Azerbaijan International

Winter 1998 (6.4)
Page 49


New Legislation to Protect
Azerbaijani Architecture

by Nigar Alakbarova

Azerbaijan's Milli Majlis (Parliament) recently passed new legislation to protect the architectural milieu of the country. The three laws are: "About Architectural Activities," "About the Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments" and "About the Principles of Town-Building." These new laws will help preserve and restore the harmonic unity of Azerbaijan's historic architecture. They will also play a significant role in helping to develop the cities and towns located along the new Silk Route, which will pass through Azerbaijan.

 Azerbaijani Architecture - Maiden's Tower


Today, Baku's architecture is in an unfortunate state of anarchy, especially since independence. There are no laws in place to protect the city's rich architectural heritage. For example, irrelevant and extraneous changes have been made to some of the facades of buildings. Unappealing and unattractive extensions have been built onto apartment balconies. Private homes and public buildings have been reconstructed in every style imaginable. Sidewalks made for pedestrian traffic have been disrupted by stairways leading into store entrances. Often, the new construction looks strangely out-of-place.

Azerbaijan has many unique, beautiful monuments to protect dating back to the Paleolithic period. Some of these monuments have even been presented to UNESCO so that they could be added to the list of world heritage sites. Examples include the Garabaglar Sepulchre, Momina Khatin Tomb, Ordubad Reservation in Nakhchivan,
Gobustan, Atashgah (Fire Temple) and Ichari Shahar (Inner City) in Baku, the Lahij and Shaki reservations as well as nature reserves along the Caspian.

The law "About Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments" is important for protecting this rich heritage. This law calls for the compilation of a State register of all of Azerbaijan's historical and cultural monuments. It is now illegal to change the monuments' artistic aspects, to endanger or destroy them. The law covers the monuments' use, study, conservation, maintenance, restoration, reconstruction and even protection during war.

These three important laws provide a legal basis for protecting Azerbaijan's historical and cutural monuments, as well as revitalizing them so that they will meet world standards as well as fulfill the needs of our modern communities.

Dr. Nigar Alakbarova is a member of the Azerbaijani Parliament. She serves as Deputy Director on the Permanent Committee of Problems Related to Culture.

From Azerbaijan International (6.4) Winter 1998.
© Azerbaijan International 1998. All rights reserved.

Back to Index AI 6.4 (Winter 1998)
AI Home
| Magazine Choice | Topics | Store | Contact us