The Magic Highway Ride in Baku, Azerbaijan

As soon as we started our ride from the airport into downtown late at night, we noticed it. Each fence or rock wall and each building contributed to the beautiful and dazzling colorful magic show that consumed our attention all the way into Baku, Azerbaijan.DSC_0967

We were just amazed at the outstanding presentation by almost every building and rock wall that was dressed up in lights like no other. And the lights were not all ordinary lights. Others glowed in neon lights and all colors of the rainbow and the colors of the flag of Azerbaijan, red, blue and green.DSC_0174

DSC_0180DSC_0126 (2)Each fence or rock wall was a custom design, different pattern and illuminated, making the highway look like a continuous ribbon of light instead of being illuminated in spots. The 10-foot-tall fences were constructed of concrete and rocks or bricks.

multi-color Olympic Stadium
Photo compliments of our guide, Ramin.

Then we noticed the buildings. The first one we saw was the OLYMPIC STADIUM. That round stadium was all glorious BLUE neon lights when we passed it upon arrival in Baku. It was gorgeous. And then we learned the stadium has a different color every night and some nights it is multi-colored. DSC_0134

The FLAME SCULPTURE was next, with beautiful landscaping around the sculpture that put on a light show that looked like it was burning.DSC_0126DSC_0125

Next was the GYMNASTICS STADIUM with neon lights swirling around that round stadium.  And neon figures danced on the façade doing their gymnastic ribbon performance.DSC_0955

Then, we saw THE one-of-a-kind GAS STATION that was dripping and dazzling in NEON lights. We couldn’t figure out what the building was so we asked our guide, Ramin, of GEO Travel, and he said it was the GAS STATION owned by the government. It was outstanding. DSC_0937

When we drove by this same gas station during the daylight hours, it didn’t look anything like it did at night. But it had one thing we did not see at night in those lights. It was the formal flower garden full of perfect blooming flowers planted like the formal gardens of the palaces in Europe. It was unbelievable and awesome.DSC_0022

Next was the HEYDAR ALIYEV CULTURAL CENTER (named for the President’s father who was the former President) that looked like a whale with a circular roof. And it was illuminated in magic lights with illuminated yellow rabbit and red snail sculptures out front in the gigantic plaza. DSC_0028

Close to this Center and its Plaza was the TRUMP TOWER, resembling a sail and it put on its own non-stop dazzling light show with letters crawling on the building, neon lights dancing on and off and around and frequently changing different colors.DSC_0002

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Photo by June Landrum
Even the Hilton Hotel was dazzling in a multi-colored neon light show that featured the flag of Azerbaijan.

The highlight of Baku was the FLAME Towers, which are 3 buildings side by side resembling flames, even though they are not on the magic highway from airport to downtown. But it is the dominant centerpiece in the Baku skyline and makes a grand finale statement.DSC_0077DSC_0096

These towers represent the past, present and future of Azerbaijan.DSC_0075

Each one of the Flame Towers was a different color and each had a different pattern of lights yet all 3 blended together as one unit. One tower is for businesses, one is a hotel with shops, and the last one is residential.


Even the triangle Metro Station is illuminated on the magic highway.

And it continued on like this all along the ride into downtown with all classic designed buildings bathed in regular lights or neon lights. It was a magic land ride where each uniquely designed building put on an equally unique light show. It all was a total light show for the senses.DSC_0153

I wondered who came up with this magic dazzling ride idea into downtown Baku so I asked Ramin, our guide, who replied, “It was the idea of the wife, Mehriban Aliyeva, of our President of Azerbaijan, ILham Aliyev, and she oversees the gigantic project.”  This beautiful lady has done and is doing a stellar job in Baku.

The President of Azerbaijan, ILham Aliyev Photo compliments of our guide, Ramin.
The First Lady of Azerbaijan, Mehriban Aliyeva, wife of President ILham Aliyev. Photo compliments of our guide, Ramin.
  And she has created a one-of-a-kind statement ride from the airport to downtown Baku like no other.

This is how the Flame Towers look during the day.
This is how the Flame Towers looked during the day.
That gas station with a outstanding sculpture in the garden in front of it.
That gas station with a outstanding sculpture in the garden.
The Gymnastic Center
Buildings were illuminated like this all along the route into downtown.
Sculptures in the plaza of the Cultural Center.
Sculptures in the plaza of the Cultural Center.
Large screen TVs are placed around Baku for all to see.
Large screen TVs are placed around Baku for all to see.
Magnificent illuminated rock walls were on both sides of the highway, and none were alike.
Another designer rock wall along the magic highway. At night is beautifully illuminated
Another designer rock wall along the magic highway. At night, it is beautifully illuminated
A daytime photo of Baku
A daytime photo of Baku


Even some of the bridges over the freeway are illuminated in neon lights.
Even some of the bridges over the freeway are illuminated in neon lights.

Photo Copy ©  2015