LED lights and resemble crimson–sizzling flickering flames, a becoming motif for the town.
Even extra spectacular are Baku’s hospitable and considerate denizens, who selected, regardless of being a Moslem Majority, to stay secular and embrace all religions.
Here, Jazz and conventional Mugam music are performed facet by facet, wine and pomegranate juice are equally honoured, and Asian and European values are each woven into the fibre of their being.