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Sprung on the coasts of the silvery Khazar (the Caspian), Baku as one of the holy centers of Zoroastriaizm, after the discovery of oil, within a very shot historical period changed into a very important commercial city. Its advantageous geographical location and abundance of valuable raw materials as oil, salt, marroon, saffron and others helped its rapid growth. With the developement of feudalism a lot of small feuds appeared in the territories near Baku. There were built small but strong family towers - donjons in the center of the lands and they formed together a single system of warning in the case of dangers. Baku still remained as the biggest populated locality on the entire western coast of the Caspian Sea. The earliest description of Baku of that period was made by the native geographer of the Middle Ages Abd or - Rashid al - Bakuvi. In his work written 1403 named Kitabi Tallhis as - Asor, Vaajaib al - malik alkahhar he writes: the city has too extraordinarily fortified strong stone castles. One of them, the biggest, is near the sea, and the waves waste its walls. This is the castle, which the Tartars (Mongols) could not capture. The other castle is higher than the first one. Its top is destroyed by balusters. A special future of this city is the constant wind which is blowing day and night. Some times it is so strong that it is impossible for a man to go against the wind, horses and sheep in winter are often swept into the sea because they can not hold themselves on land. Here are deposits of tar and oil, oil is extracted daily for more than two hundred camel pack loads. Near them, there is another oil spring, which is ceaselessly pouring out oil day and night, this oil is as white as jasmin oil, its rental estimates thousand dirhams. Near the oil - wells there is hard soil of yellow color, which burns like a candle. People break of pieces of it and take it back to the town for heating their houses and baths . The town, the territory of about 22 hektars located on the hills, was surrounded by the city walls. According to a number of archeological, historical, graphical architectural and other data, we can assume that the most ancient, assimilated part of the Baku castles its coastal part. It is not surprising that the earliest memorials have been prerserved in that part. These memorials include the minaret of the mosque Mohammed ibn Abu Bakr, known as Sinik-gala (1078) and Giz Galasi ( Maiden Tower) the lower part of which was probably built in VI-VII centuries B.C. Thehighest rise of Baku in the epoch of feudalism was at the time when, as a result of a destructive earthquake in Shirvan the capital of the state was moved from Shernakhi to Baku
Exactly in the following hundred years the planning of the castle starts to take shape. And the Shirvanshahs Palace, unique in beauty and grace , was founded on the highest place in the castle. The Palace includes nine buildings serving various purposes. Virtuosity of its creators, who knitted the finest laces of stone ornaments on portals of Divan -khane and the family burial-vault of Shirvanshahs , created an organically integral unit for their design an then combined these structures into one indivisible whole, demonstrating the skills and artistic taste of the medieval craftsmen of Azerbaijan . With the growth of significance of Baku as a commercial city the caravan-sarays built around the Maiden Tower, were a kind of medieval hotels, which as a rule, belonged to some merchant guilds of different cities, each bearing the mane of its owner. There were merchants living and trading in Baku, they came not only from nearby towns, but also from the farthest towns of the Caucasus, Iran, Central Asia, Russia and other countries. For example, the merchants from Panjab, Hujarat and Rajputana live in the Caravan-saray Multani. Butchery was a place for the concentration of merchants from the Central Asia which was situated near it. As a whole, development of such places is an evidence of a considerable growth of cultural, commercial and political contacts of the state of Shirvan, which also included Baku, with the neighboring and distant countries in XV-XVI centuries. It is enough, as we think , to give just one fact, as a proof of it that in 1572 Baku was visited by the agents of the English trade company, who displayed interest in the Baku oil . F. Decket , a member of that missio informed that ... there is a strange phenomenon near a city called Baku.
There is an extraordinary amount of oil coming out into the surface o the earth and piople from distant corners of all Persia come to get. In XVII-XVIII centuries , as a result of considerable changes in social-political and economical life of the country , due to the colonization of the western and southwestern coast of the Caspian Sea, the central part of the Baku castle lost its importance as a place for location of the residence of the Head of the State, and the center , as a place to business and commerce moved from the Shirvanshahs Palace towards the citys main commercial line , which connected the so-called Shemakhi Gate with the coastal part of the city, then changed its derection near the Maiden Tower and went towards the Salyan Gate . The same line connected two bazaars : the Yukhari ( Upper) Bazaar with its rows of jewelry and other goods, with the Ashagi ( Lower) Bazaar with its groceries and workshops of small craftsmen. This street was distinguished not only for its length, it almost enclosed all the Baku castle, but also for its considerable width in comparison with the main streets of cities in the Middle Ages. This line, essence, was the main composition of the city, its pivot. Other streets, the minor ones, coming through city blocks from all directions, were considerably narrower. Moreover, they were crooked, sometimes ending in blind-alleys.
