Baku National Stadium: Azerbaijan / Qarabag

Baku National Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan

Controlled by the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijan national side played its first game in 1911. The country didn’t gain independence from the Soviet Union until 1991, however, so that was when AFFA was formed and they started to play games more officially as their own team. Azerbaijan was welcomed into FIFA and UEFA three years later and has been part of the qualifying process for every tournament run by them since the European Championships in 1996.

Baku National Stadium was built to replace the Azerbaijan national side’s previous home, the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium. Named after the linesman who awarded England the goal in the 1966 FIFA World Cup final, that stadium's still used for Azerbaijan games on occasion, with the newer ground seen more as a stadium for the whole country. That is reflected in the fact that it was used to host the European games in 2015, as well as Qarabag's Champions League games whenever they qualify for the competition, though they normally play elsewhere. It will also be one of the venues for the European Championships in 2020 when they are held in numerous locations across the continent.

Stats

Baku National Stadium Stats
Year Opened2015
Capacity69,870
Average Attendance38,000
Record Attendance55,000 (Azerbaijan v Norway (2016))
Pitch Size105 x 68 (7140)
Former NameBaku Olympic Stadium
OwnerAssociation of Football Federations of Azerbaijan
Clubs HostedAzerbaijan national football team
First FixtureAzerbaijan v Moldova (17/11/15)
Qarabag FK Stats
Year Founded1951
NicknameAtlılar (The Horsemen)
Previous StadiumsImarat Stadium, Guzanli Olympic Stadium, Tofiq Bahramov Stadium
KitBlack (Home) / White (Away) / Blue & Black (Third)
Shirt SponsorAzersun
Team OwnerIntersun
Record GoalscorerMushfig Huseynov (125)
Record AppearancesMushfig Huseynov (320)
Azerbaijan Stats
Year Founded1912
NicknameMilli
RivalsArmenia
Previous StadiumsTofiq Bahramov Stadium
KitRed (Home) / Blue (Away)
Team OwnerAssociation of Football Federations of Azerbaijan
Record GoalscorerGurban Gurbanov (14)
Record AppearancesRashad Sadygov (104)

Baku National Stadium Photos

Baku National Stadium Seating Plan & Where to Sit

By Eminn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Baku National Stadium is designed in a bowl shape with seats continuing through the arena. That is in keeping with most modern stadiums that have decided to shy away from the more typically ‘English Style’ of having a stand on each edge of the pitch. There are three tiers throughout the stadium apart from alongside both sides of the pitch where there’s a fourth tier. The crowd are separated from the pitch by a running track.

Qarabag FK Ticket Prices

Because Qarabag don’t normally play their games at the Baku National Stadium, ticket prices are changeable. Champions League matches will always be more expensive than Azerbaijani Premier League games, for example. It’s also common for prices to be released late on, so the information we would put here could easily be out of date before we know it.

How To Get Qarabag FK Tickets

You can normally buy tickets at the stadium itself or via the club’s website. Don’t forget, though, that clubs often lack control over ticketing when it comes to competitions like the UEFA Champions League.

Where to Buy

Azerbaijan Ticket Prices

As always with national teams, ticket prices vary depending on the team that the hosts are up against and the competition that the match is for. A friendly game against England, for example, would be less popular and significantly cheaper than a World Cup qualifying match against a team like Armenia, Azerbaijan’s international rivals.

How To Get Azerbaijan Tickets

The Azerbaijan Association of Football Federations is the place to start when it comes to ticket prices. There is a good website where you can get information on individual matches, including ticket prices and where to pick them up from etc.

Where to Buy

Getting To Baku National Stadium

Move Map
Swap Start/End

The Republic of Azerbaijan is right on the edge of Europe and Southwest Asia. In other words, it’s one hell of a trek to get there. Here are some of the methods you might want to consider using for your journey to Baku:

Train - You basically can’t get the train from the UK to Azerbaijan, to be honest. Once in the country, though, you can either get the train to the aptly named ‘Railway Station’ near to the ground or else the Underground to Koroglu station, which is a short walk to the ground.

