Azerbaijan International

Winter 2000 (8.4)
Pages 14-15

Baku's Old City Listed as World Heritage Site

Photo: View of the Shirvanshah Palace located inside Baku's Old City, (Ichari Shahar). The Old City was recently named to UNESCO's World Heritage List of important cultural and natural landmarks. Photo from the roof of the Italian Embassy. Photo: Blair.

In December 2000, UNESCO's (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Committee added Baku's ancient Inner City (Ichari Shahar) to its World Heritage List. So far, this honor has been extended to 690 historical and natural sites that are important to the world's heritage, such as the Great Wall in China, the Acropolis in Athens, and America's Yosemite National Park.

According to UNESCO's Web site, Baku's Walled City was chosen because it illustrates significant stages in human history: "Built on a site that has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Era, the Walled City of Baku reveals evidence of Zoroastrian, Sassanian, Arabic, Persian, Shirvani, Ottoman, and Russian presence in cultural continuity. The Inner City (Ichari Shahar) has preserved much of its 12th-century defensive walls. The 12th-century Maiden's Tower (Giz Galasi) is built over earlier structures dating from the 7th to 6th centuries BC, and the 15th-century Shirvanshahs' Palace is one of the pearls of Azerbaijani architecture."

To help preserve this historic site for future generations, Azerbaijan is now eligible to apply for assistance from the World Heritage Fund. It may receive help with conservation and management of the site, training, technical cooperation and assistance with educational, information and promotional activities. In 1999, Georgia received $35,000 for the Study and Development of its Mtskheta Heritage and Tourist Master Plan.

The money for the World Heritage Fund comes from voluntary contributions and 1 percent of each member's UNESCO dues. Azerbaijan ratified UNESCO's Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage on December 16, 1993. By signing this Convention, the country pledged to preserve the historical sites situated on its territory.

Azerbaijan International (8.4) Winter 2000.
© Azerbaijan International 2000. All rights reserved.

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