The Culture

The first ancient monuments of the Azerbaijani fine art should certainly include the unique rock carvings of Gobustan – the area of Absheron peninsula. Contemporary artwork of Azerbaijan dates back to the early XX century. Realism, rich color, “recognition” and topicality are inherent to paintings of Sattar Bahlulzadeh, Tahir Salahov, Togrul Narimanbekov, Behruz Kengerli, Azim Azimzadeh, Nadir Abdurakhmanov, a whole galaxy of young artists. In addition to traditional painting techniques, the alternatives are often used. So contemporary artist Sabir Chopuroglu created amazing technique - he paints his paintings by using oil, and an artist Parvana Eyubova creates pictures using skin. Exhibitions are regularly launched, and museums and art galleries operate in the capital and major cities, and great attention is paid to children's art. Exhibition of contemporary Azerbaijani art located at the halls of the Azerbaijan State Museum of Art and demonstrates painting, sculpture, graphics, decorative and applied art of Azerbaijan of the 30-90's of XX century. A rich collection of the National Art Museum of Azerbaijan allows newly to see the artistic monuments of the past and discover the peculiarities of modern art. Contemporary paintings and drawings by Azerbaijani artists are represented in the Baku Museum of Modern Art, and private collections in many countries. Again please us the works by A. and V. Shamsiyevs., I. Mamedov, Z. Aliyeva, D. Kerimov, O. and B. Agababayevs, U. and E. Hagverdiyevs, E. and M. Babayevs, R. and S. Verdiyevs, R. Karimov, E. and D. Gashimovs, N. Ibrahimov, R. Mehdiyev, B. Maratly, A. and S. Samedovs, A. Sadikhzade and other artists.
In former times on market days Azerbaijani carpets merchants carried their goods to the centre of fairground and spread new products on the ground. The carpets were trampled by hooves of horses and donkeys and a number of traders and merchants walked on them. But merchants only grinned proudly: our goods are high quality! This "promotional" trick brought practical benefits to them - dense rigid pile was removing, and the carpet was becoming softer and gentler. Carpet weaving in Azerbaijan has always been one of the most important national crafts, and has achieved to the status of high professionalism. The main centres of the applied arts were Guba, Shamakhi, Baku, Ganja, Karabakh. The Azerbaijani carpets have a reputation on a global scale; even the artists of the Renaissance (H.Holbeyn and others.) depicted them on their canvases. Handmade carpets of pure wool and natural dyes with hundreds colours in complex ornaments were very expensive, because their production took years of work, and needed a lot of experience and patience. Therefore, traditionally, every Azerbaijani family put the carpets in sight: they are laid on the floor, hung on the wall, given as a dowry, and presented to future generation. Today in the West, the Azerbaijani and Iranian carpets are especially valued as a tribute to the fashionable style of "oriental". Up to now, local and foreign experts and collectors hunt for ancient Azerbaijani carpets, sacks and khurjuns (travel bags), shawls, scarves, gold-embroidered and beaded embroidery. Carpet Museum has always attracted the attention of tourists. Very popular among the people are metal products - copper utensils, weapons with embossed and engraved patterns, forging items which have been used at all times. Jewelleries made of gold and silver, decorated with coloured stones and inlaid with coloured enamel were original and necklaces, belts, rings, bracelets and objects of male garments aroused interest in Europe and Russia. Woodcarvers arranged between themselves an informal competition in which the margin of victory of their work was meticulous technique, realism, detail, complexity and quality of the natural pattern of valuable timber. Carvers and professionals in the field of artistic murals and domes, and workers in mosaic creating huge painted panels successfully competed with these masters.
One of the stations of Baku underground was named after architect Ajami. This is a tribute to the people of Azerbaijan to one of their talented ancestors. Ajami lived in the XII century, was a brilliant representative of the Nakhchivan School of architecture. Momina Khatun Mausoleum erected by him is deservedly considered one of the outstanding works of Azerbaijani architecture. More than eight hundred years, this decahedral Mausoleum of twenty meters has been striking with its exquisite carvings and the splendour of the ceramic finishes. Beautiful majestic monuments adorn the Azerbaijani lands. The oldest of them survived the millennium – it is cyclopean defences of the Bronze Age. They were built out of huge, almost no processed stone blocks, the spaces between them filled with small stones. People called them "galacha" (fortress). Median tombs and peculiar altars of fire are of great interest as well. With the arrival of the Arabs in Azerbaijan in the VII century and the spread of Islam in its territory new types buildings such as mosques, madrassas (schools), mausoleums, minarets adorned with decorative ornaments have appeared. In the XV-XVI centuries in Shirvanshakhs Palace in Baku the most outstanding monument of the Azerbaijani architecture which had to serve as evidence of the unshakable strength and unlimited power of the feudal lord has been erected. Now the historical and archaeological complex “Shirvanshahs Palace " is included in the golden fund of the architectural heritage of the peoples of the world. At the beginning of XX century the appearance of Baku city obtained exquisitely lush colour. The buildings built during the oil boom of the early XX century were added Moorish, Romanesque, Gothic elements. The population is mostly preferred low two-storey houses with tendirs (ovens made of clays) in the yard - a cone-shaped hole for making bread. Now Azerbaijan preserves its position of individuality in house construction. Everyone creates their home, relying on imagination and material possibilities. It is so cool to build a home not like the others! In recent years Azerbaijan again witnesses the next construction boom. The volume of investments made in the construction sector is growing year by year. The country has 12 construction and design institutes, special design-budget bureau of the Head Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, Baku Executive Power. Modern high-rise apartment complexes, shopping and business centres, luxury hotels, road junctions and bridges are built in the capital and regions. The project such as Khazar Islands has become famous, and according to this project artificial islands are constructed in the Caspian Sea, and entire micro-districts and the highest tower in the world – Azerbaijan Tower will be constructed there as well.

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