By Nigar Orujova
Paris hosted an exhibition devoted to the life and creativity of great Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi at the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts on November 12.
The exhibition was held with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the assistance of the Azerbaijani Embassy in France.
Birth anniversaries of genius Azerbaijani masters of the word Nizami Ganjavi and Mahsati Ganjavi were celebrated in France with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
Founder and President of the Museum Gerard Lheritier said he was proud of the exhibition devoted to the great Azerbaijani poet being held at his establishment.
The Museum's authorized representative Pascal Fulacher expressed his regret that French people knew so little about a world-renowned poet like Nizami Ganjavi. Fulacher said that the poet's "Divan", which includes over 20,000 poems, is very well known in Eastern countries, and his works touched upon social problems and praised love and beauty.
Fulacher pointed to the fact that the "Khamsa", which includes five poems, is known to the world as "Five Treasures", and the school of literature established by Nizami Ganjavi has had significant influence on the Indian, Persian, Afghan, Turkish, Uzbek, and other Turkic nations' literature.
He emphasized that manuscripts of the great master of word are preserved at the world's important museums and libraries, including the ones in Istanbul, Teheran, Cairo, Saint-Petersburg, London, Paris and Berlin.
Fulacher noted the significance of the exhibition organized at the museum in promoting the humanist philosopher and poet in France, as well as bringing the Western and Eastern cultures closer.
Speaking at the event, Azerbaijani Ambassador to France Elchin Amirbayov said Azerbaijan's philosopher of genius and great poet Nizami Ganjavi, one of the brightest persons of the Eastern renaissance and of humanity, has left a matchless legacy in literature. Amirbayov said, despite living eight centuries ago, the poet's ideas have preserved its actuality.
Underlining the fact that the ideas of freedom, equality, brotherhood, and equality between men and women reflected in his works are shaping the foundation of significant events in the contemporary era, Amirbayov brought to attention the fact that reciting Nizami Ganjavi and his legacy is highly valued today in Azerbaijan.
He said that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, which is headed by Azerbaijan's First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, has played a special part in translating works by Nizami Ganjavi into various languages.
Amirbayov recalled that on the occasion of the 850th anniversary of Nizami Ganjavi, the year 1991 had been declared the Year of Nizami Ganjavi, and that a statue of the poet was erected in Rome in 2012.
He also said that a series of events will be held in France on the occasion of the 870th birthday anniversary of the eminent maser of word with support from the Foundation.
Concluding his speech, Amirbayov said the carpets, items of adornment, and garments put on display at the exhibition along with photos that showed the past and present of Ganja, the poet's homeland, reflected the time when Atabeys and Shirvanshahs had ruled during Ganjavi's time.
Senator Pierre Bourdieu and professor of the French Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations Aygun Eyyubova also spoke at the event.
Photos of the old and contemporary Ganja, statues and monuments erected in different places, the poet's mausoleum, and scientific and cultural establishments named after the poet, carpets with illustrations from his works, garments related to the poet's time, and items of pottery and copper smithery were displayed at the exhibition.
Books and booklets about Nizami Ganjavi's life and creativity were distributed among guests.
A concert featuring songs based on Nizami Ganjavi's poems was also presented at the Azerbaijani Cultural Center in Paris on November 13.
Cultural events are also planned in Strasbourg on November 19.
Based on the UNESCO's decision, the exhibitions and concerts will be organized in the French cities of Reims and Mulhouse in late November and December with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation as part of the 900th anniversary of Mahsati Ganjavi, a 12th century poet and a famous rubai writer, at the world level.
Nizami Ganjavi, the greatest representative of the Eastern Renaissance in the 12th century, displayed the quintessence of world literature and philosophy in his immortal work Khamsa (The Five) through the aesthetic power of his art.
Nizami's works have been translated into English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and other languages of the world. His life and creations have been the subject of numerous researches.