President Ilham Aliyev unveils monument to philanthropist Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev in Baku (PHOTO/VIDEO)
BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 18
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the unveiling of a statue of philanthropist Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev in Baku.
The Head of State unveiled the statue erected in a square in front of the Icharishahar metro station.
Welcoming People’s Artist Khanlar Ahmadov, President Ilham Aliyev said: This is a very beautiful statue.
Khanlar Ahmadov: Thank you very much.
President Ilham Aliyev: There were quite a few proposals.
Khanlar Ahmadov: As you know, a competition has been announced.
President Ilham Aliyev: Of course yes.
Khanlar Ahmadov: I did my best.
President Ilham Aliyev: It is truly magnificent. As they say, it reflects both its grandeur and it is beautiful. It is also architecturally similar.
Khanlar Ahmadov: I tried. I worked on it a lot. The place itself is good. It is a historical place. This is the historic Istiqlaliyyat street.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, it is a historic place. Historic fortress walls. It is one of the most beautiful places in Baku. I remember that several places were offered at that time. I chose this one because his statue should be here.
Khanlar Ahmadov: It’s a great place.
A photo has been taken.
Khanlar Ahmadov: I am very happy that you have also unveiled my “Shot Statues” in Karabakh for the second time.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, we celebrated very well. You will have a lot of work like this. The process of erecting statues of our historical figures is underway.
Khanlar Ahmadov: We are always happy to work.
President Ilham Aliyev: Congratulations once again.
Khanlar Ahmadov: Thank you very much.
President Ilham Aliyev: You have won an open competition. This statue will remain here forever. Is the author’s name here?
Assistant to President Anar Alakbarov: Of course there are. We provided it in Azerbaijani and English. Out of 26 works, Khanlar Ahmadov’s work was selected for the competition.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, I know. Thank you very much and I wish you a good continuation.
Khanlar Ahmadov: Thank you very much.
The Head of State then delivered a speech.
Speech by President Ilham Aliyev: A few minutes ago we celebrated the unveiling of the statue of Zeynalabdin Taghiyev. Since the statue is close to the subway entrance, I congratulate my dear people on this occasion from here, so as not to cause trouble for people.
The unveiling of this statue is a very important event. In 2020, I signed a relevant order on the erection of a statue of Zeynalabdin Taghiyev. An open competition was announced and the work of prominent People’s Artist and sculptor Khanlar Ahmadov won. After that, I was offered a few alternative locations for the statue, and I chose this location. Because it is a place worthy of the name of Zeynalabdin Taghiyev, one of the historical places of Baku, one of the favorite places of the inhabitants of our city, and it is close to the historical fortress walls. The location of the Taghiyev statue here has great symbolic significance as Zeynalabdin Taghiyev made an immense contribution to the development and landscaping of Baku throughout his life.
He was a rich man, but everyone knows he grew up in a very poor family and earned his wealth through hard work. He went down in history, however, not as a wealthy man but as a philanthropist. Without his charitable activities, the Azerbaijani people would probably not remember him. It was on his initiative that many important projects were implemented in Azerbaijan. Among them, of course, I must mention the project to bring drinking water to Baku. The Shollar water pipe is still in operation, supplying Baku and Sumgayit with drinking water. Zeynalabdin Taghiyev used his own money to build this pipeline. It was also on her initiative and financial support that a theater was built in Baku, as well as many industrial enterprises and the first secular school for Azerbaijani girls. I can say that the first secular school for girls in the Muslim world was established in Baku at the expense of Taghiyev’s funds and on his initiative. The opening of tram tracks in Baku is also associated with Taghiyev’s name. Taghiyev was the author of many beautiful buildings which added beauty to Baku and contributed to its architectural style. We can see his architectural works in different parts of Baku. Although he was born in a poor family and grew up in the environment of the time, the fact that he invited foreign architects to enhance the beauty of Baku shows that he was a progressive individual. The opening of a school for girls was a step towards the future. Everyone knows that by sending hundreds of students to Russia and Europe, he paid for their education, and that was a step towards the future. He clearly thought about the future. I have already said this once but I want to repeat that my grandfather Aziz Aliyev was one of those students. Aziz Aliyev was born in the ancient land of Azerbaijan, the Khanate of Iran. Like Taghiyev, he came from a poor family and wanted to study. He wrote a letter to Taghiyev, asking for financial help. Of course, Taghiyev did not know him, he just sent him money, taking into account the young man’s interest in education, and Aziz Aliyev studied at the St. Petersburg Military Medical Academy in that time. I think this event played a crucial role in his future. Because he was both a great doctor and a great statesman. During World War II he was sent from Baku to Dagestan. For several years he worked as the leader of Dagestan and saved the people of Dagestan from exile. At that time, along with other Caucasian peoples, it was planned to deport Dagestanis to Kazakhstan. The Soviet government had such plans. This did not happen due to Aziz Aliyev’s resolute stance. Dagestanis are well aware of this, remember it perfectly, and it is no coincidence that a monument to Aziz Aliyev was erected in Makhachkala on the initiative of Dagestanis.
Zeynalabdin Taghiyev had the Holy Quran translated into Azerbaijani and also proved to be an innovator in this field. For the first time, the Holy Quran has been translated into Azerbaijani. Many religious sites have been built and renovated in Azerbaijan on his initiative and with his financial resources. His educational initiatives were not limited to Baku. At the same time, schools were opened at his expense in Nakhchivan, Ganja, Shamakhi, Georgia and in places where Azerbaijanis lived.
So we can talk a lot about him. He was a great person, a man attached to the people, a man who loved the people with all his heart, who thought about the future of the people. I must also say that it was Zeynalabdin Taghiyev who established the traditions of charity in the 19th century. Of course, these traditions did not last during the Soviet era. I should also note that after the collapse of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the Soviet government deprived him of all his opportunities, all his property was confiscated, there was only a garden left, and he lived there until the end of his life. He lived a long, full life. Unfortunately, at the end of his life, he faced such injustice and it worried him a lot.
Today, the charitable traditions of independent Azerbaijan, the charitable traditions established by it continue and have become widespread. I must say that the biggest philanthropist in this field not only in Azerbaijan, but also in the South Caucasus is the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation has been in operation for about 20 years, and the main objective and purpose of the Foundation has been to help people, promote Azerbaijani culture in the world and contribute to the development of education, health, culture, art and science. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation has rendered outstanding services in promoting Azerbaijan as a multicultural and modern state in the world. Thanks to the activities of the Foundation, Azerbaijan is better known and it was this factor that helped us during the second Karabakh war. Because the people of Azerbaijan know very well that the Armenian lobby and its supporters have invented all kinds of lies about Azerbaijan and thrown them into the media. However, the many years of activities of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in various countries and the recognition of Azerbaijan as a modern and progressive state have reversed this propaganda. Today, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation faces new tasks. In addition to its traditional activities, the Foundation has initiated extensive activities in the liberated lands. At present, the process of revamping, restoring and building our religious sites has begun at the initiative of the Foundation in the Liberated Lands. Yukhari Govharagha, Ashaghi Govharagha and Saatli Mosques in Shusha, Aghdam City Mosque and Zangilan City Mosque are being renovated by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. At the same time, the construction of new mosques in Dashalti, Hadrut and Shusha was initiated by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The number of these religious sites alone is eight, and I am sure that the Foundation will actively participate in other projects. As you know, the construction of new IDP settlements was also initiated by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and I witnessed the commissioning of a number of large multi-storey houses in Gobu settlement.
In other words, these traditions exist, continue and are highly valued in our society. After the war, the Karabakh Revival Fund and the “YASHAT” Foundation were created on my initiative. At the same time, Azerbaijani citizens and businesses voluntarily donate funds to the Karabakh Recovery Fund and the “YASHAT” Foundation. Today, hundreds of veterans are receiving treatment, coming back to life and regaining their health in Azerbaijan and abroad. This once shows that charity has always been an integral part of the Azerbaijani people. We just had to create the conditions for it. This policy had to be supported by the state, and we can see it today.
I have always had great respect for the personality of Zeynalabdin Taghiyev. In the early 2000s, when I was not yet president, the Pirhasan Shrine where his tomb is located was renovated on my initiative, and the area around the tomb took on a new look. Immediately after becoming president, his house, the History Museum building, was renovated on my initiative, and the part of the house where he lived remained a museum, while the History Museum presents exhibits of different periods of our history.
Today I am very happy that the statue of Zeynalabdin Taghiyev has been erected in Baku. He deserves it. The Azerbaijani people hold in their hearts every person who served the Azerbaijani people, our history and our nation.
I again sincerely congratulate my dear people on this occasion and wish the people of Azerbaijan continued success and new victories. Thank you.