Old City or Inner City is the historical core of Baku. In December 2000, the Old City of Baku, including the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower, became the first location in Azerbaijan to be classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
It is widely accepted that the Old City, including its Maiden Tower, date at least to the 12th century, with some researchers contending that construction dates as far back as the 7th century. The question has not been completely settled. During this medieval period of Baku, such monuments as the Synyg Gala Minaret (11th century), the fortress walls and towers (11th–12th centuries), the Maiden Tower, the Multani Caravanserai and Hajji Gayyib bathhouse (15th century), the Palace of the Shirvanshahs (15th-16th centuries), the Bukhara Caravanserai and Gasimbey bathhouse (16th century) were built.
The Old City was divided into several quarters, which also served as social divisions. Sometimes, the divisions of the Old City were named after theirs mosque: for example, Juma Mosque quarter, Shal Mosque quarter, Mahammadyar Mosque quarter, etc.
In 2008 an ancient underpass, dated back to the 19th century, was discovered while holding reconstruction at Vahid park. The workers marched about 200 meters along the tunnel, but then stopped, having met with water and silt masses. Judging by the photographs taken in the cave, the tunnel is built very thoroughly, the walls, ceiling and floor of the tunnel are paved with white sawn stone. The workers also found a handful of coins of the Soviet period, suggesting that there was somebody in the tunnel before them, but the unknown went down at least 20 years ago.
World Heritage site
In December 2000, the Old City of Baku with the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower became the first location in Azerbaijan classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Three years later, in 2003, UNESCO placed the Old City on the List of World Heritage in Danger, citing damage from a November 2000 earthquake, poor conservation, and "dubious" restoration efforts. In 2009 The World Heritage Committee praised Azerbaijan for its efforts to preserve the walled city of Baku and removed it from the endangered list.
Character And Legacy
For a long period of time, an explicit symbol of the Old City was a mulberry tree located behind the Djuma Mosque. It was believed that the tree was several hundred years old. The tree made its way into many sayings and songs popular in the Old City, and became a local landmark. The place where that tree was located was referred to as Mulberry Tree Square. However, in 1970s the mulberry tree was cut down, because of the nearby construction works.