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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Return of the Prodigal Son

Photo by Aziz Karimov
Azerbaijan's first President Ayaz Mutallibov returns from 19-year exile to attend the funeral of his son who died from cancer. Deposed in a coup by the Popular Front in 1992, he was living in Moscow and couldn't return to Azerbaijan because of a criminal case opened against him and inherited by all consecutive governments. In order to attend the funeral, he was granted special immunity by President Ilham Aliyev.

Monday, August 01, 2011

More historic buildings being destroyed in downtown Baku - PHOTOS

This small mansion could decorate any back streets in any European capitals,
but someone decided it is not fit for their vision of new Baku
Almost a year has passed since the city authorities evicted residents from a historic neighborhood between Fuzuli and Badalbayli streets in Baku and razed it to the ground.

Located on the edge of Baku's historic Jewish quarter, the area was known as Basin [BAH-sin] and its loss was a huge cultural and urban tragedy for Baku.

As for architectural losses, Fuzuli street lost the House No 58 - a solid structure with a character; and 11 historic monuments were razed in Badalbayli street, including Melikov mansion, a slim structure with a grace.

Speaking in a language of metaphors, if the House No 58 was a rough and coarse oil magnate of XIX century Baku, Melikov mansion was a coquettish mademoiselle walking along the city promenade every evening.

However, the modern Vandals haven't finished their work yet. Without much scandal, they have now started to demolish the other side of the Badalbayli street - which wasn't in the initial plan. I wouldn't have noticed it myself, if one day I hadn't spotted empty windows in a mansion that I had been previously thinking as safe.

I have taken some photos from the area and post them here. Unfortunately, those structures in the photos will be gone in upcoming months.

Typical buildings in the area - not masterpieces, but historic monuments

Some parts of the area have already been demolished
The house of Leyla Yunus, a veteran human rights activist. She wrote on her wall:
"Leyla Yunus' house is protected by the laws of Azerbaijan Republic."