Icheri Sheher historical reserve prepares new extensive tourism programs as part of Eurovision 2012(PHOTO)

Icheri Sheher historical reserve prepares new extensive tourism programs
as part of Eurovision 2012(PHOTO)

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 21 / Trend S.Aghayeva /

A range of art exhibitions and number of cultural activities is planned to be organised as a part of the Eurovision 2012 contest in Icheri Sheher, the Director of Administration of Historical and Architectural Reserve Icheri Sheher, Mikail Jabbarov, told in an interview with Trend.

He stated that Icheri Sheher with its cultural and historical monuments is the favorite destination for growing number of foreign tourists.

Now the activities of the administration of the old city are targeting both preservation of the historical heritage and creation of tourism infrastructure, meeting the highest international standards.

"Icheri Sheher has been organising a number of art events within last years; and as a part of preparation program for Eurovision 2012, we have increased our activities to accommodate high demand from the tourists. Starting as of May 20th to May 25th from 12:00 to 20:00 on a daily basis we will be presenting traditional "Meydan Bazari" event in front of the Gosha Gala gates. This popular happening is hosting craftsmen from all over the country. It is indeed a great holiday where tourists can not only watch and buy the local crafts but watch the production process. We have also specially allocated new working hours for all the museums, which are subordinate to the Administration of Historical and Architectural Reserve. And now they are working starting from 09:00 until 21:00. Three additional information points have been recently opened," Jabbarov noted.

The director of administration told that on the eve of Eurovision Icheri Sheher is launching a new project called "Ask me". Local and foreign volunteers will be in the streets of Icheri Sheher, recognised with their Eurovision T-shirts and will provide tourists with any necessary information on the city, history, guidance etc. The most interesting feature of the project is that foreign volunteers are involved in this project, those, who have been living in Azerbaijan for some time and are familiar with the culture and history of the country.

"We have increased a number of local cafés to let all of the visitors enjoy delicious Azerbaijan cuisine. As you are aware we are also holding the 'Maiden Tower' International Festival of Arts held for the third year in a row, which is attended by famous artists and crafstmen from different countries. Beautiful models of Maiden Tower are being decorated by artists. This year at the initiative of the environmental campaign of IDEA, headed by Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva, for the 1st time, models of gazelles, which are threatened with extinction, are also added for decoration. After completion of the Festival, those art works will be available at the open air public exhibition the Maiden Tower, together with the arts of the previous festivals".

He said the Maiden Tower is one of the main symbols of Baku, and has always been surrounded by an aura of mystery. Since 2008, with the support of Azerbaijan First Lady, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva, work has started on scientific research and technology development of museum conservation of this unique monument, inscribed on the World Heritage List. Such work is being carried out on the monument for the first time, with the attraction of leading experts and modern methods of research. The study of the monument is not yet complete, but at the moment it is known that the slab with the name of Masud ibn Davud, according to which a monument was dated to the XII century, has nothing to do with the monument itself and has been embedded later.

As part of conservation work new artifacts were also identified, which are currently being studied. The exhibition will be supplemented with new information received after completion of conservation work in 2013.

Jabbarov said that the main objective of the Administration in the near future is the integration of Icheri Sheher and Gala reserves. "As you know, from January 1, 2012, the historical and ethnographic reserve in this Baku township with 5,000-year history was transferred by the Order of the President under the auspices of Ichere Sheher Administration. This was done in order to achieve a better level of work undertaken in the reserve for the promotion of cultural heritage, create a mechanism for protection and preservation of monuments based on the successful example of Icheri Sheher, ensure operating established tourism infrastructure".

Restoration work on the monuments is underway, while replacing the entire engineering and communication systems, landscaping, courtyards, repairing facades of historic buildings is underway. Huge attention is paid to the improvement of museum activity, proper design of the old and creation of new exhibits, purchase of items.

"Given the growing interest of tourists, new packages of tourism services are being created, which include not only visits to Icheri Sheher, but other sights of the capital and surrounding regions. Preparation of guides, their adaptation to the different international languages as well as audio guides production is ongoing. Thus, the main objectives and tasks that stand in front of us is the integration of both reserves under a single management, including life support, preservation and promotion of rich cultural heritage. Along with the administrative activities integral part of our work is also work with public, publicizing of historical information as well as details on culture, ethnography, epigraphy of ancient Baku and Gala," said Mikayil Jabbarov.

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