Year in review. Azerbaijan's major cultural achievements [PHOTO]
By Laman Ismayilova
The year 2021 finally came to an end. For Azerbaijan, the last year was full of new experiences and major projects aimed at promoting the country's rich cultural heritage.
Let's take a look at some of last year's achievements and highlights.
Shusha declared Azerbaijan's cultural capital
In 2021, Shusha city was declared Azerbaijan's cultural capital. The city has historically been one of the country's most important centers of historical, cultural, socio-political life. Shusha was liberated from Armenian occupation during the Second Karabakh War in 2020.
After liberation, major cultural events were held in Shusha, including the Khari Bulbul Music Festival, the Vagif Poetry Days and the Uzeyir Hajibayli International Music Festival.
Last year, the Khari Bulbul Music Festival once again welcomed talented musicians in Shusha.
On the first day, the audience was delighted by the traditional music of different peoples living in Azerbaijan.
The concert themed "Multiculturalism in Azerbaijani music" conveyed the message to the whole world that everyone, regardless of nationality or religion, has a single homeland.
Furthermore, the Vagif Poetry Days were held for the first time in the poet's native city after its liberation from Armenia's three-decade occupation.
Until 1991, the cultural event was held annually in Azerbaijan on national leader Heydar Aliyev's relevant instructions.
The Vagif Poetry Days 2021 united folk poets, mugham singers and many other cultural figures.
The large-scale event was remembered by fascinating performances, colorful exhibitions, literary symposiums and heart-touching poetic composition "From Nizami to Vagif".
Next, Azerbaijan's cultural capital hosted a gala concert within the 13th Uzeyir Hajibayli International Music Festival.
The tradition of celebrating the great composer's birthday as a holiday was laid by eminent conductor Niyazi, who used to celebrate this day each year after Uzeyir Hajibayli's death.
The Azerbaijani State Song and Dance Ensemble performed at the concert under the baton of People's Artist Aghaverdi Pashayev.
For young talents, a new program "Youth echoes of the art of Uzeyir" was presented as part of the festival.
Restoration of cultural monuments
Azerbaijan always pays special attention to the protection of cultural heritage. Large-scale work is being carried out on the territories liberated from the Armenian occupation.
Around 927 libraries with a book fund of 4.6 million, 22 museums and museum branches with over 100,000 exhibits, 4 art galleries and other cultural institutions were subjected to Armenian vandalism.
Many cultural and historical sites such as the mausoleum of Molla Panah Vagif, Bulbul house-museum, the statue of Uzeyir Hajibayli were restored in Shusha after the city's liberation.
The work on the restoration of the historical, cultural and religious sites is underway in the liberated lands.
Year of Nizami Ganjavi
The year 2021 was declared in Azerbaijan as the year of Nizami Ganjavi by the presidential order, taking into account the exceptional importance of the poet's legacy.
The country also celebrates the 880th anniversary of the great poet and thinker with multiple cultural events.
In November, Baku hosted the Nizami Ganjavi International Forum that brought together foreign experts, scientists who study the rich literary heritage of the genius thinker.
The forum featured panel discussions on multiple topics such as "The influence of Nizami's work on the political and social traditions of the medieval East", "Nizami Ganjavi: a view of the modern world" and others", etc.
Moreover, Nizami Ganjavi's 880th anniversary was celebrated with a spectacular festival.
The audiovisual project "Festival of Light. Nizami Ganjavi" was presented in Baku on October 14-17.
During the festival, miniatures based on "Khamsa" were recreated on the facade of the National Museum of Azerbaijani Literature and on the Maiden Tower.
The project attracted broader public interest in the study, preservation and transmission of the rich poetic, philosophical and social heritage of Nizami Ganjavi to future generations.
Many other cultural events dedicated to the poet were successfully held in Azerbaijan and abroad.
In 2021, Azerbaijan actively cooperated with the leading world organizations such as ICESCO and UNESCO.
Last year, Azerbaijan and Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) set new prospects of cooperation and mutual support.
The organization expressed its readiness to assist Azerbaijan in the restoration of monuments destroyed as a result of Armenian aggression.
Moreover, ICESCO also proposed to declare Shusha as the capital of the Islamic world. The initiative was announced at the press conference between ICESCO Director-General Salim AlMalik and Azerbaijan Culture Minister Anar Karimov.
Meanwhile, Lankaran region was included in the UNESCO list "Network of Creative Cities".
In this regard, the Azerbaijan Culture Ministry sent a candidate document to the UNESCO Secretariat.
UNESCO will also celebrate the birthday anniversaries of Azerbaijan's prominent figures.
The organization will mark the centenary of outstanding composer Fikrat Amirov in 2022 and the bicentenary of great philanthropist and oil magnate Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev in 2023.
The decision was announced at the 41st UNESCO General Conference in Paris.
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