Bus - Bus numbers 11, 20, 24, 36, 93 and 94 all stop at Milli Stadion, right outside the ground.

Car - If you want to drive then you’ll be looking out for the E50/Р-217 in Azerbaijan as that will take you towards the stadium.

By Air - The closest airport to the city of Baku is Heydar Aliyev International Airport, which is about fifteen miles or so from the centre.

Taxi - A taxi from the city centre out to the stadium will take around ten minutes or so and will cost you about 20 AZN.

Parking Near Baku National Stadium

There is enough parking at the venue for more than 3000 cars, though a number of these spaces are reserved for VIPs. As there is a ‘Green Zone’ around the ground itself we would recommend parking in the centre of Baku and making your way to the stadium on public transport.

Useful Resources

Baku National Stadium Hotels

As the capital of Azerbaijan it’s fair to suggest that there are a number of hotels in the city. Here are some of our favourites:

Opera Hotel - £50+

Ahmad Rajabli 173, Baku, AZ1025, Azerbaijan
The Opera Hotel has a restaurant and lounge area as well as a fitness centre that offers spa services. There’s a conference centre and free Wi-Fi for all guests. There are only 28 rooms here, though, so you’re likely to get a nice, personalised experience. More details.

Astoria Baku Hotel - £60+

Babek Ave 76, Baku, AZ1030, Azerbaijan
The Astoria in Baku has plenty to recommend it. There are four different restaurants, two pools (one indoor and one outdoor) a fitness centre, a full-service spa and a conference centre. There’s also free W-Fi, free parking and a breakfast buffet included in the price of your stay. More details.

Holiday Inn Baku - £80+

Keykab Khanim Safaraliyeva Street 5, Baku, AZ1010
Sometimes when you’re in a foreign place you just want surroundings that you know and understand. That’s where chain hotels come into their own and the Baku member of the Holiday Inn chain has a spa, an indoor pool, a fitness centre, a restaurant and lounge area, a terrace and free Wi-Fi. More details.

Pubs & Bars Near Baku National Stadium

Baku is a strange mix of traditional areas of town combined with richer locations that cater to those who have made their money through the country’s oil. For that reason there are a real mix of bars and restaurants that you might want to visit:

Garage Bar

Sefter Quliyev 7, 7, Bakı, Azerbaijan (+994 12 505 45 05)
This popular bar has Turkish influences and serves delicious food. There’s also a good drinks selection and a really nice atmosphere whatever time of day you head there. Not one for the whole family, perhaps, but worthy visiting if you’re on your own or in a couple.

Overtime Sports Bar

Azerbaijan, Nakhchivani St, Baku (+994 70 855 55 44)
The clue is in the name with this place. A sports bar that shows all of the most popular games including Premier League and Champions League matches. You can get a decent bite to eat here as well as plenty of different drinks. Oh, and it’s located at the stadium itself. Perfect, hey?

Finnegan's

8 Əbdülkərim Əlizadə, Baku, Azerbaijan (+994 12 498 65 64)
Nothing says being in a foreign location quite like an Irish bar. Finnegan’s does top-notch food, all of the drinks you’d expect from an Irish bar including Guinness and there are a few TV screens dotted around the place to show you any interesting live sport from the day.

Facilities

Given that this is the largest stadium in the country and one of the newest anywhere at the time of writing, it would be fair to suggest that the facilities are impressive across the board. You won’t be disappointed by your visit, put it that way.

Hospitality

By Abbaszade656 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There are a number of Skyboxes located in the stadium that are perfect for all of your hospitality needs. The ground was built specifically to meet the requirements set out by UEFA, FIFA and the IAAF. If there’s one thing we know about these organisations it’s that they like their perks, so expect the facilities here to be second to none.

