Shamakhi, December 6, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva have viewed the landscaping work carried out around the Shahkhandan tomb in Shamakhi district.
Informing the head of state and the first lady about the landscaping, restoration and repair work carried out in the cemetery and in the tomb, Head of Shamakhi District Executive Authority Tahir Mammadov said:
- Mr. President, in memory of Nasimi’s brother Shahi Khandan, this territory is called the Shahkhandan cemetery. It was fenced. We have talked with residents, asked for and received permission, demolished the fences and landscaped the area.
President Ilham Aliyev: I see that it has been landscaped. There are ancient graves here.
Tahir Mammadov: These are ancient graves. We have dug them out of the ground.
President Ilham Aliyev: What century are they?
Tahir Mammadov: The tomb of Shahi Khandan dates back to the 14th century. This cemetery has existed since then.
President Ilham Aliyev: Is it used as a municipal cemetery?
Tahir Mammadov: Yes, it is still being used. There are additional places. There are two such large ancient cemeteries in Shamakhi. This one and the “Yeddy Gunbez” cemetery, where members of the Shah’s family are buried. After landscaping, it has become more spacious.
President Ilham Aliyev: I see that the territory has been landscaped.
Tahir Mammadov: We are currently conducting individual conversations to remove these barriers from the territory and open it – there are ancient graves in the back as well – so that tourists can easily come and see this. Many tourists come here, touch the building, take a walk to feel the local energy.
Mr. President, the road we came along was previously paved. A certain part of the site was covered with ground at the height we see. We did this work on the recommendations and instructions of Austrian architect and restoration expert Eric Pammer and with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The first instruction was that we should remove water from the site, and this place was dug to the level below the foundation.
President Ilham Aliyev: Part of the gate was also covered with ground.
Tahir Mammadov: Yes, it was covered with ground, water permeated inside, and it was very damp. Therefore, until the building is completely mothballed, in accordance with the instructions, we will keep its surface covered. Before preservation, the stones must dry. The tomb interior is dried by a ventilation system. Support walls were built around the building to prevent them from collapsing. At the suggestion of architects, we sketched the building in the form of an eight-pointed star on the ground, so that it could be clearly visible to tourists.
President Ilham Aliyev: So this is a top view of the building.
Tahir Mammadov: Yes, the middle is round like this.
Mehriban Aliyeva: The restoration will probably be continued.
Tahir Mammadov: Yes, preservation will be continued. The stones have not dried yet, so we have not restored the inside.
Mehriban Aliyeva: After drying, will work be continued?
Tahir Mammadov: Yes, it will be continued.
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The head of state and the first lady entered the tomb.
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Mehriban Aliyeva: Are there several graves here?
Tahir Mammadov: There are two graves here. One of them is said to be the grave of Nasimi’s brother Shahi Khandan. The other is the grave of a woman, presumably his mother or fiancé.
President Ilham Aliyev: Is it known what is written there?
Tahir Mammadov: Our scientists are currently studying this.
Mehriban Aliyeva: The upper part has also turned green.
Tahir Mammadov: Yes, the ceiling was completely covered with moss. The stones are dry now and are not visible. The drying process should continue until spring-summer.
President Ilham Aliyev: This place needs to be protected. Are there any guards?
Tahir Mammadov: Yes, there are security guards.
Mehriban Aliyeva: The tombs were probably underground, they are covered with water.
Tahir Mammadov: Water constantly penetrated inside from the ground. Therefore, these tombstones have become brittle under the influence of moisture. According to the instructions, special work was carried out in the back, above the foundation. No cement or other materials were used there.
President Ilham Aliyev: And this is an eight-pointed star. Scientists must translate these inscriptions now.
Tahir Mammadov: In Soviet times, restoration was carried out here once. They used cement and other materials then, although this is not suitable. Mr. President, this was one of your first instructions to us. Naturally, we are trying to treat it very responsibly and sensitively. When giving the order, you said that preservation should be carried out in accordance with modern standards.
President Ilham Aliyev: It is good that you attracted foreign experts to this work. I think that this company was engaged in the preservation of the Maiden Tower?
Mehriban Aliyeva: Yes, the Austrian company.
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The head of state and the first lady posed for photographs in front of the tomb.
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President Ilham Aliyev: There were ancient graves here too. Do tourists come here?
Tahir Mammadov: Yes, many tourists come here. There were a lot of foreign scholars exploring Nasimi's legacy at the Nasimi festival. They treated the tomb with a lot of love and attention.
President Ilham Aliyev: This territory is very well landscaped.
Tahir Mammadov: Mr. President, with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, work is now under way on a project for the restoration of the historical Gulistan fortress in Shamakhi. This work is also carried out by scientists and restoration experts from Austria. They have already completed the 3D scanning process and now they are working on its model. Then the restoration process is envisaged.
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President Ilham Aliyev instructed to continue the restoration work with high quality.
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