By Laman Ismayilova
With its old cobler streets and historical sites, Azerbaijani villages have special charm.
Balakhani village has recently turned into unique open-air art gallery, where houses are painted with colorful images.
The village is known as the first oil center on Absheron peninsula. The history of oil production in Balakhani goes back to the Middle Ages.
In 1813, the owner of all Balakhani wells was the Baku khan Huseyn, with the exception of two belonging to the Selimkhanov brothers.
Further, all the wells were acquired by the first Russian oil farmer Mark Tarumov. In 1837, mining engineer Nikolai Voskoboinikov founded an oil refinery in Balakhani, where for the first time oil was heated using natural gas.
In 1871, the second oil well in Russia (64 meters) was drilled mechanically. On April 1, 1873, the first oil drilling gusher hit Balakhani. By the order of the Nobel brothers' company, the first oil pipeline in Russia was built from Balakhani to an oil refinery in the Black City of Baku.
In 1898, the photographer Alexander Michon shot a short silent documentary film "Oil fountain in Balakhani", known as the first film in the history of Azerbaijani cinema.
After renovation, Balakhani village has a chance to turn into favorite tourist spot.
The village is being reconstructed for the first time. Sidewalks and roads, facades and roofs of buildings were completely renovated.
Nearly 4,000 trees have been planted in the area. Moreover, about 100 small enterprises aimed at promotion of handicrafts, carpet weaving art, pottery will operate in the village.
Along with Balakhani, renovation works are underway in other parts of Baku.
Bibi-Heybat village is also slightly changing its appearance. The city's streets are full of bright colors and street art that left no one indifferent.
The village is well-known for its ancient mosque. The18th century mosque was built by Shirvanshah Abu-l-Fath Farrukhzad. However, the site was completely destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1936.
In the late 1990s, the mosque was recreated once again. The current complex includes a mosque and tombs. The mosque is considered one of the most valuable examples of Islamic architecture in Azerbaijan.
There is an oil and gas condensate field in Bibi-Heybat. The world's first oil well was drilled by percussion method using wooden rods in Bibi-Heybat.
The renovation works will be also carried out in Sumgayit, Mardakan, Novkhani, Amirjan, Buzovna and Ramana.
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