Baku appears to have found the secret recipe for protecting architecturally significant buildings from demolition.
The U.S.-based fast-food chain KFC has opened what it is billing as its largest-ever restaurant in the Azerbaijani capital. The 1,600-square-meter eatery is housed in the city's Sabunchu rail station, built in 1926
after a design by architect N.G. Bayev.
The historic station was part of the Soviet Union's first electrified railway system in 1924, the tracks linking Baku with its outlying petroleum districts.
The imposing dun-colored stone station boasts Moorish influences and features two domed towers.
It had fallen into disrepair before KFC's franchise partner in Azerbaijan, AFK Ltd., is reported to have invested
3 million euros in the station's restoration.
The restaurant seats 300 people, plans to sell about 1.5 million meals a year, and is the biggest KFC out of the company's 18,000 franchises in 120 countries.
The architects who designed the restaurant managed to incorporate many interior architectural elements of the station into the layout, including cathedral ceilings featuring coffered panels painted in intricate patterns.
It's a long way from the first Kentucky Fried Chicken
(as KFC used to be called) franchise, which opened in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1952.