By Laman Ismayilova
The 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee will be held in Baku on June 30-July 10.
At the session, the Committee will discuss inscription of the historic center of Shaki together with the Khan's Palace on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The World Heritage Committee will consider 36 applications for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The Committee will view the state of conservation of 166 sites inscribed on the World Heritage List and 54 sites of the List which are under threat.
Inscriptions on the World Heritage List are scheduled for July 5. The meeting will be chaired by the Minister of Culture of Azerbaijan Abulfas Garayev.
The agreement to organize the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Baku was signed by Abulfas Garayev and UNESCO Assistant Director General Ernesto Ottone Ramirez.
The document features the responsibilities of both Azerbaijan and UNESCO on the organization of the event. In addition, the document touches upon issues on the organization of the Young Professionals Forum to be held ahead of the session.
It is noteworthy that Azerbaijan’s Shaki is home to a number of ancient arts. Many potters, hatters and musical instrument makers are working there. Shebeke ornament is one of the ancient arts in Shaki, and this made Shaki famous around the world.
The Palace of Shaki Khans remains one of the most precious pearls of this unique city. The maples in the palace's yard are even older than buildings standing there.
The palace was built in 1797 by Muhammad Hasan Khan. The palace amazes with its magnificent interior and exterior.
Measuring thirty-two meters by eight and a half meters on the exterior, the unique beauty two-storied building is elongated on the north-south axis and covered with a wooden hipped roof with long eaves.
The basic material for the palace construction was raw bricks, river stones, plane trees and oaks. The palace`s mosaic of colored glass (shebeke) set in a wooden latticework was assembled without nails or glue.
There are 6 rooms, 4 corridors and 2 mirrored balconies in the palace. All the windows and doors of the palace were skillfully assembled from pieces of wood and colored Venetian glass. So the light getting inside the palace plays with all colors of the rainbow.
The interior walls of the palace are covered entirely with frescoes painted at different times during the 18th century.
Many of them feature flowers in vases, while a series of paintings on the first floor halls depict hunting and battle scenes. Signatures on frescoes list the names of artists Ali Gulu, Gurban Gulu and Mirza Jafar from Shamakhi, Usta Gambar from Shusha, and Abbas Gulu.
The rooms of the first floor were intended for ordinary visitors - they show the riches and power of Shaki khans. On the walls and ceilings there are trees, flowers, animals and birds - the symbols of fertility and noble origin.
The second floor is divided into two parts - female and male. The female half is painted with flowers and oriental ornaments. The male part was intended for visitors reception. It is the richest room of the palace. The miniatures on the walls show the military power of the Shaki khanate, its attitude to friends and enemies. The room's ceiling is painted with images of the khans' coat of arms and various symbols.
The Shaki Khans' Palace has been previously restored and today it is open for tourists in all its majesty and beauty.
Azerbaijan became member of UNESCO on June 3, 1992, after restoration of its independence.
In 2003, Azerbaijan and UNESCO signed the framework agreement on cooperation in the areas of culture, science, education and communication, which allowed Azerbaijan to become one of the donors of UNESCO.
In 2017, the organization marked the 600th anniversary of the death of the great Azerbaijani poet and thinker Imadaddin Nasimi.
Moreover, last year UNESCO celebrated the 200th anniversary of the first settlement of Germans in Azerbaijan. In 2013, with the support of UNESCO, the 900th anniversary of Azerbaijani poetess Mahsati Ganjavi was celebrated in Paris.
The gems of Azerbaijani culture, including Icherisheher (Old City), Maiden Tower and Shirvanshah's palace were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000, while since 2007 the Gobustan National Historical-Artistic reserve has been also listed among these heritages.
The World Heritage Committee includes representatives of 21 states parties to the World Heritage Convention who meet annually. The Committee is in charge of implementing the Convention.
To date, 1,092 sites in 167 countries have been inscribed on the World Heritage List.
UNESCO’s Heritage List also includes Novruz holiday, Azerbaijani mugham, national ashig art, the national carpet, traditional kelaghai headscarf and national musical instrument tar.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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