It is 6 in the morning, I land at the airport. Airports are places where people get in and out from different countries while being in none of them, actually. But not here. Baku is the airport where people can get in and feel they have arrived to their destination. It shakes you the hand gently, it kisses your cheeks and you can’t do anything but enjoying the entrance.
The sun sparkles its tenuous light on the big buildings in front of who wants to enter the city. The skyline is a joint of boxes, windows and light colours where people live. They look at the flame towers and they wait for the 8.40pm to see them becoming alive. When I arrived at the house, in the suburbs I glimpsed around. My senses stopped for an instant. I felt like I didn’t want to be in this place that smelled of ruins, that looked like a rude person. Houses left behind the caring of their builders. When I finally entered my stomach turned inside out. Useless would be to explain the surprise and I felt guilty for what I had thought before. Wooden doors with glass in the middle, sofa and bed covered with blankets in traditional woven. A warm blend of brown, red and gold. Also, the new furniture of the kitchen was perfectly matched. Diamond likely was the chandelier. I stared at any details and I admired that beauty like I do with their souls.


As Azerbaijani people have a charming Caucasian heart that without any hesitations involve you in their life, so it is the heart of the city. While wandering in the old town you go through hot roads. You breathe the hot air. Dust twists on the ground surrounded by sand-cultured walls. White sand, yellow sand. You breathe the hot air and you wait for the wind to find a fissure somewhere. And the wind always finds you and brings you the melody of the tar and the voice of ancient merchants.


While you lose yourself in the smell of tea and kebab you might bump into some people. They don’t change their direction when they walk. They don’t say hello or thank you when you enter a shop. Your smile will always be bigger than their one, but they would never make you feel in the wrong place. They pay your 20 gapik (Azerbaijani coins)  to the driver if you don’t find your wallet. They help you to find your way without any language in common. They protect you in case you are finding some troubles.3.jpg


Their hearts shine like all the million lights in the city even if their manners look rough. You might feel scared when they insist to give you their seat on the bus or when they look at your pale skin, at your shorts. When you land at the airport at 6 in the morning, the only lights that you see from the plane are the ones of the sea shore. They shake on the water mirror of the Caspian sea and they disappear. There, just outside the city, the darkness embrace the citizens that go back home. Their hair and their eyes will always be of the colour of the night. Their soul will always be warm and pure like the feeling of the tea in a dry Azerbaijani day. Their mind will open day by day like the lamp posts start enlightening their way home. Year after year. There, on this carpet of fast electricity and eternal fire.



Article: Laura Fabbri, Hanna Vasylevska
Photos : Anna Popova, Laura Fabbri