Architecture of Baku

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The Maiden Tower, one of Baku's top tourist attractions

The architecture of Baku is not characterized by any particular architectural style, having accumulated its buildings over a long period of time.

In itself, Baku contains a wide variety of styles, progressing through Masud Ibn Davud's 12th century Maiden Tower and the educational institutions and buildings of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic era.

Late modern and postmodern architecture began to appear in the early-2000s. With the economic development, old buildings such as Atlant House have been razed to make way for new ones. Buildings with all glass shell appear around the city, with the most prominent examples being the SOCAR Tower and Flame Towers.

Several monuments pay homage to people and events in the city. The Martyrs' Lane provides views of the surrounding area whilst commemorating the victims of Black January and Nagorno-Karabakh War.[1][2]


With Shi'a Islam being the dominant religion of Azerbaijan, there are may Islamic architecture featured buildings that resides in Baku. Religious places have more Islamic calligraphy drawn on the columns and other places on the structure.[3] In December 2000, the Old City of Baku, including the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower, became the first location in Azerbaijan to be classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Russian Imperial and Azerbaijan Democratic Republic era[edit]

There are many buildings built by the Azerbaijani at the turn of the 20th century that spot Victorian and Western influence in their designs. Another important accomplishment of Azerbaijani Democratic Republic was the establishment of Baku State University, which was the first modern-type university founded in Azerbaijan.[4][5]

Soviet architecture[edit]

USSR Council of Ministers' resolution "On measures to further industrialization, improving quality and reducing the cost of construction" and "The removal of excess in the design and construction" in mid-50's has helped to initiate mass housing in Baku.[6]

The architectural image of the country's capital was enriched by a number of interesting in conception projects and highly significant in terms of urban sites, such as the building of the historical Ismailiyya building, which nowadays is the office of the Presidium of National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, the Lenin Palace (now the Heydar Aliyev Palace), as well as marine and railway stations.[6]

Late Modernism and Post-Modern[edit]

Baku’s new business districts today has shifted around the Baku city center where many new and tall buildings with Late Modernism and Postmodern architecture. Aside from buildings used for business and institutions, various new residential developments are currently underway, many of which consist of high-rise buildings with a glass exterior, surrounded by American-style residential communities.

Current developments[edit]

As a developing city largely influenced by economic oil boom, there are many construction projects that are currently being built that will change the city's skyline in the near future. Some of the construction project are SOCAR Tower, Crescent Beach Hotel, Baku White City, Baku National Stadium, Full Moon Hotel, Baku Hilton Hotel, and the Four Seasons Hotel.[7][8] A lot of the new development has come at the cost of old Sovier-era existing structures. The destruction of the Soviet heritage has created controversy, such as the recent destruction of the Soviet-era 26 Commissars Memorial in 2009 to make way for a new car park.[9][10]

In 2011, Discovery channel's Extreme Engineering program featured these projects that are under construction in Baku.[11]


A panoramic view of Baku Bay

See also[edit]