“Azerbaijan is one big museum named after Heydar Aliyev”

Wikipedia lists 201 registered museums in Azerbaijan. 52 of them are Heydar Aliyev museums alone.

Heydar Aliyev Museum, Baku
Heydar Aliyev Museum, Baku
Heydar Aliyev Museum, Baku
Heydar Aliyev Museum, Baku


lists 201 registered museums in Azerbaijan.

There are 14 art museums, 7 literature museums, 12 museums of history, 68 of history – ethnography, 5 military museums, 43 museums of different writers, poets and composers and 52 museums for Heydar Aliyev alone.

Heydar Aliyev museums exist in most regions and cities of Azerbaijan. According to Azərtaj, the directors of cities and towns such as Hajiqabul, Tartar, Zardab, Barda, Siyazan, Qobustan, Bilausvar, Yevlakh, Balakan and Mingachevir are often trained in management skills in the Azerbaijani Museum of Carpets, all of which are financed by state budgets.

Who visits these museums?

Meydan TV conducted a survey on its Facebook page, and asked who visited Heydar Aliyev museums and why. Some noteworthy responses are presented here below:

Fuad Aliyev: “Since dollar prices have gone up, my fridge has become a museum. Everyday I am staring at empty shelves…people can not find money to buy bread, and you are talking about museums…?”

Aghshin Alizade said: “What’s the point of going to a museum? Wherever you look, there is a Heydar Aliyev palace, a Heydar Aliyev avenue, a musical theatre and a hospital named after Heydar Aliyev…”

Elish Mammadov asked: “Am I supposed to attend a museum in Baku just to look at pictures of Heydar Aliyev’s childhood? I’ve been to normal museums elsewhere, but outside of Baku, there is nothing left. In Sheki and other cities, nothing.”

Adil Huseynov wrote: “Azerbaijan is one big Heydar Museum. Is there anything left? They have destroyed everything”.

Alovsat Dadayev commented: “ You are talking about happiness, this nation will forget where and why they live in 1 – 2 years. You are talking about culture. For now the nation is looking for bread, not for a museum, not for culture”.

Ilkin Huseynli: “There is no need to go to museums in Azerbaijan. Villas are museums. Just observe them, let your mouth water”.

Javid Mahmudov also thinks that Azerbaijan is a museum: “We are staring at it with an empty stomach”.

Bakhtiyar Aliyev says that museums are for rich people: “Just ask, when was the last time I visited my uncles, aunts? Is there time left to do that after running after bread?”

Rena Abdurrahmanova: “Azerbaijan itself is a museum for me. I can’t use its restaurants, entertainment centers, gas, electricity, money. We are just staring at all this as in a museum”.

Nara Muradzade says: “I was taken to a Heydar Aliyev museum as a student. Never went to another museum after.”

Ilhama Abbasova writes that most of us will be in museums in 2017, however not as visitors, but as exhibitions.

Why is there no interest in museums in Azerbaijan?

Head of the “Historical, Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection” NGO, Aytekin Imranova, told Meydan TV that a low interest in museums can be ascribed to the prevailing attitude towards culture in general:

Aytekin Imanova
Aytekin Imranova

“In Soviet times, there were different campaigns in regards to museums. Free days were organized for students. Now, none of this is done. And thus, nobody goes to museums. It is important to emphasize the value of culture within a society. This might just be our biggest problem – the disappearance of culture.  Be it in conversations, in behavior or in attitude of people towards each other”.

Aytakin Imranova also said that museums are not well – protected, not promoted, and are not maintained in a good condition.

 “They [museums] must be given more attention. I think more museums should be created in skills and talents in which the nation is strong – carpet weaving, history, etc. It is not normal to have so many museums named after just one person. . . It is a cult of personality. This ideology came to an end during Stalin, or at least we thought it did. It was considered to be too damaging, as it brought neither benefits to society, nor to the culture nor the country. It is understandable why you might want ONE museum to preserve the memory and history of an individual, but opening a museum in each region dedicated to one person is just unneeded.”

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