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Azerbaijan Trip Pictures from May 11 to 19, 2010

To read the Azerbaijan Journal.

Our Route through AZERBAIJAN. Covered approx. 600km on the motorcycles.

May 11, 2010. We enter Azerbaijan from Georgia at the Lagodekhi-Balaken Border Post.

We receive the bad news at the border crossing from customs that the motorcycles only get a 3 day transit permit for Azerbaijan.

This changes our inital sightseeing plans for the country. Our first stop is in the town of SHEKI,...

...where we stay at the Karavansaray Hotel. A unique opportunity to stay at an ancient caravanserai.

Half a dozen Seki Halva dot the road up to the Karavansaray Hotel.

These are confectionery shops mainly serving Seki Halva, a type of paxlava.

The owner of the store was very happy to let us try a piece for free and take pictures. We bought 1/2 kg.

The Omar Efendiyev Mosque.

Another 19th century Caravansarai,... currently being restored.

Entering the fortress walls.

The Russian Church/Museum of National Applied Art located within the walls.

The Xan Sarayi, a two story Khan's Palace,... quite impressive.

The palace consists of several furnitureless rooms...

...with richly decorated walls and ceilings.

Each room has a different theme.

The windows consist of unique wooden stained glass mosaics.

Ceiling decorations.

More window mosaics.

Another richly decorated ceiling.

The lord's room,...

...depicting scenes of hunting.

As we visit the Shebeke Workshop we actually meet Tofig Rasulov, who restored the palace windows to its original condition.

He showed us how the windows are constructed. Each window is slotted together by hundreds of hand carved wooden pieces like a jigsaw puzzle.

Colorful stained glass is used to add to the design. Once assembled no metal fastenings have been used.

A book has been published detailing the work of Tofig Rasulov and he signs a copy for us.

The Historical-Regional Ethnography Museum displays a model of the town of Sheki.

The museum exhibits archaeological artifacts.

Bronze Items.

The cylindercal shaped bronze items are used to cover plates to keep the food warm.


Locally made carpets depicting Azerbaijan motives.

A carriage used by one of Azerbaijan's famous people.

These silk scarfs are handcrafted in Sheki.

A traditional room in a house.

The Seki Halvasi (sweets) we had purchased earlier, neatly packaged...

...and with the owner's information.

Our room in the Karavansaray Hotel.

Of course hundred of years ago, they did not have the luxuries we have now.

May 12, 2010. One of the few times we were pulled over by a passing police vehicle loaded with officers all excitingly waving to us. The reason for stopping us was so that they could take pictures of us with them.

Approx. 80km before Baku we meet up with Ken, who we had met in Georgia a week earlier. He is traveling the world on his bicycle.

45km south of Baku lies the QOBUSTAN PETROGLYPHS.

Just of the Caspian Sea a few kilometers inland,...

...UNESCO has added the ancient rock-carvings to its World Heritage List.

We arrive after opening hours, but the keeper takes pity on us and lets us tour the site.

The path system is well laid out.

Some of the petroglyphs are harder to see.

Over 6000 petroglyphs is said to be in these hills.

The carving depict people,...

...and even a spindly reed boat.

Human figures.

Dancing human figures.

Animals and a boat.


Misterious holes in the ground.


A field of oil pumps south of Baku.

Not an unusal sight to us, working in the industry. The Caspian Sea and Baku in the background.

Baku has a few shipping ports.

We stay at the Hotel Araz and make friends with the receptionist Ahmat. Note Mike's nice new haircut.

It is almost unheard of to find a decent hotel room under $100US/night in Baku. We stayed here for $50US/night due to Mike's negotiating skills.

Our food stable for most days. Cheap street food.

The hotel staff provided me with a table and chair, plus coffee so that I could comfortable write my journal.

After dropping of the motorcycles with Customs at the ferry port on May 13, 2010 we explored the city via foot. The impressive Government House.

A vendor selling toys.

Baku, is a city of fountains. In the background is the Government House.

The Caspian Sea of the Promenade. Not sure about the pollution.

A symbol of Baku, a oil rig stands proudly in the park displaying now the time and temperature.

The Bulvar or Primorsky Park Promenade has gotten a major overhaul.

It stretches for kilometers along the waterfront and is dotted with water fountains, kiosks, restaurants, benches and even an amusement park.

