On June 3, 1992, the independent Republic of Azerbaijan, which was a member of UNESCO, created the National Commission for active and purposeful work in the project of fundamental reforms in the field of science, education, culture. Administration of Icherisheher State Historical-Architectural Reserve has been participating in the practical coordination process of the National Commission for UNESCO for many years.
The authorities of our administration - "Icherisheher" Historical Museum and "Shirvanshahs Palace Complex" cooperate closely with UNESCO committees, including the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and are the most active members of this organization.
In November 2000, at the XXIV session of UNESCO in Kearns, Australia, Icheri Sheher was included in the World Heritage List, along with Shirvanshahs Palace and Maiden Tower. This important step has brought to our world the unique beauty of our ancient and world culture and monuments - the Maiden Tower and the Shirvanshahs Palace Complex.
We have managed to implement a large number of projects based on UNESCO's large-scale, globally-based program, as a Department for the preservation, research and propagation of Azerbaijani culture, material and spiritual wealth. Here are some of them:
According to the decision taken by the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage, held within the framework of the 4th session in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi on September 28 - October 2, 2009, the Novruz Holiday is a multi - national nomination (Azerbaijan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan) are included in the Representative List of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
An international seminar on "Application of Historic Urban Landscape Approach" was held on June 19, 2009. In this project, prepared by the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva, along with local experts, influential international experts representing countries such as USA, Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, France, Poland, Austria and Australia attended the UNESCO World Heritage Center.
In addition to promoting the cultural, historical, architectural and ethnographic heritage of the Azerbaijani people, UNESCO's moral support is evident in the promotion of our musical art, which is centuries old. UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura also participated in the official opening ceremony of the First International Mugham Festival held on March 18-25, 2009.
As part of the work carried out in this direction, it is possible to show an example of the events dedicated to promoting mugham art in Shirvanshahs Palace Complex as another project implemented with organizational and informational support of the Reserve. In 2007-2008 mugham concerts were held in Shirvanshahs Palace Complex within the framework of the project "Eternal Mugham" carried out by the Azerbaijan National Committee of the International Council of Music with the support of the UNESCO, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Japan and the Government of Japan.
Please be informed that by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan, taking into account the proposals of the Icherisheher State Historical-Architectural Reserve Administration, on November 08, 2010, the Decree No 206 approved the General Plan for the Conservation of Icheri Sheher. This document envisages carrying out various levels of restoration work directly in the reserve territory. An initial list of monuments to be restored according to the "General Plan for the Conservation of Baku Historical Center", prepared with the participation of UNESCO experts, has been defined. Restoration work is planned to be carried out on 31 monuments, during 2010-2016, and this project has been realized. Works on the preservation of the Maiden Tower and the new museum expedition included in the UNESCO World Heritage List were completed in 2013 with continuous rehabilitation activities beginning in 2009.
The International Festival dedicated to the Maiden Tower, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, is celebrated every year since 2010. Additionally, this festival was held in Cannes, France.
On March 31, 2011, an international forum entitled "Forum 2011: Public-Private Partnership and Conservation of City Heritage" was launched in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. This prestigious event, organized by the UNESCO World Heritage Center, private sector cooperation, protection and restoration of historical and architectural monuments were discussed with the participation of representatives of the World Heritage Center and various European scientific centers, the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the City of Amsterdam, and government officials from the Netherlands and other countries.
The Baku International Humanitarian Forum, sponsored by UNESCO since 2011, is the event that brings together Nobel laureates and leaders of influential international organizations, including prominent representatives of the world's political, scientific and cultural elite. Icherisheher Reserve Administration also took an active part in the five forums held in 2011-2016.
In 2011, the 100th anniversary of the operetta "Arshin Mal Alan" was included in the program of UNESCO "Celebration of prominent persons and significant events" for 2012-2013.
On October 22, 2013, at the UNESCO headquarters, the International Symposium on the great Azerbaijani thinker Seyid Yahya Bakuvi was organized with the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations.
It should be noted that on June 15-25, 2014, the 38th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee was held in the city of Doha, Qatar. Delegation of "Icheri Sheher" State Historical-Architectural Reserve also attended the event. During the visit, the management of the Icherisheher State Historical-Architectural Reserve Administration held business meetings with representatives of the UNESCO World Heritage Center, as well as officials and experts from many member countries of the World Heritage Committee.
On May 19, 2015, the UNESCO Academic Forum on Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue started its work in Baku under the auspices of the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO in the framework of the Third World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue.
The management of the State Historical-Architectural Reserve "Icherisheher" took part in the the 40th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in Istanbul on 12-15 July 2016. The purpose of the session was to discuss the conservation status of the monuments included in the World Heritage List, as well as to look through new applications and make relevant decisions. The decision on the report submitted by UNESCO to the World Heritage Center was made by the Administration of the State Historical-Architectural Reserve "Icherisheher" on the conservation condition of the Icheri Sheher. It should be noted that the measures taken by the Administration in the direction of preservation and conservation of monuments of Icherisheher were highly appreciated and for the first time the decision was taken without opening a discussion on the report submitted by the Administration to the World Heritage Center on conservation status of monuments in the area. It was noted that the Reserve Administration did not need to submit a report on the conservation situation in the future, given that the Department has contributed a great deal of contributions to preservation and conservation of monuments from the date of its incorporation into the World Heritage List.
In March, as in all parts of the country, on the territory of Icheri Sheher, the Reserve is organizing Novruz holiday more intensely, tourists, as well as state officials from foreign countries, famous scientists and artists are visiting Icheri Sheher.
As in all UNESCO member countries, in our country, every year April 18 is celebrated as International Day of Monuments and Sites. In this respect, along with the capital Baku, various projects are being implemented in various regions of the country, and there are open days in reserve and museums. Also this year (2017), on April 18, the International Day of Monuments and Sites, "Heritage's Day" has been launched in Baku by the joint project of "Icheri Sheher" State Historical-Architectural Reserve and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Thus, as the Administration of State Historical-Architectural Reserve "Icherisheher", we consider the activities of UNESCO, which is a specialized institution on Educational, Scientific and Culture of the United Nations, and we will support the tendency of cooperation by continuing to cooperate in the realization of our national and global ideas.