7 Types of Foreigners You Might Encounter in Baku


BP on Caspian Sea
BP oil Platform on the Caspian Sea. Photo: http://www.bp.com/en/global

In modern times the western oil companies have indispensable role in Azerbaijan’s oil industry, an era what we call the second oil boom. They dominate the industry with financial and human resources as well as the modern high-tech. Thus those western oil companies supply the international labour forces that are necessary for the running the operations in the offshore oil fields. BP of the Great Britain is the leading among those companies. To surprises, those oilmen come to work are counted as tourists, too, by the State Statistical Committee. Those oilmen crowds Baku’s English-British-Irish pubs and bars.

Citizens of Former Soviet Republics

Russian medalists in European Games Baku
Russian medalists in European Games Baku. Photo: http://www.baku2015.com

Azerbaijan offers visa-free regime for the citizens of the former Soviet Republics for about 90 days. For some of them Baku is an exotic, for some a modern, for some a nostalgic city to visit. These foreigners share many similarities with people in Baku like the Soviet past and the most important is Russian language. This medium removes the language barrier and makes it very easy for them to survive in Baku. Additionally, most of them are likely giving a visit to a long-lasting friend or a family member of interracial marriage.

‘Poor’ Students

Mexico IF
International Festival, ADA University. Photo: http://www.ada.edu.az

Although Azerbaijan is not a famous student destination, Baku has considerable foreign student population. Majority of those students are of Turkish origin who studies mainly at Qafqaz or Baku State universities. They are, stereotypically, either ones who could not enroll at a Turkish university or they want to avoid army.  Khazar and ADA universities contribute to the balance with their students of European origin. They are two types: one who got study scholarship or Erasmus student who has an interest in conflict or energy studies. One of the strangest things about those students was that their rental house contracts prohibited them to sleep in his bed with a non-tenant.

Fully funded Participants of an International Event

European Games Baku. Photo: http://www.baku2015.com

It is true that Azerbaijan has a policy of re-banding its image abroad through international events like Eurovision, European Games and International Conferences. And the centre of all these activities is Baku. The participants are cheerful, super happy with smiley faces to take part, because the Azerbaijani government covers all the costs, otherwise why the hell they’d come to Baku. Of course this makes Azerbaijani ‘tax-payers’ unhappy but they celebrate it, too, because this is their ‘bread and circus’. These types of foreigner has everything pre-planned for them. You spot them walking in the Boulevard or Nizami street in particular outfit.

Passers-by who travel around the world

Photo: http://www.hitchhikershandbook.com/country-guides/azerbaijan/

Passers-by are not particularly interested in visiting Baku but regions where they want to experience local culture, traditions and everyday living. They can be hitchhikers, Mongol rally campaigners or they may be in World tour with their bikes or cars. They just have to cross this country and stay overnight in Baku to rest. Sometimes they just need a transfer from Baku port to either Aktau port in Kazakhstan or Turkmenbashi port in Turkmenistan. Thus longevity of their stay in Baku depends on ferry availability to the either port. It can be a day or week long struggle to find a ticket. Meanwhile, they will probably go couchsurfing and hangout in Baku’s alternative underground pubs and cafes.

Our southern neighbours, Iranians

Photo: http://www.dunya.com

Iran is actually the country where the largest Azerbaijani population live. During Novruz Holiday (the New Year in Iran), you observe huge number of Iranians walking in groups along the streets of Baku. Most of them are actually Iranian Azerbaijanis. This understanding is that Iranians has more money and less leisure at the end of the year back home and they fill the gap visiting Baku. Additionally Baku gives them little bit of European glimpse and enjoyment that cannot be touched or sensed in Iran publicly. These include alcoholic beverages like vodka and beer or a night life that they’d never forget.

Arab ‘Sheikhs’

Arabs in baku
Photo: Sputnik / Murad Orujov

Baku’s street crowded with groups of Arabs is a new phenomenon. All these happened in background of visa facilitation for Arabs as wells devaluation of Azerbaijani Manat. Seeing those Arabs in Baku, people spread a rumour that Azerbaijan has never seen so many Arabs since Babek’s rebellion was suppressed by Arab army led by general Afshin in IX century. Generally they are considered as wealthy but locals’ attempts to suck their dollars have been unsuccessful. Nonetheless, they are real deals for stimulation of our economy in tourism industry.


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