“Baku reaching new height” by Anastasia Shymcenco

Welcome to Azerbaijan with its capital- BAKU! One of the most exciting and cutting-edge urban transformations in the world. This country is located at the crisscross of the Europe, Asia and the Middle East, truly demonstrating the integrity of this three parts of the world.

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This unrepeatable place is reintroducing itself to the world, while UNESCO is struggling to bring this heritage to the world and the buildings of the future are built. This is Baku – REACHING NEW HEIGHT.

 

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Looking at modern architecture of Baku, Azerbaijan, I start to think that soon this city will have one of the most futuristic looks on the planet. Even ten years ago it was impossible to predict how the city image will change over the time. Some of the projects are already completed, some are still under construction they are plenty of proposals.

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I am not going to tell you about all of these places one by one, but still I want to describe the atmosphere and the feelings that this place has woken up in all of the corners of my soul. As a student, always willing to travel and escape from the routine, I have found Baku one of the most astonishing places to be and to live the moment. While walking all around and visiting the touristic attractions I totally fell in love with the oriental notes combining with occidental tendencies that all together form what we call now – BAKU!

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Although the most surprising for me was feeling the big gap between my own country- Moldova and Azerbaijan, that both had to overcome the times of getting from soviet to modern times. I feel the results and the struggles of these people to improve and to live better are so different from ours and it could look a real example that everything is possible, only the willing and a bit of effort are necessary.

I still have to discover a lot about this amazing land and feel that it still has a lot of surprises hidden for me, hope only the best ones 🙂

Anastasia Shymcenco,  Moldova

“The big railway journey” by Albert Kolodziejczyk

I’m going to write about a trip we took from Baku to Seki. This is the think which for sure I will not forget.

 

But first things first, I have to admit that trains are one of my hobby, and I used to spend a lot of time following the news form around the world about new models or new infrastructure. That’s why I was looking forward to see how does the railway transportation looks like in Azerbaijan.

We ware about to go to Seki, which is more less 300 km on the west from Baku. After whole day of visiting the city, we met at 28 may metro station, from where we went to situated very near, main railway station.

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Old Baku railway station

First thing which surprised me on the station, was the fact that to enter to a train it was needed to show passport, it was the very first difference between what I was used to while traveling by train in Europe. The trip was going to take 9 hours, we entered around 10 pm, so we were about to spend the whole night in there.

It was my first time using couchette train, I used to travel by trains a lot, but never on such long distance by night. Anyway, I had no idea what should I expect. I’ve entered a train, which was divided into little rooms with no door so there was no way separate. In each “room” ware 6 bunks, two ware parallel to the train direction and situated on the right side of corridor, one above another, so to get to the high one you needed to climb. On the left side were four bunks, two at the bottom was used as a couch during a day and another two was above them.

As a 1.90-meter guy I felt in the train a bit claustrophobic, I was sure that I’m not going to suit in tiny and too short bunk and in my opinion in this train was to many people, But the biggest fear was the heat, the windows couldn’t be open. Fortunately, the air condition started working as soon the train stared.

When only we left the wind city the view outside of the winnow had changed a lot, we left beside us all skyscrapers and old sandstone buildings and for the first time we’ve seen oil field.

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 oil field near Baku (photo taken when returning from Seki)

According to our tradition we started train party. Another thinks which surprised me a lot was that the train was making cigarettes breaks. Sometimes it was on the stations where I could wend out and enjoy the fresh air for a few minutes, but sometimes it was in the middle od nowhere, where just the doors were open and I we had a half a minute to finish the cigarettes. I have never experience something like that in Europe. Around 1 am we felt asleep. When we woke up it was 6 am and the landscape was totally different. For the first time in my life I’ve seen Caucasus mountains.

 

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mountains seen from train widow near Seki (by Panita Bunyasiri)

After an hour we finally reached the destination point.

 

After all a survived my first couchette trip, I managed to fit in a bit to short bed, and seen breath-taking pictures of Azerbaijani steppes and mountains. I have to say that when I entered a train I was very suspicious about how am I going to make it, but after all, I find this experience very interesting.

Albert Kolodziejczyk, Poland