24 August, Thursday


Azerbaijan through the eyes of Uzbek journalist - Part 1- PHOTOS

Interviews

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Elmira Tukhvatullina, prominent journalist form Uzbekistan, the anchor of TV program “All about tourism”, first time visits Azerbaijan. The journalist shared her impressions about her visit on the social media. 
 
We would like to mention that the visit of writers and journalists delegation from Uzbekistan to Baku was organized by the initiatives of Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center of Uzbekistan, with the support and the assistance of International Eurasia Press Fund. 
 
Eurasia Diary shares with you the comments and the impressions of the journalist as it was published previously by her. 
 
I have not been in Baku before. However, I had strong desire to visit Baku. And finally as the part of press tour my dream came true. 
 
As soon as I left Heydar Aliyev Airport, I felt mild humidity. Sea, Caspian Sea is close to me! The coastline city was introduced to me in contrast of different shades of blue color with the oil tanks. I was surprised not to see the traces of “black oil”. 
 
On the way to the office of International Eurasia Press Fund for about 25 km of ride I could not see any trace of oil tanks, only graceful buildings and houses. 
 
Baku seemed to be coffee with the milk. However, the coffee with the milk has diverse shades. All these days witnessing the architectural contrast of the city I could make sure about those shades.
 
Here we go. Now it is time to introduce Baku with top 10 shades pleasing the eyes: cinnamon, chocolate, caramel, nuts, mah, Chestnut, mink, burnt umber, ocher, cognac, sweet fondant, melted milk, cream-brulle, unbleached cloth, camel wool, sea sand… 
 
Believe me; I am not exaggerating at all. It is exactly what it was. 
 
First impression: graceful city, with aristocrats meeting the guests with the greatest pleasure. The architecture is a contrast of distinct styles, classics, barocco, gothic, modern,  avant-grade. However, this mixture does not result in rejection. In contrary, it results in wonder and curiosity. How could Baku create such a harmony of old and new? Here they are integrated peacefully. The city is the reflection of diversity. 
 
For example, the building of the Main Academy seems like the Viennese Palace. It was built by the Jozef Ploszko and called “Ismaliyye” and it was financed by the oil magnate Musa Nagiev in the memory of his dead son. Another building, in French Gothic style with the romantic history. Once in a while, it was the house if oil magnate Murtuza Mukhtarov. In the beginning of last century, he was travelling around Europe with his wife Lisa and his wife felt in love with one building in Venice. About year later, the husband gifted the Palace built in exact same way in the center of Baku to his graceful wife. Currently, it is used as the Wedding Palace. Opera Theater is fabulous work of two other oil magnates which kills La Scala with its beauty.
 
Some parts of the old town remind me of Barcelona. The new area with skyscrapers reminds me of Abu-Dhabi. The old palaces around the Old City reminds me the Middle Eastern beauty. 
The tall Trump tower creates association with Manhattan. Feeling of déjà vu doesn’t leave you stepping on the streets of the city.
 
Leyla Orudjeva invited us to the evening tour at the central shopping district. It felt like the trip to Paris, London, Wien and Milan. 
 
Oil boom of last century, certainly left the traces on the prosperity of the city. Because of “black oil” many investors were attracted by Baku. Getting fortune from the oil they brought the best architects to Baku to build up the European bases of the city. Hadji Tagiev built the house in the center of the city with 101 rooms. When he passed away the house became the governmental property and now it is the history museum of Azerbaijan. 
 
The modern Baku is often called Eastern Paris. In the other hand, it is Caucasian Dubai. The budget of the oil allows constructing fascinating projects in Azerbaijan. Overall, I recall the memories about Baku as the European grace. Baku is the true integration of East and West. I am not going to talk too much about the old town called Icheri Sheher, it is just another novel. 
 
Moreover, the Center of Haydar Aliyev- one of the true world’s modern treasures, the work of fabulous architect Zaha Hadid, which was nominated to Grand Prize of Architecture Contest in London. 
 
The tallest skyscraper in Baku (190meters)- Flame Towers. The building complex is constituted by the 3 main futuristic pieces. In the morning they admire the habitants with the brightness, and at the night time with the fire effects. As much as we would see this beauty from different angles of the city and each time we would get fascinated. 
 
Surprisingly, there are a lot of tourists from Arab countries. The reason for such a great number of Arab visitors is most probably related to the Islamic Solidarity Games held recently in Baku. Very often you can see in the streets of Baku a young girl wearing shorts and a covered woman crossing by the same street. The appreciation towards diversity is just undeniable in this city. 
 
I would like to mention another sight which admired us- building which is located just by the sea- Baku Crystal Hall where the Eurovision was held several years ago. It is a huge construction capable to host 25 thousands of visitors. We were watching it by standing up on the hill – Shahidlar Khiyabani. 
 
The driver Ramil once took a ride to “Black City” where once upon a time all the dirty oil industry was located. But now it was reconstructed into the new “White City”. Part of the history is going to the waste and the new stories are reforming here. 
 
Baku is ambitious city. The tendency to show off with the richness of oil is now gone but the city is still fascinating to its visitors. It is the true example of how a modern art can be combined with the old and traditional culture. If you would read the text till the end consider it as my sign of affection towards this city, where you can meet all the traces of happiness. 
 
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