33 Are You Sure It Is Not France?

Are You Sure It Is Not France?

Posted on November 21, 2011 by

The Baku of today is a combination of Southern France and American Orlando. It has a lot of parks, sculptures, beautiful building fronts, smiling people, an endless embarkment with numerous little cafes, and a well-grommed historical center.

In 1994, they signed a contract, according to which 80% of the net profit from oil extraction in Azerbaijan, goes to the country. Moreover, foreign oil companies invested into Azerbaijan over 11.5 billion US dollars.

Since then, the country has been experiencing a construction and economic boom.

Old oil pumps still remain in the city.

Nowadays, Baku is a modern megacity with five-star hotels and London cabs as taxi.

Azerbaijan is called ‘the country of fire’. The point is that oil and gas here are located very close to the surface, so sometimes you can see fires shooting up from the ground. They even built several temples here for those who worship fire.

These are three tallest buildings of the city symbolizing fire. They’re almost completed.

They can be seen from almost any part of the city.

This embankment is pleasant to walk along.

The former Mayor of the city saw something like this in Italy and decided to make the same in Baku.


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33 Responses to “Are You Sure It Is Not France?”

  1. nazir says:

    Very interesting facts and evenly beautiful photography.I love all it.Thanks.

  2. Hirsh says:

    haha what was ER just saying in their pro Russian propaganda story about the GDP of former Soviet republics, and quality of life not being so good anymore? :) :) :)

    “So, as far as you can see, none of the republics has managed to improve quality of life greatly, after it got rid of the ‘oppressor’. Baltic countries, as members of the European Union, did not achieve overwhelming superiority over Russia. Moreover, many of the republics found themselves in a poor economis situation, and today their people have to go to Russia as guest workers. Statistical data (for 2010) is provided by IMF.”

    • geoff says:

      Hirsh have you found any old black and white photos of your city, so you can do a modern comparison type photo. Today I came across several nice old pics of my town. Like you said some inexpensive and interesting fun. :) Hmm now to borrow my daughters wizz bang camera.

    • ayaa says:

      Whats your point?

      • geoff says:

        Ayaa. Hirsh was going to make photos of his home town with an old photo in front like has been done on ER before. Today I found some lovely 100 year old pictures of my town and thought I would do the same thing.

        I am sorry. My comment has nothing to do with the beautiful scenery of Baku.

      • geoff says:

        ayaa I just realized you would not have been asking me what is my point, you were asking Hirsh…….One of these days I will work out how the site works.

      • Hirsh says:

        What’s my point? Unpopular! lol

        My point is that english russia’s propaganda that places like this are worse off or have stagnated since the breakup of the soviet union is wrong. USSR never did much for this place and now they are doing better then ever, even if it is an oil and gas economy. Under the ussr i doubt 80% of the profit would remain in the republic, or that the central government of the ussr would have reinvested that much of it back into the republic.

    • historian says:

      They are living from oil and gas, not much industry like in russia.

      • Archy Bunka says:

        The Russian economy, is completely dependent on the price of oil.
        What exactly does Russia export? Ninety percent of exports are raw materials. Russia does export a significant amount of steel and metal, that some other country (notably, Germany and China) manufacturers into a finished product and exports.
        To me that was a silly posting. Why? Because of the very narrow interpretation of one statistic. GDP, does not necessarily translate into a higher quality of life. Furthermore, statistics in general can be manipulated and interpreted into any social point you wish to make. The USSR, spent much of its history trying to justify its existence to the world. How do you do that? Look good on paper…

      • SMERSH says:

        So what if they are profiting from oil and gas? So long as the country is flourishing, isn’t it a good thing?
        My only question would be whether or not the profits benefit society at large, or just a handful. Otherwise there is no shame in prospering from mineral wealth and I would speculate that this nation is certainly better off now than it was under the USSR.

        • Archy Bunka says:

          Not at all you are correct. Except that the Russian economy is overly dependent on the price of oil, in fact, it’s the difference between a flourishing economy, and recession.
          In Alaska, Norway, and Sweden, every citizen is cut a check every year for the minerals and oil that are produced from government owned land. Alaska, is the only state of the union to be so generous. I believe all countries, states, territories, etc, should do this. Share the wealth.

          • ayaa says:

            What years statistics are you looking at? 1998? The percentage of oil and gas for Russian exports is 50-60%, followed by metal, and agricultural products.

            You might want to replace the word Russian economy with the Russian government in your two statements. Then they will be true.

        • Hirsh says:

          I agree! I do wonder who benefits the most from the wealth though…

  3. ayaa says:

    Beautiful city.

  4. historian says:

    I should travel again to Baku. It changed so much.

  5. Pedro says:

    looks great. makes me want to visit it. but still, it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world

  6. Zonda says:

    Impressive evolution of this city. Look very nice and very european.

  7. yutou says:

    Baku is very beautiful :) Will try to visit during eurovision, it should be spectacular.

  8. yojimbo says:

    Orlando Florida(I assume they referring to it “American Orlando”) looks nothing like this city there are only a handful of skyscrapers in Orlando.It is really nothing more than a tourist industry focused city.Nothing much else there honestly I really dislike Orlando I live about 2 hours away and I pretty much avoid going there.

    And the one picture that says “image of Orlando” I have no idea what that might be referring to.

    Also I spent some time in Europe with the military Baku does not really look like Paris or any western European city.Besides you do not want to pride yourself on looking like Orlando,FL or Paris,Fr.If you want look like any city let it be Luxembourg that is the cleanest city I have ever visited everything looked nice and clean and no trash on ground a sign that the people living there have pride.

    Baku looks ok but I have the feeling that many backs are being stood upon.

  9. Bogdanov says:

    Just a banana republic; a one-industry backwater. When the oil is gone this glitzy place will look like the rust belt. Without Russian technology and people it won’t last a long time.

  10. Those three buildings – The design is not good.

  11. (r)evolutionist says:

    Another little country with a big flag?? More freudian feelings revealed…

  12. Matlok says:

    I would like to go there and try out the cafe scene.

  13. Mr. Fox says:

    OMG! little saudi or europe in azerbaijan.

  14. mukmika says:

    Apart from the high buildings, ti’s a beautiful place. Is Azerbaijan in Europe? Nice post, by the way.

  15. gani says:

    It would be good to remember it is not Russia but Azerbaijan. Calling it Russia is like calling Ireland – Grate Britain

  16. Reality says:

    This is ridiculous. Azerbaijan has some very nice places but to say it compares to France is insane. I spent 3 months living in this country, and the income disparity between the government officials, SOCAR employees, and BP employees and other foreign nations is insane.

    Many of the residential buildings are completely empty because the population can’t afford to rent them. The government is terribly corrupt, and everything is run on bribes. Not to mention they recently made the news in BBC for oppressing free speech.

    Azerbaijan on the surface has come along way, but underneath the glitter tourists encounter on the boulevard it is extremelly corrupt and a hard place to live for the people that actually live there, many on less than 300 manat per month.

  17. dracu says:

    as an expat living and working in Baku for few years, I can tell you that Azerbaijan is doing extremely well without the russian technology and people. much better then WITH them, to be honest.
    p.s. just curious, does “russian technology” include tanks and “russian people” soldiers?
    in this case, the answer is “He__l YES! A LOT BETTER!”

  18. ar says:

    azrbigan baku in europ north iran near caspian sea and azrbigan and armenia europian coutry

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