Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital and commercial centre, is a low-lying city with a shoreline along the Caspian Sea. It is famous for its mediaeval walled old city, which houses the Shirvanshahs’ Palace, a massive royal complex, and the renowned stone Maiden Tower. Modern icons include the Heydar Aliyev Center, built by Zaha Hadid, and the Flame Towers, three-pointed buildings covered with LED screens.
What to do in Baku
Visit Flame Towers
The Flame Towers are three skyscrapers in Baku, Azerbaijan. The tallest tower stands 182 metres tall. The three flame-shaped buildings are meant to represent the components of fire. They are a nod to Azerbaijan’s nickname, “The Country of Fire,” which is historically founded in a location where natural gas flares burst from the earth. Zoroastrian worshippers revered flames as a sign of the divine. Baku’s coat of arms likewise features a three-flame pattern. The three buildings include 130 residential apartments spread across 33 storeys, a Fairmont hotel tower with 250 rooms and 61 serviced apartments, and office blocks totalling 33,114 square metres. Lamborghini launched its first branch in Azerbaijan in June 2014, on the ground floor of the Flame Towers’ East tower.
Take a Walk at the Philharmonia Garden
Filarmoniya Bağı, also known as Gubernator’s or Governor’s Park, is a park in Baku, Azerbaijan, near the Baku castle. In 1830, ship captains arriving from Iran were asked to bring a sack of soil to add to the park. It was expanded to 4.6 hectares in the 1860s and 1870s and was initially named Mixaylov bağı, Mikhaelovsky Garden, after the governor. There were proposals to build a music hall in the park in the early twentieth century, but the required tree removal sparked opposition. A summer pavilion was constructed. The park was refurbished in the 1970s and then again beginning in 2007 on President Ilham Aliyev’s directives. A vintage fountain designed by the French company Inter Art has been installed.
See the Icherisheher
The historical centre of Baku, Azerbaijan’s city, is known as the Old City or Inner City. The Old City, enclosed by walls, is Baku’s most ancient portion. The Old City had a population of around 3000 persons in 2007. The Old City of Baku, featuring the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the Maiden Tower, was designated as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Azerbaijan in December 2000.
Saudi Arabia - Riyadh
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital and primary financial centre, is in the country’s middle on a desert plateau. The 302m-high Kingdom Centre, with a sky bridge connecting two towers, and the 267m-high Al Faisaliah Centre, with a glass-globe apex, are both business area highlights. Masmak Fort, located in Riyadh’s old Deira quarter, commemorates the site of the 1902 raid that gave the Al Sauds control of the city.
What to do in Riyadh
Visit Center Point
Kingdom Centre, formerly known as Kingdom Tower, is a 99-story, 302.3-meter-tall skyscraper in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. When finished in 2002, it surpassed the 267-meter Faisaliyah Tower as Saudi Arabia’s highest structure. It has subsequently been exceeded and, as of 2021, is the fifth-highest skyscraper in the country, with the Abraj Al Bait Towers and the Capital Market Authority Tower being the tallest two structures. After the Shanghai World Financial Center and Taiwan’s 85 Sky Tower, it is the world’s third-tallest building with a hole. The tower was created by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and designed by the Ellerbe Becket and Omrania design team, who were chosen in an international design competition. It sits on a 100,000-square-meter plot and houses the Al-Mamlaka shopping mall, offices, the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh, and luxury apartments. A 65m sky bridge connects the building to the ground. A public sky bridge caresses an inverted parabolic arch atop the tower’s upper third. The sky bridge is a 300-ton steel structure that resembles a corridor with windows on both sides. Visitors take two elevators to that level after paying the admission fees.
Take a Walk at the At-Turaif World Heritage Site
At-Turaif is a historic district in Al-Dir’iyah, northwest of Riyadh, that is regarded as one of the most important political and historical sites in Saudi Arabia. It was the original home of the Saudi royal family and the country’s first capital from 1727 until the area was sacked by the Ottomans in 1818.
See Wadi Hanifah
Wadi Hanifa, formerly known as Wadi al-Arad, is a wadi in central Saudi Arabia’s Najd region, Riyadh Province. The valley stretches about 120 kilometres from northwest to southeast, cutting through Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital city. Along the valley are several towns and villages, including Uyaynah, Irqah, and Diriyah. Riyadh’s old city is on the wadi’s northeastern bank. Still, the city has now spread across Wadi Hanifa, with the sub-municipalities of Al-Shifa and Al-Urayja on its southwestern side.
United Arabia Emirates - Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is located on an island in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, off the coast of the mainland. The city’s reliance on oil exports and business reflects the city’s contemporary skyline and shopping megacenters such as Abu Dhabi and Marina malls. The massive Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has an enormous Persian carpet, sparkling chandeliers, and seating for 41,000 worshippers beneath white-marble domes.
Visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is an art museum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Saadiyat Island. It operates under an agreement struck in March 2007 between the UAE and France that permits it to use the Louvre’s name until 2037 and has been described by the Louvre as “France’s largest cultural endeavour abroad.” It is approximately 24,000 square metres, with 8,000 square metres of galleries, making it the Arabian peninsula’s largest art museum. The museum exhibits artwork from around the world, with the goal of bridging the gap between Eastern and Western art. By 2019, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will have drawn 2 million visitors, making it the Arab world’s most-visited museum.
Take a Walk through Al Wahda Mall
Al Wahda Mall is a shopping mall in Abu Dhabi. This mall, which opened on June 5, 2007, is owned by Al Wahda Sports Club in Abu Dhabi and managed by Lulu Group International. It is situated on the former Airport Road, close to Hazza Bin Zayed Street.
See the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
The Sheikh Zayed Great Mosque is located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the UAE. It is the country’s largest mosque and the primary worship venue for daily prayers. Surakarta, Indonesia, has a miniature duplicate of the big mosque.