COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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Azerbaijan/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.2 Heritage issues and policies

National cultural policy in the fields of cultural heritage includes protection, restoration and use of immovable historical and cultural objects, modernisation of museum and library systems, support of intangible cultural heritage, development of the networks of local cultural centres with their local-lore, folklore and crafts branches. The Republic of Azerbaijan provides protection for its historical and cultural objects giving priority to state cultural policy and international responsibilities.

Protection, restoration and use of immovable historical and cultural monuments

Historical Azerbaijan is rich in material and spiritual cultural monuments. World famous Azikh and Taglar caves, cave camps in Gazakh, Gobustan, and more than 10 thousand rock art paintings discovered in Gamigaya, Absheron, Kalbajar and Ordubad are excellent examples of these cultural monuments. 6 308 historical and cultural monuments (21 of them are of world importance and 44 are of world archaeological importance), garden-parks, monumental and memorial, decorative-applied art monuments (national sculpture monuments) are on the ratified list according to the historical and cultural importance of the monuments protected by the state. The following duties are of main importance in the field of protection, restoration and use of immovable historical and cultural monuments:

  • improvement of the social awareness system and existing governance in order to protect and keep the monuments for future generations;
  • inventorying the monuments, preparation of normative documents, creation of protection zones, granting of documents, administration of property rights;
  • application of modern technologies in restoration projects and in protection of the monuments;
  • development of the cultural tourism infrastructure through the use and protection of monuments, definition of the routes and preparation of the maps;
  • enlargement of the activities of historical and cultural preserves, preparation of their management and development plans; and
  • systematisation of the information on the situation of historical and cultural monuments of Azerbaijan, in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and abroad.

The government adopted a list of state-protected monuments in August 2001, which covers architecture, archaeology, formal gardens and parks, and which ranks monuments according to their importance - world, national or local. Buildings of world or national value may not be privatised. Residential buildings of local value, or apartments located in such buildings, may be privatised only with the consent of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Where such buildings or apartments are already in private hands, protection contracts, prohibiting any alteration from the original monument, are concluded with the owners.

State Service of Cultural Heritage Conservation, Development and Rehabilitation under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism was established according to the Presidential Decree on improvement of the structure of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, signed on 18 December 2014.

Table 7:    Immovable historical-cultural monuments at the state disposal, 2000, 2010, 2014 (at the end of the year)

 

2000

2010

2014

Number of immovable historical-cultural monuments - total

6 628

6 308

6 308

Including: 

Archaeological

2 218

2 045

2 044

Architecture

4 123

3 860

3 860

Garden-park, monumental and memorials

287

196

196

Decorative, applied art

-

207

208

Source:    Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2015; State Statistical Committee, 2015.

Chart 5:  Types of immovable historical-cultural monuments at the end of 2014, percent

Source:    Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2015; State Statistical Committee, 2015.

Table 8:    Number of historical, cultural, architectural, art and ethnographic reserves at the end of 2015

 

Number of reserves

Total

28

including:

 

In the system of Ministry of Culture and Tourism

26

In the State Historical - Architecture Reserve Department "─░cherisheher" under the Cabinet of Ministries

2

Source:    Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2014; State Statistical Committee, 2015.

Table 9:    Division of immovable historical-cultural monuments at state disposal by economic and administrative regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the end of 2014

Economic and administrative regions

World known

State known

Local known

archaeo-logical

archi-tecture

archaeo-logical

archi-tecture

garden-park, and monumental memorials

Archaeo-logical

Archi-tecture

garden-park, and monumental memorials 

decorative,
applied art

The Republic of Azerbaijan - total

44

21

1 616

359

59

384

3 480

137

208

Baku city

1

4

71

114

47

26

1 675

18

-

Absheron economic settlements

-

-

35

-

1

5

36

3

4

Ganja-Gazakh economic region

9

1

259

32

5

37

373

19

8

Shaki-Zagatala economic region

3

2

125

37

2

38

190

11

4

Lankaran economic region

2

-

313

2

-

81

230

7

121

Guba-Khachmaz economic region

4

1

119

7

2

56

126

12

9

Aran economic region

2

1

160

9

2

3

44

27

-

Yukhari Karabakh economic region

8

4

161

93

-

14

292

16

1

Kalbajar-Lachin economic region

-

2

27

27

-

9

97

7

16

Dakhlik Shirvan economic region

2

1

74

8

-

51

130

6

14

Nakhchivan economic region

13

5

272

30

1

37

287

10

31

Source:    Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2015; State Statistical Committee, 2015.

Restoration and conservation works are conducted generally with financing from the state budget, the budget of local authorities and donations from individuals, as well as foreign and international organisations. One such example is the restoration of a small German church ("Kapelhaus") in Baku, which was fully financed by the German government. Archaeological works and restoration works on the Christian temple of the V-VI centuries, in the Kish village near Sheki city, have been financed by non-governmental organisations in Norway.

