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James Bond Oilfield

One of the best sights in Baku that travelers for some reason head for or ask for is the James Bond Oil Fields, which were featured in the opening scenes of The World is Not Enough. At Baku's southern limits lies an incredible 'forest' of 1930s nodding-donkey oil-pumps, but hurry to see it before a long-overdue clean-up operation sanitises the whole area.

The fields are very close to Baku city centre, it takes just a short ride of 15 minutes to reach them. They are best visible from the spot where the city’s largest mosque - Bibi Heybat, which was destroyed (not surprisingly) by the Russians and rebuilt recently atop the hill overlooking the oil fields.

Several dozen nodding donkeys pumped oil out of the ground in the field along the Caspian while dozens others were nestled in people’s backyards or along the side of the road. The entire area is alive with up and down movements everywhere you looked. The site, however, sounds cooler than it actually is because you are not permitted to go anywhere near any of them, and can only look down on the chaos from atop a rather tall hill.

Baku is no stranger to oil plots. The most serious real-life threat came in 1942, when Adolf Hitler plotted to capture Baku, convinced that if he succeeded, Germany would win the war. Hitler had even identified the date of attack-September 25, 1942. At that time Baku was the cradle of the Soviet oil industry and was producing 72 percent of the oil that the Soviets were using in the war effort. Fortunately, the defeat of the German army at Stalingrad shattered Hitler's dream.

The one-week shoot in Azerbaijan took place in early April 1999. Both Brosnan and his co-star Sophie Marceau flew to Baku on private jets. Even though very few Baku residents knew the two celebrities were in town, security was very tight throughout their stay-a typical precaution when famous stars are on location any place in the world. For instance, they booked rooms at three hotels, but only stayed at one. Both stars had round-the-clock personal bodyguards.