Sightseeing, Art & Culture
Duration: 9 hours
As the cultural center of Azerbaijan, Baku is home to a number of state history and art museums that preserve the country’s national culture and identity. The city also has a number of museums you won’t find anywhere else. Take our tour to learn about the fascinating history and achievements of Azerbaijan and see some unique exhibits.
Museum of Miniature Books
In the old city of Baku, Azerbaijan, resides the only museum in the world dedicated to miniature editions of books. The tiny library of books in the museum is the result of the private collection of Zarifa Salahova, and has been amassed over the period of more than 30 years. In 2002, when she opened the museum, she finally shared her collection with the public. A large portion of the books also stem from the donation of a Ukrainian collector, who presented his petite books to Salahova in 2001.The museum has several thousands of the fairy-sized books, including miniature editions of works of Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Gogol, and Chukovsky. The books originate from around the world, and are written in numerous languages, including Azeri, Russian, English, and German. The oldest book in the museum is a miniature copy of the Quran, dating to the 17th century, while the smallest tome (6mm x 9mm) is the Russian book “The Most Miraculous Thing,” which can only be read by using a magnifying glass.
Azerbaijan State Museum of History
Azerbaijan State Museum of History is the largest museum of Azerbaijan, located in Baku, in the former mansion of Azerbaijani oil magnate and philanthropist Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev. It was founded in 1920. The building of the Museum was built in 1893-1902. The Italian Renaissance-style mansion is immense and takes up an entire city block. There are four floors in some parts of the building. It was designed by Polish architect Józef Gosławski. On the second floor of Taghiyev's residence, side by side there are two major ballrooms. One is based on Oriental designs (Mauritanian) style and the other, on Occidental design. The Oriental Room has enormous plate glass windows, gilded arches, highly ornamental walls, ceilings and chandeliers. The lines in the Occidental Room are more perpendicular to each other – rectangular.
House Museum of Nobel brothers (Villa Petrolia)
Constructed in 1884, Villa Petrolea was a residence for Nobel brothers for almost 40 years. In 1879 they established the Brothers Nobel Oil Company – “Branobel”, which very soon became one of the biggest oil companies in the world and the only vertically integrated. Despite the common belief Alfred Nobel together with his elder brothers Ludwig and Robert was the initiator and one of the major shareholders of “Branobel”. But of course the “father” of the company was Ludwig Nobel who made significant contribution to the development of oil industry in Azerbaijan, to its economic, scientific and cultural rise at the end of XIX century. He was generally regarded as a true oil king of that time. Ludwig Nobel built first oil tanker, oil pipeline and storage reservoirs. Ludwig Nobel and then his son Emmanuel, who skillfully managed the “Branobel” till 1920, when Bolshevik Red Army invaded in Baku and nationalized the oil industry, considered Baku (Villa Petrolea) as their second home. They created a real oasis, a beautiful park in the famous “Black City” of Baku, with trees and flowers from Italy and France. Their architects, invited from Europe, constructed the modern Village Petrolea with houses for top managers, schools, theatre and hospitals, etc. But the central point was the brother Nobel family house – Villa Petrolea, which was completely reconstructed and restored in 2007 by Baku Nobel Heritage Fund (BNHF), a non-profit private organization.
Program of the tour
10:00 - Start of the day, heading to various museums in the city of Baku - Visit to Museum of Miniature Books in Old City
11:30 - Tower temple VII BC. and XII centuries - (Hungar Gala, Maiden Tower) with an exposition of the local Historical Museum
13:30 - Lunch at one of the local restaurants in Old City: Our guide will gladly recommend you typical ethnic cuisine at reasonable prices
15:00 - Azerbaijan State Museum of History
16:30 - House Museum of Nobel brothers (Villa Petrolia)
18:30 - Back to hotel