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Baku city

Date of establishment - the third century
Territory - 2,13 thousand square kilometers. km
Number of population - 2,039,700 people
Population density - 1 km - 958 people
Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan.

The history of the capital
The history of the city of Baku goes back to the great antiquity, though the exact date of its rise is not known up to now. The territory of the Apsheron Peninsula where the city is situated enjoys a favorable geographical position, a convenient bay, a warm, dry climate, a fertile soil, natural minerals, and therefore the emergence of the ancient settlements here is quite natural. The district of Gobustan is to the southwest of modern Baku by the Caspian Sea. Here in the vast space were pastured numerous herds of animals the images of which are fixed on the rocks of the neighboring mountains. The pictures dating back to 8 millenniums reflect different hunting scenes, ceremonial and ritual processes of the ancient dwellers of these places.
Noteworthy is the Latin inscription of the 80s-90s of our era found at the foot of the mountain of Boyukdash in Gobustan which runs, ―The time of Emperor Domitianus Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Lucius Julius Maxim, and Centurion XII of the Lightning Legion. And the name of the settlement of Ramana or Romana in the vicinity of Baku perhaps also speaks of the Roman troops‘ stay in Apsheron in the I century. Baku, its oil, burning soil was known from ancient times outside its borders.
In written sources related to Middle Ages Baku always it was spoken about the “burning fire around it. One of the first men that talked about it was Byzantine Paniy Prisk, while describing the city of Caucasus Albania at the beginning of V century, he writes the phrase “fire rising from underwater rock”. Since the ninth century, in connection with the spreading of Islam in the region, Baku was remembered by Arabic geographers and historians as small, but developed feudal city. Every time it is remembered that there is white and dark-brown oil sources in Baku.
Weakening of Abbasid caliphate in the second half of the ninth century and strengthening of the tendency of distancing of countries subordinated to caliphate resulted with the creation of independent states. One of them was the State of Shirvanshas. Baku of the Middle Ages, together with Shamakhy became one of the main cities of Shirvan in Azerbaijan. Gradually Shirvanshas State turned into the center of the events in the region of the X century the city, indeed, had been developed. Namely at this time the construction of the castle walls was began for the first time. The stone inscriptions found from walls during restoration work prove that the walls were built during II Manuchohr (1120 - 1160). Further development of the Shirvanshas State coincides with the period of power of I Akhsita – the son of II Manuchohr. He successfully repulsed attacks of Seljuk and migratory kipchaks. During his rule the powerful navy was established in the port of Baku. Thus, he prevented an attack of Russians attacked in 1175 on 73 boats to Baku. Shirvanshah I Akhsitan had shifted his residence from Shamakhy to Baku in 1191. For the first time Baku became the main city of Shirvanshahs. The earliest building of that time, which reached us is Mahamamd Moscue built in 1078-1079 in Baku fortress. Among buildings, towers that period castles had a special place – they were a reliable support for feudals in internal attacks, and they were shelters during attacks. Special attention was given on strengthening of the Baku fortress. A castle was built in Baku bay in 1232 - 35 for the protection of the Baku from direction of sea - this is Sabail tower that currently remained under water. In XII century, the all country fell under Mongol oppression. After a long siege in 1230 Baku was surrendered to the Mongols, too.
At the beginning of the fourteenth century, marine trade in particular, revived. Ships of the Italian merchants from Genoa and Venice arrived at Baku port. Baku had trade links with the Golden Horde, Moscow kingdom and with European countries. From here, oil, carpets and other goods exported abroad. At the same time the goods were exported to Astrakhan and Central Asia. In the first half of the fourteenth century, with rising economic and political role of Baku the Caspian Sea often is called as Baku Sea.
In 1501 Shah Ismail Khatai from Safavid dynasty when attacked Shirvan, he also seized Baku.
In XVII-XVIII centuries the buildings of the city testified about the growth of architecture and stone carving art. In this case, Baku was updated with fortress walls for the second time. In XIII century attacks o f Don and Volga Kazaks to Absheron were observed. In 1660 Kazaks of Stepan Razin attacked Baku coast of the Caspian Sea and destroyed the village of Mashtaga.
Since the XVII century, the rich natural resources and strategic importance of the city drew the attention of Russia.  Peter I tried to take up the borders of the Caspian Sea in the west and south, and from there to withdraw Turks and Persians and to seize the Caspian Sea. To seize the coastal areas of the Caspian Sea, he created special naval expeditions. At the end of June of 1723, the marine fleet consisting of a seven ships was sent to city from Astrakhan led by Major-General Matyushkin. The year-long siege on June 26, 1723, and after artillery shots Baku surrendered to the Russians. With decree of Peter I under the commandant of city Duke Baryatyanski two regiments (2382 persons) was deployed in Baku. In 1725 after the death of Peter I coastal lands of Caspian began to be burden for the Russians. There was a need to maintain a large army in the occupied lands, and expenses exceeded incomes. This situation was worsened in 1730 more, and a talented military leader Nadir Shah in Iran began to get strengthening. Successes of Nadir Shah in Shirvan made Russians to conclude a treaty in Mar 10, 1735 around Ganja, and in accordance with this treaty Russian troops had to be withdrawn from Baku. Baku was recaptured again by Iran.
After assassination of Nadir Shah in 1747 in palace coup his empire collapsed. A number of independent khanates were established in the territory of Azerbaijan, Baku khanate was important one among them. Mirza Muhammad Khan, who seized power (1747-1768) led this khanate. During twenty-year rule Mirza Muhammad Khan helped for the restoration of the economy and development of trade. He was admiral, headed marine cargo transportation for military purposes. After him his son Malik Muhammad Khan headed khanate of Baku. Feudal wars among the different khans did not stop. Khan of Baku also joined this fight, and fought in the side of his relative, Guba khan Fatali khan. In 1784 Malik Muhammad Khan handed over crown of Baku khanate to the son Mirza Muhammad Khan II (the father of future well-known historian of Azerbaijan Abbasgulu agha Bakhikanov), and died. Following years also passed with internal wars among khans. Internal wars in Baku khanate mainly were because of income-generating oil fields. At this stage, the economy revived on certain level but at the end of the XVIII century, due to destructive attacks of the ruler of Iran, Agha Muhammad khan Gajar that subjected all the provinces of the country and the south of Azerbaijan to self, Azerbaijan suffered with great damages. Agha Mohammad Khan captured in 1795 Baku and was devastated it but soon his army was left Shirvan. Seeing the strengthening of Agha Mohammad Khan, the government of tsarist Russia began a policy to be subjugated to Russia. In the spring of 1796 by order of Ekaterina II the imperial troops under the leadership of general Zubov began campaign to the Caucasus. After the first demand of Zubov, that sent 6-thousand troops to occupy the city, Baku was surrendered. In June 13, 1796 the Caspian flotilla entered the Baku bay and the Russian troops were deployed here.
In addition the Gulustan treaty signed between Russia and Iran in 1813 legalized the annexation of the Baku khanate to the Russian empire. However, the treaty did not solve all the Russian-Iranian contradictions. And the former Baku khan did not give up his hope to return to the power. In July 1826 when the Iranian army invaded the boundary of Northern Azerbaijan a detachment headed by Huseingulu khan made for Baku and surrounded the city. He was actively supported by the inhabitants of Baku and its neighboring villages that revolted against the Russians. But the defeat of the Iranian army as well as the action of the Russian army directed against the Baku khan, forced the latter to return to Iran in October 1826. With the termination of the last Russian-Iranian war in 1828 the Turkmanchay treaty was signed which divided Azerbaijan between Russia and Iran along the river Araks and officially annexed the occupied areas including Baku to Russia. 
In this case, borders of Baku limited to the Old city, surrounded by the fortress walls and there were three hundred houses and three thousand inhabitants. Only after Russian-Iranian War the city gradually began to grow. 
Now in the second half of the XIX century, Baku was at the first place among the other cities for its socio-economic indicators. Oil production was of great importance in the development of the city. The need for oil of Russia\'s economy had increased. Baku was involved in the development of Russian industry. The Tsar government controlling oil wells at initial periods leased them for a certain period to individuals. But it became clear in 60-es years that the leasing system of oil fields is unusable remains of the past and the development of industry needs the organization of work in oil field. The new rules were approved in 1872. According to these rules, the oil sources being in leasing account of the state were passed from the lease auctions to individuals. Cancellation of the lease system made a decisive change in the oil works. This oil works can only be compared with Klondike gold-rush. Exploitation of oil fields in Baku began intensively and the flow of foreign oil companies was provided. During the short period of time representatives of Sweden, England, France, Belgium, Germany and American firms were established. The most famous of them were firms of the Nobel brothers and Rothschilds.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, almost half of the world\'s oil was extracted in Baku. Along with the oil industry other sectors of economy began to develop. In 1883 the railway connecting Baku with Tiflis was opened, the first konka began to work in the city in 1892, and in 1900 , Baku-Petrovsk (now Makhachkala) railway, which had an access to Russian central provinces and then Europe, was built. 
In 1868 the first telegraph line to Tiflis was established and in 1879 an under-sea telegraph line connected Baku with Krasnovodsk and 1st telephone station was built in Baku in 1886.  
In 1917 the city was provided with water via Shollar pipe that works continuously today. Baku was developed also in the field of culture. In 1873 the first national theater of Azerbaijan was created. In 1875 the first newspaper was published. In 1894 Nariman Narimanov laid the foundation of the first national library. In 1908, the first opera Leyli and Majnun was staged. The publishing, printing houses were opened, and Azerbaijani and Russian newspapers (Baku, Caspian, Bakinsky rabociy, Hummat, Comrade), as well as brochures, books and magazines began to be published. This city on Absheron peninsula was developing in Russia and in Europe as whole rapidly. From all parts of Russia and foreign countries, representatives of various nations rushed to Baku in search of work and happiness. Already in 1883 the population of Baku crossed 45 thousand peoples, while in 1913 this figure reached 200 thousand. Around the city was accomplished and number of architectural monuments with modern amenities, with unusual greatness, has increased. Among them, the railway station, Baku City Duma, Real school (building of University of Economics); Ismailiyye (National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan), etc. At the same time the city was greened and along with bath-house complex seaside boulevard, the gardens: Mikhaylovski (now the Old City subway station), Mariyinski (Molokans garden), Nobel Peace Garden (Nizami Park) were laid, too. Thus, at the end of the XIX century the economic growth made Baku Russia\'s one of the largest centers in the Caucasus, the largest and most important city.
 The Government of the Russian tsar was overthrown in February 1917. On November 2, 1917, the enlarged conference of the Council of Baku was held. Here, the Bolsheviks could establish the Soviet government in the city and called this organ as high power. In March 1918 Baku Council, committed genocide against the unarmed civilians of Turkish settlements, and during this massacre ten thousand inhabitants were killed. Massacre of city population was headed by S. Shaumyan, the head of the Revolutionary Defense Committee. Head of the Red Army’s Headquarters in Baku was colonel of imperial army iof Russia, member of Dashnak Party Z. Avetisyan. The chaos in Baku and then in provinces from March 30 to April 2 was nothing else than crime committed against Azerbaijani nation. For this reason, the Soviet power could not exist longer in Baku and it left the stage in 1918 with shame.
After the collapse of the Transcaucasian Federation, on May 28, 1918, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was proclaimed. At that time Baku initially was in hands of Baku Commune, and then SentroKaspi dictatorship consisted of Mensheviks and Dashnaks. Turkey came to the assistance of the young Republic of Azerbaijan. In addition to its 15-thousand the Caucasus Islamic Army the newly established Azerbaijani units under the leadership of general Shikhlinski fought. Caucaus Islamic Army in fighting through all the territory of Azerbaijan, on September 15, 1918, broke the resistance of the multi thousand army standing against him, entered Baku. Baku, was proclaimed the capital of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and on 17 September 1918 under the leadership of F. Khoyski the government moved to Baku.
In April 27, 1920 the XI Red Army crossed the borders of Azerbaijan, and moved towards Baku. At the same time Soviet Russia was presented with the ultimatum to surrender to the government of Azerbaijan Republic. In April 28 the XI Red Army entered the capital of Azerbaijan.
 Development of Baku continued after establishment of Soviet power in Baku.
1924-1937 three variants of the city\'s development plan were prepared. At this eve large the construction works were carried out in the city center and historical parts and around, and the new housing estates: settlements named after M. Mammadyarov, P. Montin, S. Razin, etc. were built.
Soviet Union\'s first electrical railway connecting the working suburbs of city of Baku was built in 1926. During those years greening works of the city were carried out, too. At subbotniks carried out with participation of thousands of people of Baku gardens and parks were laid in the new districts and historical parts, too.
With the beginning of the Second World War Baku became the center of attention of the international community. In 1939 after the signing of the Soviet-German pact on non attacking each other Soviet Union began to supply oil Germany. France and England planned to bombardment in 1930-40 Baku and to capture Baku oil industry. According to French generals’ opinion, such operation would weaken the Soviet economic power and may cause the collapse of Soviet structure.  England also had similar plans. British Royal Air Force headquarters was likely that the three-bomber squadron can destroy oil wells with bombing for a period of 6 weeks to 3 months.  But the strong attack of Germans from west forced allies to postpone plans on Baku. Baku had great role in destroying of Fascism. During the war oil reserves were 75 per cent of the country\'s oil reserves. 90 per cent jet fuel was from Baku oil. Taking into account the growing needs for oil city workers in 1941 had made a record level of oil production, 23,482 million tons. During the years of the war, as the back front city, Baku accommodated 440 thousand of injured. The city was developed after the war, too. In 1949, the Oil Rocks were under construction. This was the first experience in the area of development of offshore fields in the world. At first years of post war period construction of residential houses and public buildings was continued. Thanks to talent and mastery of the classical architects of Azerbaijan like M. Huseynov, S. Dadashov, H. Majidov, E. Gasimzadeh, E. Alizade, G. Alesgerov and others the city center and its new districts  were enriched with the new architectural buildings.  Baku turned into one of the important industrial centers in the former Soviet Union. Oil production, oil refining and oil engineering, as well as electronics, instrument-making, light industry and food industry developed intensively. Household air conditioners plant, instrument-making plants, computer factories, champagne factory, plant, and deep piles plants were built during the short period of time. Competitive products of these enterprises gained popularity not only in the Soviet Union\'s internal market but abroad, too.
Baku was important transport junction of the former USSR. For the volume of cargo turnover of the same years it took third place among all cities of the republics of the Soviet Union. Baku seaport was an importance, too. This port was the biggest not only in the Caspian Sea, but among a number of other ports. One of the most important events was the opening of the first subway in the Middle East in 1967 in Baku. Baku turned into the largest educational and cultural center. All major higher education institutions of Azerbaijan are located in the capital. Dozens of theaters, cultural houses were operating here, and the social, scientific and professional forums at the level of Union and the world were held in this city.
In 1988, demands on annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh region had emerged. At the same time all of the Azerbaijani population, more than 200 thousand people was withdrawn from Armenia and a large part of them settled in Baku.
In 1991, after gaining the sovereignty Baku as the capital of independent Azerbaijan became the major trade, culture and science center of the Caucasian region. Renovation works carried out in the city, built new housing estates, parks, avenues, erected skyscrapers informs about starting of the new phase in the history of capital.



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