Baku Old City
Icheri Sheher is also known as the Old or Inner City in Baku. It is the most ancient and probably fantastic part of the modern capital. After admiring Baku's contemporary and fashionable views, you suddenly enter a whole new world, with beautiful old buildings, mainly of the same color, a fortress, ancient city walls, the Palace of Shirvanshahs’ narrow streets, and course, the great Caspian Sea. Icheri Sheher is dated to the 12th century, but some versions of this area already existed in the 5th century.
The whole old city is surrounded by walls, which had a protective function in the past; living inside the walls was a privilege for the locals because they felt safe inside the city walls. The walls are just one more attraction for tourists. Wondering at the narrow streets, you can find the most important sights of Old Baku, like Maiden Tower, the Shirvanshahs Palace, and the Juma Mosque. Because of its unique history and architecture, Icheri Sheher became the first location in Azerbaijan to be classified as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Icheri Sheher was populated since the Bronze Age; in the 14th century, it became the capital city of Shirvanshahs and the most important city for the whole dynasty. The Palace of Shirvanshahs is one of the most stunning landmarks of Baku Old City; it’s known as the “Pearl of Azerbaijan’s Architecture.” Now the palace is declared a museum; you can see unique exhibits, interiors and travel in Shirvanshah’s epoch.
Old city Baku had a great position on the Silk Road; trade brought wealth to the city and helped it to build bathhouses, caravanserais, and mosques. Buildings of that period were mainly of the same color and style; they were made of limestone, and some had wooden balconies. Wood was a sign of wealth and richness; people built these balconies to show how fortunate they were.
Now that Icheri Sheher is home to many people, a morning walk in Icheri Sheher is the best idea; in the narrow streets, you can see playing kids, women hanging laundry, and merchants selling beautiful carpets and souvenirs. Icheri Sheher served as the basis for modern Baku; the development and building of the new city started around this area; now, there are many hotels and restaurants in the old part of Baku, but inside the city walls, you still feel the atmosphere of the old time.