Most people find it difficult to identify on the map the capital of Azerbaijan, one of the former USSR republics, that is known worldwide for its rich oil and natural gas deposits. Baku is a city of about two and a half million inhabitants overlooking the Caspian Sea, 28 meters below sea level. In the last twenty years it has changed a lot its image that shows an interesting mixture of futuristic and Soviet architecture with the historical center inside the old walls today World Heritage of Humanity. Baku is the richest Caucasian city thanks to the oil and natural gas that abounds in Azerbaijan, a region long known as "The Land of Fire" because of the numerous spontaneous outcrops of gas that in different places produce natural flames that burn outdoors , as in the case of Yanar Dag (literally the burning mountain), located on the Absheron peninsula, north of Baku, which have attracted the followers of Zarathustra over the centuries. One of the first things that strikes when you arrive in Baku are the three great flame-shaped skyscrapers, completed in 2013, that dominate the city from the top of a hill. Made by a German architect who conceived them thinking of the flames of fire that have always been associated with Azerbaijan and therefore appropriately called "The Flame Towers". The three towers have different uses: one is occupied by a five-star hotel, one for luxury apartments and one is a business center. The surface of the three towers is covered by millions of LEDs that are used at night to create an incredible scenographic effect that can be admired by the whole city. Another work that enhances Baku's architectural personality is Heydar Aliyev Center, a center dedicated to the late president of Azerbaijan by Zaha Hadid, the famous Anglo-Iraqi architect. Baku has also recently extended the boulevard that runs along the Caspian Sea from the original 3 km to the current 6 and there is a project to bring in a few years the total length of the waterfront to over 20 km. There are beautiful parks and an extensive pedestrian area around the Fountains Square and Nizami Street, a long street dominated by huge buildings of Stalinist era, recently restored and at night enhanced by beautiful lighting. Also the area of Icheri Sheher, the historical center inside the ancient walls since 2000 World Heritage Site, has several historical buildings. The mix of history and modernity that is possible to see in Baku is extremely intriguing and shows the current face and the inevitable contradictions of a state that has been part of the Soviet Union until 1991 where most of the population practise Islam and the lifestyle is however predominantly western.