By Laman Ismayilova
The Culture Ministry has made considerable achievements in Azerbaijan's cultural life over the outgoing year.
The ministry has successfully worked to preserve, develop, enrich and pass on Azerbaijan's rich culture to future generations, as well as to promote it worldwide.
The country's latest accomplishments in the cultural sphere have been announced at the press conference entitled "Culture Ministry: Goals and Outcomes for 2021".
At the press conference, Culture Minister Anar Karimov provided insight into some of the large-scale projects carried out over the year 2021.
Revival of culture in Karabakh
The Culture Ministry has carried out preliminary monitoring in liberated Shusha, Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Khojavend, Gubadli, Lachin and Kalbajar regions.
The monitoring was mainly aimed at ensuring compensation for the damage that was caused to cultural monuments during the Armenian occupation.
Around 403 historical and cultural monuments that are under state registration and 162 historical, architectural, archeological monuments that are not under state registration have been inspected until today.
Some 864 cultural institutions were also examined, including 462 libraries, 348 clubs, 20 museums, 26 children's music schools, one cinema, three cinema clubs, two theaters and two galleries.
The Culture Ministry also supported the restoration of Bulbul's House-Museum in Shusha and organized an international conference "The Great Return - Revival of culture."
Some of the most remarkable events of the year also included the celebration of the Vagif Poetry Days, the Khari Bulbul Music Festival, the National Music Day and Uzeyir Hajibayli International Festival in Shusha with the support of the Culture Ministry.
Moreover, Azerbaijan set out to revive libraries in the Karabakh region.
In January, the Culture Ministry launched a campaign "Let's go to Karabakh with a book" in partnership with the Azerbaijani National Library.
Some 55,482 books have been collected within the campaign aimed at restoring the book funds of libraries on the liberated territories.
Management system reforms
Work is underway to develop a cultural strategy for Azerbaijan until 2030.
The strategy focuses on such areas as protection of cultural heritage, support for the creative industry, the promotion of Azerbaijani culture at the international level, and the return of culture to the Karabakh region.
Reconstruction of the legal framework is also being considered. For this purpose, five new regional offices have been established to improve the activities of the State Service for Protection, Development and Restoration of Cultural Heritage.
Film industry and theater field
Around 40 feature films, documentaries and animated films were made during the year. The local films have won multiple awards at international festivals.
The establishment of the Azerbaijan Film Commission, reforms in the Azerbaijanfilm studio, the holding of the 12th International Short Film Festival, the 4th ANIMAFILM International Animation Festival, the 4.4 Festival of Short Performances, as well as the production of the short film "Great Return", are among other notable achievements.
Azerbaijan is also interested in the joint production of films with Turkey.
Speaking about negotiations in this direction, Culture Minister Anar Karimov noted that films of joint Azerbaijani-Turkish production can be broadcast on Netflix.
Netflix has expressed interest in cooperation with Azerbaijan. However, there are certain standards that Azerbaijani films must meet.
Year of Nizami Ganjavi
2021 has been declared as the "Year of Nizami Ganjavi" in Azerbaijan under President Ilham Aliyev's order.
In this regard, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the Action Plan for the 880th anniversary of great Azerbaijani poet and thinker Nizami Ganjavi.
Many events and gala concerts were held as part of the celebration, including the Nizami Ganjavi International Forum, ArtFest Nizami, etc.
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.
At the same time, the Culture Ministry supported the publication of Nizami's poems in Turkey.
The 7th Baku International Book Exhibition was the most significant event in the field of books and publishing. This year's fair was dedicated to the Year of Nizami Ganjavi.
Numerous presentations and meetings with well-known writers were organized within the exhibition.
Cooperation with international partners
The year 2021 has also been successful in the field of international cultural cooperation.
Azerbaijan has been elected as a member of the UNESCO Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict for the next four years
At the press conference, Anar Karimov also praised the inclusion of Lankaran in the UNESCO list "Network of Creative Cities."
Founded in 2004, the "Network of Creative Cities" unites cities based on creativity and considers innovations and creativity as a key factor in order to promote sustainable urban development.
At the same time, UNESCO will celebrate the 100th anniversary of outstanding composer Fikrat Amirov next year and the bicentenary of great philanthropist and oil magnate Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev in 2023.
Moreover, Azerbaijan will appeal to UNESCO over including a number of samples of national intangible cultural heritage, including "Pearl Art", "Pahlevan traditional wrestling", "Molla Nasraddin", "Tea culture" and "Balaban crafts and performing arts", etc.
Anar Karimov expressed his hope that these samples of intangible cultural heritage will be included in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2022.
The Culture Ministry also underlined successful cooperation with ICESCO and TURKSOY as well as a partnership within the "Peace4Culture" global campaign aimed at preserving cultural heritage and creating peaceful and sustainable societies.
Major cultural projects
Many cultural projects and events were implemented in Azerbaijan this year.
Among them are "Cultural renewal", "From stage to trench" and new projects dedicated to the country's religious sites.
The holding of anniversaries and memorial evenings of prominent cultural figures contributed to promoting Azerbaijani culture.
The celebration of anniversaries of such prominent figures as Ashig Alasgar, Khan Shushinsky, Tofig Bakikhanov, Mikayil Abdullayev and Kamil Aliyev were met with great interest by the public.
Great attention was also paid to addressing the challenges in the field of culture amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the beginning of the year, many cultural institutions, galleries, museums, theaters switched to online working.
Anar Karimov also spoke about the project "Civilized Conduct Concept " aimed at promoting Azerbaijan's cultural heritage worldwide.
The project also focuses on reforming the role of the Culture Ministry in educating the younger generation.
The work is underway to develop a " Civilized Conduct Concept" that will serve as a key platform for the ministry's activities in this direction.
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