Baku offers lots of entertainment although it might be that the appreciation of some of them requires a rather particular taste.
Blackouts happen approximately once a month but more often in winter. This is probably because of the New Year decorations- something like a hundred trees wrapped in little lights all over the city. The trees are ‘turned on’ at around 6 P.M. and this is when half of Baku (I may exaggerate here) suddenly has the electricity cut.
- THE BLACKOUT
The security kit consists of candles and matches but for blackouts of more than two hours you may add: guitar and the forgotten New Year’s French Champagne.
Baku has a very active Jazz scene with two big clubs and a festival once a year. The one we go to has a different group playing every day (saxophone: Mondays, piano: every day J). The pleasure is unfortunately quite expensive ( 5 Manats) per person but the atmosphere is just great.
- ELITE CLUB FUN CENTRE
Well, the decor isn’t most stylish but you can have some serious fun bowling, skating, playing snooker or becoming a virtual ski-jumper. However, this isn’t the cheapest places either (bowling 3,5 Manats per person per round). Food in the Club’s café not recommended.
Yes, there are many theatres in Baku but it’s little fun if you don’t understand anything or very little. We went to see Ali and Nino, a play based on a very famous book in Azerbaijan telling a love story between a Georgian girl (Nino) and an Azeri boy (Ali) in the context of Soviet occupation of the Azerbaijani territory with national and religious dilemmas included. The play would be OK had we brought sandwiches (it was three hours long and we were starving through the whole second act)
Movies are in Russian, dubbed, so it’s already better than if they were in Azeri, in a very modern, air-conditioned, surround sound system cinema. Pretty expensive though (6 Manats till 6 PM and 8 afterwards). But James Bond in Russian is the funniest movie I ever saw (Mienia zawod Bond. James Bond said the Jelcyn-like voice)!
Tea is the cheapest and most social pleasures of all. Everyone does it, no misunderstandings, no gender segregation, no staring and NO for the sugar covered flashy green jelly they propose with it.
The old city hammam is a great place to relax, have your body scrubbed, massaged, sweat, walk around naked with a green/yellow/brown masque on your face and nobody will give a… penny. It’s relatively cheap (long, painful massage is 4 Manats, scrub is the same but you can do it yourself as good). Women Monday and Friday only, men- the rest of the week. No shared facilities L and, naturally, no pictures available.
- THE KAPPELHOUSE
Kappelhouse is the German Culture Centre next to the German Church and it hosts free concerts almost every week. Last two weeks were consecrated to performances by students from the Baku conservatory. They play very well, but have a taste for Bach L However, I could also listen to Chopin and two of my favourite pieces of Schubert. Anyway, this is my favourite and it’s free!
Novruz or No Ruz, (‘new day’ in Persian) or New Year as the Iranians and Azerbaijani call it, is a celebration of spring Equinox. It has been celebrated by all the major cultures of ancient Mesopotamia: Sumerians, 3000BC, Babylonians 2000 BC, the ancient kingdom of Elam in Southern Persia 2000BC, Akaddians all have been celebrating it in one form or another. It’s an equivalent of the Christian Easter, both issuing from the pagan celebrations of new life and of the yearly circle when nature regains its fertility. The principle symbols are brightly painted eggs and fresh grass.
I join some evidence of Spring in Baku- pictures taken in the heart of the city- the Fountain Square.
And something for those complaining there is not enough ME on the blog pictures:
For more spring check out the 'Seven climbing Besh Barmaq' gallery
And this is how they celebrate Novruz in Kazakhstan:
sobota, 29 kwietnia 2017
number of visits: 48 668
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