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7 August 2011 / leggypeggy

Baku—tidy town of the world

Dusting the dustbins in Baku.

We’re in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, for a few days, and enjoying an overwhelming slice of civilisation. For a city of almost two million, Baku has to be the tidiest town in the world. It looks like one of the richest ones too.

Money and cleanliness just ooze out of this place. Poor John and I agree we have never seen the likes of it.

I have quite a few pics of Baku under the broom (but I’m having trouble getting them to load to the blog). This one is an indication of how orderly things are. Baku is the only place I’ve ever seen someone wiping down the outdoor bins. She was at work in the park running alongside the Caspian Sea. Another pic (which won’t load) shows a toy shop in one of the many underground walkways that allow people to ‘cross’ the street safely. Nary a tissue or cigarette butt in sight—usually you’d find such spots harbouring half of a major city’s weekly rubbish. Pity I didn’t get a picture of the spotless Bentley car dealership.

By the way, big name shops are everywhere—Dior, Cartier, Bvlgari, Tommy Hilfiger—all spread out in well kept, brightly lit and beautifully designed pedestrian areas. We and thousands of Azeris strolled through Fountain Square last night. Armies of street sweepers with brooms and dustpans were out, too, making sure the leaves that fell didn’t linger long on the ground. In spite of the fact that much of the city is under construction, they even manage to keep their dust clean. The whole place was spotless when we arrived yesterday morning and it seems to stay that way. The only place I saw litter was in window and stairwells, which must be deemed the responsibility of the dweller.

We are about to head to Turkmenistan—on a ferry across the Caspian Sea. I wonder how tidy that will be? Our last major ferry ride was in 2009 from the Sudan to Egypt. We slept on the deck—along with hundreds of Egyptians and Sudanese—and it was like living in a giant ashtray.


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  1. Sy S. / Aug 7 2011 11:00 pm


    Amazing about Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan and how clean it is…. double, WOW! Maybe the mayor of New York City might want to write the mayor of Baku and we can become twin cities. That is, Buku residents can visit us and teach us a few things. A few ‘biggie’ problems here on the streets of Manhattan are litter (even though we have many waste bins everywhere), noise pollution (laws forbidding the use of car horns, unless necessary for safety)… and dog poop (but not as nearly as bad as I read about it in Europe… we have pooper scooper pick up laws and fines).



  2. Jim Clark / Aug 9 2011 7:23 pm

    Wiesloch Germany washed the traffic lights. Impressed me.


  3. Chris / Nov 21 2011 1:18 am

    Baku the tidiest town in the world?
    Obviously you have been only in the few hundreds meters of the renovated city center – that, yes, is really gorgeous. It is more correct to say that Baku has the most striking contrast in the world between a tidy, spotless city center and the outskirts where the humble people live in dilapidated houses among hills of trash (that is never collected).


    • leggypeggy / Nov 21 2011 2:55 am

      Hi Chris
      You are so right about Baku’s tidiness being limited to the centre of town, and that is where I spent most of my time in that city and where the constant sweeping and dusting were so apparent. I’ve travelled extensively in the world and had never seen such attention to tidiness displayed anywhere else—which is why I was prompted to comment on it. As you would know, the city is completely crazy, and for many wrong and inexplicable reasons. I was shocked to learn that a three-star hotel in town had been demolished so they could build five-star one. Who will stay in these hotels? The country makes it so very hard to even get a visa? It’s all for show—and at the expense of so many.


  4. jeanleesworld / Aug 4 2016 9:39 pm

    Fascinating, this. It reminds me of a story I just heard on the radio this morning…the hosts were discussing China, and the country being a big source of Rio’s problems. How so? Because China built 50 cities during its Olympic prep under the assumption that once cities are built, people will live there. They acquired many of the raw materials from South America, which is why countries like Brazil had a big economic boom a while ago, and at the time, could afford the Olympics. But then China had its Olympics, people did NOT move into cities, and they no longer needed raw materials. There went Brazil’s economy. China has its ghost cities, and Rio is struggling with contamination.
    Granted, this is me just listening to a radio and not really doing the research, but isn’t it strange what a city or country will do just for show?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Aug 4 2016 10:16 pm

      We’ve been to Brazil twice in recent years and many people there aren’t/weren’t happy about the Olympics coming to town. They hated seeing the money spent on show rather than on the people of Brazil. I get it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jeanleesworld / Aug 5 2016 12:53 am

        Me, too. When I see some chunks of Milwaukee revamped time and again while other neighborhoods are left to rot is maddening.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Aug 5 2016 7:41 am

        Very maddening.


  5. vinneve / Apr 22 2020 2:34 pm

    We were surprised that Baku is a nice City and would love to come back for more if possible. Not sure if you have seen it but here is my link to that place >>

    Liked by 1 person

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