National Museum of History Azerbaijan
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9:00am to 5:00pm. Admission: AZN5 ($3).
Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, houses more than 30 museums covering everything from history and ethnography to a collection of tiny books. Take advantage of the museums in Baku to appreciate its fascinating story and culture and come away with a more enhanced travel experience.
Anyone who’s interested in Soviet-style museums will appreciate the Independence Museum. Displays have propaganda elements covering early 20th-century history through the Soviet times to Azerbaijan’s independence in 1991. Other sections describe the recent Karabakh conflict. Most displays are in either Azeri or Russian, and having a guide may be essential to appreciate the artefacts. But, for a few dollars, it’s a quirky museum in Baku that’s worth an hour.
123а Neftchilar Ave, Baku, Azerbaijan, +994 12 598 37 31
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:30am to 5:30pm. Closed on Monday. Admission: AZN2 ($1.20).
The Shirvanshahs ruled parts of Azerbaijan for centuries in Shemakhi. An earthquake forced the Persianised Arab rulers to move their capital 123 kilometres (76 miles) southeast to Baku where they built the Palace. The main palace, a mausoleum, two mosques and a bathhouse are inside the 15th-century UNESCO-listed complex. Most people spend between one and two hours.
Sirvansahlar Sarayı, Baku, Azerbaijan, +994 12 492 10 73
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00am to 6:00pm. Admission is AZN10 ($5.90)
The final museum in Baku is the most special. Approximately 20 kilometres (12.2 miles) east of Baku sits Ateshgah, a fire temple. An eternal flame once burned here for centuries from underground gas reserves. The modern temple, consisting of a large and four smaller flames, is more than 300 years old. But people have worshipped here for millennia. Walk through the rooms surrounding the temple to learn the story of Zoroastrianism in Azerbaijan and Iran along with the origins of Azerbaijan’s relationship with fire. Visit independently by taking bus 184 from Koroglu Metro Station, or join a tour.
Ateshgah, Baku, Azerbaijan, +994 70 981 68 88
Opening hours: Daily from 10:00am to 6:00pm. Admission: AZN2 ($1.20).