Under construction is a shopping mall.

Between May 14 and 18, we visited the old city and the surrounding parks numerous times.

We enter the old walled city via the Maiden's Tower.

Baku's walled city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This model shows the original walls. Approx. half the walls still stands.

The Maiden Tower is situated in the south-east part of Icheri Shahar.

The original tower dates back to the 7th century BC.

The tower is 29.5m high and 16.5m in diameter.

The wall range from 5m in thickness at the base to 4m at the top.

It consists of eight (8) floors,...

...which now display Azerbaijan heritage and history.

From the top we have a great 360Degree view of the city.

Artifacts found during the excavation.

Part of excavated area visible for tourists.

The Haci Bani Hamami.

More artifacts on display that were found during the renovations.

The streets are lined with carpet shops.

A reminder that we are on the ancient silk route.

Recycling depots are set up all around the centre of the city. A good sign.

One of the remaining double gateway's.

The walled city has been inhabited since the Paleolits period.

The remaining walls as seen today were built in the 12th century AD.

Historical building surround the walls outside.

The Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan (that is what it said on the sign).

Beautiful decorated marble flooring in the park.

Every park has a unique fountain.

The Philharmonia Concert Hall.

The grass and parks are manicured perfectly. Flower beds...

...more fountains...

...and the city walls from the outside...

...and walking along it inside.

The Palace of the Shirvanshahs, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As we enter the palace complex to the left of the courtyard is the Divankhana,... oxtagonal, open-sided stone rotunda where the court of Shirvanshah Khalilullah I once assembled.

Inside the Palace Building. Construction started during the reign of the Shirvanshah Sheikh Ibrahim I (1382 to 1417).

The two story building today houses a museum.

Very interesting are the old postcards of Baku.

These are pictures of Baku in the 20th century...

...not that long ago.

An ancient carpet shop. What a different atomsphere it must have been.

The Shirvanshah's Burial Vault (1435AD).

Today Shirvanshah Khalilullah I and his family is buried in this vault.

The Shahs' Mosque (1441AD).

There are two praying halls in Shah Mosque, the big praying hall of the mosque was intended for shah and his courtiers, the small one was intended for the court women.

The Palace Hamam (1438AD).

The Hamam was well decorated both from inside and outside by kashi.

A octagonal water cistern and the ruins of the Keyqubad Mosque are in another courtyard.

A view of the palace building. The entire courtyard is covered in carved stone blocks inscribed with Arabic calligraphy.

These Bayil Stones were recovered in the 1950's from the 13th century ruins of Sabayil Qala, a castle now submerged in the sea.

The Seyid Yahya Bakuvi's Mausoleum (1464AD), also known as Dervish's Mausoleum.

Buried here is S.Y. Bakuvi, who was a royal scholar in the court of Shirvanshah Khalilullah I.

The ceiling decoration.

The Cuma Mosque dating from 1899AD.

A unique fresco.

In the evening the downtown core becomes to live. Especially popular was this ride in the amusement park.

This is not unique to Azerbaijan and we have seen it in many other countries. Guys taking pictures of other guys. We assume for the internet.

Strolling along the Promenade seems to be a pass time of Azeri's.

The fountains change colors.

Every building is lit up.

The Maiden's Tower at night time.

The area around the Hamam.

All the sandstone buildings are brightly iluminated.

Baku at night.

Everyone parks their vehicle in front of the Government House in the evening.

May 19, 2010. We were planning on leaving May 20, but as always we had to deal with the usual neighmare of trying to determine when actually sailing occurs....

...which means numerous trips to the Ferry Ticket Office, only to be told to return a couple of hours later. Patience is the key, as we did not receive our ticket until an our before loading was completed.

The guidebook is correct the ferry is a rail-cargo ship and does not care about their passengers, and timetables do not exist.

Ships leave virtually without warning as soon as the cargo is loaded, or wait days if there is not enough.

But hey we made it. The motorcycles were parked with the train cargo and tied down by our own straps.

The ferry tickets from Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan for two (2) passengers and two (2) motorcycles were $400.00US.

Another boat is being positioned into the harbour by a tuck boat.

The ship started to leave the harbour around 8:30pm.

The sun is setting and we say good-bye.

It is supposed to be a 15 hour crossing. To find out how long we actually spent on open sea proceed to the Turkmenistan Pictures and Journal.