By Laman Ismayilova
The best way to discover about a creative person by seeing where they lived and worked.
Many former residences of famous Azerbaijanis have been preserved and transformed into museums with fascinating collections.
Let's start our jorney on the traces of geniuses.
House Museum of Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev
Established in 1920, Azerbaijan History Museum is one of the oldest museums located in Azerbaijan.
The largest museum in Azerbaijan, built in 1895-1896, was originally the house of Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev, the oil magnat and philanthropist who lived in the early 20th century.
The Bolsheviks confiscated Taghiyev's property in 1920 when they took control over the city. Fortunately, they did not destroy the entire interior. Instead, they used it to house the National History Museum.
There are two major ballrooms side by side in the second floor of Taghiyev's residence.
One is based on Oriental designs [Mauritanian] and the other, on Occidental designs. The Oriental Room has enormous plate glass windows, gilded arches, highly ornamental walls, ceilings and chandeliers.
The House Museums offers an exciting journey through the life of one of the most famous and respected oil magnates not only in Azerbaijan, but also in Russia and all Muslim world.
House Museum of Jafar Jabbarli
If you're searching for literary inspiration then visit the House Museum of prominent Azerbaijani poet and writer Jafar Jabbarli in Khizi.
Born in 1899, Jafar Jabbarli was one of the Azerbaijan's most talented and prolific artists, whose works are still topical, which can be seen in his plays that are still staged, and films based on his works that are still screened.
Jafar Jabbarli enjoyed great success in theater art. His works including Baku War, Devoted Sariyya or Laughter through Tears, Shah Nasreddin, Bride of Fire, Sevil, and Almaz, gained widespread acclaim among readers and viewers.
Jabbarli was also committed to cinema. He believed in the development and future success of the art and along with his theater work, he became the first Azerbaijani screenwriter.
The House Museum of Jafar Jabbarli is home to 520 exhibits.
An outstanding representative of Azerbaijani literature lived in this house for up to 2 years.
The one-storey house began functioning in 1956 as a house-museum on a public basis. Thirteen years later, it was registered as a museum.
The main part of the exhibits stored here are items used by the family of Jafar Jabbarli in everyday life. The museum displays writer's books, photos from performances, archival documents and publications.
Every year hundreds of people visit the museum and see exhibits related to the life and work of Jafar Jabbarli.
Most of the visitors are tourists, literature lovers and schoolchildren.
One of the most eye-catching exhibits is the layout of the house where Jafar Jabbarli lived, and the household items used daily by the writer's mother, Shahbike khanum. The museum also holds an ink pen belonging to the genius playwright.
This year the museum will host a series of events related to the anniversary of the famous writer.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on holding the 120th anniversary of Jafar Jabbarli.
In 1999, in connection with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Jafar Jabbarli, reconstruction work was carried out in the museum, a glazed gallery was built. That same year, a grandiose monument of Jafar Jabbarli was erected in the center of Khizi city.
House Museum of Samad Vurgun
The house-museum of the great poet and playwright is the first museum of this format in Azerbaijan.
The museum is located in a six-room apartment on the third floor of a 19th-century building.
The home-museum was opened on October 6, 1975.
Samad Vurgun lived in this apartment for the last two years of his life, engaged in his activities.
Over the past period, the fund of the museum was expanded, new exposition units were created.
About 16,000 exhibits, including memorial items of the Vurgun, original photographs, paintings, manuscripts, research works, gifts, magazines are stored in the house museum.
The Poetry House, a branch of the museum, is located in the village of Yukhari Salahli in Gazakh region where the poet was born.
The poet's work room, guest and bedroom remained untouched.
Writing table, chairs, cupboards with books, poet's latest manuscripts are kept in the poet's office.
His famous works "Vagif", "Farhad and Shirin", "Human", "Aygun" articles, speeches were once wrote at this writing table.
The guest room of the poet was often visited by poets' friends - writers, composers, artists, rural workers.
The founder of the Azerbaijan national opera, Uzeyir Hajibeyov, and Gara Garayev, Fikrat Amirov, Said Rustamov, also other composers, performed their works here.
The last of the memorial rooms is the bedroom of the poet. Here, too, everything is preserved as it was.
House Museum of Hussein Javid
Huseyn Javid was one of the founders of the progressive romanticism movement in the contemporary Azerbaijani literature.
His works bear the ideas of humanism, love for homeland, philosophical poems, historical drama, opening a new page in Azerbaijan's literature and drama.
The house of a prominent national poet and playwright opened as a museum to honor the poet who lived here from 1920 to 1937.
The museum of an outstanding poet and playwright was opened in Baku in 2002. Hussein Javid lived on the 3rd floor of this building until 1937.
The museum consists of 4 rooms where more than 600 exhibits are kept, including fragments of letters to relatives, documentary photographs, publications of his works, playbills of performances.
House Museum of Jalil Mammadguluzade
The house-museum of the famous writer and founder of the satirical magazine "Molla Nasreddin" was opened in 1994 in honor of the 125th anniversary of the birth of Jalil Mammadguluzade.
