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Baga (now بغ bagh) and kuy are the Old Persian words for "god" and "town" respectively; the name Baghkuy may be compared with Baghdād ("God-given") in which dād is the Old Persian word for "give".Arabic sources refer to the city as Baku, Bakukh, Bakuya, and Bakuye, all of which seem to come from a Persian name.Near Nardaran, in a place called Umid Gaya, a prehistoric observatory was discovered, where on the rock the images of sun and various constellations are carved together with a primitive astronomic table.Further archeological excavations revealed various prehistoric settlements, native temples, statues and other artifacts within the territory of the modern city and around it.Officially, about 25 percent of all inhabitants of the country live in Baku's metropolitan area.Baku is divided into twelve administrative districts (raions) and 48 townships.

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The city is renowned for its harsh winds, which is reflected in its nickname, the "City of Winds".From the Bronze age there have been rock carvings discovered near Bayil, and a bronze figure of a small fish discovered in the territory of the Old City.These have led some to suggest the existence of a Bronze Age settlement within the city's territory.Among these are the townships on the islands of the Baku Archipelago, and the town of Oil Rocks built on stilts in the Caspian Sea, 60 kilometres (37 miles) away from Baku.The Inner City of Baku, along with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower, were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, alongside the Bay of Baku.At the beginning of 2009, Baku's urban population was estimated at just over two million people.Clockwise: Details of the façade of the Ismailiyya building, Philharmony Fountain in front of the Magomayev Philharmonic Hall, a vessel on the Bay of Baku with the skyline of the city, and the Maiden Tower – clickable image) is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region, with a population of 2,374,000.Baku is located 28 metres (92 ft) below sea level, which makes it the lowest lying national capital in the world and also the largest city in the world located below sea level.The city walls of Baku were also rebuilt and strengthened.By the early 16th century Baku's wealth and strategic position attracted the focus of its larger neighbors; in the previous two centuries, it was under the rule of the in Iran-centred Kara Koyunlu and Ak Koyunlu.

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