Information We Have All Been Waiting For
Azerbaijan is not a place known for producing a wealth of information. Information is difficult to come by, in the ways Europeans and Americans would expect to find it. Maps, guidebooks, maps, magazines, reliable websites…text of any sort, really. And maps. For anyone, even locals, the dearth of information about even the most popular destinations in Azerbaijan is strikingly apparent. Thus, this headline article from Today.Az is welcome news:
A special atlas of Baku is being designed for guests who will visit here to attend the next Eurovision song contest.
The atlas, developed by the State Land and Mapping Committee, aims to ensure the convenient movement of foreign citizens within the city.
It will have detailed information about the capital including the exact locations of cultural and historical monuments, sightseeing places, parks and other spots.
A special atlas! Anyone who’s traveled in Baku, or Azerbaijan in general, knows that getting around is almost all word-of-mouth meandering. You’ve got to be somewhat deliberate in getting around, and things such as bus schedules or bus route maps are non-existent. So a special atlas is, indeed, a step up. We just knew Eurovision 2012 would be good for something! Though, I am curious about why Azerbaijan would only make this for the convenient movement of foreign citizens…why not for the convenient movement of Azeris, too? One hopes this atlas doesn’t come in just English and Russian…
Incidentally, if you are serious about traveling in Azerbaijan (note: serious, as in staying a few weeks, checking out the countryside, exploring) the resource to get a handle on is Mark Elliott‘s guide to Azerbaijan. It’s a fantastic resource for information, cool maps, and good tips on getting around. As of right now, the Lonely Planet book is pretty light on content and low on interesting features, though I’ve heard it’s going to be improved fairly soon (perhaps by Mark Elliot, himself). So, for any potential AZ Peace Corps Volunteers, the Mark Elliot guide is the one for you.