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Baku, For Richer Or Poorer

Azerbaijan’s capital city has had a dramatic few years. When the oil money rolled in, the skyscrapers went up. But today the country is reeling from crashing oil prices, and Baku has even resorted to switching off its streetlights to save money. The capital is a now a complex patchwork of glittering new developments, poor neighborhoods, and residents who carry on regardless of Baku's changing fortunes. RFE/RL photographer Petr Shelomovskiy explored the promenades and backstreets of a city in flux.


The Baku skyline seen from an unfinished skyscraper
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The Baku skyline seen from an unfinished skyscraper

Girls walk on the Caspian Sea embankment in Baku. The distinctive Flame Towers can be seen in the background.
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Girls walk on the Caspian Sea embankment in Baku. The distinctive Flame Towers can be seen in the background.

A clown tries to attract customers for a shop in central Baku.
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A clown tries to attract customers for a shop in central Baku.

A boutique on a central shopping street
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A boutique on a central shopping street

An antique restorer at work
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An antique restorer at work

A hair salon owned by a university professor in the Alatava 2 district
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A hair salon owned by a university professor in the Alatava 2 district

Nina (left) and Jovhar drink tea in a kitchen in the Alatava 2 district
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Nina (left) and Jovhar drink tea in a kitchen in the Alatava 2 district

A street in the Alatava 2 district in the evening
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A street in the Alatava 2 district in the evening

Raush, a refugee from Nagorno-Karabakh, burns cables at a scrap metal shop.
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Raush, a refugee from Nagorno-Karabakh, burns cables at a scrap metal shop.

A sheep stands outside a butcher shop
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A sheep stands outside a butcher shop

Friday prayers at a Shi'ite mosque
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Friday prayers at a Shi'ite mosque

Janbulat Asperov watches his granddaughter play on the balcony of his house near the Bibi Heybet mosque.
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Janbulat Asperov watches his granddaughter play on the balcony of his house near the Bibi Heybet mosque.

Modern buildings on the Baku skyline
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Modern buildings on the Baku skyline

A girl lays flowers at the Alley of Martyrs memorial
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A girl lays flowers at the Alley of Martyrs memorial

A showroom suite in the Flame Towers hotel
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A showroom suite in the Flame Towers hotel

A view of the Flame Towers from the Caspian Sea embankment
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A view of the Flame Towers from the Caspian Sea embankment

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