Finding Kazakhstan in the Caucuses
If you are looking for the Kazakhstan Embassy in Tbilisi or Baku, please read this posting. Most people will never have the pleasure of doing so, but we thought it necessary to help nevertheless – to save you a day and many taxi fares. Headed east across Asia from Trabzon, Turkey, we thought it would be a good idea to get our visas for Kazakhstan in Tbilisi before attempting the unpredictable crossing of the Caspian. There is an address for the Kazakh Embassy in Tbilisi in the Lonely Planet, on the Kazakhstan website and in local tourist literature. The address is listed as 27 Orbeliani Street. If you ask enough people in Tbilisi for Orbeliani Street, you will undoubtedly find it eventually, a block or two from the flower market. The building listed as the Kazakh Embassy is condemned at best – I’ll post a picture when I figure out how.
The “27 Orbeliani Street” sign is shiny and new, but there is clearly no Kazakh Embassy there. We asked the guard at the US Embassy down the road (reliably, the building with the highest fences in town) where the Kazakh Embassy might be. He pointed us to a totally different neighborhood, up the hill from Chavchavadze Ave. at 23 Shatberashvili Street.
Unless you have a meeting with the ambassador though, don’t go to Shatberashvili Street because this is an official residence. We rang the doorbell enough to get his family to open the door to us. They were very nice to us inspite of ourselves and gave us the address for the Kazakh Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan where we were headed next.
After the overnight train ride from Tbilisi to Baku, where the cars are like frat houses but with cheaper vodka, we made our way to the Kazakh Embassy in Baku. We found the building at the provided address on Hasan Aliyev Street in a similar state as the one we found on Orbeliani Street. A sign was posted on the gate saying that the Embassy had been moved to another address- Hasan Aliyev Passage 15, 8. After about half an hour driving around in a cab, we gave up, left our driver a 5 and proceeded on foot to find the right directions. We got new directions and jumped in a new cab, who took us back to the old Embassy. Our new driver proceeded to ask every person that passed where the Embassy was, and eventually we arrived at the Kazakh Embassy in Baku. The staff was very friendly and had our visas ready for us the same day for $20.
Giving directions to the Hasan Aliyev Passage is difficult since there are no signs for the street. It is off the Hasan Aliyev Street about 2 kilometers from the old Embassy away from the inner city of Baku. Driving away from the inner city, it is on the left up a small hill. If you pass a Camal Market, a few furniture stores and a bus stop for the 315 bus, you are getting warm. The turn is across the street from a strange blue/purple colored building. Once you get onto Hasan Aliyev Passage, follow the instructions below.
Drive into Hasan Aliyev Passage. Drive down it and make a right at the t-junction. As you go straight, you will pass a road on your left, do not turn on it – continue straight and up a slight rise as the road turns to the left. Continue straight past two more streets on your left until you reach a t-junction. The Jordanian Embassy should be in front of you. Make a left here. Drive straight past a street on your left. Make the next left (there should be a small blue sign indicating the direction of the Kazakh Embassy) and drive straight until you get to the Kazakh Embassy – it should be on your left and has a small blue sign on it. The streets are small alleys, some of which are not paved, so have faith and good luck.