We started our day with a nice breakfast (or rather brunch) in Cafe City, which was located just outside of Old Town gates next to the Fountains Square. We didn’t really like the breakfast at our hotel, so Cafe City’s shaded terrace lured us to try their menu and we liked it a lot. The only downside was the unbelievably slow service despite having many servers.
For this day we didn’t have any concrete plans, so after brunch we started to walk into opposite direction than the day before. The Baku Boulevard does stretch for over 20km, so there is plenty of space for walking, but as I mentioned earlier, unfortunately it doesn’t offer much shade.
After a while we stumbled upon a mall and went there just for the sake of cooling off. After that we ordered a taxi via Taxify and headed towards Heydar Aliyev Center, the gorgeous building designed by Zaha Hadid. We were told that the building is supposed to look like the signature of Heydar Aliev, who was the third president of Azerbaijan and is considered either a dictator or a father of a nation, depending on whom you ask. Considering that he was succeeded by his son Ilham, I guess that nobody would describe Azerbaijan as a democracy.
The building itself is amazing and the park around it is grand. There were plenty of people taking photos at “I ♡ Baku” sign, but otherwise the area was quiet.
We had some issues finding the entrance as the ticket purchasing point was at one end of the building and the security control and entrance at the other side.
Inside it was somewhat of a maze without any good directions, but at least it was chilly. 🙂 There was a photo exhibition, sculptures by Jorge Marin, exhibition on Azeri culture such as dress and musical instruments, and a floor dedicated to the life and achievements of Heydar Aliyev. The best part of the experience is still the building and its aesthetics, which are one of a kind.
It was all very well done, but a bit of a quilt of everything and somewhat soulless and sterile. There was also a doll exhibition, which was really cool and a miniature building exhibition of famous Azeri buildings, which was quite interesting.
For some reason we were really tired, so we decided to go back to our hotel to relax and then went to a restaurant in the evening. Restaurant Sumakh was probably the best restaurant during our visit. We had some initial miscommunication with the staff as they thought that we were with the festival, which took place in Baku at the same time, but when everything was clarified, we got to order and got the best food and service in Baku. We really enjoyed our evening, but once again, we were so full that it was completely impossible to try any dessert.