The Ukrainian writer about Baku…

Vladimir Danilenko and Nikolai Khomich, well-known Ukrainian writers, have recently been to Baku at the invitation of the Azerbaijan Translation Centre (AzTC). Upon return to their countries, they shared their impressions with the Ukrainian reader. 

Feelings about Baku

At the invitation of the Azerbaijan Translation Centre that has translated my book In the Light of the Sunset and Nikolai Khomich’s work The Mystery of the Tomb by, we were on a four-day trip to attend a book launch ceremony in Baku, where we could feel the beauty of the Land of Fire.   

Azerbaijan became the leading state in the Caucasus region after the collapse of the Soviet Union due to its huge oil and gas deposits, far-sighted and wise state policy.  

The modern Baku reflects four primary directions of architecture - the Middle Ages, the Russian Empire, the Soviet period and the period of independence, and it looks like a prosperous European capital city – it is our first impression about it.

We are in Icherisheher - the oldest part of the city with narrow streets filled in small stones. The houses are so close to one another that it seems you can reach them if you stretch your arm. Tourists prefer walking there. Some films had been shot in Icherisheher during the Soviet period. When men meet in the street, they embrace each other, even kiss each other, and women here are the living picture of nobility. 

The architecture of Baku is the unity of Western and Eastern cultures. Modern buildings are the pearl of Baku. Notable world architects, such as the vanguard Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, Australian Franz Yantz and others worked in Baku. The futuristic silhouette of Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport, the miraculous Flame Towers, Heydar Aliyev Centre, the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum, Baku Chrystal Hall and other constructions with unique structures fascinate everybody with their beauty and originality. 

Concerning the popular culture, it should be stated that Turkey deeply influences Azerbaijan.  The peoples of both countries almost speak the same language. Therefore, the Turkish culture is not strange in Azerbaijan, as the Azerbaijan culture in Turkey. They consider themselves as “one-nation two-states”.  The same case I observed in Moldova between the Romanians and Moldavians. 

Up to 30th of the last century, the ethnicity shown in the passport of Azerbaijanis was Turk.  

...Despite considerable time passed since we had landed at Borispol Airport in Ukraine, my impressions about Baku were not far from my thoughts. As soon as I heard the bus driver’s saying “Put your suitcases here” in the Ukrainian language, as if I had woken up and I viewed the airport that looked like rather a small hostel, demolished asphalt streets and ugly buildings. Well, we arrived... After visiting Baku, Kiev seemed to me very poor and pale.  But the light in the people’s eyes gave us such a hope, “…not all is lost…”

Yes, we don’t have oil and gas, but we have intellectual, active people who believe in themselves and in our prosperous future.

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