Private Hire

On top of the Skyboxes that are available for small meetings and so on, there’s also a conference hall in the stadium. As you’d guess from the name, this is specifically designed to host conferences and other major events.

Stadium Tours & Museum

There are indeed tours of the stadium. These take in areas such as the changing rooms, the players’ tunnel and the side of the pitch where the dugouts are located. Tours last for an hour and run on weekdays from 12 until 4. The cost is 5 AZN for adults, 2 AZN for concessions and 1 AZN for children up to the age of fifteen.

About Qarabag FK

By Eminn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The club’s full title is Qarabağ Futbol Klubu, though it’s more commonly known as merely Qarabag. The team used to be based in the Agdam region of Azerbaijan but had to leave the area in 1993 due to the Nagorno-Karabakh war. They’ve been based in Baku ever since, normally playing their league games in the Azersun Arena. They move to the Baku National Stadium for Champions League matches, however, so that’s obviously the stadium we’ve focussed this ground on. After all, the majority of English fans will be unlikely to travel to see a Qarabag league game. There’s certainly been long enough to do so, mind, given that the club was formed in 1951. They were one of the founding members of the Azerbaijan Premier League when it was formed back in 1992.

Prior to Azerbaijan gaining independence from the USSR in 1991, Qarabag played its games in the various Soviet leagues and cups. They won the Soviet Second League B in 1990, which kick-started a brief period of success that culminated in claiming the Azerbaijan League title in 1993. The success should have continued, but instead the club nearly went bankrupt and they entered a fallow period until a state-backed company called Intersun took over. The club next won the league in 2014 and this time the success was more sustained. They won it again in 2015, 2016 and 2017. When they beat F.C. Copenhagen in the Champions League play-offs in 2017, they became the first Azerbaijani side to ever reach the competition’s group stage.

About Azerbaijan

By Sefer azeri (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Football started to gain popularity in Azerbaijan in the early part of the 20th century. The country technically played its first international game when representatives of Azerbaijan played against a ‘Sokol’ team in Georgia. At the time, of course, the country was part of the Russian Empire and so was never truly independent enough to play major organised gamed. This continued into Soviet Era Russia when they did play matches in the Trans-Caucasian Championship with other Russian states.

Perhaps Azerbaijani football’s biggest claim to fame is Tofiq Bahramov. He was the linesman - often called ‘Russian - who awarded England the winning goal in the World Cup final in 1966. The independence gained by Azerbaijan from Russia in 1991 meant that the country was allowed to play football in its own right from then onwards. Its first ever international victory came over its old enemy Georgia in 1993. They didn’t win an away match until 2004. They have taken part in the qualification phase of every World Cup and European Championship tournament since Euro ’96 but, at the time of writing, have yet to take part in a major tournament.

Baku National Stadium History

By Interfase (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In many ways, the history of Baku National Stadium is still to be written. It only opened in 2015 and some Azerbaijan games are still held in other locations, such as the national team’s former home the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium. That doesn’t mean that it is not an impressive structure, however. Taking up 225,000-square-metres of space within a larger site of 650,000-square-metres, the stadium can welcome nearly 70,000 people through its doors. Ground was broken for the arena in June of 2011 on the 100th anniversary of the founding of Azerbaijani football, though construction didn’t begin properly until November of 2012. This was because a large amount of faecal matter had to be pumped out of the ground and into a safe area away from the proposed site.

The ground was opened in time to welcome athletes for the 2015 European Games, with the stadium being the location for the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the athletic events. This was the inaugural European Games event and over 6000 athletes from 50 different countries came together to compete in twenty sports. It was something of a taster event for the 2020 European Championships, for which the Baku National Stadium will act as a hosting venue. It is due to host a number of Group Stage matches as well as a one of the quarter-finals for the competition.

Future Developments

By NASA (Photo from NASA satellite) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Given that the stadium only opened in 2015 it’s unlikely to undergo too many changes in the near future. There is a ‘green area’ around the ground that is being developed more and more, however.

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