The Flame Towers loom above every street in Baku. At night their neon displays light up the city on their own: first orange and red flames lick up the sides of the towers; then they fill up with splashes of water; then the complex turns the colours of Azerbaijan’s flag – green, red and blue. It is a needless show of wealth, but an extraordinary sight.
The closest view of the Flame Towers is from Şəhidlər Xiyabanı – Martyr’s Lane, the cemetery and memorial for those killed in the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
One morning I explored a little, down from the memorial in what used to be called Kirov Park, and found Şəhidlər məscidi – the Mosque of the Martyrs.
I saw the two conflicting sides of Azerbaijan – pious and materialistic – in one scene. There is no question which one dominates.