Baku is an ancient and classic city, first mentioning of which are dated as early as the beginning of the Common Era. The capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan was famous back in the period of early and developed Middle Ages as a significant center of oil production and refining. The biggest port on the Caspian see was the capital of Baku khanate, administrative center of Baku governorate, the capital of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and further the capital of Azerbaijan SSR.
The Absheron Peninsula, where Baku is located, is also considered to be a habitat of prehistoric humans. This is confirmed by multitude of facts, one of which is the Gobustan area, famous around the world for its rock paintings. Back in the 1st century, Baku has already become a small scale seaport town. A writing (stone encryption) made in Latin language at the bottom of the Boyuk-Dash mountain somewhere between years 84 and 96 (A.D), along with the name of “Ramana” village in Absheron, is the evidence of presence of roman army in this area back in the days.
After the second half of the IX century, Baku became a part of the Shirvanshah’s State and one of the most important cities of Shirvan. On the year 1191, Shirvanshah Akhsitan I has temporarily moved the capital of the state from Shamahi to Baku. In the XII century Baku became surrounded with a two-row fortress wall and a ditch.
During the Mongolian invasion in XIII century the city was ravaged. However, since the very next century the economic life of Baku has revived again. The Caspian Sea was mentioned as the Baku Sea in some of the sources.
In the XV century the Shirvanshah palace complex has been constructed. A mosque built in the XI century and several mosques from XIV century are still preserved in Baku.
In the year 1501 Shah Ismayil has taken over the whole Shirvan, and Baku became a part of the Sefevid state. In the year 1578, the Osman empire army has invaded Baku but the city was returned under the Sefevid state’s rule in 1607.
In the middle of the XVII century the Baku Khanate has been established. However, the city was invaded by Russian troops in the XIX century.
Since the middle of XIX century Baku became one of the main industrial and cultural centers of the Caucasus.
The first mechanical oil rig in theworld was drilled in the area of Bibi-Heybat in 1847. The industrial development of oil fields has caused a drastic growth of Baku and the city became an example of a fast growing European city. Baku started to attract foreign capital, and offices of Rothschild’s, Nobel brothers and other famous businessmen were opened. Besides the oil industry, the weaving production was developing and mechanical plants were launched. In 1878 the Baku City Duma was established. On the 8th of May 1883, the railroad between Baku and Tbilisi has been completed and launched. The city became a place where lots of migrants came in. With the oil boom, the cultural life of the city has also blossomed. Baku became known as the “Paris of Caucasus”.
From 1918 to 1920 Baku was the capital of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, being the first democratic state on the whole East.
On 28th of April 1920 the Bolsheviks have occupied Baku.
During the Soviet era, Baku was the capital of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic and became one of the largest administrative, industrial, scientific and cultural centers of the USSR. During the World War II, the city has served as the main strategic center for supplying the fuel to the military aviation and armored vehicles of the USSR
On the night of 19 – 20th of January 1990, under the pretext of suppressing the anti-Soviet riots, the military forces of the ministry of defense of USSR have entered the city of Baku. This invasion has resulted in a bloody massacre over the local population, including the women, children and elder, who have tried to stop these forces.
Today, after recovering from economic and social crisis of hard post-Soviet period covering the end of the 20th century, Baku is going through its rebirth as the largest economic and cultural center of the Southern Caucasus.
In May 2012, Baku has hosted the 57th Eurovision Song contest.
In June 2015, the first ever European Games were held in Baku.
Since the year 2016, Baku became of the few cities of the world to host the Formula 1 races.