The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO was founded on 16 November, 1945. It is a specialized agency of the United Nations based in Paris. UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programs:
- natural sciences
- social-human sciences
Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy, technical and teacher-training programs, international science programs, the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press, regional and cultural history projects, the promotion of cultural diversity, translations of world literature, international cooperation agreements to secure the world's heritage sites and to preserve human rights. A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is selected by the UNESCO as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. The sites are important to the collective interests of humanity. To be inscribed on the list, the area must be classified as a unique landmark geographically, historically and identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance.
Bilateral cooperation between UNESCO and Azerbaijan
The Republic of Azerbaijan became member of UNESCO on 3 June 1992, after restoration of its independence. In December 1993, during his official visit to France, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev met with UNESCO Director-General Federico Mayor.
According to Article 7 of the Constitution of UNESCO, each Member State shall form a National Commission to represent link between educational, scientific and cultural institutions of Azerbaijan and UNESCO. Thus, all the necessary steps were taken in that direction and the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO was established under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev on 21 February 1994. By the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev’s 1006 Decree of 15 September 2005, the phrase “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan” was replaced by “the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, and the composition of the National Commission was determined.
Under the Decrees of 10 March 2015 (the Decree is enclosed) and 11 July 2016 (2193) of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, composition of the National Commission was modified The Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov is the Chairman of the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO.The Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov is the Chairman of the National Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan for UNESCO.
By the 29 September 2004 Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, a Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan to UNESCO was established, and Eleanora Huseynova was appointed Permanent Delegate (2004-2014). Currently Mr. Anar Karimov holds a position of Permanent Delegate. He assumed office on 23 May, 2014.
According to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev’s 20 April 1997 Decree on celebration of the 1300th anniversary of the “Book of Dede Korkut”, State Commission on the 1300 anniversary of the “Kitabi Dede Korkut” epos was established. On 21 February 1999, a Decree on the action plan of the State Commission on the 1300 anniversary of Dede Korkut was signed. On 9 April, 2000, festivities dedicated to the 1300 anniversary of “Kitabi Dede Korkut” were held with participation of the authorities of the Azerbaijan Republic, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Turkey, and the Director-General of UNESCO K.Matsuura.
Outstanding Universal Value of Icherisheher and Inscription on UNESCO World Heritage List
The splendor of Icherisheher (Walled City of Baku) is that it reflects the mixture of its unique architectural monuments and the spatial urban planning with original street views. The Walled City of Baku is still a living, vibrant city with residential areas housing local communities. Icherisheher’s distinctiveness within Baku is evident from a view of the plan of the city. The surrounding urban pattern is strikingly different from that of the fortress. The medieval street pattern creates a feeling of an endless maze that is perceived while walking within a city as well as by looking at the plan. Its quarters are much smaller than the blocks of the rest of the Historic Centre.
Icherisheher has retained the relative homogeneity of its architecture and urban pattern because of its exclusion from Baku’s dynamic urban development in the 19th and 20th centuries. This phenomenon is rare among historic cores in modern cities. The low and dense urban structure ascending in steps onto the hill has been accentuate only by minarets, the Palace and the Maiden Tower. Icherisheher has preserved much of its defensive walls, which define the character of the property. The most ancient monument of Icherisheher is the Maiden Tower – symbol of the city of Baku. There are evidences that the construction of the Maiden Tower might have been as early as the 7th-6th centuries BC. Another monument of universal value, one of the pearls of Azerbaijan's architecture is the 12th- to 15th-century Shirvanshahs' Palace, located at the highest point of Icherisheher. Earlier monuments of Icherisheher include the Mohammed Mosque, together with the adjacent minaret built in 1078, and remains of the 9th- to 10th-century mosque near the Maiden Tower. Considering that this medieval city represents an outstanding and rare example of an historic urban ensemble and architecture, it was inscribed by UNESCO on the World Heritage List in 2000, and is being preserved by UNESCO as a historical-architectural reserve.
Criterion (iv): The Walled City of Baku represents an outstanding and rare example of an historic urban ensemble and architecture with influence from Zoroastrian, Sassanian, Arabic, Persian, Shirvani, Ottoman, and Russian cultures.
“Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah’s Palace and Maiden Tower” was inscribed on the World Heritage List at the World Heritage Committee’s 24th session held in Cairns, Australia on 27 November - 2 December 2000. These monuments damagedbyan earthquake were later inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger at the 27th session of the World Heritage Committee held on 4 July, 2003. Following relevant orders and decrees of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev, efforts to protect and preserve the Walled City and the surrounding historical and architectural monuments were intensified. A long-term strategy on architecture and historic preservation was adopted.Immediate andsuccessfulmeasures taken to protect and preserve the Walled City of Baku and the surrounding monuments made it possible to remove the Walled City of Baku and the surrounding monuments from the List of World Heritage in Danger and restore previous status of those historical monuments at the World Heritage Committee’s 33rd session held in Seville, Spain, on 22-30 July, 2009.
On December 18-19, 2008, in Paris, both elements of cultural heritage of Azerbaijan were granted “enhanced protection” status at the 8th session of the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
The Network of European Museum Organizations (NEMO) was founded in 1992 as an independent network of national museum organizations representing the museum community of the member states of the Council of Europe. Together, NEMO's members speak for over 30.000 museums across Europe. NEMO ensures museums are an integral part of European life by promoting their work and value to policy makers and by providing museums with information, networking and opportunities for co-operation. NEMO supports European museums in their aim to learn from each other by networking and co-operation and shows them ways to participate in the existing European cultural policies in its function as an information channel between European institutions and museums.
NEMO believes that museums are key players in safeguarding cultural heritage and they are central figures on the way for a better understanding within Europe.
NEMO and Icherisheher
In 2017, Icherisheher hosted 9th International Training Course on Museum Marketing.
The training entitled “Museum Marketing” was held on November 25th and 26th, 2017, facilitated by Björn Stenvers, and welcomed 25 participants representing 4 museums in Icherisheher as well as the marketing department of the Administration. The group met to discuss and prepare museum marketing strategy, taking into consideration international experiences, knowledge, and models.
The training began with an immersion into the definition of marketing & business for museums and heritage and the structure of a business and a marketing strategy. They considered how to implement these in the museums of Icherisheher, as well as how to develop a mission statement based upon the examples discussed. At the end of this introductory session, participants were invited to inform the group of the situation in their respective institutes. The main result from this session was an understanding of the basics of marketing strategy, and more specifically; a route for development in the museum community in the right time and order - taking our knowledge of global trends into consideration.
The next session was dedicated to an examination of the first 5 models of marketing, which were considered with examples and cases. The participants were also introduced to the history of marketing. During this session, the participants were invited to study the situations in or for their own institutes. The main deliverable of this session was a deeper understanding of the potential implementation of strategic marketing within the participants’ respective institutes.
The third session covered the following topic: Museums, Heritage and City (accompanied by region and country) Marketing. This session aided in developing a greater understanding of the role of museums in the promotion of the heritage specific to the area in which the museums themselves are located.
The fourth session consisted of examples and cases relevant to the next 7 models of marketing. At the end of the training, the participants were divided into two groups and asked to prepare marketing strategy plans and then present them to the plenary. The result was a completion of the basic set (models, terms, definitions) of strategic marketing.
Seventh International Learning Exchange 8-9 March 2018
The representative of Icherisheher attended the NEMO Learning Exchange organized by the Spanish Association of Cultural Heritage Managers (AEGPC) in Madrid from 8 – 9 March 2018 with the participation of 8 NEMO members. The participants from Finland, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Hungary, Ireland, Romania and Azerbaijan learned about social impact in Spanish museums and visited three museums in the Spanish capital.
9th International Training Course | Regional Development through Heritage in Sweden
On 29 June 2018, the representative of Icherisheher attended the one-day Training Course co-organized by Jamtli Foundation and the Nordic Centre of Heritage Learning and Creativity for NEMO members in Östersund, Sweden. The delegates from the Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Romania and Hungary learned about “Regional Development through Heritage in Sweden” and visited the acclaimed Jamtli open air museum.
The Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization of 250 cities in which sites of the UNESCO World Heritage list are located. It was founded in 1993 in Morocco, during the second International Symposium of World Heritage Cities. The headquarters of the OWHC are located in Quebec City, Canada. Altogether the 250 member cities of the OWHC have a population of more than 130 million. Any city may become a member of the OWHC if it possesses the following two characteristics. Firstly the city has to be the location of a living urban fabric of historic or contemporary interest. Its outstanding universal value has been recognized by the UNESCO and therefore has been registered in the World Heritage List. Secondly the city has to adhere to the values of the OWHC. During the founding of the OWHC in 1993 the member cities defined the goals and mission the Organization should have in the future. The OWHC aims for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention (Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage adopted by the UNESCO in 1972). It encourages cooperation and exchange of information and expertise among its member cities on both regional and international levels.
OWHC and Icherisheher
Icherisheher has become the member of OWHC since 2016. The Administration had a fruitfull cooperation with OWHC over past years. As an example of this cooperation, the Icherisheher Administration hosted 46th Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Organization in 23 and 24 October 2018. All in attendance were most impressed with the richness and beauty of the cultural heritage of Azerbaijan, including Icherisheher as well as the excellent organization of the meeting.
In May 2018, the Chairman of the Board of the Icherisheher Administration was invited to the 12th OWHC Regional Conference. The main topic of discussion was the challenges facing the World Heritage Cities, trends of cultural tourism, the protection of historical heritage and strategies to increase tourist interest in historical areas. Also, participants were informed about the work carried out in the preservation of historical heritage in Icherisheher and its future goals.
Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) is a non-profit institution which conducts research on, among others, the history of science, technology and medicine. IRCICA started its activities in 1980 as the first subsidiary organ of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) concerned with culture.
Its establishment was proposed by the Republic of Turkey during the Seventh Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Istanbul, in 1976, and adopted by the Conference by Resolution no. 3/7-ECS.
The Establishment Statute of the Centre was adopted by the Ninth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (Dakar, Senegal, 1978) by Resolution no. 1/9-C. The Centre started its activities in 1980, after its first work program and first budget proposal, prepared and submitted by the Centre’s newly appointed Director General Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, were adopted by Resolution no. 11/11-C of the Eleventh Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (Islamabad, Pakistan, 1980).
IRCICA’s headquarters are located in the three buildings named Seyir Pavillion, Cit Qasr and Yaveran Qasr in the historical Yildiz Palace in Besiktas, Istanbul. These buildings were allocated to the Centre by the Government of the Republic of Turkey.
Work programs of the Centre were officially announced to the international cultural and academic circles on 23 May 1982 at a ceremony inaugurated by H.E. Since 1985, research on the history of science and technology has gained a new direction and significance at IRCICA. IRCICA organized many symposia and meetings on the history of science (in addition to those on history, culture and arts), took part in many activities in this field and produced important works. Thus, it has played a significant role in bringing the Ottoman/Turkish science to the international community as a field of research in the history of science. The operations of the Centre are carried out by six main departments under the supervision of the Director General. Their functions are defined in the Internal Regulations document which was prepared by the Centre and adopted by the Third Session of its General Assembly (1995)
IRCICA and Icherisheher
Icherisheher has been cooperating with IRCICA since 2018. The Administration had a fruitfull cooperation with IRCICA over past years.
Collaboration with IRCICA can be seen as a very successful step for Icherisheher State Historical and Architectural Reserve in terms of presenting Azerbaijan's rich history and material culture on a large scale. On November 26, 2018, an agreement was signed between IRCICA and “Icherisheher” Reserve at the headquarters of the IRCICA. The agreement was signed by Asker Alakbarov, Chairman of the Board of the Icherisheher State Historical and Architectural Reserve and Director of the Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture.
Within the framework of the 3-year cooperation it is planned to organize a number of international events on traditional art of Islamic countries, such as festivals, congresses, trainings and workshops. As a follow-up to this agreement, a memorandum was signed on May 2, 2019 in the Mugham Club to strengthen relations in both cultural and historical fields.
The core of the document was to organise Baku International Festival named “Craft in Action” on September 28 - October 4, 2019, in the capital of our country. Representatives of each Islamic country and international organizations made reports on 14 different topics at the Congress.
A total of 100 artists participated in the competition including miniature art, ornaments, engraving, metalworking, pottery, handmade paper, stucco glass and the artof batik.