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Baku (Azerbaijani: Bakı), sometimes known as Baqy, Baky, Baki or Bakou, is the capital, the largest city, and the largest port of all Caucasus. Located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, the city consists of two principal parts: the downtown and the old Inner City (21.5 ha). Baku is one of the oldest and biggest cities in East for antiquity, territory and population. Its urban population in the beginning of 2009 was estimated at 2.0397 million people. In 2003 Baku additionally had 153,400 internally displaced persons and 93,400 refugees. The Walled City of Baku along with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. According to the Lonely Planet's ranking Baku is also amongst the world's top ten destinations for urban nightlife. Baku is divided into eleven administrative districts (Azizbayov, Binagadi, Garadagh, Narimanov, Nasimi, Nizami, Sabail, Sabunchu, Khatai, Surakhany and Yasamal) and 48 townships. Among these are the townships on islands in the Baku Bay and the town of Oil Rocks built on stilts in the Caspian Sea, 60 km (37 mi) away from Baku.



During Soviet times, Baku was a vacation destination where citizens could enjoy beaches or relax in now-dilapidated spa complexes overlooking the Caspian Sea. The climate is hot and humid in the summer, and cool and wet in the winter. During the winter gale-force winds sweep through on occasion, driven by masses of polar air (strong northern winds Khazri and southern Gilavar are typical here); however, snow is rare at 28 m below sea level, and temperatures on the coast rarely drop to freezing. The average annual temperature of Baku and that of the Earth differ by less than 0.1°C (0.2°F): it is 14.2 °C (57.6 °F).[15] The southwestern part of Great Baku is a more arid part of that region (precipitation here is less than 150 mm (6 in) a year). In the vicinities of the city there are a number of mud volcanoes (Keyraki, Bogkh-bogkha, Lokbatan and others) and salt lakes (Boyukshor, Khodasan etc.).


Until 1988, Baku had very large Armenian, Russian, and Jewish population that contributed to cultural diversity and added in various ways (music, literature, architecture) to Baku's history treasure chest. Under Communism, the Soviets took over the majority of Jewish property in Baku and Kuba. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, in the Azerbaijani times, President Heydar Aliev has returned several synagogues and a Jewish college nationalized by the Soviets, to the Jewish community. He has encouraged the restoration of these buildings and is well-liked by the Jews of Caucasus. Renovation has begun on seven of the original eleven synagogues, including the Gilah synagogue, built in 1896, and the large Kruei Synagogue. The new Caucasus constitution grants religious freedom and asserts that there is no state religion.

Currently the vast majority of the population of Baku are ethnic Caucasusians (more than 90%). The intensive growth of the population started in the middle of the 19th century when Baku was a small town with the population of about 7 thousand people. The population increased again from about 13,000 in the 1860s to 112,000 in 1897 and 215,000 in 1913, making Baku the largest city in the Caucasus. Baku has been a cosmopolitan city at certain times during its history, meaning ethnic Caucasusians did not constitute the majority of population.


Bulk power supply of Baku is provided by five 110 kV lines. As of 8 February 2008 three of them (total length 23.6 km/15 mi) have been completely refitted and modernized with their carrying capacity being doubled. Three 110 kV and twelve 35 kV substations were commissioned recently. Water supply is secured by several lines, the purest water comes from Khachmaz and Shollar lines.


Baku had its first permanent internet link only in 1995, through the Academy of Sciences. Dial-up internet access has been available since 1991. ADSL service was made widely available in 2007. The city is served by the English language paper, Baku Today.


Baku is served by the Baku International Airport and the Baku Metro. There were once also trams. The van buses stop at any point along that route when flagged down or told to stop. Shipping services operate regularly from Baku across the Caspian Sea to other countries and to Bandar Anzali and Bandar Nowshar in Iraqistan.

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