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My contribution to the BLUE week... :)

Baku (Azerbaijani: Bakı) is the capital, the largest city, and the largest port of Azerbaijan. The name Baku is widely believed to be derived from the old Persian names of the city Bad-kube, meaning "Wind-pounded [city]", or Baghkuh, meaning "Mount of God". The city of around 2 mln inhabitants is located on the southern shore of the oil-soaked Absheron Peninsula, and lies on the slopes of an amphitheatre surrounding the curved bay. The city consists of two principal parts: the downtown and the old Inner City, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Since 1873 an oil belt of Baku began to be formed and by the beginning of the 20th century almost half of the oil reserves in the world had been extracted in Baku. Although the oil production, at least compared to the other world regions, has declined since then, the economy of Azerbaijan largely depends on oil, and lots of money still are being invested in the country, at least judging by the huge, and sometimes quite unesthetic, building boom that Baku has been undergoing in the last years. The skyline of the city is constantly changing: indeed, when I first visited Baku 4 years ago, it was completely different, now the old buildings almost cannot be seen behind the myriad of high-rise towers. Many of the latter are being built without any observation of international building standards, and indeed, one of the newly-built towers collapsed during our stay in Baku in the end of August this year. Luckily, it wasn't inhabited yet, but still, some of the construction workers have died under the rubble...

I have made this shot in the evening from the best observation point existing in the city. From here one can see the vast panorama of the bay, punctuated by several piers. The one brigtly lit on the right belongs to the Baku Yacht Club, but is presently being used mainly for weddings (the arrangement of weddings is the business number 1 in Baku these days; judging by the number of chique "wedding-palaces" lately built, it even beats the oil production...:)

Long exposure and unstable wind explain the motion blur on the illuminated Azeri flag in the middle of the frame.

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Additional Photos by Alexander Pasternak (pasternak) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1341 W: 179 N: 3373] (15185)
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