The Azerbaijan State News Agency


President Ilham Aliyev attended the opening of the new building of the Azerbaijani Carpet Museum VIDEO

Baku, August 26 (AZERTAC). An opening ceremony of the new building of the Azerbaijani Carpet Museum has been held.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva attended the ceremony.

Azerbaijan is one of the leading countries worldwide in terms of the art of carpet weaving. In 2010, Azerbaijan's traditional art of carpet weaving was included in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The carpet museum, where unique samples of applied arts are exhibited, has been located in different places throughout its history. Under instructions of President Ilham Aliyev, it was decided to construct a separate building for the museum with the aim of expanding its capabilities and effectiveness of demonstrating carpets that represent unique pearls of Azerbaijan.

A foundation laying ceremony of the building took place at the Seaside National Park on 15 May 2008.

The Heydar Aliyev Foundation and UNESCO provided assistance in the construction of the facility.

The building design is reminiscent of a rolled up carpet. The museum now houses 13,300 exhibits and items, including carpets, thread-work samples, metalwork, fabrics, clothing, ceramic, glass, wooden and paper items, jewellery, books, and a unique collection of photographs. The exhibits are conserved on the basis of recommendations and instructions of Louis Sguirer, a renowned specialist in fabric conservation at the Victoria and Albert Museum who was invited to Baku in 2013.

President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the museum.

Minister of Culture and Tourism Abulfaz Garayev informed the head of state and his wife about the work done in the museum.

Designed by acclaimed Austrian architect Franz Janz, the museum highlights all areas of the Azerbaijani carpet making school and features a wide assortment of centuries-old carpets and thread-work samples.

President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva reviewed a souvenir shop here.

The head of state viewed the photographs reflecting stages of the construction of the new building of the museum.

Addressing the opening ceremony, President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Dear friends, it is a wonderful and remarkable day in the life of our country today. A Carpet Museum, which represents tremendous importance for Azerbaijan, is opening in the center of the city, on the boulevard. I heartily congratulate you and the people of Azerbaijan on this wonderful occasion.

A Carpet Museum was opened in Azerbaijan on the initiative of prominent scientist, professor and artist Latif Karimov in the late 1960s. But the museum did not have a building of its own. On the initiative of great leader Heydar Aliyev funds were allocated to replenish the funds of the museum and the first exhibition was demonstrated at the Juma Mosque in the Old City in 1972. In the years of independence the Carpet Museum operated in the Museum Center. I remember visiting the Museum Center in 2006, including the Carpet Museum, and, of course, immediately deciding that a separate building has to be built for the Carpet Museum in Azerbaijan. Storage facilities at the previous place did not meet our requirements. At the same time, exhibition space was very limited. Therefore, in 2007, I signed an order on the construction of the Carpet Museum building in Azerbaijan, while in 2008, with the participation of UNESCO Director-General Mr. Matsuura, the foundation of this beautiful and majestic building was laid.

Of course, the Carpet Museum built in Azerbaijan was to stand out both in terms of interior decoration and appearance. After all, carpets are our national art. It is impossible to imagine Azerbaijan without carpets and carpets without Azerbaijan. Therefore, considerable attention was paid to the design work, and as a result of the work of Austrian architects this project has emerged. It is quite unique. This building is reminiscent of a carpet and, of course, I had no doubt as to the location of the Carpet Museum. The Carpet Museum was definitely supposed to be located in the most beautiful place of Baku, on the boulevard. This is a unique architectural work.

Azerbaijan has very diverse and ancient architectural works protected by UNESCO. The Old City, the Palace of the Shirvan Shahs, the Maiden's Tower – these are our national assets. At the same time, the examples of modern architecture created in Azerbaijan and Baku in recent years are also pleasing to the eye. Ancient architectural monuments and modern monuments form harmony and a single ensemble in Baku. The recent years have seen the emergence of such modern landmarks of Azerbaijan as the Heydar Aliyev Center, the Flame Towers and the Flag Square. These architectural works demonstrate the power and development of modern Azerbaijan. Of course, these architectural works are unique. I can say that the building of the Carpet Museum is also one of them now. It is also unique, and I do hope that no-one will want to replicate this piece of architecture in the future. The modern architectural works established in Azerbaijan are sometimes seen in other places. But this is already a product of Azerbaijan and I am very happy that this beautiful and majestic museum is opening today.

I am confident that the exhibition demonstrated here will be of great interest to the residents and visitors to Baku. The museum has about 15,000 exhibits. The exhibition is displayed in a unique style. I have repeatedly visited here during construction. At the same time, storage facilities meet modern standards. Here, of course, there are special temperature conditions. In other words, all of the work has been done at a high level. There is a nice combination of interior decoration and samples of our carpets, our national heritage and unique architecture. And this all makes me very happy as it shows again how talented our people are. Carpets are our national art. We believe that Azerbaijan is the birthplace of the art of carpet weaving. Carpets are our national treasure and wealth, alongside mugham and architectural monuments.

