A glimpse of Baku: home of the European Games

Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT) June 11, 2015
1 of 13
Azerbaijan's capital city is playing host to the first-ever European Games, which are taking place from June 12. Baku is the largest, most cosmopolitan, city in the South Caucasus, boasting a mixture of historic and modern architecture. Stephane de SakutinAFP/Getty Images
A range of new structures has been built to host the 20 sports being featured at the event. Tofik Babayev/AFP/Getty Images
Mountain biker Aqshin Ismailov, who will be the first athlete from Azerbaijan to take part in competitive action at the European Games, poses by the dramatic and futuristic Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre in Baku. CNN
Ismailov and colleague Tural Isgandarov cycle past the cultural center. CNN
Renowned architect Zaha Hadid designed the center's fluid forms, which are a contrast to the rigid and monumental architecture in much of Baku. President Ilham Aliyev, who officially opened the building in May 2012, named the building after his late father and former president Heydar Aliyev. Eugene Leung/Flickr
A view across the manicured lawn to the Heydar Aliyev building. Giuseppe Cacace/Getty Images/File
The Walled City in Baku is a UNESCO World Heritage site, part of which dates back to at least the 12th century. AFP/Getty Images
Azerbaijani basketball player Amil Hamzayev stands in front of the Maiden Tower in the heart of Baku's Old City. Baku 2015
Inside Baku's Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage site. CNN
Inside Baku's Old City, a glimpse of new buildings can be seen through an opening in the city walls. CNN
Baku boasts an intriguing mixture of architectural styles. CNN
The eye-catching Flame Towers are covered with LED screens displaying the movement of fire and creating the effect of giant torches, a design inspired by Azerbaijan's history as a land of fire due to its rich deposits of natural gas. Birgitte Riber Hald
The Flame Towers dominate this view of the Baku skyline.