Located on the Apsheron Peninsula on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan and a major center for the production of oil industry equipment. Settled over 2000 years ago and founded around the year 500 A.D., the city has a rich history with a mixture of Turcic, European, Russian and Persian influences.
Baku's old central district is called Icheri-Shekher. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a picturesque walled city with narrow cobblestone streets, minarets, and medieval palaces.
The modern city outside the walls features beaux-arts architecture from the early 20th century when the Baku oil field was the largest in the world, and its development continues with active construction of modern buildings. The city features a park along the waterfront, and because of its beauty and architecture it has often been called the "Paris of the Orient."