Nizami Street in Baku
Nizami Street is also called Torgovaya Street by local people. It is customary to call Nizami Street not only the street itself, but also its logical continuation, Fountain Square and nearby historical quarters. The Street can be compared to New York Broadway, Moscow’s Arbat or the Taksim district in Istanbul. In other words, Nizami Street is the most trodden place for walking in the center of the capital of Azerbaijan.
To show oneself in front of others and not to lose one’s face is a kind of slogan of those Baku residents who like to “go out into the city” and parade among the many-sided city crowd. The whole of Baku walks here in the evenings: from neighboring courtyards, from quarters further away, from sleeping areas and, of course, tourists cannot leave Nizami Street without their attention. A convenient walking route among the buildings of the 19th century and the almost complete absence of vehicles make the walk safe and comfortable.
Here’s some story of the name “Torgovaya”, the old name of Nizami street. It runs from west to east across the entire central part of Baku. In the very middle, the street turns into Fountain Square and goes to the seaside part of the city, to the Boulevard. Its modern geometric outlines arose in the second half of the 19th century, when the oil boom began in Baku and the city’s population increased by a million people. Then, even the outskirts of Baku, began to be intensively built up. Here, in essence, people were engaged in trade, there were many shops, where locals and visitors spent time buying and selling, gave the name to this area of the city. Subsequently, this feature of Torgovaya Street (Nizami Street) was only cultivated – already in the eighties of the XIX century. The largest cluster of flower shops, haberdashery, grocery, confectionery, etc. it was right here.
A few decades before the October Revolution, dozens of blocks of European buildings appeared to the north and east of the fortress wall, which have survived to this day as monuments of urban architecture. In the 50s of the 20th century, monolithic “stalinkas” were added, and during the time of independent Azerbaijan, samples of modern glass and concrete were added. The rather imposing appearance of these quarters, lined with sandstone, gives the urban planning a picturesque romanticism and makes Nizami Street very attractive.
Walking along Nizami Street is not only emotionally pleasant, but also expedient. Shops, restaurants, cafes of famous brands (Adidas, Levi’s, McDonalds, KFC, Hard-Rock-Cafe, Starbucks, Second Cup) and local brands are located here one after another. Large department stores, such as Central Department Store and Baku
Department Store, are an integral part of Nizami Street. You can eat at restaurants of national cuisine, such as “Firuza” or “Dolma”, or choose from a variety of Turkish, Arabic, European cuisine. The walk can turn into a cultural event, as the Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Theater of Young Spectators, the Russian Drama Theater and two of the oldest cinemas in Baku: Nizami and Azerbaijan are located on Nizami Street. The convenient layout of the streets means that from Nizami Street you can “walk” to neighboring attractions: the Molokan Garden, Seaside Boulevard, the Old Town.
Now few people remember about “Pirozhkova” not far from the “Azerbaijan” cinema, that champagne was sold the cheapest in the city in the “Shakhnovich’s store”, and “Book Passage”, a quarter connecting Fountain Square and Nizami Street, once was a quarter of street artists. Trade itself is always going on at Nizami Street, only the owners and concepts of shops change. Only the spirit of walking around Baku and the name “Torgovaya” remain unchanged, albeit unofficial, but truly popular.
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