Azerbaijan International

Winter 1998 (6.4)

Architecture of the Oil Baron Period
Manuscript Institute

8 Istiglaliyyat (Independence Avenue)

Baku Oil baronsThis building originally housed the first Muslim boarding school for girls, which was named the Alexandrian Russian Muslim Female Boarding School. It was the first secular European-style school for girls in the city. The building was erected by Zeynalabdin Taghiyev, who is revered today as the most generous philanthropist of all the Oil Barons.

Interior of the Manuscript Institute which was originally built as the first girl's school by Oil Baron Taghiyev.

Though Taghiyev himself had no formal education and was barely able to read and write, he was convinced that an uneducated woman is an uneducated mother and as such, unable to provide her children with a broad outlook. He felt that if you could educate women, you educated an entire nation.

The school was designed by Polish architect
Joseph V. Goslavski (1865-1904) and was under construction between 1898 and1901. It opened its doors in 1901 and operated for nearly 18 years. Many who graduated became mothers of prominent people such as the mother of composer Gara Garayev (1918-1982).

Exterior of the Manuscript Institute. Below: Exterior of the Mitrofanov Residence and details of some of the numerous sculptures.

Between 1918 and 1920, the building served as the Parliament for the short-lived Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. Today, it houses the Institute of Manuscripts and contains many rare Arabic script documents of Azerbaijani literature and medicine.

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