Baku Days: Development Frenzy in the Wake of Eurovision Win

The new Heydar Aliyev Airport won't now be built until the old airport is refurbished for Eurovision

Azerbaijan it taking its recent Eurovision win seriously.

Within days of Eldar and Nigar’s astonishing victory with Running Scared and their celebrated homecoming from Düsseldorf in Germany, it was announced that a new 20,000 seat venue will be built in Baku to host the event and that the Heydar Aliyev International Airport will be completely refurbished. Well, the new venue will be built so long as a builder can be found to complete the project in just eight months!

Proposed site of the 2012 Eurovision venue






According to a Wikipedia article, the new complex will be built near National Flag Square, close to a structure that was the world’s tallest flagpole [162meters] for a few months in 2010 before being eclipsed by Tajikistan’s [165] monster pole in 2011. The Azeri organisers of Eurovision 2012 are however hedging their bets.

Bakhramov Stadium

Hedar Aliyev Sports and Exhibition Complex

On 19 May, it was announced that they may use the Torfiq Bahromov Stadium with a capacity of 37,000 or the Heydar Aliyev Sports and Exhibition Complex with a capacity of 7,800. Given that there are already two venues capable of hosting the event it is interesting that a third, new venue is the preferred option.

A new international airport had been planned for Baku [to be completed in 2013] after which, the current facilities were to be refurbished but the Eurovision win has turned everything on its head. The existing airport will now be reconstructed first. According to an article in Trend , work will take place on upgrading the airport building, cargo handling facilities and the surrounding area to “ensure first-rate service to foreign guests”.

Unfortunately, the "Death Star" Hotel won't be finished in time for Eurovision 2012

By the time Eurovision arrives, two new additions to the Baku Hotel scene will have opened their doors. These will be a sleek new Hilton at one end of the Bulvar and the swanky new Four Seasons at the other. Unfortunately, the New Moon Rising [or Death Star] hotel won’t open its doors until at least 2014…


About stevehollier

Steve Hollier is the editor of AZ Magazine, an English language lifestyle magazine based in Baku, Azerbaijan. He began his career working for a firm of stockbrokers in the City of London then went on to attend the University of Essex where he was awarded an MA in Sociology in 1984. After a career in arts and cultural development work, he became a freelance arts consultant, writer and photographer.
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One Response to Baku Days: Development Frenzy in the Wake of Eurovision Win

  1. Xarici says:

    It’s not the Olympics…but we’ll take it!

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