The historical centre of Baku reveals its past, from its roots as an ancient city, through its oil boom to its Soviet occupation. The old city is a maze of alleys, mosques, historic buildings and remnants of fortification, including the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the Maiden Tower, now listed among UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Much more than a historic site, the city hosts vibrant arts and cultural activities, as well as a bustling modern business sector. In 2012, it's the Host City of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Baku, also known as Baky or Bakı, is the largest city in the Caucasus and is the capital of Azerbaijan. It's situated on the western coast of Caspian Sea and thus there are a number of mud volcanoes and salt lakes around it. The first written evidence for Baku dates to the 1st century and the population of the city is now around 3,7 million.
There are three major districts in Baku: İçəri Şəhər (the old town), the Soviet built city, and the newest part of the city. The old town is under UNESCO World Heritage Sites protection.
Baku is one of Caucasus most important tourist destinations and many sizeable world hotel chains have presence in the city.
Baku boasts many popular tourist and entertainment spots, such as the downtown Fountains Square, the One and Thousand Nights Beach, Shikhov Beach and Oil Rocks. Baku's vicinities feature Yanar Dag, an ever-blazing spot of natural gas.
On the 2nd of September 2010, with the innauguration of National Flag Square, Baku became home to world's tallest flagpole, included to the Guinness Book of Records.
Baku has a semi-arid climate with hot and dry summers and cold and occasionally wet winters and strong winds all year long. However, unlike many other cities with this climate, Baku does not see extremely hot summers. This is basically due to its northerly latitude and the fact that it is located on a peninsula on the shore of the Caspian Sea.
A curious fact about Baku is that its average year-round temperature (14.2 Centigrade) matches the average temperature of the entire landmass of the earth to within a tenth of degree. Summers are hot and humid, winters cool, wet and breezy.
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