BAKU, Azerbaijan, March 3
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received in a video format Shahın Seyidzade due to his appointment as Chairman of the Board of Icharishahar State Historical and Architectural Reserve.
The head of state made a speech at the video meeting.
Speech of President Ilham Aliyev: You are being appointed as Chairman of the Board of the Icharishahar State Historical and Architectural Reserve today. Great confidence is being placed in you, and I am sure that you will live up to it, understand your responsibility and justify this confidence with your work.
Icharishahar is our national treasure, a remarkable monument of the world’s architectural history and a vivid example of the talent of the Azerbaijani people. For centuries, the people of Azerbaijan have protected Icharishahar and its historical monuments, and will continue to do so for centuries to come. Every street, every intersection, every stone of Icharishahar is precious and has historical significance. The fortress walls, the Maiden Tower, the Palace of Shirvanshahs, mosques, caravanserais, museums and other historical site are a great source of pride for us. There is no place like Icharishahar elsewhere in the world. True, there are old cities in several countries around the world, and I have been to some of them, but I can say with full confidence that there is no place like Icharishahar elsewhere in the world. It is our historical heritage, we must protect Icharishahar like the apple of our eye, and I am sure that you realize this responsibility.
Icharishahar is the heart of Baku. It is impossible to imagine Baku without Icharishahar. However, from the point of view of administrative division, a special management mechanism, a department was established in Icharishahar by my Order a few years ago. From the administrative point of view, Icharishahar is an independent administrative unit, but it is a part of Baku. It is no secret that Baku is a beautiful city, and every foreign visitor to Baku admires the city. I am sure that all foreign visitors, especially those coming to Baku for the first time, definitely visit Icharishahar, get acquainted with the Icharishahar and its sites, and see again that the Azerbaijani people are a great people, an ancient people, a talented people. Only a great and talented nation can create such a magnificent and world-famous monument. I want to say again that every part of Icharishahar is important. At the same time, Icharishahar is not just an open-air museum. People live in Icharishahar. They have lived there for centuries. We all know that it was in Icharishahar that the foundation of Baku was laid. In ancient times, there were no buildings outside the walls of the fortress. People still live in Icharishahar today and, of course, great work is being done and will continue to be done for their comfort. At the same time, I want to say again that Icharishahar is a very attractive place for the residents of Baku, all Azerbaijani citizens and foreign visitors, which is why there is a huge influx of people to Icharishahar every day. Taking all this into account, work should be organized in such a way that the people living there do not suffer. At the same time, necessary conditions should be created for tourists and visitors. A great deal of work has been done in this direction in recent years. I personally monitor the protection of the historical image of Icharishahar, and I am confident that under your leadership, the Department will successfully fulfill the new tasks ahead. Icharishahar should and will live forever. Both we and our future generations will be rightfully proud of Icharishahar.
On the whole, the architectural ensemble of Baku is quite unique. The geographical location of the city, its location on the shores of the Caspian Sea, as well as the presence of ancient monuments, historical sites and modern architectural buildings create a special aura in Baku. I am sure that every visitor can see a unity between antiquity and modernity in Baku. Baku is developing and growing, and special attention has been recently paid to architectural issues in Baku. There was a time when ugly and awkward buildings were constructed throughout Baku. These awkward buildings do not meet any architectural norms and standards and have, unfortunately, changed the face of some parts of Baku for the worse. However, serious control has recently been introduced over these issues. All these issues are regulated by the state, and the number of unauthorized and illegal constructions has significantly decreased. There are still such cases, so I want to warn all agencies, government agencies and entrepreneurs that this will not be allowed. I appeal specifically to entrepreneurs – the pursuit of profit does not mean that we should spoil our unique city with such ugly-looking buildings. We will not allow this. Illegal construction must be stopped. All bodies exercising control over this issue must take this matter very seriously – the Baku City Executive Authority and heads of executive authority of the districts of Baku. I am confident that from now on Baku will develop on the basis of a single architectural concept.
However, I repeat that as a result of the measures taken recently, the architectural ensemble of Baku has become much healthier. I want to say again today that Baku is a unique city, one of the most beautiful cities of the world. Everyone says that Baku is the most beautiful city in the world to them. We all love Baku, we must protect Baku, and I repeat, the city must develop, but in a planned manner. Modern architecture should not disrupt the antiquity of Baku, its historical appearance. These two important factors should not contradict each other. On the contrary, antiquity and modernity, the special aura of Baku, must be preserved, and I am confident that we will achieve this.
Therefore, the principles of development and governance of Baku are different from those of other cities. As I mentioned, the “Icharishahar” State Historical and Architectural Reserve and the Boulevard Department have been established by my Order. The boulevard is also a part of Baku, but it is a separate administrative unit. Why? Because the boulevard is also our national treasure. Some Azerbaijani citizens, especially young people, probably don’t remember this and did not see what the boulevard was like 10-15 years ago – dark, untidy and not in a state the city could be proud of. We have now increased the length of the boulevard five times. Every part of the boulevard is now clean and tidy. Why? Because a special department has been established, and its sole responsibility is to maintain the boulevard, to make sure it is clean and operates as a living organism. In other words, Baku has a special management mechanism created by my orders – Baku, Icharishahar and Boulevard. There are three institutions. Of course, there are and should be business contacts between these three institutions, and they should be strengthened. Because someone walking in Icharishahar – either a local citizen or a visitor – will see a whole new Baku, a modern Baku leaving this ancient place and crossing into the boulevard. These factors are very important. Therefore, of course, you must be in close contact with these two institutions in your work, and they should be in close contact with you. Because every single part of Baku is native and dear to us. I am sure that Baku will become an even more beautiful city. The new buildings in Baku – whether residential, public, commercial or catering – must meet the highest architectural standards. Government agencies should exercise control over this process so that Baku can only become more beautiful.
I want to say again that you have great responsibilities. I want to say again that Icharishahar is our national treasure. We must and will protect this treasure. I wish you success in your work.
Shahin Seyidzade: Mr. President, thank you for your confidence.