Nakhchivan: A Cradle Of Azerbaijan’s History – OpEd


The visits in the Museum of Heydar Aliyev in the center of Nakhchivan city, at the Monument of Koroghlu, Monument of Babek and the Zaviya Madrasa Building, were the highlight of my visit in the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan in early October, 2014.

The museum of Heydar Aliyev was inaugurated on May 10th, 1999; it contains a breathtaking collection of the childhood years, youth and of the family of Azerbaijan’s National Leader, Heydar Aliyev. In the main collection of the museum there are is an extensive collection of paintings, government documents and signed letters and resolutions by Heydar Aliyev. I was impressed to see in the stands of the museum the original copies of the agreements signed with the Republic of Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The museum has an informative collection of letters and requests that citizens of Azerbaijan have sent to the national leader of Azerbaijan during the period of 1991-1993, when Heydar Aliyev worked as the Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

In this museum are perfectly preserved the personal belongings of Heydar Aliyev, such as office supplies and paperwork that he used every day. At the main hall of the museum is viewed a tapestry with the image of Heydar Aliyev with a military uniform was truly remarkable, it contained vivid color which made it look so awe-inspiring. According to Ambassador Manuel Rodríguez Cuadros, a Former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Peru in 2003-2005, who had joined me in this memorable visit: “the Museum of the family, life and public service of Heydar Aliyev has an impactful architecture, with a very well organized collection and the statue of Heydar Aliyev, sitting in front of the Museum is inspirational, moving, and an example of perfectionism in the Azerbaijani School of Art and Sculpture.”

In the Museum there are exhibited over 2,380 items, in the library of the institution there is a wide range of journals, albums and books, that greatly reflect the life and activities of Heydar Aliyev.

Together with Ambassador Rodríguez Cuadros, I had the privilege to visit the Monument of Koroghlu. This marvelous piece of sculpture was constructed in 1988; Koroghlu square is located by Aziz Aliyev Street, in the City of Nakhchivan. The lively statue of Koroghlu has been erected in this square and demonstrates once again the visionary culture of the Nakhchivani people that is rooted in sculpture, landscape paintings and carpet weaving artistic styles.

Nakhchivan is also home of the Carpet Museum which was established in 1998. This museum welcomes over ten thousand visitors a year and has a collection of over 3,700 exhibits, including 310 carpets that are displayed in the museum (piled and unpiled kilim, sumax, varni, shadda, palaz, cecim and others). Visitors will also find carpet wares such as mafrash, heybe, chanta, torba, khurjun, orken. The carpets belong to the XVIII and XIX centuries; they are genuine samples of Ganja-Gazakh, Guba-Shirvan, Garabagh, Tebriz-Nakhchivan carpet weaving schools. I was also able to observe household utensils, copper trays, pottery and porcelain table ware, and ancient national dresses were preserved in the premises of the Museum. On March 19, 2010, the Museum had moved into a newly reconstructed building.

The Monument of Babek is located at the intersection of Aligulu Gamkusar Street and Alinja District, in front of the Railway Station, in the square called Babek Square since 1989. The rising statue of folk hero Babek was erected by sculptor E. Jafarov, a highly honored Artist of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. In the square there is also located a park for railway workers, household, catering and commercial service facilities.

After observing the sculptural characteristics of Nakhchivan School of Art at the Monument of Babek, together with other distinguished dignitaries from Latin America and Europe, we decided to have lunch at the Nagshijahan Hotel and Restaurant located at the Village of Shakarabad in Babek district. Nagshijahan is in the shores of Nakhchivan River; the restaurant has two big halls with 200 and 140 guest sitting capacity, respectively and is well known regionally for making the best traditional and typical food of Nakhchivan. On this occasion we had for the first time: Sogan Dolmasi (just like it is served in the Kengerli Region with onions from Garabaglar); Arzuman kuftesi (with dried apricots, plums, roasted in oil, walnut kernel, finely cut onions and coriander that are toasted separately) and a stuffing that is prepared for chicken, beef and chicken meat with vegetables is prepared and boiled for thirty minutes.

Our next day’s destination was the Zaviya Madrasa Building. It is a historical – architectural monument in the city of Nakhchivan. The architectural appearance, structure and composition of the building are peculiar to the rich traditions of Nakhchivan architectural school of the XVII-XVIII centuries. During the Government of Talibov Vasif Usif oglu, this building with uncharacteristic architectural aspects of Azerbaijani Architecture and Civil Engineering values of Nakhchivan, was extensively renovated in the recent years.

Afterwards we visited the Nakhchivan State Art Gallery which was established in 1982. The Paintings of distinguished Azerbaijani Artists are preserved and displayed in this Museum which according to international art critics has an importance of Global proportions. In the galleries of the Nakhchivan State Art Gallery are located more than 400 paintings, portrait and graphic works done by Bahruz Kangarli, the founder of the realist painting school of Azerbaijan.

According to Ambassador Rodríguez Cuadros: the paintings of Shamil Gaziyev [displayed in this museum] have a special importance as they embody the natural beauty of Azerbaijan and the cultural traditions that are deeply engraved in the social emancipation of the people of Nakhchivan.” Other painters that are present with their works at the Museum are: Mikail Abdullaev, Maral Rahmanzade, Huseingulu Aliyev, Shamil Gaziyev, Sabir Gadimov, Sayyad Bayramov, Ulviyya Hamzayeva and other internationally renowned painters of Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan.

Cultural initiatives and strategic Tourism projects have received a special priority and impetus by the Autonomous Government of Nakhchivan, it is admirable and comforting to see that a tremendous progress of these areas is taking place thanks to the leadership of Mr. Talibov Vasif Usif oglu and his team. Nakhchivan is a region that always attracts young generation of tourists and those who once have visited this region always look forward to come back and enjoy the beauty of nature and cherish the genuine artistic and architectural centuries old tradition of Nakhchivan, the cradle of culture and visual art in the crossroads of Eurasia.

Peter Tase

Peter Tase is a freelance writer and journalist of International Relations, Latin American and Southern Caucasus current affairs. He is the author of America's first book published on the historical and archeological treasures of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan (Republic of Azerbaijan); has authored and published four books on the Foreign Policy and current economic – political events of the Government of Azerbaijan. Tase has written about International Relations for Eurasia Review Journal since June 2012.

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