Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower, Azerbaijan

An open sky museum, built as an amphitheatre in a 22 ha-area

By UNESCO World Heritage

Location (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

Rising from the south shore of the Apsheron Peninsular at the western edge of the Caspian Sea, the Walled City of Baku was founded on a site inhabited since the Palaeolithic period. The city reveals, along with the dominant Azerbaijani element, evidence of Zoroastrian, Sassanian, Arabic, Persian, Shirvani, Ottoman, and Russian presence in cultural continuity.

The Inner Walled City (Icheri Sheher) (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

The Walled City of Baku, also known as Icherisheher (Inner City or Old Town) is the historical centre of ancient Baku, which was the capital city of the medieval Azerbaijani state of Shirvanshahs. 

Streets (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

The splendour of Icherisheher (Walled City of Baku) is a reflection of the mixture of its unique architectural monuments and the spatial urban planning with its original street views.

Labyrinth (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

The Old City of Baku is home to a labyrinth of cobbled streets populated by a few thousand residents, plus shops, restaurants, museums and monuments. 

One of the few surviving medieval towns in Azerbaijan (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

The narrow streets are lined with houses dating from the late 18th century onwards, but also contain earlier monuments, mostly concentrated in the lower, seaward, site of the town. 

Walls (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

The walls of the old town, which still survive on the western and northern sides, were built by Menutsshochr Shah in the 12th century and were repaired in the 19th century. 

Maiden Tower (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

Icherisheher has preserved much of its defensive walls, which define the character of the property. The most ancient monument of Icherisheher is the Maiden Tower – symbol of the city of Baku. Some evidence suggests that the construction of the Tower might have been as early as the 7th-6th centuries BC. 

Structure (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

Located in the south-east part of Icherisheher, the Maiden Tower is an astonishing cylindrical structure, rising to eight storeys and 29.5m high, with a diameter of 16.5m. The walls are 5m thick at the base and 3.2-4m at the top. 

The tower’s interior consists of eight floors, each of them covered with an arched ceiling made of cut stone. The middle part of the stone ceilings contains vertical round holes, through which the other floors can be seen.

Walled City of Baku with Maiden Tower (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

According to some historians, the Maiden Tower was built during two distinct periods. They believe the lower part of the tower was built around the 7th and 8th centuries BC, while the upper part, which is covered by a stone belt, relates to the Sassanid period 
due to the similarity between its architecture and that of Chiraq Qala near Devechi.

The Shirvanshahs’ Palace (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

Another monument of universal value, one of the pearls of Azerbaijan's architecture is the 12th- to 15th-century Shirvanshahs' Palace, located at the highest point of Icherisheher.

Outstanding Universal Value (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

Within the Palace complex are the Divankhana (reception hall) or, as some researchers believe, the Tomb of Shah, the residential building of Shirvanshahs, the remains of Key-Kubad Mosque, the Tomb of Seyid Yahya Bakuvi, Murad’s Gate (the only monument of the 16th century), the Tomb of Shirvanshahs’ Family, the Shah Mosque and the Palace bath-house.

Caravanserais (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

There are also numerous historical-architectural monuments of the medieval period such as caravanserais, hamams (bath-houses), mosques and residential buildings of the 18th to 20th centuries located within the property.

World Heritage inscription (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

The site Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000 under Criterion (iv).

Palace Complex (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

Criterion (iv): The Walled City of Baku represents an outstanding and rare example of an historic urban ensemble and architecture with influence from Zoroastrian, Sassanian, Arabic, Persian, Shirvani, Ottoman, and Russian cultures.

Arched religious and architectural complex (Market Square) (2000) by Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden TowerUNESCO World Heritage

The magnificence of Icherisheher lies in the combination of its distinct architectural monuments and its historically composed architectural spatial planning with original street views, which have merged into a single entity to reflect its long history and the melding of cultures that have influenced its development over the past nine centuries. 

Icherisheher is still a living, vibrant city with residential areas housing local communities.

Credits: Story

This exhibit was created by Azerbaijan Tourism Board: https://azerbaijan.travel/

More on the Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower
 and World Heritage: whc.unesco.org/en/list/958/

Photos: Azerbaijan Travel

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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