Old City or Inner City is the historic core of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

The Old City is the most ancient part of Baku, which is surrounded by walls which were easily defended. 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.

We visited Baku in early August 2019 to discover Baku Old city and many other goodies of Azerbaijan.

Maiden tower in Baku

Maiden Tower in Baku

The Maiden Tower is a 12th-century monument in the Old City, Baku, Azerbaijan.

Along with the Shirvanshahs' Palace, dated to the 15th century, it forms a group of historic monuments listed in 2001 under the UNESCO World Heritage List of Historical Monuments as cultural property, Category III. It is one of Azerbaijan's most distinctive national emblems, and is thus featured on Azeri currency notes and official letterheads.

Baku Old town

Baku Old town

In the background the famous Flame Towers of Baku. There is actually located a 5-star hotel by Fairmount in which we stayed during our trip to Baku, see my review here: Fairmont Baku hotel at Flame Towers

Baku old city

Baku old city

It is widely accepted that the Old City, including its Maiden Tower, date at least to the 12th century, with some researchers contending that construction dates as far back as the 7th century. The question has not been completely settled.

During this medieval period of Baku, such monuments as the Synyg Gala Minaret (11th century), the fortress walls and towers (11th–12th centuries), the Maiden Tower, the Multani Caravanserai and Hajji Gayyib bathhouse(15th century), the Palace of the Shirvanshahs (15th–16th centuries), the Bukhara Caravanserai and Gasimbey bathhouse (16th century) were built.

Painted wall in Baku's Old City

Painted wall in Baku's Old City

For a long period of time, an explicit symbol of the Old City was a mulberry tree located behind the Djuma Mosque. It was believed that the tree was several hundred years old. The tree made its way into many sayings and songs popular in the Old City, and became a local landmark. The place where that tree was located was referred to as Mulberry Tree Square. However, in the 1970s the mulberry tree was cut down, because of the nearby construction works.

Another popular landmark of the Old City is the local bookstore that sells mostly second-hand, but also new books. Situated amongst the Bukhara and the Multani Caravanserais, the Maiden Tower, and Hajinski's Palace (otherwise known as Charles de Gaulle House, because he stayed there during World War II), it is a popular destination of Bakuvian students and bibliophiles, mostly because of its low prices.

The old city of Baku is depicted on the obverse of the Azerbaijani 10 manat banknote issued since 2006