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Azerbaijan honeymoon

Unlimited natural resources and centuries-old culture

 Today, we would like to talk about a miraculous country of Azerbaijan with its unlimited natural resources, centuries-old culture, history and ancient people, whose lifestyle presents a unique and harmonious combination of the traditions and ceremonies of different cultures and civilizations.

Azerbaijan is a geographical name. On the one hand this name is linked with the population, which lived in this region for thousands of years before our era, and who were mostly fire-worshippers. Local population considered that fire was their God and so they worshipped the fire. "Azer" means fire. The Turkic name "Azer" was used for this territory for a long time. The word "Azer" consists of two parts - "az" and "er". In Turkic languages, "az" means a good intention and a fate of success. Thus, the word "Azer" means "a brave man", "a brave boy", "the fire keeper". The word "Azerbaijan" originates from the name of an ancient Turkish tribe, who resided in those territories.

Azerbaijan is one of the most ancient sites of humankind. The humankind was present here at every stage of their historical development. There were living settlements in Azerbaijan even at the earliest stages of humankind. Azerbaijan made its own contribution into the establishment of the current culture and civilization, progress and dialectics.

 The time kept a range of ancient archeological and architectural monuments for us. The ancient headstones, manuscripts and models of carpets, preserved to the present times from the ancient ages, can provide much information to those who can and want to read them. If you wish to understand Azerbaijan and to know everything about it, you need to look at this country and its people with a friend's eyes.

Azerbaijan is a country of ancient culture. The Oguz tribes which moved here and stayed for ages, have found a deeply rooted culture and in their turn enriched it with Turkic national traditions. The talented and creative powers of our nation are personified in such epic monuments as "Kitabi-Dede Gorgud", "Oguzname" "Keroglu" and many others.

This fertile, generous and friendly land was the home of many thinkers, philosophers, scientists, poets, architects, musicians and artists. A legend tells that Zardusht was born in this land. Azerbaijan also enriched the humankind with such geniuses as Nizami Ganjevi, Hagani Shirvani, Bahmanyar, Nasimi, Fizuli, Nasreddin Tusi, Shah Ismail Xatai, Mullah Paneh Vagif, A. Bakikhanov, M.F. Axudov, M.A. Sabir, J.Mamedguluzade, Huseyn Javid, J.Jabarli, Samed Vurgun, Aliaga Vahid, Rasul Rza.

 The country of Azerbaijan was immortalized by such talented painters as Sattar Bahlulzade, Tahir Salahov, Togrul Narimanbeyov, Mikayil Abdullayev and many others.

Our national music - mugam - inspired such outstanding composers as Uzeyir Hajibeyov, Muslim Magomayev, Gara Garayev, Fikret Amirov, Niyazi, Arif Melikov and others to create their masterpieces, which are still known today throughout the world. It also gave the inspiration to such wonderful vocalists as Bulbul and Rashid Behbudov.

It seems that the famous Azerbaijan carpets are the incarnation of all colors of nature and of all signs of history. Today, these carpets magically pass the borders of time and space and travel from Azerbaijan to foreign countries far away.

The models of the decorative art made by Azerbaijan craftsmen from the metal, ceramic, silk and woods are kept in many museums of the world.

 The science and the enlightenment in Azerbaijan have a centuries-old history. The Baku State University was founded in 1919; the institutes of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan play an exceptional role in scientific, educational and cultural development of Azerbaijan. Local scientists are currently studying such important issues as the depths of the Caspian Sea, space exploration and the secrets of human brain.

The existing educational system of Azerbaijan is made up of dozens of higher educational institutions and technical schools, thousands of high schools, colleges and lyceums.

One of the most important problems which is currently solved by local scientists is environmental protection of the Caspian Sea and different regions of Azerbaijan. Such natural reserves as Gizilagach, Shirvan, Zagatala, Aggol, Girkan and others, were established due to the efforts of Azerbaijani scientists.

Through the decades, the local industry was successfully represented by oil producing, petrochemical and oil processing enterprises. The agricultural industry is famous for cotton-growing, viticulture, vegetable-growing and cattle-breeding.

If one compares the economy of Azerbaijan with a living body, it becomes evident that oil flows in the veins of Azerbaijan. The oil and gas resources of Azerbaijan have made this place famous in every part of the world from the ancient times.

