Protection and support of tangible and intangible cultural heritage are among the main priorities of the Government. There are 6 036 archaeological, 3 086 architectural, 223 garden-park, monumental and memorial, and 177 decorative-applied art monuments under state protection. Due to the importance of immovable historical and cultural monuments under state protection, 101 are of world importance, 2 145 are of national importance, and 3 790 are of local significance. There are also 26 historical, cultural, architectural, artistic and ethnographic reserves in the country, 18 of them in the system of the Ministry for Culture, 7 in the State Tourism Agency, and one in the Icheri Sheher State Historical-Architectural Reserve under the Cabinet of Ministers.
The executive body exercising state control over the use, restoration, reconstruction, conservation and reconstruction of immovable historical and cultural monuments and reserves within the system of the Ministry for Culture is the State Service for Protection, Development and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, established by the President on December 18, 2014. The regional offices of the State Service in Baku, Shabran, Gabala, Ganja and Salyan were set up on February 17, 2020, by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers. The implementation of “The state programme on restoration, protection of physical historical and cultural monuments, and the improvement and development of historical and cultural reserves activities for 2014-2020” was completed last year. As a result, 3 824 monuments were monitored, and national passports containing GPS coordinates, history, description and other information were issued for 368 monuments, borders of 244 monuments were determined, and protection zones were prepared.
Special attention is paid to preserving, restoring and supporting Azerbaijan’s intangible cultural heritage. It includes the country’s local lore (customs and traditions, ceremonies and festivities, symbols and mysteries), national folklore (music and dances, verbal literature traditions, games and performances), and artisanship (traditional applied, visual and decorative arts). The Ministry for Culture has created “The State Register of Azerbaijan Intangible Cultural Heritage Samples” in cooperation with the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, related public associations and non-governmental organisations.
Club enterprises organise the local infrastructure of Azerbaijan’s intangible cultural heritage and folk art. There are 2 244 club establishments (Cultural Centres, Palaces of Culture, Houses of Culture, clubs), with 320 679 seats in auditoriums and lecture halls in urban and rural areas of the country. Reforms in the field were carried under the “Project for establishing the city (district) cultural centres”. In 2010-2016, the Ministry for Culture implemented the “Peoples’ Creativity Capitals of Azerbaijan” Programme. Within the framework of the programme, “Capital of Legends”, “Capital of Folklore”, and “Capital of Crafts” were announced every year. Besides numerous actions, festivals, fairs, concerts, projects, etc., implemented during the realisation of this programme, some local initiatives retained special popularity, 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.
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