It is no coincidence that after the construction of the museum began, on our initiative, the Azerbaijani art of carpet weaving was included in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. We are protecting our carpets and our art of carpet weaving. A relevant law on the conservation and development of Azerbaijani carpets has been adopted. This is our great asset, and we certainly should strive to ensure that the younger generation takes an interest in this art. We need to promote it.

Currently, carpet museums operate both in Baku and in different regions. The museum in Baku will operate from today. At the same time, we can say that carpet weaving clubs have been operating within Heydar Aliyev Centers in all regions of Azerbaijan in recent years. This will give us the opportunity to develop this art and make the links between generations even stronger. Our outstanding masters of carpet weaving should, of course, pass on their experience to the younger generation. At the same time, our beautiful carpets demonstrated here today are sure to attract young people to this art, and thus the Azerbaijani art of carpet weaving will continue to develop.

Our cultural heritage, history and culture are very rich. Azerbaijani presentations, exhibitions and concerts have been conducted in various countries around the world in recent years. Of course, carpets are always at the center of such presentations, as they are a truly great asset on a global scale. I believe that the Azerbaijani carpet is a benchmark of the carpet weaving art in the world. It is no coincidence that our carpets are on display in the most famous museums in the world.

I should also note that during my numerous visits abroad I have seen Azerbaijani carpets in presidential palaces of different countries. I pointed that out and told my counterparts that this is an Azerbaijani carpet, and they know that. So Azerbaijani carpets are known for their own identity in the world today.

Over the years and centuries, Azerbaijani carpets have been on display in the world. But due to the fact that we were not an independent country, these carpets were not presented as being Azerbaijani. Therefore, the state, the government, relevant agencies and public organizations did an enormous job of presenting our carpets and this art belonging to the Azerbaijani people as being of Azerbaijani origin. I believe that the launch of this museum will create additional opportunities for that. I am sure that most visitors to Baku will come here. At the same time, I think that we should bring the exhibits of this museum and, in general, information about the museum to the foreign audience. We should regularly conduct exhibitions of Azerbaijani carpets in leading countries of the world. We are doing that already. This should become systematic. In other words, we are rightly proud of the fact that we have a unique art – the art of carpet weaving which lives and will live on. I think that carpets have a special place in introducing the talent of the Azerbaijani people worldwide.

In general, regular work is being done to preserve historical monuments of Azerbaijan and our historical heritage. This work is yielding fruit. National values, our arts and culture are the foundation of our independence. Azerbaijan pays great attention to the humanitarian sphere. It is no coincidence that International Humanitarian Forums are traditionally held in Azerbaijan. These forums are regularly attended by the most outspoken people of the world – Nobel laureates, scientists and public figures. Azerbaijan has hosted forums on interreligious dialogue. Baku has hosted major exhibitions. The Heydar Aliyev Center has become a global exhibition center. Music festivals, competitions, international mugham competitions – all this enriches the cultural life of Azerbaijan and is highly appreciated by the Azerbaijani people.

Today we are introducing Azerbaijan as a developing country and, at the same time, as a country that has great values and can protect them. Foreign visitors to Azerbaijan, of course, admire the beauty of Baku. They see the development of our country and, at the same time, get acquainted with our values. Our architectural values, the art of music, the school of art and, of course, the art of carpet weaving are the source of our pride. I am very glad that work in this area is carried out consistently in Azerbaijan. All the museums have been renovated in Baku in recent years. Some of them are being repaired now. There is not a single unrepaired museum in Baku now. New museums are emerging in the regions and in Baku – the Museum of Modern Art, other museums, the Carpet Museum. This, of course, shows the overall rate of development of our country and also reflects the government policy.

As I said, legislative significant steps have been taken on the conservation of the art of carpet weaving. By creating such beautiful works in real life, we are enriching our country and demonstrating to the world that Azerbaijan is successfully living as an independent country. The Azerbaijani people already know the benefits of independence. Independence is our greatest asset and our greatest value. We are defending and will continue to defend our independence with all our might. It is in the years of independence that we have created such beautiful works. In a short time, in just 23 years of independence, Azerbaijan has traversed a very long and glorious path. If we had gained independence not in 1991 but in 1971 or 1950, Azerbaijan would be the most developed country in the world today. But we are going down this path, strengthening and developing our country. There are specific programs on each area. Political and economic reforms are carried out. Regional development programs are implemented. Of course, consistent work is carried out in relation to our cultural life, heritage and culture. And today's event is a clear indication of this.

I congratulate you and the people of Azerbaijan on this wonderful event again. I wish all the people of Azerbaijan continued success. Thank you.


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