Baku is city full of contrast. It emerge as an urban oasis on the barren coastline of the Caspian Sea, which otherwise is dominated by oil plants, industry, and dust. Modern condos mixed with Soviet-era apartment blocks make up most of the drab suburbs, but the city center and waterfront is a totally different story and a testimony to what oil money can buy. Wild and crazy architecture, like the Flame Towers (190 m) and Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, dot the city - and more are under construction. But Baku has also some historic and elegant areas. The fine, but touristic, UNESCO-listed Old City is walled with narrow alleys. Right outside its walls lies a charming neighborhood with tree-lined streets and fine boutiques, not unlike Paris, which extend to the classy shopping streets near Fountain Square. So Baku can either be dreadfully dull or overly exciting, it depends where you explore.