Azerbaijan has always been famous for its sources of eternal fires - the atashgehs. There is a place called Yanardag (blazing mountain) in Absheron and thermal springs in some parts of Nakhichivan, Kelbejar, Masali, Lenkoran, Babadag.

In Surakhani, there is an eternal fire place. From the ancient times the fire worshippers from remote places and even the Indian priests were coming to Absheron in search of fire and finding it here. They built their main temples here in Surakhani and Ateshgah.

 The word Azerbaijan brings its main wealth - oil - before the eyes. Oil is not only the wealth, but the fame as well. People were coming to Azerbaijan from distant places for this specific taste and colored puddle under the ground. Throughout the centuries, camelcades carried waterskins of oil in both eastern and western directions. The Azerbaijani oil is not used exclusively for the electricity production, but also as a valuable medicine for a variety of diseases. There has been an increasing demand for oil throughout the centuries.

From the beginning of the 20th century, the continuous industrial development around the world, caused an unprecedented growth of the demand for oil. It was at this time oil turned from an everyday mean into an industrial product. Oil became the most important problem in the world in the 20th century - the century of science and technologies. Oil-producing countries have acquired special oil policies and oil strategies in this connection.

Azerbaijan is currently involved into the implementation of huge energy projects. Oil and gas projects are successfully implemented in the Azeri Caspian sector. Azerbaijan is a country, which plays an extremely important role in the Caspian and Caucasian regions, particularly in the development of transport infrastructure in the Caucasus and the implementation of energy projects. It was the region's first country to explore the huge energy potential, to form an absolutely new economic model in the regional development, and to expand political and economic relations between Europe and Asia.

In spite of the sad results of Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan (Armenia occupied the territory of Nagorny Karabakh and 7 neighboring districts. One million out of total population of eight million are refugees), our country mobilized its potential and had great successes in building democracy. Azerbaijan manages to successfully overcome the difficulties and continues making important and firm steps towards t he establishment of a democratic and lawful country with civil society.

Azerbaijan has membership in the United Nations (UN), Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Council of Europe (CE), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), GUUAM, Organization of Islamic Conference, Black Sea Economic Collaboration (BSEC), Organization of Economic Cooperation (OEC). Azerbaijan also actively cooperates with the European Union, NATO, International Monetary Fond, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Islamic Development Bank and other organizations. It accedes to the new joint documents and international agreements.

History of culture

 One of the world's most ancient nations - the nation of Azerbaijan - has the right to feel proud of its history, material and cultural monuments, literature, arts and music heritage.

Wonderful nature, climate, natural resources of the country produced a significant impact on artistic thinking and creation skills of Azerbaijani people as well. In spite of a long and difficult way undergone by different types of arts in Azerbaijan, they still represent a unity and provide outstanding opportunities for the creation of a full idea of fine arts of Azerbaijan. The folk arts of Azerbaijan are multi-colored, complete and rich, as its natural resources. The folk art is connected with daily life of people and daily life occupies a very special life in the fine arts as well. Folk arts cover a long period from ancient times to nowadays and including a variety of products from garments to housing goods and decoration.

Quite obviously, the style of life, aesthetic tastes, the national image and qualities, are strongly reflected in folk arts. One can easily come across numerous wonderful models of Azerbaijani folk arts in the world's largest museums. The pieces of arts created by the skillful hands of Tabriz, Nakhichevan, Gandja, Gazakh, Guba, Naku, Shaki, Shamakhi and Nagorny Kharabakh can be found in large museum collections of the Victoria and Albert in London, Louvre in Paris, Metropolitan in Washington and Vienna, Rome, Berlin, Istanbul, Tehran, Cairo museums.

The history of folk arts in Azerbaijan has a long and interesting history. Works of art made from metal extracted from Nakhichevan, Migachevir, Gadanay, Gandja and other places are approximately 5,000 years old. Crockery, weapons and adornments found here are not historical facts alone, but valuable sources which testify the skills of the master.

 Material and cultural models, found during archeological excavations in the territory of Azerbaijan, testify that our ancestors made crockery, daggers, axes, belts and adornments of bronze and used them in daily life. This proves the ancient age of such types of activity as copper-smithy and gold smithy.

There are those with portrayals, showing traditions, religious ideas and even garments of people of that epoch among art patterns made from metal. History, of ethnographical and artistic features of folk art are reflected on the garments. These features are reflected both on garments of certain form and its adornments and fine needle-work, knitting.