The Walled City of Baku, with Shirvanshakhs Palace and the Maiden Tower (2000) and Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape (2007) were added to the World Heritage List. A number of monuments have been submitted to the Tentative List: Surakhany, Atashgyakh (Fire - worshippers, temple - museum at Surakhany) (1998), The Mausoleum of Nakhinchevan (1998), Hyrkan State Reservation (1998), "Binegadi" 4th Period Fauna and Flora Deposit (1998), "Lok-Batan" Mud Cone (1998), "Baku Stage" Mountain (1998), The Caspian Shore Defensive Constructions (2001), Susha historical and architectural reserve (2001), Ordubad historical and the architectural reserve (2001), and Sheki, the Khan's Palace (2001). The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan has joined the European Heritage Network and has already submitted the National Heritage Policy Profile.

Protection of the intangible cultural heritage

Azerbaijan intangible cultural heritage, being created through centuries and being the development nucleus of national spirit and culture, is the pride of every Azerbaijani citizen. The government pays special attention to preserving, restoring and supporting Azerbaijan's intangible cultural heritage, which includes local lore (customs and traditions, ceremonies and festivities, symbols and mysteries), national folklore (music and dances, verbal literature traditions, games and performances), craftsmanship (traditional applied, visual and decorative arts). Monitoring of Azerbaijan's intangible cultural heritage, providing legal, administrative, financial, information, personnel, infrastructure and international mechanisms, was held by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism both on the central and local levels in 2009-2010. A draft of the "State Programme for Safeguarding Azerbaijan Intangible Cultural Heritage", elaborated according to the Monitoring results, is under consideration by the Cabinet of Ministers. "The Programme on the People's Creativity Capitals for 2010-2014" of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been approved. According to the programme, the relevant Action Plans are being implemented in the cities declared as "Folklore Capital of Azerbaijan": (the city of Qazakh for 2010, the city of Lenkoran for 2011, the city of Masally for 2012 the city of Zaqatala for 2013 and the city of Zagatala for 2014), "Crafts Capital of Azerbaijan" (the city of Sheki for 2010, city of Ismayilly for 2011, the city of Guba for 2012, the city of Goy-go for 2013 and the district of Absheron for 2014), and "Legends Capital of Azerbaijan" (the city of Gandja for 2010, the city of Shabran for 2011, the city of Gedabey for 2012 the city of Khachmaz for 2013 and the city of Gabala for 2014). Besides numerous actions, festivals, fairs, concerts, projects, etc., implemented during the realisation of "The Programme on the People's Creativity Capitals for 2010-2014", some local initiatives retained a traditional character, namely The Biennial International Ashigs Festival, The Annual International Masally Folklore Festival, The Annual Balaken International Folklore and Tourism Festival, The Annual Guba Apple Festivity, The Annual Gabala Jam Festivity, etc. Taking into account the success of this regional ministerial Programme, it was decided to extend it for the following years. This traditions was continued with realisation of new “The Programme on the People's Creativity Capitals” in framework of which there was chosen “Literature Capital of Azerbaijan” (the city of Shemaka for 2015), “Culinary capital of Azerbaijan” (the city of Gakh for 2015) and “Folklor Capital of Azerbaijan” (the city of Gusar for 2016).

The Information Bank of portfolios held by specialists, performers, collectives, researchers, NGOs, and private structures in the field of Azerbaijan intangible cultural heritage is being created. The State Register of Azerbaijan Intangible Cultural Heritage Examples and The Cadastre of the Infrastructural Units of Azerbaijan Intangible Cultural Heritage are also being created.

The Azerbaijani Mugham (2003), the Art of Azerbaijani Ashiq (2009), Novruz (multinational: Azerbaijan - India - Iran (Islamic Republic of) - Kyrgyzstan - Uzbekistan - Pakistan - Turkey 2009), the Traditional art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving (2010), Craftsmanship and performance art of the Tar, a long-necked string musical instrument (2012), Traditional art and symbolism of Kelaghayi, making and wearing women’s silk headscarves (2014) and Copper craftsmanship of Lahij (2015) were added to the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Heritage. Chovqan, a traditional Karabakh horse-riding game in the Republic of Azerbaijan were included to the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding (2013). Relevant National Action Plans have been designed and are being implemented in order to ensure the safeguarding of these internationally recognised examples of Azerbaijan intangible heritage.

For more information see also chapter 8.4.1 and chapter 8.4.2.

Modernisation of museum work

There is a large museum network in Azerbaijan of historical, historical-regional ethnography, scientific, political, art and literature, patriotic museums and house-museums of culture and art works. The main leading museums are Azerbaijan State Art Museum, Azerbaijan Carpet and Folk Applied Art Museum, Azerbaijan State Theatre Museum named after J.Jabbarli, Azerbaijan State Museum of Musical Culture, Azerbaijan State History Museum and Azerbaijan Independence Museum. The following work is required for modernisation of museum work:

  • improvement of preservation, pasportisation, restoration, conservation of museum objects, museum funds, and valuable art works and recruitment of museum collections, transfer of museum fund information to digital carriers, organisation of national integral museum information system through electronic catalogue;
  • improvement of artistic design quality of museum exhibitions, organisation of conceptual expositions and exhibitions on various themes, to bring them into line with international standards;
  • inclusion of museums into the tourist routes for development of tourism in Azerbaijan, preparation of education and interactive programmes, personal excursions, family programmes for children, youth, students and teenagers to improve access;
  • development of museum marketing, preparation of special catalogues, calendars, brochures, souvenirs etc.

