Come burrow with me!
I’m back to the topic of BBC’s Race Across the World: the second checkpoint in the show was Baku, so I thought I’d show you around that wonderful city, and let you burrow into a more detailed view of the place. (See here for first checkpoint.)
The contestants’ first point of call on arrival in Baku, was the Heydar Aliyev Centre. This is one of Zaha Hadid’s curvy designs, a building that I adore, especially in good light, as it creates fascinating reflections and shadows. They arrived in the evening, though, and oh was I jealous. It looked terrific at night, so now I must return.
While I save up my pennies, though, let me show you what it looks like during the day. Let’s get burrowing!
The centre opened in 2012, and was named after Heydar Aliyev, the first secretary of Soviet Azerbaijan from 1969 to 1982, and president of the Azerbaijan Republic from October 1993 to October 2003.
After this exciting modern introduction to Baku, let’s head into the centre and check out the old town and the must-not-miss Maiden Tower. Too far to walk, so it’s metro or taxi for us.
We can also find reminders of Azerbaijan’s Soviet days. In fact, just speak to the locals and you’ll find that many of them still happily converse in Russian.
Wherever you wander, it’s hard to avoid the modern, but I very much enjoyed that combination of old and new. The curvaceous Flame Towers are found lurking around every corner, and on every skyline.
Ok, enough peeping at them from down here. Let’s jump on the funicular and take the lazy route to the higher level of the city.
As it happens, in the tv show, the funicular broke down the day before the competitors arrived. The final checkpoint had been set as the hotel that is located inside one of the flames. As a result, they all ended up clambering (with all the speed they could muster) the long flights of stairs to get there.
And this is where the episode ended, and I’ll leave you here to enjoy the views back down.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 18 March 2019
Posted as part of Jo’s Monday Walks