Bronze needles and awls from the beginning of the bronze epoch (3rd millennium B.C ) were found during archeological excavations in Azerbaijan as well. These findings prove that the ancient population of Azerbaijan could sue clothes for themselves. Little clay statues founded from Kultapa and Mingachevir (3rd millennium B.C) and seals of the 5th century B.C found in Mingachevir provided opportunities to have a certain idea of garments of that time. Clothing remnants sued from different silk materials are found in Mingachevir catacombs of 5th and 6th centuries B.C. Number of adornments (3rd and 4th century B.C), made of gold, and clay crock of foot-gear form are well-grounded evidences, proving old high material culture of Azerbaijanis.

Different pictures, scraped on housing implements made from copper, bronze, gold and adornments, prove the existence of fine art in Azerbaijan since ancient times.

 Horse-cloth with flowers on clay figure of horse (2nd millennium B.C.), found in Maku in South Azerbaijan, golden basin with picture of line (1st millennium B.C), found in Hasanli hill near the Urmiya lake, and other findings show the ancient history of carpet-making, one of the branches of folk art in Azerbaijan.

Remains of palaz (a kind of carpet without pile) and carpet of 1st and 3rd centuries discovered during archeological dig in Mingachevir.

According to archeological dig and written sources Azerbaijan people has been occupying with carpet-making since bronze epoch ( late 2nd millennium - early 1st millennium). Heorodot, Klavdi Elian, Ksenofont and other world historians wrote about carpet-making development in Azerbaijan.

 Carpets, weaved by separate carpet-making schools of Azerbaijan (Guba, Baku, Shirvan, Gandja, Gazakh, Nagorny Karabakh, Tabriz) in different periods, amaze people till nowadays. Most of them kept in well-known museums of the world.

Gobustan rock pictures, pictures, belonged to the early of bronze epoch (3rd millennium B.C) in Aychingilli and Parichingil mountains near the Zalkha lake in Kalbacar region, rock pictures in the Gamigaya mountains in the north of Ordubad town have exception importance among the most old patterns of fine art. Pictures about ancient people's mode of life, welfare, labor, carved in the Gobustan rockeries, represent special interest. Different subjects, scenes on hunting, cattle breeding, planting and other branches of household, human and animal pictures were carved in dynamic way. The Gobustan rock pictures - pictograms cover multi-centuries old history from primitive communal order to feudalism.

 Azerbaijan was rich of architectural pieces one of branches of folk art along with works of fine art since ancient times. Maiden tower and Shirvanshahs palace in Baku, Momina Xatun and Yusif ibn Kuseyr mausoleums, created by architect Acami in Nakhichevan, Natavan's home, pictures on walls of Shaki khan palace and other patterns are rare pearls of architecture.

Picture of people, dancing Yalli, represents special interest among the Gobustan rock pictures. This picture testifies Azerbaijan people's interest in music since ancient times.

Motherland of Azerbaijan people possessed rich musical and cultural heritage is famous as Land of flames.

Azerbaijan music, enriching world musical culture with its rare pearls, has multi-centuries old traditions. Creators of folk music, handed over these traditions to generations, have great role in development of Azerbaijan music.

 Folk songs, dances, ashug creation (folk poet and singer) have specific place in Azerbaijan national music.

Mugams are foundation of Azerbaijan national music. It is not accidental that UNESCO, specialized organization of UN, entered Azerbaijan mugam into the list of world cultural heritage.

Our national music has been developing along with literature since ancient times. For instance, mugam developed along with with Eastern poesy. Thus, singers, performed mugam, recited ghazals (a kind of poem) by Azerbaijan well-known poets as Nizami, Khagani, Fuzuli, Nasimi. Poetic forms of national poesy like Garayli, divani, tadjnis along with goshma, mukhammas, ustadnama, gafilband are ashugs' favor forms.

Works of art, created by classics and contemporaries, take honorable place in world cultural treasure. Works by M.F.Akhundov, N.Vazirov, M.S.Ordubadi, G.Zakir, M.A.Sabir, J.Mammadguluzade, M.P.Vagif, M.V.Vidadi and other poets and writers hasn't lost their aesthetic importance.

