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Baku's Building Boom

The face of the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, has been changing rapidly in recent years amid a construction boom fueled by an oil-rich economy. Many large-scale building developments are transforming the old Soviet city into a a high-rise hub on the Caspian Sea. Critics of the expansion, however, say that it is destroying some historical areas and there have also been allegations of corruption concerning several projects. Here are just a few of the building developments that are set to leave an indelible impression on Baku's skyline.

Azerbaijan's rich carpet-making tradition will be presented in a state-of-the-art State Carpet and National Applied Arts Museum in Baku, which is nearing completion. (Source: en.president.az)
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Azerbaijan's rich carpet-making tradition will be presented in a state-of-the-art State Carpet and National Applied Arts Museum in Baku, which is nearing completion. (Source: en.president.az)

Financed by the state, the State Carpet and National Applied Arts Museum building has been designed to resemble a rolled-up carpet.
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Financed by the state, the State Carpet and National Applied Arts Museum building has been designed to resemble a rolled-up carpet.

In 2007, construction began on the ambitious Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center (named after the late father of the current Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev).
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In 2007, construction began on the ambitious Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center (named after the late father of the current Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev).

With conservative estimates putting the cost of construction at $175 million, the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center will house a library, museum, concert halls, and a large shopping complex.
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With conservative estimates putting the cost of construction at $175 million, the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center will house a library, museum, concert halls, and a large shopping complex.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev at the official opening of Baku's National Flag Square, which features state symbols of Azerbaijan, including a giant flagpole (pictured in the background). (Source en.president.az)
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Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev at the official opening of Baku's National Flag Square, which features state symbols of Azerbaijan, including a giant flagpole (pictured in the background). (Source en.president.az)

Standing at a height of 162 meters, the Baku flagpole was briefly the tallest in the world until it was overtaken by Tajikistan's 165-meter flagpole in Dushanbe in 2011. (Source: en.president.az)
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Standing at a height of 162 meters, the Baku flagpole was briefly the tallest in the world until it was overtaken by Tajikistan's 165-meter flagpole in Dushanbe in 2011. (Source: en.president.az)

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban at a special groundbreaking ceremony for the Baku White City urban renewal project. (Source en.president.az)
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Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban at a special groundbreaking ceremony for the Baku White City urban renewal project. (Source en.president.az)

Covering an area of 221 hectares, the Baku White City project is expected to transform the center of  the Azerbaijani capital.
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Covering an area of 221 hectares, the Baku White City project is expected to transform the center of  the Azerbaijani capital.

The Flame Towers development in Baku will feature three high-rise buildings supporting hotel, residential, leisure, and office facilities ranging in height from 34 to 39 stories.
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The Flame Towers development in Baku will feature three high-rise buildings supporting hotel, residential, leisure, and office facilities ranging in height from 34 to 39 stories.

Baku's Flame Towers -- which will offer views of the Caspian Sea -- are due to be completed in April 2012.
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Baku's Flame Towers -- which will offer views of the Caspian Sea -- are due to be completed in April 2012.

Work has recently begun on a massive complex in the Khazar Islands, 23 kilometers southwest of Baku.
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Work has recently begun on a massive complex in the Khazar Islands, 23 kilometers southwest of Baku.

High-rise constructions will be erected on several isolated islands and some artificial ones with bridges connecting all the facilities in the Khazar Islands complex.
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High-rise constructions will be erected on several isolated islands and some artificial ones with bridges connecting all the facilities in the Khazar Islands complex.

The designers of the Khazar Island complex also envisage building a 1,050-meter building, which would make it the tallest skyscraper in the world.
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The designers of the Khazar Island complex also envisage building a 1,050-meter building, which would make it the tallest skyscraper in the world.

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