By Laman Ismayilova
The City of Winds has always been famous for its beautiful architecture. The splendor of its historical buildings still delights the tourists from all over the world. Every building carries history within its walls.
The Palace of Happiness, also called Palace of Marriage Registrations, is famous for its wonderful history.
The construction of this building is associated with a beautiful love story of the Baku millionaire Murtuza Mukhtarov and his wife Lisa Tuganova.
Mukhtarov was born into a poor family in a village of Amirjan near Baku. His grandfather and father were farm laborers - they carried oil from the fields on carts. At the age of 15, he got a job in fishing. He extracted oil from shallow wells.
Later, he set up his own drilling company in 1890 and then diversified into oil production. The company specialized in manufacturing machinery for derricks and in drilling oil wells. Mukhtarov was the author of several patents on drilling equipment - unique feat amongst oil industrialists of the time.
Murtuza Mukhtarov became one of the most reputable drilling experts in Baku.
During his trip to Vladikavkaz, Mukhtarov met with the Ossetian general Tuganov and his family.
Murtuza was so fascinated by the beauty and secular manners of his daughter Lisa that he immediately decided to get married to her.
Their wedding was held in Vladikavkaz. Mukhtarov built a mosque, dedicated to his wife, in Ossetia, known as Mukhtarov's mosque.
They went to Europe for a honeymoon and visited Venice, Paris, Rome. In Venice, Liza liked a beautiful French Gothic mansion. After returning to Baku, Mukhtarov secretly asked Polish architect Ploshko to build the similar palace in Baku as a sign of his love.
An exact copy of the building was raised in Azerbaijani capital within nine months. On its completion in 1912, Mukhtarov surprised his wife by driving her there in a carriage and telling her that it was her new residence.
Young Liza, actively involved in the country's public life, started working in the Nijat educational society. He took part in the creation of a special children's hospital, and headed the Muslim Ladies Charitable Society. In her new mansion, she opened a boarding house for orphaned girls, whom she cared for.
The couple lived in the palace until 28 April 1920, when the Bolsheviks took the house from the owners.
In 1922, the building started to be used by the newly founded women's organization, the Ali Bayramov Club, which offered a variety of vocational skills and training to women along with the cultural and leisure activities. Afterward, it functioned as Shirvanshahs Museum.
During the existence of Azerbaijan SSR, the palace functioned as the Palace of Marriage Registrations.
On 2 August 2001, by a resolution issued by the Cabinet of Ministers, the mansion was listed as a real estate of historic and state importance and was to be protected as a monument of the Azerbaijani culture.
The street lying on the right side of the building carries the name of Murtuza Mukhtarov. The building has been reopened in 2012 after major overhaul and restoration.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz