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.