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Mehriban Aliyeva at Wall of Pride (Essay on a given topic)

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BY ELNUR AMINOGLU

Once, long ago, before the birth of Christ, the king of kings, the wisest Solomon in his Song of Songs wrote: 'Everything has its time and time for all things under heaven...'

This parting word, filled with a deep sense of universal foresight, left by him for all generations of mankind, always made itself felt with no earthly force that no mathematics can calculate. Just as today, when the seemingly unpretentious line of his Song of Songs - '...time to gather stones!' - went with a bright beam through the historical memory embedded in us, and moved the heart of each of us in a lively way... Yes, there is no First Temple. But humanity is in a hurry to the Wailing Wall - the surviving remnant of the Second Temple. The stones tell us about history, appealing to historical memory, recalling not only the benefactor Solomon, but the oppressive Herod...

The worldwide recognition of another historical relic in Azerbaijan prompted philosophical reflections on history. From now on, the Palace of Sheki khans, a pearl of Azerbaijani architecture of the post-Safavi era, which has been existing in the form of a museum exhibit for almost two centuries, is recognised as an international cultural object of UNESCO. And not only the Palace, which caused delight, but also the entire historical centre of the great city of Sheki is now forever inscribed in the annals of the cultural heritage of mankind.

How not to recall the enthusiastic feelings of the great novelist Alexander Dumas, who wrote in the blessed Sheki highlands about 'nobility, zeal towards their subjects and the creativity of the Caucasian khans, whom the servile people worship almost as gods.'

How not to recall the memories of the Decembrist A.Kornilovich, who, in a letter to his brother, dated August 1834, in unison with the great Frenchman described the beauty of the palace of the Sheki khans:

'...Until 1828, the Sheki region had its own khans... In Nukha (this is how tsarist Russia renamed the city of Sheki in due time - author's note), the main city of this region, I saw their palace in the fortress, now turned into official presence. Several steps in a high portico lead to a vast, quadrangular courtyard occupied by a garden: sixteen Italian poplars of an extraordinary height, symmetrically located, divide it into four alleys. On the sides of this garden are the outbuildings, in which courtiers, khan wives, their attendants and others lived; behind it is a high terrace, on which is a swimming pool with three fountains, overgrown with two high charming trees, and on the terrace is the palace itself. It is neglected, but even in this state amazes the wanderer with remnants of grandeur. I walked up the narrow, dark, stone staircase into a high-ceiling room, a kind of reception hall, all covered with flowers; right and left are the rooms, where instead of the walls there are walnut frames with patterns of the smallest handicraft and in these patterns is glass of all colours: blue, dark blue, yellow, red. The rooms (to the height of our General Staff Hall), the walls and the dome, as I said above, are all in coloured glass: the cornice connecting them is painted: images of the feats of the khan, their battles...'

Everything, as they say, 'returns to normal.' The blood shed for the state of Azerbaijan now gives the inflorescences of justice.

A nation that honours its past cannot be devoid of historical memory.

Of course, the Khan's Palace is just one pattern in a dazzling mosaic of Azerbaijani architecture. And the country can be known, perceived and imbued with feelings, soul and heart only through its distinctive historical heritage.

At the beginning of her political career and social activities, First Vice-President of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva chose UNESCO, a global organisation that specialises in the development of culture and education, as the main platform for popularising Azerbaijani culture and our historical heritage.

Mehriban Aliyeva showed the world Icheri-Sheher, and through the same organisation defended other treasures of our historical heritage. Face-to-face with the aggression of the barbaric political-cultural intervention of the imaginary Caucasian people, the threat is hanging over the cultural heritage of the Azerbaijanis, which has been forming for centuries. They wanted to take away our tar and kemancha, then our carpets, and even dolma with lavash, encroaching on the Karabakh horses... Mehriban Aliyeva defended all the sacred treasures and heritage in the UNESCO arena.

Of course, the imaginary wild element would not have encroached on the Palace of Sheki Khans. This is not about protecting the heritage from encroachment. But rather about the introduction of a unique architectural heritage to world culture. If we go back to thinking about the philosophy of history inspired by Solomon, the Sheki Palace is one of the towers of our Wall of Pride...

The Aliyevs receive the Erdogans in the Palace of the Sheki khans

You can fall in love with the country through these historic walls - whether it be Wailing or Pride. After all, many of us admired the burning, extraordinary and multi-ethnic Spain through the gates of the Alhambra - the brainchild of the Moors of the great Muhammad I of Granada - this incomparable architectural ensemble on the hilly summit of Granada... A little more and a Bonapartist corporal would have blown up this magnificence, this grandiose wonder of architecture and culture. But the fate spoiled his plans. Even despite the pleas and demands of Spanish Catholics eager for revenge, Isabella of Castile did not allow the heritage of Muslims to be demolished on Spanish soil.

How was it possible to raise a hand on this architectural greatness? And decades later, the deserted castle of the great Nasrids was described in his novel by Washington Irving. As Dumas once wrote about the Palace of the Sheki Khans. And humanity has saved the Alhambra from death and destruction. Today the Alhambra has become the gateway to historic Spain. This country is loved and admired not because it has reached great political and economic heights, but because it has preserved and safeguarded the Alhambra, as well as the entire history of the Andalucian caliphate...

Alhambra Palace

Today and tomorrow Azerbaijan can be loved, it can be perceived, it can be admired through the grandeur of architecture of Icheri Sheher, the Palace of Sheki Khans, the Palace of Shirvanshahs, churches of Caucasian Albania, Gobustan rock paintings, the Zoroastrian Yanar-Dag, mosques-heirs of Safavi Shiite culture... And Mhhriban Aliyev chose this multifaceted path, opening the way of the soul of humanity to Azerbaijan...

We have not forgotten and will never forget. Speaking about the Palace of Sheki Khans, the Azerbaijani authorities inspire parallels with the idea of sovereign and self-sufficient Azerbaijan. After all, the Sheki Khanate and the great ruler of this khanate, Haji Chelebi, became the forerunners of the liberation and decolonisation of the Azerbaijani lands. The history of the struggle of Sheki Khanate for independence is the historical embodiment of a wholehearted struggle to build a national Azerbaijani state.

The national Azerbaijani idea, carried on for centuries, was embodied in a state founded by Heydar Aliyev and continued during the presidency of Ilham Aliyev. And again, after centuries, comes the understanding of sincere love - no, this time not subjects, as Dumas wrote - but of the people with civil consciousness to their noble rulers. To the rulers in the person of Ilham Aliyev, who showed the world the Azerbaijani Wall of Pride.

National-state identity finds its conceptual model only in terms of images, values and symbols. The Palace of the Sheki Khans is one of the symbols and values of our national identity. And Azerbaijan showed the world one of its symbols...

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