Baku, capital of the Azerbaijan Republic, is a large industrial, scientific, and cultural centre. Today the boundaries of Baku encompass a considerable part of the Apsheron (Absharan) peninsula. The territory of Baku is about 2,200 km2, it's population is about 2.5 million people. Historians give different explanations to the origin of the name Baku. Some suggest that the word comes from the Persian bad kooh (wind mountain) or badkube (wind-beaten). There also exists an idea that Baku received its name from the name of tribe Bakan, or Bagi which lived on the Apsheron peninsula between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries BC.
Baku was indicated as an important centre on the map of Ptolemei in the second century AD. There are unique archaeological treasures around the city, dating back approximately twelve thousand years. During excavations, a cultural layer dating back to the middle of the first millennium BC was found on the territory of Baku. The town was built up intensively under the Sasanids. But the Caspian Sea changed its level every 700 years, and the coastal part of the town was flooded many times. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Baku became a commercial centre of the Shirvan Shah's State. At that time, the City Walls, the Mohammed's Mosque (1079) and some other monuments were built.
In the twelfth to fifteenth centuries, with the development of Sufism, and especially, Hurufism, Baku became the cultural capital of the country. After an earthquake the capital of Shirvan Shahs was moved from Shemakha to Baku. It was then that the Shirvan Shahs Palace, the masterpiece of Azerbaijan architecture, numerous mosques, madrasas, caravanserais, hammams and many other monuments were built.
In the second half of the nineteenth century when Baku began capitalist development, the territory of Icheri Sheher became a place of intensive construction of apartment houses. Ancient buildings were destroyed and new houses with all modern utilities were built.
"Baku." In World Encyclopedia. : Philip's, http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780199546091.001.0001/acref-9780199546091-e-932.
The Mohammed Mosque stands on a hillside inside the fortified old city of Baku known as Icheri-Shehr. Its minaret is also known as Sinik-Gala. An inscriptive plaque to the left of the mosque entrance indicates that the mosque and minaret were erected by master builder Muhammed bin Abu Bakr in 1078-1079. As such, it is the oldest remaining Islamic monument In Azerbaijan.
Oriented north-south with qibla, the mosque is a vaulted rectangular prayer hall measuring seven by nine meters, covered with a flat roof on the exterior. It is entered from an enclosed one-bay portico at the eastern end of its north façade, which is vaulted at a lower height than the prayer hall. A large cylindrical minaret with a single balcony rises to the west of the mosque, almost touching its western wall. Its narrow spiraling staircase is entered from the southeast. It leads up to the mosque terrace, and to the muqarnas balcony, which is protected by a stone balustrade carved with geometric motifs. An inscriptive band composed in Kufic style encircles the minaret shaft below the balcony. The minaret is capped with a shallow, ribbed dome.
Inside, the prayer hall is covered with transverse vault resting on walls that are one meter thick. Light comes in through two slits on the east and west walls, and two arched windows on the qibla wall. The interior is devoid of decoration, except for the muqarnas hood of mihrab and the carved hoods of the slit windows. Both the mosque and the minaret are constructed of cut-stone.
The Mohammed Mosque and Minaret were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000 as part of the Walled City of Baku, which was amended to the World Heritage in Danger list in 2003.
Aslanapa, Oktay. 1979. Kirim ve Azerbaycan'da Türk Eserleri. Istanbul: Baha Matbaasi, 33-39.