The museum is located in 5 rooms, each of which is devoted to a specific period in the life of the creator. The house museum stores about 500 exhibits.
The exhibits reflect Jalil Mammadguluzade’s childhood, youth and education memories, school activities, his first journalistic and literary activity.
There is an editorial office of "Molla Nasraddin" magazine in the house museum. Here is a map covering the spread of the works of the writer in the world.
The name "Molla Nasraddin" was inspired by the 13th century Sufi wise man with a good sense of humor. His stories had a subtle humor and was very popular in public.
The magazine regularly published the works of talented Azerbaijani writers and pressmen, such as M.A.Sabir, N.Narimanov, A.Haqverdiyev, M.S.Ordubadi, O.F.Nemanzadeh, Ali Nazmi, A.Gamkusar etc.
The magazine was banned several times in 1912, 1914 and 1917.
Despite all odds, the publication managed to stay in print over 25 years (1906-1931).
House Museum of Abdulla Shaig
In 1916, Azerbaijan's famous writer Abdulla Shaig moved to a five-bedroom apartment where he lived until 1957.
The Abdullah Shaig House Museum was established in 1990 on the initiative of his son, literary critic, academician Kamal Talibzade.
The museum presents the creative works of A. Shaig, as well as works of authors and intellectuals dedicated to the poet.
His friends Najaf bey Vazirov, Suleyman Sani Akhundov, Huseyn Javid, Bulbul, Yusif Vazir Chamanzaminli, Ahmad Javad and Samad Vurgun were often guests here.
The exhibition consists of four rooms. The first room is dedicated to the world fame of A.Shaig. In the second room materials about the personal life of A.Shaig, the genealogical tree, parents, family of classics, etc. are displayed.
The third room tells about the pedagogical activities of Abdulla Shaig.
The fourth room contains information about the social and political activities of the classic, memorial exhibits, a personal library, a desk, and a corner dedicated to A. Shaig’s son Kamal Talibzade.
The museum’s collection includes about 8,000 objects: books, photographs, manuscripts and documents, materials related to the theater, works of art.
House-Museum of Mammad Said Ordubadi
The house museum was founded in 1979 in the apartment where the writer lived from 1938 until the end of his life.
After reconstruction in 2010, the museum exposition was enriched with new exhibits.
The exposition is located in two rooms with a total area of 60 m².
Currently, there are more than 600 exhibits related to the different periods of life of the prominent writer.
The writer's collection of paintings, photographs, graphics and oil paintings, and books were collected in his office. The appearance of the room is preserved as it was in the last few moments of the writer's life.
The second room reflects all the activity of Mammed Said Ordubadi. Here there are examples of books, manuscripts, newspapers and magazines published since the early twentieth century.
The museum visitors can also get acquainted with the model of the house where the writer was born in Nakhchivan.
House Museum of maestro Niyazi
The Home-Museum of the great conductor and composer was founded in 1994 by the Decree and personal involvement of National Leader Heydar Aliyev.
Niyazi's House Museum now stores more than 6,700 exhibits.
Musical scores, photographs, bust of the conductor, as well as a portrait of Niyazi drawn by the outstanding Azerbaijani painter Togrul Narimanbayov are kept in the house museum.
Maestro Niyazi has lived and worked in this apartment since 1958 until the end of his life.
The apartment house consists of 5 rooms. Dining-room, bedroom and office are memorial rooms.
They are preserved as they were during the time of Niyazi. The other 2 rooms are used for the exposition and artistic guest room.
House Museum of Vagif Mustafazade
King of Azerbaijani jazz was as a brilliant musician who made an invaluable contribution to jazz music.
Throughout years, he wrote numerous jazz compositions, including fugues, preludes, ballads and scherzos, many of them written in the 1970s. He released a total of eight albums, all with different line-ups, mood and style.
The apartment of the famous musician and founder of jazz-mugham genre Vagif Mustafazadeh was turned into a museum in 1989.
In 1994, it became a branch of the Azerbaijan State Museum of Musical Culture.
The house-museum consists of three rooms.
About 1,214 exhibits including photos, posters, gramophone discs, documents, and personal belongings connected with the life and work of Vagif Mustafazade are included into the museum collection.
House Museum of Gara Garayev
Gara Garayev made an outstanding contribution to a treasury of world music.
The legendary composer wrote nearly 110 musical pieces, including ballets, operas, symphonic and chamber pieces, solos for piano, cantatas, songs and marches, and rose to prominence not only in Azerbaijan, but also worldwide.
Having synthesized Eastern and Western musical traditions, Garayev's works cover essentially all genres.
A House-Museum of the legendary Azerbaijani composer Gara Garayev opened in Baku last year.
The museum's collection includes personal belongings, posters, programs, photographs, books and other exhibits dedicated or belonging to Gara Garayev.
The House-Museum of Gara Garayev operates as part of the State Museum of Musical Culture.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz