President Aliyev declares Shusha cultural capital of Azerbaijan
The announcement came on the eve of the 29th anniversary of its occupation and six months after its liberation
The key city of Shusha in Nagorno-Karabakh has been declared the cultural capital of Azerbaijan and the timing of the signing of the order by President Ilham Aliyev on May 8 is, in itself, symbolic.
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The presidential decree reads as follows:
“Shushua’s historical and cultural significance, as well as its exceptional spiritual value for the Azerbaijani people, all make it necessary to treat it with special care and sensitivity. From this point of view, further improvement of public administration and legal regulation in Shusha will not only serve to restore and preserve the historical and cultural heritage in the city but will also create conditions for its continuing development”.
The presidential decree states that it is aimed at restoring the historical appearance of the city of Shusha, helping the city return to its former glory, preserving its rich cultural life and traditions, as well as promoting it internationally as a bright pearl of the centuries-old culture and architectural and urban planning art of Azerbaijan.
Khary Bulbul Festival
In May 2021, Shusha will once again be hosting the traditional Khary Bulbul music festival which was held there annually up until the early 1990s.
“At present, as per the orders of the president, the appropriate measures are being taken to organize a festival in Shusha”, the press service of the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan said.
The exact date of the festival will only be announced after the completion of the preparatory works.
Ilham Aliyev spoke about the revival of the Khary Bulbul festival in Shusha back in January 2021.
“A new road to Shusha is under construction. Yes, this road runs through very difficult terrain but we will achieve this. Two events should be held in Shusha this year – the Khary Bulbul festival and the Days of Vagif poetry, so start making the appropriate plans”, Aliyev said.
The international Khary Bulbul music festival was held for the first time in 1989 as part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the famous singer Seyid Shushinsky. During the festivals which were held annually in May, artists from Japan, the USA, Turkey, Germany, Israel, Italy, etc performed in Shusha.
The festival is named after the “khary bulbul” flower growing in Karabakh.
On the eve of an important date
The signing of the order on the eve of May 8 is, in itself, symbolic. On May 8, 1992, Shusha was occupied by Armenian troops. According to the official data, a total of 195 people died, hundreds were injured and over 20,000 people were forced to leave their homes as a result of the occupation.
Official Azerbaijani sources state that over the years of occupation of the city of Shusha, approximately 600 historical monuments were destroyed including the palace of the founder of the city, Panah Ali Khan, the mosques of Yukhari Govhar Agha, and Ashagi Govhar Agha, the house of the poet Khurshudbanu Natavan, the mausoleum of the poet Moll Panah Vagif, the history museum of Shusha and a museum of Azerbaijani carpet wavering as well as dozens of educational and cultural centers. The funds of the house-museums of the founder of classical Azerbaijani music, composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov, singer Bulbul, and musician and artist Mirmovsum Navvab were plundered.
Shusha was liberated by the Azerbaijani armed forces on November 8, 2020, during the second Karabakh war.