Category Archives: Baku

Stray Strategies

Had another story go up on EurasiaNet.org, so here’s a few photos that didn’t make the cut there.

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Meykhana

Azerbaijan has always been located between cultural traditions, absorbing words and ideas from the vast empires that have surrounded it. So it is fitting that the only thing everyone agrees about today’s meykhana – a form of poetic improvisation – … Continue reading

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Flower Day, Aliyev Style

On May 10 Heydar Aliyev, the former president and current billboard favorite in Azerbaijan, would have turned 88 years old. So naturally, the government pulled out all the stops. Like last year, thousands of flowers from 50 countries literally covered the park between the Heydar Aliyev Palace and the statue of Heydar Aliyev as two hot air balloons were inflated in front of the giant flower mosaic of Heydar Aliyev, ensuring that his unmistakable Kremlin-Mona-Lisa smile would soar above the city already covered by his portraits. Continue reading

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Too strong or too weak?

That’s the question facing anyone covering today’s protests in Baku. Is the opposition too weak or is the ruling YAP party too strong?
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The Tank Cemetery

Heading southwest out of Baku you can expect a few sights worth noting, but the good stuff is hidden behind the walls of Azerbaijan Methane Company. There are other stops worth pointing out on the road to Gobustan, but my … Continue reading

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Azerbaijan Redux

I’m back in Azerbaijan. The balcony floorboards are rotted, the water heater is broken and there’re protests every few weeks. Continue reading

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Election reflections

The storefronts and billboards throughout Baku are still covered in election posters, but a brief conversation with the stores’ owner reveals the cynicism of the recent elections here. In most cases, the owner did not support or oppose the candidate, did not know who put up the poster inside his shop and didn’t remove it because, in the words of one woman, “Why would I do a stupid thing like that?” Continue reading

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Baku

Baku is hot in the summer, windy by the water and surrounded on all sides by Azerbaijan. On one side is the rest of the country, with its towns and villages, its sacks of tea leaves and vans loaded to the roof with watermelons. On the other is the Caspian Sea, full of oil, gas, and foreigner experts, with BP’s floating oil city and a rumored, “secret” island for rolling dice and God knows what. Continue reading

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The Burning Hillside

As the summer heat begins to exhaust itself, it is easier to take stock of Baku and Azerbaijan in general. The idea of day trips actually becomes appealing, so I was happy to check things off my sightseeing list when some of our Polish guests suggested a trip to Yanar Daĝ, “the burning hillside.”
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Bards vs. Boulevards

I met Oleg my first week in Baku while roaming around the central shopping district taking photos. The entire area is under construction, with the sidewalks being transformed from potholes to fresh concrete or from perfectly good concrete to tile, and … Continue reading

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