Text and photos by Jeff Greene
The city of Baku, the capitol of Azerbaijan, located below the Caucasus Mountains on the edge of the Caspian Sea, is a fascinating blend of east and west, old and new. In the late 1800s, numerous “oil barons’ mansions” were built alongside the existing ancient Islamic walled city in a strange mixture of architectural styles that mixed European classical, Art Nouveau with Persian eclecticism. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union 20 years ago, Baku has experienced another oil-fueled building boom of modern skyscrapers. But nothing seems to capture the essence of the Azerbaijan psyche the way that traditional Mugham music does.