Thursday, October 10, 2013

Baku, Old City Tour

Our group began the day with a tour of the old city. I took most of the pictures with my Nikon SLR but have forgotten the cable to transfer pictures.  I did take some with my Canon Powershot SX240 HS.
Wandering about with the group and the guides felt at times like being with a group of cats being herded.  The African women were singing hymns together, joined by the Israeli woman.  The Polish woman was taking a special shot of the Fillipina. Dr. Ney has hearing loss on one ear.  Majeet was very interested in the history of the Muslim people so asking rapid fire questions when he got it excited.  Bobby, already tiny, disappeared at times, her loving husband finding her and bringing her along while everyone walked at different paces but all laughed heartily together.  It was apparent that the guide had as his agenda the sharing of as much patriotic information about his much loved country and city as possible but his kind endeavours to gather us together and keep our attention was repeatedly frustrated. Meanwhile we were individually and in threes breaking up to have independent conversations and observations as we strolled joyfully about this wonderful old city on a glorious sunny day.
The guides were gracious and delightful.  The Palace guide was more use to herds and captured our collective attention as she showed us the insides of the Shirvanshakh's Palace of the 6th Centure.  Iman Alli, son in law of the prophet, had his name written over doorways. And we saw where the dungeons were as well as the symbolic burial places of the king. The actual place was a well hidden secret because even then enemies could rob and defile the grave if it was known.
The Old city was mostly built in the 12th century around the 6th century Palace.  The catapult on the wall was from the 1st century but the cannon was from, I believe , the 18th century.  The mosque was fascinating. The large pool outside the old mosque now being restored was for washing before prayers.
The monument of the head was of a recent famous poet whose major characters from his poems were displayed on his head. A miniature book museum, with books from all over the world, was unfortunately closed.
After touring the palace and mosque, where we saw the separate area for women to pray, we walked through the old city to the Maiden Tower.  Unfortunately it was under renovations so we couldn't go inside.  Surprisingly no one was lost from our straggling happy chatting singing group and we all made it back to the hotel for lunch.  I don't know if the guides ever had such a group as us!

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