One of the world's most ancient nations - the nation of Azerbaijan - has the right to feel proud for its history, material and cultural monuments, literature, arts and music heritage.

Located at the junction of East and West, Azerbaijan has played a huge role in the formation of the universal culture. The first secular theatre, first opera, first ballet and the first Academy of Sciences in the Muslim East were founded in Azerbaijan. Wonderful nature, climate, natural resources of the country produced a significant impact on the artistic thinking and creative skills of the Azerbaijani people.

The folk arts of Azerbaijan are multi-colored, complete and rich, as its natural resources. The folk art is connected with daily life of people and daily life occupies a very special life in the fine arts as well. Folk arks cover a long period from ancient times to nowadays and including a variety of products from garments to housing goods and decoration.

Everyone can easily come across numerous wonderful models of Azerbaijani folk arts in the world's largest museums. The pieces of arts created by the skillful hands of Tabriz, Nakhichevan, Gandja, Gazakh, Guba, Baku, Shaki, Shamakhi and Nagorny Kharabakh can be found in large museum collections of Victoria and Albert of London, Louvers of Paris, Metropoliten of Washington and Vienna, Rome, Berlin, Istanbul, Tehran, Cairo museums.

Gobustan rock pictures, pictures belonged to the early of bronze epoch (III millennium B.C) in Aychingilli and Parichingil mountains near the Zalkha lake in Kalbacar region, rock pictures in the Gamigaya Mountains in the north of Ordubad town have exception importance among the most old patterns of fine art. Pictures about ancient people's mode of life, welfare, labour, carved in the Gobustan rockeries, represent special interest. Different subjects, scenes on hunting, cattle breeding, planting and other branches of household, human and animal pictures were carved in dynamic way. Picture of people, dancing Yalli, represents special interest among the Gobustan rock pictures. These pictures testify Azerbaijan people's interest in music since ancient times.

Azerbaijan was rich of architectural pieces one of branches of folk art along with works of fine art since ancient times. Maiden tower and Shirvanshahs palace in Baku, Momina Xatun and Yusif ibn Kuseyr mausoleums, created by architect Acami in Nakhichevan, Natavan's home, pictures on walls of Shaki khan palace and other patterns are rare pearls of architecture.

Motherland of Azerbaijan people possessed rich musical and cultural heritage is famous as Land of flames.

Theories of music were formulated in the 13th and 14th centuries by S. Urmevi and A. Maraghi, among others. Many of the larger towns had music and art schools with international reputations. In the 14th century, a small settlement specifically devoted to education, science and the arts was founded near Tebriz (southern Azerbaijan). Its library contained 60,000 volumes and, in workshops attached to it, the arts of miniature painting and book illustration were perfected. The music schools at Baku, Shemakha, Shusha and Nakhchivan, which relied on empirical teaching methods, played a major part in transmitting the Mugham and Ashug oral traditions from one generation to the next. 

Azerbaijan music, enriching world musical culture with its rare pearls, has multi-centuries old traditions. Folk songs, dances, ashug creation (folk poet and singer) have specific place in Azerbaijan national music.

Mughams are foundation of Azerbaijan national music. It is not accidental that UNESCO, specialized organization of UN, entered Azerbaijan mugham into the list of world cultural heritage. Folk music, mughams have inspired our outstanding composers - Uzeir Hajibekov, Muslim Magomayev, Gara Garayev, Fikret Amirov, Niyazi, Arif Melikov, world-renowned singers Bul-Bul and Rashid Beibutov.

An International Mugham Centre has opened in Baku, and the International Mugham Festival is organized on a regular basis. A modern development from mugham is ‘jazz-mugham’, developed by pianist and composer Vagif Mustafazadeh. Some of the world’s leading musicians perform at the Baku International Jazz Festival.

Works of art, created by classics and contemporaries, take honorable place in world cultural treasure. Works by M.F.Akhundov, N.Vazirov, M.S.Ordubadi, G.Zakir, M.A.Sabir, J.Mammadguluzade, M.P.Vagif, M.V.Vidadi and other poets and writers hasn't lost their aesthetic importance.

Literature has a special place in Azerbaijani culture, with folklore at its heart. The Azerbaijani epic The Book of Dede-Qorqud is a significant literary piece that is more than 1,300 years old. In the Middle Ages, Azerbaijani poet Nizami created his world-famous Khamsa, and prominent poet Fuzuli was recognised across national and regional borders. His “Leyli and Majnun” is renowned as a literary gem. Another great exponent of Azerbaijani literature was Mirza Fatali Akhundov, who refined dramatic form for the Azerbaijani theatre in the 19th century. During the Soviet period, such brilliant Azerbaijani literary figures as Huseyn Javid, Ahmad Javad and Mikail Mushfiq fell victim to repression by the Soviet regime. Samad Vurgun, Suleyman Rustam, Ilyas Efendiyev and Mammad Said were particularly renowned. The Azerbaijani poet Shahriyar was of great importance to Azerbaijani and Iranian literature. “Ali and Nino” by Azerbaijani émigré writer Gurban Said, is famous across the world. Modern-day literary figures are Bakhtiyar Vahabzada, Anar and others. Chingiz Abdullayev has become internationally recognized for his gripping detective novels and short stories.

