Azerbaijan International

Winter 1998 (6.4)

Architecture of the Oil Baron Period
Taghiyev Residence

Taghiyev 4

Baku Oil Barons - Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev

Interior of Taghiyev's Residence which was converted into the History Museum during the Soviet period. Below: The same room at the turn of last century. Taghiyev (1823-1924) with his wife (Sona) and three children (Leyla at piano, Mammad at violin and Ilyas at cello).

The Taghiyev residence occupies an entire city block and is located in a prime location close to the sea. Oil Baron Taghiyev was in his 70s when he undertook the project of building this opulent residence. He hired the Polish architect Joseph Goslavski to design his home in the Italian Renaissance style. Construction took place between 1895 and 1902.

The interior of this building is a must-see. It has an extraordinary main gallery on the second floor with gilded arches and ceilings and enormous plate glass windows. On occasion this hall is used for State receptions.

As was true of all the wealthy Oil Barons, Taghiyev's property was confiscated. One of his daughters, Leyla, escaped with her three children to Persia even though he had forbidden her to leave the country. Heartbroken from the news, he died two days later on September 1, 1924. His residence was one of the few that was not subdivided into numerous apartments. Instead, the Soviets transformed it into the National History Museum, a function that it still serves today.

Taghiyev's monogram - the single letter "T" carved in limestone-is barely visible on the exterior of his palatial residence. It seems the Soviets tried to chisel away at the letter, hoping to erase his memory. Fortunately, they did such an unprofessional job of hacking away at it, that its shape is still evident.

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