Chart 6:        Distribution of museums by types, 2013

Source:    Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2015; State Statistical Committee, 2015.

Chart 7:    Fund of museums, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2014

Source:    Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2015; State Statistical Committee, 2015.

Chart 8:    Number of museums and visitors to museums, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2014

Source:    Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2015; State Statistical Committee, 2015.

Table 10:  Museum figures, 1990, 2000, 2010, 2014 (at the end of the year)

 

1990

2000

2010

2014

Number of museums - total

124

155

226

233

including:

history

9

14

67

76

memorial

27

32

39

40

local lore

57

63

69

67

Art

24

37

39

39

Other

7

9

12

11

Number of museums visitors - total, thsd person

1 154

1 196

1 804

2 531

including:

history

183

120

685

1 390

memorial

140

245

177

203

local lore

596

531

559

519

art

198

243

265

280

other

37

57

118

139

Per 1 000 population 

161

150

202

269

Source:    Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2015; State Statistical Committee, 2015.

Table 11:  Museums by economic and administrative regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the end of 2014

Economic and administrative regions

Number of museums

Number of museum visitors, thsd person

The Republic of Azerbaijan - total

233

2 531.3

Baku city

35

553.2

Absheron economic region

7

24.9

Ganja-Gazakh economic region

35

289.1

Shaki-Zagatala economic region

21

198.2

Lankaran economic region

16

184.0

Guba-Khachmaz economic region

11

97.0

Aran economic region

46

654.1

Yukhari Karabakh economic region

19

44.3

Kalbajar-Lachin economic region

6

11.0

Daghlik  Shirvan economic region

10

92.3

Nakhchivan economic region

27

383.2

Source:    Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2015; State Statistical Committee, 2015.

Modernisation of library-information network

The mass library network of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan consists of the National Library of Azerbaijan, republic, mass and children's libraries and centralised library systems. There are about 40 million books, magazines, papers, notes, booklets, CDs, audiocassettes and etc. in the library funds of this network. 10 centralised library systems are in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The following work is required for the modernisation of libraries:

  • acquisition, mutual application and development of an interlibrary connection system of the State Library Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan; preparation of a coordination plan for enrichment of their stocks with foreign literature and preparation of a republic-wide foreign literature bank and electronic collections;
  • automatisation of library-bibliographic processes, preparation and development of the republic-wide library-information network programme and national communicative format for the establishment of electronic catalogues and libraries, publication of national catalogue collections etc.; and
  • restoration of bibliographic materials, printing and publications and preparation of retrospective publication programmes, protection, restoration, conservation of library resources and rare copies, transfer to digital carriers, retro conversion of library catalogues, improvement in the service level according to international standards.

Table 12:  Public libraries, 1990, 2000, 2010, 2014 (at the end of the year)

 

1990

2000

2010

2014

Number of public libraries - total

4 605

4 374

3 947

3 291

including:

urban places

708

660

642

479

rural places

3 897

3 714

3 305

2 812

Library stock total, million copies

45.3

38.7

36.1

33.2

including:

urban places

22.5

19.9

17.8

16.3

rural places

22.8

18.8

18.3

16.9

Library stock per 1000 population copy 

6 280

4 841

4 012

3 501

including:

urban places

5 845

4 775

3 676

3 241

rural places

6 779

4 763

4 280

3 796

Source:    Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2015; State Statistical Committee, 2015.

Table 13:  Distribution of public libraries by ministries and departments, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2014 (at the end of the year)

 

2000

2005

2010

2014

Total

4 374

4 004

3 947

3291

including:

Ministry of Culture and Tourism

4 313

3 966

3 880

3237

State Caspian Shipping Company

-

-

5

2

Confederation of the Trade Union

61

38

8

8

State Oil Company

-

-

7

2

Committee on Trade Union of  Employees of the Education

-

-

10

2

Independence Trade Union of the Transport and Road Economy

-

-

37

40

Source:    Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2015; State Statistical Committee, 2015.

Chart 9:    Public libraries by towns and regions of Azerbaijan Republic at the end of 2014

Source:    Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2015; State Statistical Committee, 2015.

Table 14:  Public libraries by economic and administrative regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the end of 2014

Economic and administrative regions

Number of libraries

Library stocks, thsd copies

The Republic of Azerbaijan

3 291

33 167.5

Baku city – total

107

9 727.9

Absheron economic region - total

47

910.3

Ganja-Gazakh economic region - total

516

4 031.3

Shaki-Zagatala economic region - total

255

1 763.7

Lankaran economic region - total

351

2 815.6

Guba-Khachmaz economic region - total

272

1 921.5

Aran economic region - total

785

6 040.4

Yukhari Karabakh economic region - total

370

2 237.1

Kalbajar-Lachin economic region - total

202

378.3

Dakhlik  Shirvan economic region - total

149

1 182.5

Nakhchivan economic region - total

237

2 158.9

Source:    Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2015; State Statistical Committee, 2015.


Chapter published: 02-11-2016

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