One of the art kinds, related with Azerbaijan literature, is theatre. The roots of Azerbaijan theatre art related with people's activity, mode of life, solemn and wedding traditions, range of vision. Elements of spectacle in rites, ceremonies and games took important role in popular theatre. It was realistic and related with working categories. Repertoire of popular theatre consisted of short spectacles of ethic content. Popular theatre played important part in establishment of Azerbaijan professional theatre.

Roots of theatre art, dated to old times, started with spectacles "Vizier of Lankaran khanate" and "Hadji Gara" by M.F.Akhundov, staged in Baku in March and April 1973.

Repertoire of Azerbaijan theatre, passed difficult way of development, has been enriched now. Different spectacles, amazing spectators, are staged in Academic National Dramatic Theatre, Municipal Theatre, Pantomime Theatre, Theatre of Young Spectators and etc.

Cinematography, one of the most interesting and popular art forms of our time, penetrates into people's life and becomes an integral part of it. National cinematography opens bottoms of human heart and new live horizons. It gained great experience year-by-year and created number of different works, reflecting our people's life and problems. These films were kept for future generations and became people's spiritual knowledge.

Azerbaijan fine art is old and rich as history of our people. Research of theatre, cinema, music and folk art, passed long and difficult way of development, proves high cultural heritage of Azerbaijan people. Culture and fine art workers of Azerbaijan always make efforts to spread our culture to world and has achieved it partly. Entering of Azerbaijan mugam into world cultural heritage by UNESCO, rewarding of well-known film master R.Ibrahimbayov, screenwriter and producer by "Oscar" and keeping of manual works and carpets, made by popular masters in famous museums of the world are obvious proves.

Historical monuments

 The ancient city of Baku has numerous historical and architectural monuments dating to various historical epochs.

The Old City of Icheri Sheher occupies 22 hectares in the center of Baku. It hosts over 50 historical and architectural monuments from various eras. The Palace of Shirvanshakhs, the Maiden Tower and Synyg Gala (The Broken Tower) are among the monuments which survived till present day. The Palace of Shirvanshakhs is one of the pearls of Azerbaijani architecture. It was built in the beginning of the 15th century. It includes a historical complex, the palace, a divankhana, the Shirvanshah's room, a palace mosque with minarets, bath house, a room of Seyid Yahya Bakuvi, and the Western divankhana monuments, which were built during a later stage. The complex construction began in 1441, while the Western divankhana was completed by architect Amirshah in 1558.


 Azerbaijan's unique architectural monument - the Maiden Tower - is located in the south-western part of the Icheri Sheher. The tower was built in two stages. Its bottom part with a height of 13.7 meters is dated by most experts to the 7th - 6th centuries BC. The Maiden Tower has a total height of 29.7 meters, with a diameter of 16.5 meters. The wall thickness in the bottom part is 5 meters, reducing to 4 meters at the top. The tower consists of 8 tiers and has a 21 meter deep water well.

Another interesting sight in Baku is the Ateshgah temple, situated in south-western part of the Surakhani settlement in the Absheron peninsula, 30 km away from Baku. Ateshgah is a fire temple, built in the XVII-XVIII centuries. The temple's central stone shrine is located on a natural gas pocket. The present structure was built approximately in 1713 AD, and the building of the central stone shrine was funded by merchant Kanchanagaran in 1810.

 One of the most ancient and exciting monuments of Baku is Gobustan, famous around the world for its rock carvings. It has numerous rock carvings, camps, dwelling places, tomb monuments and other sights of the stone period. Gobustan is located in the Boyukdash, Kichikdash, Yindirdag, Sondardag and Shixgaya mountains. The monuments dating from the mesolite to middle ages, can be found in the territory of Boyukdash.

Besides, there are two ancient towers in the Mardakan settlement of Baku. The one with a quadrangular form was built in the 12th century by Akhsitan, the son of Shirvanshah Mechehrin. This tower was erected on occasion of Akhsitan's victory over his enemies. The tower has a height of 22 meters. The wall thickness in the bottom part is 2.60 meters, reducing to 1.60 meters at the top. The insides of the tower are divided into five tiers. The second tower has a rounded shape and is known as Shih Tower among the local population. This tower has a height of 12.5 meters. Its inner part consists of 3 circles. The inscription on the tower wall reads that it was built by the architect Abdulmejid Masud in 1232.

Source: azerbaijan.tourism.az

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