FEI General Assembly participants make exciting journey to ‘Gala’ reserve in Azerbaijan
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec.15
By Vugar Imanov, Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:
The participants of the General Assembly of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) made a fascinating journey to Azerbaijan's 'Gala' State Historic Ethnographic Reserve, which is located at a 40-minute drive from Baku in the eponymous settlement of the Absheron peninsula.
More than 200 different archeological and architectural monuments - mysterious mounds, pockets of ancient settlements, burial places aged thousands of years - were discovered in this museum.
Most of the monuments date back to the third millennium BC. It is also possible to observe here the way of life of Azerbaijanis in the period between the 16th and 19th centuries.
Azerbaijan's ancient history was presented to the guests with plenty of historical, material and cultural, archaeological and architectural monuments.
"The historical exposition is woven into a modern context in the 'Gala' museum. I learned much about Azerbaijan's ancient history," the Secretary General of the Equestrian Federation of the Czech Republic Lucie Spiwokova said.
"The reserve's uniqueness also lies in the fact that it functions not only as a classical museum, it is also a place of leisure, a place where one gets acquainted with the culture and traditions of Azerbaijani people," Spiwokova said, adding "It is very important that the cultural monuments serve the people and are accessible for any visitor."
"We saw how the houses, the medieval smithy, the bread oven (tandir), the decorations in houses of rich and poor people looked like in ancient times," the Secretary General of India's Equestrian Federation Jagat Singh said.
"I was shaken by the unique pieces of ceramic pottery, carpets, furniture and decorations, especially the rich stories of rock paintings," Singh added.
"The tour to this reserve will remain in my memory for a long time, and at home I will talk about 'Gala' to my friends," the Executive Secretary of Malaysian Equestrian Federation Maj Yap Mou Soon said.
"The reserve is a rich source for studying the material and spiritual culture of not only the ancient tribes of Azerbaijan, but also the epoch of the birth of mankind," Mou Soon said. "We saw here the high living culture of ancient Azerbaijanis. This is exactly the factor that your people can also be proud of."
"The 'Gala' is a very important cultural facility for the development of tourism in the country," Jackie Potts from the British Equestrian Federation said.
"By getting acquainted with residential, farming and religious buildings located on the territory of the museum, a tourist can have a visual imagination of the whole richness and originality of the spiritual culture and the way of life of your people," Potts added. "The Europeans and Americans travel across the world in search of the exotics. We should tell everyone that such museum complex exists in Azerbaijan."
"Frankly speaking, I didn't expect to see such beauty. I was as if taken many centuries back on a time machine, and had a fascinating journey to the Bronze Age," the representative of South Korea's Equestrian Federation Kim Jong-chan said.
"I have always believed that it is necessary to showcase not only the exhibits, but also the life, the way of living of the past, the ceremonies and celebrations, to feel the lifestyle of ancestors, and hear the call of the blood."
"Today the 'living history', or 'feeling the history with touch' is interesting for the visitors and the 'Gala' museum complex gives exactly this opportunity," Kim Jong-chan said, adding "It is a great place for studying the history and for recreation."
From Dec. 11 to Dec. 14, Baku hosted the FEI General Assembly attended by 350 FEI representatives and distinguished guests from 110 countries, which is a record in the history of the FEI General Assembly.
Princess of Jordan, Her Royal Highness Haya Bint Al Hussein decided this year not to nominate her candidacy for a third term and resigned as president of the International Equestrian Federation, which she has headed since 2006.
The election of a new FEI president was also held this year. Ingmar De Vos (Belgium) will head the FEI in the next four years according to a vote of the assembly delegates.
A gala dinner titled 'Welcome to Azerbaijan!' was held for the participants of the International Equestrian Federation's (FEI) General Assembly, organized by the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan (ARAF).
Moreover, the Princess of Jordan, Her Royal Highness Haya Bint Al Hussein provided a cocktail evening for participants of FEI General Assembly in Baku.
Baku also hosted a gala evening, organized by the FEI and the ARAF. During the gala evening, a ceremony was held to award the best athletes of the world in various categories.
Tours across Baku, visits to Carpet Museum, the National Flag Square, the Heydar Aliyev Center and 'Gala' State Historic Ethnographic Reserve were also organized for the guests.