Les Clefs D'Or
Les Clefs D'Or

Your Key To Baku and the First Oil Boom

Baku was not built because of oil, but oil made this city famous. The history of Baku goes back thousands of years. The name of the city can be found on ancient monuments together with description of how Baku citizens drained oil from handmade wells, mined salt from salt lakes, and grow saffron on sandy wastelands. Baku has always been famous for its oil, but the true boom of the oil industry took place between 1890’s and 1920. When you walk along on the city streets in the centre of Baku, you will find examples of luxuriousness and ornateness in the architecture brought in with the help of wealthy oil barons and magnates.

Wealthy citizens such as Murtuza Mukhtarov, Musa Naghiyev, Zeynalabdin Taghiyev and foreigner investors such as Rothschilds and the Nobel brothers have left substantial legacy on the streets of Baku as well as hidden in their palaces, guesthouses and residences. In the space of just 15 to 20 years, a small Muslim fortress had become the largest seaport on the Caspian Sea and one of the world’s most famous oil producing areas. Beyond the city walls, the architecture becomes a combination of gothic, baroque, neo-classical and oriental styles.

Walking through the Baku central streets, you will pass by the Ismailiyya Palace. Built by architect Józef Plośko, this Palace was commissioned by Musa Naghiyev, one of the richest oil barons of the time, to commemorate his deceased son Ismayil, for the Muslim Charity Society.

Another famous spot in the city is the National Museum of Azerbaijan History which used to be the former palace of the oil baron, Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev. Even though Zeynalabdin Tagiyev was known for his vast investments in construction, education and charity as well as being named “Father of the Nation”, he was illiterate and could not even sign his name.

When we talk about the oil boom, we cannot forget to mention the Nobel Brothers in Azerbaijan. Ludwig Nobel had contributed significantly not only to the development of the oil industry in Azerbaijan, but also to its economic, scientific and cultural growth at the end of the 19th century. Nobel’s second home was in Baku – the famous Villa Petrolea, a lush oasis in the desert landscape. A visit to the Villa Petrolea will help you understand how immense was the Nobel Brothers’ influence in Azerbaijan and how they had developed the oil industry for Azerbijan with such facilities such as the first oil tanker, oil pipeline and storage reservoirs.

After your adventures in discovering the rich oil history of Baku, take a break on one of the old city rooftop restaurants and feel the architectural expanse below which was made possible only by the black gold of Baku.

Meet the Author
Erkin Aliyev

I was born and raised in Baku, Azerbaijan to a family of doctors; however, I never saw myself in a career of medicine. My bachelor degree was in Finance and it took only several months for me to realize that this profession was not for me and I started to search for other challenges in my life.

My hospitality career started as a Concierge Intern at The Ritz -Carlton Abama Hotel in Tenerife which was far away from my home country. I knew right from the beginning that the Concierge profession was my true calling and have worked my way up through the various positions in the hotel to reach my goal. I speak four languages and I am looking to learning more. My Les Clefs d’Or life started in 2015 when I received my golden keys and became a member of the Russian section. I was the first Les Clefs d’Or concierge in Azerbaijan. Since then, I have been actively developing the hotel concierge profession as well as a concierge community in Azerbaijan. Today, I live 24/7 as the Chief Concierge for the Renaissance Palace Hotel in Baku.

Renaissance Palace Baku

Located conveniently to Baku’s famous sightseeing spots and yet nestled in a quiet and relaxing neighborhood, the sleek and stylish Renaissance Palace serves as the ultimate urban getaway. The Renaissance Palace Baku boasts 60 tastefully appointed luxury suites and rooms along with the Renaissance Suite, which offers special privileges, enhanced room amenities and caters to the needs of the business traveler. These gracefully decorated spacious rooms have a distinctive European theme with a king or twin beds and a single or two-seater sofa.

The elegant Phoenix restaurant invites you to enjoy local and international cuisine in a sophisticated atmosphere where you can relax and forget the daily routine. The classic restaurant will surprise you with the richness and comfort in designs. The Palace Restaurant is a cozy place for you and your family, where you are able to relax and taste the perfection of our cuisine.

Staying at Renaissance Palace gives you an opportunity to enjoy our Spa centers. The spacious Wellness Centre features a high-tech gymnasium with state-of-the-art workout equipment, dry and wet sauna and Turkish hamam.


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