Sumary of This ancient tower is in the centre of a modern city. No one knows why:
- Photo: iStock “We don’t know the tower’s age, purpose or historical context,” says my guide, Ramin Bagirov, as we step inside Baku’s Maiden Tower, a stone citadel inside the city’s Old Town.
- But nowhere has the paisley motif – or buta to the Azeris – been adopted so exuberantly as in Azerbaijan.
- I’ve spent hours inside the rolling, soft-serve curves of Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Centre, enjoying the artworks and photographic exhibitions.
- I’d discovered a contemporary art space inside a former ship maintenance warehouse and a project space for emerging Azeri artists tucked inside the Old City.
- On the streets Soviet-era buildings sit side-by-side with trendy wine bars like Kefli, where the staff are knowledgeable and every bottle on the extensive wine list comes from Azerbaijan.
- We take the freeway that leads south to Iran, passing chalky oil fields, where pumping jacks known as “nodding donkeys” mark time like metronomes, and detour to a field of mud volcanoes, so bizarre it has us rubbing our eyes and wondering what planet we are on.