The most majestic and mysterious monument of Baku is Giz Galasy – the Maiden Tower rising in the south-eastern part of the fortress of Ichari Shahar. This unique building of the Azerbaijani architecture does not have any analogues in the East. The Maiden Tower has attracted attention by its majestic appearance for centuries in the historical center of Baku, in the territory of the Icheri Sheher (Old City). The Maiden’s Tower is situated in the South-East part of the Icheri sheher. This unique monument of Azerbaijan architecture was built in two periods. Most Azerbaijani scholars think the lower part of the monument, the first 13.7 metres, dates from VII-VI centuries BC. Continue reading
Novruz is the happiest and the most ancient holiday in Azerbaijan, which means “A New day”. It is interpreted as “the beginning of a new harvest, bread”. There are several versions, legends and arguments about the origin of this holiday. But, all of them are accepted that it’s the most ancient holiday on the Earth, coming with the vernal equinox (March 21-22). All they are connected with salvation. The salvation from winter, death and revival. It’s believed from historical records that Novruz has been celebrated in Azerbaijan since the third millenium BC, the time of ancient Babylon.
On the eve of the holiday people clean the house, clothes, utensils. She or he has to clean not only his or her body but also his or her spirit. You go Novruz only with kind intentions and honest thoughts.
The Khojaly Massacre was the killing of hundreds of ethnic Azerbaijani civilians from the town of Khojaly on 25–26 February 1992 by the Armenian and Russian armed forces during the Nagorno-Karabakh War. According to the Azerbaijani side, as well as Memorial Human Rights Center, Human Rights Watch and other international observers, the massacre was committed by the ethnic Armenian armed forces, reportedly with help of the Russian 366th Motor Rifle Regiment, apparently not acting on orders from the command. Occupation of Khojaly was followed with unprecedented brutalities against the civilian population. In a few hours the aggressors killed 613 innocent and unarmed people. Continue reading
The territory of Azerbaijan is rich in archeological monuments that prove it to be one of the most ancient settled areas in the region. With continuous human habitation, Azerbaijan has a wealth of monuments from every evolutionary period. The history of human life on Azerbaijani territory goes back about two million years. Azikh, Taghlar (Khojavand district, Garabagh), Damjili, Dashsalahli (Gazakh district), Gazma (Nakhchivan) are in the list of the world’s most ancient archeological monuments. The Azikh cave (azikh in ancient Turkish means “bear”) is the biggest cave in Azerbaijan. The cave, 230 metres long, has six interconnecting chambers. In 1968, Azerbaijani paleontologist, Mammadali Huseinov, (1922-1994) discovered a lower jawbone of Early Man from Azikh cave, which turned out to be one of the Neanderthal type. It has been since analyzed independently in the West and confirmed to be between 350.000-400.000 years old. It was named after the place where it was found “Azikhantrop” (Azikh Man).
There are several theories why Azerbaijan is called Land of Fire. Yet, since olden times Aturpatakan, which was one of the early primary names of oil-rich Azerbaijan mentioned in Persian sources, meant “a place where sacred fire is preserved”. Oil extraction in Absheron peninsula which is one of the ancient oil regions of the world, dates back to the 7th-6th centuries BC. Information about is found in the works of ancient and medieval historians. For instance, ancient Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus, (4th century AD) in his “History” noted that in the ancient states of Azerbaijan they used “Midian oil” which was called nafta in the local language.
The people were infuriated by the territorial claims and aggressive acts of Armenia, backed by the Soviet officials, against Azerbaijan, as well as by the anti-nationalist behavior of the local authorities. Azerbaijanis were being expelled from the land where they had lived for centuries. Since 1988 the national movement for liberty grew. This was a protest against the policy of the USSR and, as a result, for the independence of Azerbaijan. Thousands of people protesting against the policy of held demonstrations all day long in the central square (Now called Azadliq or Freedom Square) and the streets of Baku.
Like other Turkic languages in the former USSR, Azeri has gone through several changes of alphabet over the past century. Until the 1920s it was written in the Arabic alphabet, from 1928 to 1938 it, along with the other Turkic languages, was switched to Latin. From then on it was written in a modified Cyrillic script, and in 1992 it switched to a Latin alphabet, this time based on the one used in Turkey. In South Azerbaijan (Iran) Azeri is still written with the Arabic script.
The latin alphabet:
a b c ç d e ə f g ğ h x ı i j k q l m n o ö p r s ş t u ü v y z
and the cyrillic:
а б в г ғ д е ә ж з и ы ј к ҝ л м н о ө п р с т у ү ф х һ ч ҹ ш ‘
While the Cyrillic is being phased out and is hardly ever seen on the internet, it is still used in printing. since we’ll be using the Latin in this course these are only included for completeness’ sake.