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Baku

 

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The original Caspian Oil
The Old City...is really old

The majority of ex-pats working in Azerbaijan are based in Baku - a very old town. The touristy market in the centre is quite interesting. The Maiden Tower and the Old City, Fountain Square and the parts around there are worth a look.

 

Language


English and Azeri are the official languages. All documentation and most meetings are held in English. Azeri personnel generally speak English to a very high standard.

 

Money

Azeri New Manat (AZN). At time of writing the exchange rate is about 1.26 to the GBP.

There are cash machines on the streets which accept debit cards - some people are happy to use them others are not. There are also numerous banks.

The income tax rate in Azerbaijan is 30%. Ensure that payment is made on your behalf by your employer/agent. Trying to do it yourself is too difficult. Again check number of days in UK allowed unless you wish to pay the remainder to the UK government.

 

Transport

It is most likelt that your company will send a car to collect you at the airport (Heydar Aliyev International Airport). For general transport- taxi. Some longer term ex-pats have cars but mostly people take taxis. These are of varying quality. Traffic is terrible and very noisy - no one seems able to drive more than 2 metres without sounding their horn. Mostly it is quicker to walk although care should be taken at night. Not only are there many stories of muggings but the streets are badly lit, very uneven, steps to basements are unfenced and drain covers missing.

 

Accommodation



Baku's architercural style is generally Soviet Brutal but some work has been done to improve aesthetics in some areas. Generally your employer will organise an apartment for you - or a number for you to choose from. These are of very varying quality - never be pushed into taking one with which you are not happy. Also it is important to check security - it is common for people to hammer on your door to demand money for some utility - this is a scam. Do not open your door unless you know the person outside.
Buy drinking water - do not drink tap water.
It it not unusual for gas and/or water to go off for various durations for various reasons. It is a good idea to keep water for washing in old 5 litre drinking water bottles for washing and loo-flushing at these times.
Heating is by steam pipes so it is either on or off - regulation is by opening a window.

Most people employ a cleaner - ask around for a reputable person. Generally they will clean, do laundry and ironing. Some will do grocery shopping also.

 

Medical Assistance

Your employer should provide medical cover. There are a couple of international clinics for general medical care. For more serious illnesses medi-vac is the general option.

There are numerous dentists. Some people had quite a lot of dentistry done for quite low prices. Techno-Gypsy cannot comment on the quality. If interested ask around when there.

 

Food

Lots of restaurants. Local and ex-pat supermarkets abound. Produce seems expensive.

 

Entertainment

Bars, restaurants.

Gyms tend to cost the same as those in central London.

There is a beach to which people go in the summer.

 

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Last modified: May 01, 2011