History of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan – a wonderful country

Azerbaijan is a marvelous country with the centuries-old history, culture, customs and traditions.Over thousands of years, rich cultural heritage – the part of world’s cultural treasures was created within its territory.

Our country has bestowed to mankind works of masters as Nizami Ganjavi, Nasimi, Fizuli, Abbasgulu Agha Bakikhanov, Mirza Fatali Akhundov, J.Mammadguluzadeh, Huseyn Javid, Jafar Jabbarli, Samad Vurgun, paintings of talanted artists such as Sattar Bahlulzade, T. Narimanbekov. Prominent composers- Uzeyir Hajibeyov, Muslim Magomayev, Gara Garayev, Fikret Amirov, Arif Malikov and singers with wonderful voice benefited from the rich musical folklore.

Azerbaijan carpets have been an integral part of the customs, traditions and beliefs of Azerbaijanians. At present, examples of the Azerbaijani carpet school can be found in the museums of a number of countries.

Azerbaijan has a long history of science and education. The opening of the Baku State University in 1919 and the establishment of Azerbaijan Academy of Science constitute unforgetable milestones in the public consciousness of Azerbaijani people.

Azerbaijan economy, which is the product of the philosophy and practice of industrialisation, deservedly became the nation`s pride.At the beginning of the twentieth century, more than half of the oil produced in the world came from Baku oil region. The rapid development of the oil industry has attracted talented arthitects here and captivating buildings were erected in Gothic, Baroque and constructivism styles. Large amounts of economic, social, cultural and human capital led to the creation a unique way of life.

Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev, Musa Nagiyev, Shamsi Abdullayev, Murtuza Mukhtarov, Isabey Hajinski and other philanthropists arranged for the construction of new public buildings, gymnasiums and elementary schools, contributed to the development of national theater, health and education services, as well as provided scholarships for many talanted students who strived for higher education in leading Russian and European universities.

Archaeological cultures

Guruchay culture
Guruchay, which was running near the Azykh cave, had important part in the life of the primitive people. Accoding to the complex investigations carried out some development phases of Guruchay culture were defined. Labor tools pertaining to Guruchay culture are close to African Olduvay culture.

Gobustan rock paintings
Gobustan reserve where the archaeological monuments are protected is located in Gobustan settlement of Garadagh district. The number of rock drawings, the ancient settlements under the rocks and burial mounds were discovered here. Gobustan National Historical-Artistic Reserve was included in the list of “World Heritage of UNESCO.

Nakhchivan necropolis
Nakhchivan necropolis is located in the north of the city, on the left side of the highway Nakhchivan -Shahbuz. Graves dug in the soil are of square-shaped and there were couple and collective buries in these graves. According to the archeological excavations, necropolis dated back to the XV-XVII centuries B. C.

Julfa necropolis
Julfa necropolis was destroyed in the 1939-40 during the construction of railway. The materials of this necropolis are currently retained in the Georgian State Museum of History. The materials published by V.H.Aliyev belong to XIII-IX centuries B.C.

Shusha cave camp
It was the settlement of people lived in Stone Age. It is located in the south to Shusha city, on the left bank of the river Dashalti. During excavations carried out in the Shusha camp four stone items of Paleolithic period were found.

It is located on the western coast of Lake Urmia. The monument is traced back to the period of Manna state. During excavations eight consecutive layers pertaining to a long period starting from the third millennium to the Islamic period were discovered.

Historical battles

When Arabs surrounded the capital of Sasanids Ktesifon city in 638, Albanian ruler Javanshir defended Ktesifon during six months with its 3 thousand troops together with Sasanids.

Teymur troops surrounded Alinja castle in Nakhchivan in 1387. They could defend the castle Alinja for 14 years. At the result of confrontations among defenders of the castle it was occupied.

In battle of Chaldiran near Maku between Safavids and Ottomans on August 23, 1514 Ottoman troops gained a victory.

Agha Mohammad Shah Gajar attacked North Azerbaijan in 1795. And troops of Gajar that attacked Garabagh, Irevan and Shirvan could win some battles but were compelled back. Second time, he attacked North Azerbaijan in 1797. As Agha Mohamamd Shah had been killed in Shusha city troops of Gajar were compelled to leave Azerbaijan.

Russian troops led by Sisyanov occupied Ganja city in the autumn of the 1803. Ganja troops had resisted strongly against Russian troops under Javad khan. But better equipped Russian troops could occupy Ganja in Jan 3, 1804.

Russian troops have attacked Baku city in January of 1806. In February 8, while handing over of keys of town near the Baku city gates a cousin of Huseynqulu khan Ibrahim bey shot Sisyanov with bullet and cut his head at night and took it to Tabriz to Abbas Mirza.

Azerbaijan national-historical tragedies

In battles between Gajars and Russia in 1803-1813 and 1826-1828 Azerbaijan was divided into two parts. According to Gulustan treaty concluded in October 13, 1813 Khanates in the north of Azerbaijan territory like Ganja, Karabakh, Shaki, Lankaran, Shamakhy, Guba, Derbend annexed by Russia except Khanates of Irevan and Nakhchivan. But according to Treaty of Turkmanchay dated Feb 10, 1918 Irevan and Nakhchivan khanates were also annexed to Russia. So, Azerbaijani land was divided.

