As the year and the second decade of the 21st century come to an end, Baku has holiday events galore, with many taking place downtown, including an annual holiday pop-up market, “Cold Hands, Warm Heart,” that brings together crowds underneath the towering illuminated New Year tree.
The seventh edition of the retail campaign that features both local and international brands opened its doors on December 1 and runs until January 13. As in previous years, the shopping extravaganza is running along Fountains Square – a downtown landmark for locals and tourists, with its lavish boutiques, restaurants, shops, and hotels.
The festive market in Azerbaijan’s capital city has been going strong since 2013 when a charitable nonprofit organization, the Nargis Fund, which is a project of the Nargis Publishing House, first launched the event. The organizers remain faithful to the original idea that all proceeds go to charity.
Numerous wooden chalets have been reassembled along Fountains Square, containing boutiques for traditional crafts, handcrafted jewelry, original paintings and ceramic pieces by Azerbaijani craftsmen. For those gourmets, the organizers offer a wide range of yummies such as national sweets – pakhlava, fried chestnuts, and Turkish balık ekmek, a sandwich of fried fish served with vegetables inside a bun. In addition, various organic products are featured in the holiday market.
Various activities are offered by artists, vendors and creative enthusiasts at the market, while on weekends, the market offers a range of activities, including festive concerts and gifts. Numerous café counters are nestled with tables where visitors can sip coffee, share the latest news with friends.
Residents of Baku are not the only guests to the festive events as crowds of foreigners also joined the pop-up market. Natalia, who came from Russia’s Saratov, claims to fall in love at first sight with Baku.
“We’ve just arrived in Baku and almost immediately got to the New Year’s fair,” she said in an interview with Moscow-Baku. “So, we’ve managed to buy local sweets – lokum and pakhlava as a gift to relatives and friends. We also want to take with us pomegranate juice, wine, and seasonings.”
Meanwhile, the Nargis Publishing House has prepared another surprise for residents and guests of the capital city – a delicious gingerbread city featuring Baku’s most renowned landmarks. These are Heydar Aliyev Center, Flame Towers, city airport, Maiden’s Tower, Ferris wheel, the Formula 1 track, as well as an airplane and a ship made of gingerbread, and many others.
Dozens of specialists roped in for a spot of candy construction – the process of creating delicious miniatures was shown on an opening day in time-lapse format. Biscuits, cakes, icing, strawberry laces, and sweets have been employed as building materials, but unfortunately, they cannot be tried.
The Gingerbread City is open from December 6 and runs until January 15, 2020. You can find it at Port Baku Mall, a stylish shopping center next to the Baku Boulevard. The entrance to the exhibit is free of charge.