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Arabic sources refer to the city as Baku, Bakukh, Bakuya, and Bakuye, all of which seem to come from a Persian name.
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.
Baku was the realm of the Shirvanshahs during the 8th century CE.
The city frequently came under assault of the Khazars and (starting from the 10th century) the Rus.
The city walls of Baku were also rebuilt and strengthened.
These have led some to suggest the existence of a Bronze Age settlement within the city's territory.
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.
In recent years, Baku has become an important venue for international events.
It hosted the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in 2012, the 2015 European Games, the 2016 European Grand Prix, 4th Islamic Solidarity Games and Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 2017, and will host UEFA Euro 2020.