From March 30, 1918 till April 2, 1918 with aid of Baku Council Armenians committed genocide against Azerbaijanis. During the bloody slaughter, which continued 3 days over 12 thousand Moslems were killed.

In December 23, 1947, the Soviet of Ministers of the USSR decided on Resettlement of collective farmers and other Azerbaijanis from Armenian SSR to Kura-Araz lowland of Azerbaijan SSR. Over 100 thousands Azerbaijanis were driven out during 1948-1953 years from native lands.

January 20, 1990 Soviet Army committed genocide against civilians in Baku and other points of the republic. During the attack of the Soviet Army in Baku and other settlements of the republic, according to official information, 131 persons were killed, 744 persons were wounded, 4 persons missed, and a lot of people were arrested.

About 230 thousand Azerbaijanis were driven out from 185 villages of Armenia, as well as from other settlements in 1988-1991 years, and 225 persons were killed, 1154 persons were wounded.

In Feb 26, 1992 Khojaly genocide happened. Armenians killed 613 people with special brutality in Khojaly, 150 people missed.

Holidays celebrated in the Republic of Azerbaijan

28 May-The Republic Day
On May 28, 1918 the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic- the first secular, democratic State in Islamic East was established. Starting from 1990, the Republic Day – is celebrated as the State holiday.

15 June – The Day of National Salvation of The Azerbaijani People
In June 1993, the complex socio-political situation in the country created the real danger of civil war. On 15 June 1993 Heydar Aliyev was elected Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Azerbaijani Republic. Since that time, the 15th of July has laid into our history as the Day of the National Salvation.

26 June – The Armed Forces Day of the Republic of Azerbaijan
The Supreme Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan adopted the Law on the Establishment of the National Army on October 9, 1991. The 26th of June was announced as the Armed Forces Day in accordance with the Decree of the President of Azerbaijan dated May 22, 1998.

18 October – The National Independence Day
On August 30, 1991, the Declaration on the State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan was adopted in the extraordinary session of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In May 1992, the Milli Majlis (Parliament) adopted the State Anthem of the Republic of Azerbaijan (music by Uzeir Hajibeyov, lyrics by Ahmed Javad) and later on, the State flag, the State Coat-of-Arms depicting eight points star with the flames.

9 November – State Flag Day of The Republic of Azerbaijan
State flag of Azerbaijan was adopted as a national flag for the first time by the decision of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic dated 9 November 1918. According to the order signed by the President of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev in 2009, 9th of November was established as the National Flag Day in Azerbaijan.

12 November – The Constitution Day
The Constitution of the independent Azerbaijan Republic was adopted in accordance with the referendum held on November 12, 1995. The Constitution adopted in 1995 was the first Constitution of the independent Azerbaijan Republic, but generally the fourth Constitution of the Republic. The text of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan consists of 5 sections, 12 chapters and 158 Articles.

17 November- The National Revival Day
On November 17, 1988, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Azadlıg (Freedom) Square to protest Moscow`s policy based on double standards towards Azerbaijan founded the process, known in the newest history of Azerbaijan as “Meydan Herekati” (“Square Movement”). Starting from 1992, 17th of November is celebrated as the national Revival Day.

31 December – The World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day
Ten millions of Azerbaijanis are living today in the world: Iran, Turkey, Germany, France, Great-Britain, USA, and Middle East countries. In 1993, the 31st of December was announced as the World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day in accordance with the Presidential Decree the National Leader Heydar Aliyev.

Novruz Holiday
Novruz is marked to celebrate the arrival of spring season and means the beginning of a New Year. According to traditions, the first day of Novruz symbolizes spring, second day symbolizes summer, the third day is autumn and the fourth is winter. If the first day is windless and clear, the year will be productive then.

Gurban Holiday
Gurban holiday is celebrated 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan in Muslim world and lasts for 3 days. The main points of this holiday are to sacrifice an animal, share and distribute its meat to the poor, make them happy, as well as, providing kindness, purity and love and faith in God.

Ramadan Holiday
Ramadan holiday is one of the most sacred days of the Islamic world. Moslems are fasting, giving iftar dinners to those who in need it without squandering during this holiday which marks the end of the month of Ramadan. Starting from 1993, Ramadan holiday is celebrated at the state level.

8 March – International Women’s Day
The decision to celebrate the International Women’s Day was taken by the proposal of Clara Zetkin in the second International Conference of women socialists held in 1910 in Copenhagen. In essence, this day was established as a day of solidarity of women in the fight for their rights, social- political and economic equality. This holiday has been regularly celebrated since 1917 in Azerbaijan.

9 May – The Victory Day over Fascism
During the years of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), more than 600 brave sons and daughters of Azerbaijan were sent to the front, about 130 of them were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, 30 were given the Order “the Glory” (with its three degrees). 170 thousands of soldiers and officers from Azerbaijan were awarded various orders and medals of USSR. The war ended on May 9th, 1945, with raising the flag of the Soviet Union over the Reichstag building in Berlin.