One of the art kinds, related with Azerbaijan literature, is a theatre. The roots of Azerbaijan theatre art related with people's activity, mode of life, solemn and wedding traditions, range of vision. Elements of spectacle in rites, ceremonies and games took important role in popular theatre. It was realistic and related with working categories. Repertoire of popular theatre consisted of short spectacles of ethic content. Popular theatre played important part in establishment of Azerbaijan professional theatre.

Roots of theatre art, dated to old times, started with spectacles "Vizier of Lankaran khanate" and "Hadji Gara" by M.F.Akhundov, staged in Baku in March and April 1973.

Different spectacles, amazing spectators, are staged in Academic National Dramatic Theatre, Municipal Theatre, Pantomime Theatre, Theatre of Young Spectators and etc.

Bright, many coloured palette of nature of the native land has found its reflection in the canvases of Sattar Bahlulzade, Tahir Salahov, Togrul Narimanbeyov, Mikail Abdullayev and other talented masters of the brush.

Famous Azerbaijani carpets, as if absorbed all colours of nature, all stages of the history of native land, today like magic flying carpets, crossing the frontiers of time, spread around the world glorifying the craftsmanship of our carpet-makers.

Science and education in Azerbaijan have deep roots. The establishment of the Baku State University in 1919 and the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences in 1945 played a key role in the development of science, education and culture in the republic. Today the interests of our scientists range from the problems of the Caspian Sea and space research to mysteries of human brain and many other fields.

Tens of higher and technical educational establishments, thousands of schools, colleges and Lyceums, a theological gymnasia - that is the spectrum of educational orientation of Azerbaijan today. In addition to state schools, a network of private educational organizations has been created. The higher education institutions of Azerbaijan actively participate in the Bologna Process. Thousands of youths from countries across the world currently study in the country’s higher education institutions. The Azerbaijani educational system also makes provision for top students to study in the world’s leading universities. Azerbaijani scientific discovery has a long history. Scientific research is currently undertaken by the Azerbaijani National Academy of Sciences (ANAS), founded in 1945, together with a range of other universities. There are specialist schools for sciences, covering mathematics, physics, oil chemistry, geology, biology and other disciplines. The Azerbaijan State Oil Academy is renowned for its scientific research and innovations in the oil extraction industry. 

Cinematography, one of the most interesting and a popular art kind of our time, penetrate into people's life and become integral part of it. National cinematography opens bottoms of human heart and new live horizons. It gained great experience year-by-year and created number of different works, reflecting our people's life and problems. These films were kept for future generations and became people's spiritual knowledge.

Azerbaijani architecture combines influences from many styles and periods. Hundreds of historical and modern structures are in existence, representing various aesthetic styles and architectural schools. The Caucasian Albanian legacy is particularly important, being represented by both civil buildings and Christian temples. One of these is located in Kish village, Sheki, and is regarded as the ‘mother of Albanian churches’. This is the most ancient Christian monument in the Caucasus and was recently renovated by the Azerbaijani government as part of an architectural renovation programme.

Islam's spread across the country during the 7th century resulted in the adoption of Islamic styles. The quality of Azerbaijani architecture reached a new zenith during the 10th–12th centuries, and the Momina Khatun Mausoleum (1186), constructed in Nakhchivan under the leadership of Ajami Abubekr’s son, Nakhchivani, is a pearl of both Azerbaijani and world architecture.

The jewels of Azerbaijani architecture include Icheri Sheher, Baku's walled inner city, which contains over 50 historical and architectural monuments, such as the Shirvanshahs’ Palace and Maiden’s Tower. These are included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.

Azerbaijan fine art is old and rich as history of our people. Research of theatre, cinema, music and folk art, passed long and difficult way of development, proves high cultural heritage of Azerbaijan people. Culture and fine art workers of Azerbaijan always make efforts to spread our culture to world and have achieved it. Entering of Azerbaijan mugham into world cultural heritage by UNESCO, rewarding of well-known film master R.Ibrahimbayov, screenwriter and producer by "Oscar" and keeping of manual works and carpets, made by popular masters in famous museums of the world are obvious proves.



Source:   www.azerbaijan.az