Following the reforms implemented in state management bodies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and in order to ensure the best structural formation, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Tourism were reformed; the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Youth and Sport were established by a Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on 30 January 2006.
This structural measure was aimed at improving the management of the cultural and tourism sectors, organising these fields according to modern requirements, bringing new optimism and calling for the need to reconsider the existing national cultural policy.
In this connection, it was decided that all cultural policy issues and priorities should be developed together, hand in hand with national tourism and cultural tourism strategies. Azerbaijani culture, arts and cultural heritage are the main attractions for local and international tourists, and therefore need to derive as much benefit as possible from tourism sector development, which is traditionally more self-sufficient from an economic point of view. At the same time, the national tourism industry must use all potential advantages from its close links with the cultural administration, so as to make a real contribution to the nation’s welfare and to assist in its integration with the world community.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has already elaborated strategies and programmes in different spheres of state cultural and tourism policies such as “State Programme on Development of Library-information spheres 2008-2013”, “State Programme on Development of Azerbaijan Cinema 2008-2018”, “Development Programme on improving the activities of children’s music and art schools in the Republic of Azerbaijan from 2009-2013”, “State Programme on Azerbaijan Theatre 2009-2019”, “State Programme on Development of Tourism 2010-2014”, “Culture Concept of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, etc.
The main cultural policy priorities have been declared as:
- upgrading and updating cultural policy legislative, administrative, financial, informational, personnel, infrastructural and international mechanisms;
- preservation and restoration of national tangible (historical and cultural monuments, museum exhibits and library stocks) and intangible (local-lore, folklore and crafts) cultural heritage;
- support for professional creativity in theatre, music and fine arts fields; and
- revival of the national cultural industries (cinematography, book publishing, etc.).
Table 2: Main indicators of culture, 1990, 2000, 2010 and 2014
|Number of public libraries||4 605||4 374||3 947||3 291|
|of which – library stock million copies||45.3||38.7||36.1||33.2|
|per 1 000 population, copies||6 280||4 867||4 012||3 501|
|Number of clubs||3 680||3 354||2 772||2 729|
|Number of movie theatres*||…||…||9||7|
|number of attendees at cinema shows||…||…||83 000||236|
|per 1 000 population||…||…||9||25|
|Number of professional theatres||20||27||28||28|
|number of attendees of theatres, thsd person||1 376||925||540||728|
|per 1 000 population||192||117||61||77|
|Number of concert organisations||10||13||13||14|
|Number of attendees of concert organisations||994 000||339 000||277 000||452|
|per 1 000 population||138||43||31||48|
|Number of museums||124||155||226||233|
|number of attendees of museums, thsd person||1 154||1 196||1 804||2 531|
|per 1 000 population||161||151||202||269|
|Number of circuses||…||1||1||1|
|number of attendees of circuses||…||179 000||127 000||126|
|per 1 000 population||…||22||14||13|
|Number of zoological gardens||…||1||1||1|
|number of attendees of zoological gardens||…||64 000||121 000||70|
|per 1 000 population||…||8||14||7|
|Number of cultural and recreation centres||…||61||365||247|
|Number of historical, cultural, architectural, art and ethnographic reserves||…||…||28||28|
|Number of immovable historical and cultural monuments||…||6 628||6 308||6 308|
|Number of children‘s musical, art and painting schools – total (at the beginning of school year)||…||231||237||237|
|Of which number of pupils- total, person||…||69||71||68.5|
Source: Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2015; State Statistical Committee, 2015.
* Data for 2000 is missing in connection with dissolution of the State Committee on Cinematography.
A significant decline in the number of public libraries and the number of recreational / cultural centres indicated in the Table 2 is explained with structural reforms in these spheres, namely merger and extension of small neighbouring rural branches of Regional Centralised Library Systems and establishing of City (region) Cultural Centres at the expense of closing of some non-operating clubs.