. Ass these made the castle like a large labyrinth created in the course of many centuries. The Russian traveller I. Berezin , who visited Baku in the middle of the XIX century described Baku as follows : ... they are so narrow and entangled, that after a month in Baku I did not know, where a street began and where it ended. Though we do not object against the above-said, still we must note that this chaotic style of building had its advantages in defending the city from invaders, as well as for softening the gusts of the Baku winds. These winds were piercing through everything. The natural and climatic conditions of the Absheron Peninsula played an important role in the formation of the urban structure of Baku in the Middle Ages. The curvilinear planning of streets not only assisted in stopping the gusts of the ice-cold North wind of Baku in winter, but also created coolness in day time, owing to the shadow falling from walls of houses in streets. Some buildings of the Shirvanshah palace were built during the government of Khalilullah I Shirvanshag. This ensemble of palace buildings was one of the best monuments of the medieval azeri architecture. It consists of the several buildings constructed in the various periods of the XV-XVI centuries. The former residence of Shirvanshahs was located in Shamakhi. But because of the strengthening of Baku fortress that became one of the most important Caspian ports and economic and political centre. Khalilullah I chose Baku as his new residence. The palace ensemble is composed of several constructions : the giggest palace building, Divankhana, Mausoleum, Mosque, Seyid Yahya Bakuvi Mausoleum ( Mausoleum of Darvish), and the ruins of the Old Mosque. There are Murad Gapisi ( aim gates) and the remains of bath-house and in the eastern part of the palace.
These wonderful ensemble of old buildings of yellow smooth stone witness the skills and mastery of the ancient architects and painters of Azerbaijan. There were small inner yards spontaneously surrounded by houses in the castle and there grew nothing in these yards except one or two fig or mulberry trees or rose bushes. In the same yards, as a rule , there were water wells there to provide the inhabitants with water through complicated but at the same time a perfect system of kahrizes -the medieval underground water supplies, pierced in thick continental rocky soil. For the common se of water there were ovdans built in some places of Ichery Sheher. They were semi-underground installation for filling water. It should be added that since the XV century there was a perfect, composed to separate ceramic elements, underground sewer system, connected to all houses located here, in the Baku castle. The majority of houses in the Baku castle. The majority of houses in the city were one or two - storied with flat floors and plane roofs covered with tar and small cupolas draining the smoke. Silhouettes of these hoses , arising like shelves over slopes of the hilly relief of the castle, were interrupted by massive minarets and smooth twists of cupolas of mosques and baths in some places. This combination of different architectural configuration was the most distinguished feature of the feudal Baku. The religgion played a very important role in the spiritual life of the city at that time. Thats why the rows of dwelling houses were interspersed with little block mosques. These mosques wire used not only for performing religious rites but also for gatherings and meetings, some kind of clubs for inhabitants of the block . As all big cities in the medieval East , Baku was developing with traditional town-planning system ark - rabad . This system included the cetadel of the Governor with a small territory surrounded by walls and extensive suburbs adjacent to it. At the same time, unlike the City, considerable part of inhabitants of Baku lived in the suburbs called - Bayir Sheher , i.e. , the Outer City, composed of a series of big and small settlements. Since the second half of the XIX century, due to the changes in the social and political system and growing economical significance of Baku, these settlements were unified in one town-planning organism Forshtadt . However, names of those populated quarters located near or far from the castle, unlike their territories borders, have remained in the memory of the inhabitants of Baku, and attached to the names of a series of present districts of the city as Sabail, Yasamal, Ahmadli, Chambarakend, Darnagul etc. Starting approximately from the second half of the XIX century, the social and political order in Azerbaijan was characterized by a transfer from feudalism to capitalism. If in the majority o other provinces of Azerbaijan , as well as in the entire Caucasian region, this transfer was not really felt for a long time and patriarchal relations were still remaining , but in Baku, unlike the above said, this process went very speedily. Rapidly developing industry, strengthening of economical and cultural relations with foreign countries, birth of a new class of industrealists and proletariat shortly changed Baku into one of the biggest cities of Russia arid the biggest city of the Caucasus. It is enough to mention only such a fact, that in the period between 1897 an 1913 the population of Baku grew thrice and exceeded totally 500 thousand, while the growth of population in Moscow in the same period was 68 per cent , and in Sanct-Peterburg - 71 per cent . attracted by the possibility to earn for living quickly easily, thousands of vagrants, adventurers and other anti-social elements streamed to Baku from the near and distant places. The ethnic and confessional composition of the urban population was very diverse. It is evident from such a fact, that in a very short period of time together with the large Taza Pir mosque there were constructed such a big orthodox cathedral as Alexander Nevsky, Luteran Kirsch church. Catholic Gregorian church and Jewish Synagogue on the newly developed lands. The Ichery Sheher, enclosed in city walls, was unable to receive such a great number of immigrants, and the process of formation the city, having spontaneously been tipped out of the historical core, started to form at ht feet of its walls.
.The newly-built part of the ciity consisted generally of fundamentally built residential houses in classical style, ornaments of these houses contained oriental themes. It should be noted, that this process also changed the sight of some streets in the castle, the sights of houses located on the most significant main-lines of the castle. The coastal part of the city which linked the coastal residential districts and the oil-fields of Bibi-Heybat with the industreal zone Black city, were intensively developing as well. Another important main-line, later renamed as Communist Street, now Istiglaliyyat, was Nikolayev street . Besides the dwelling houses of considerable scale, there were also big municipal offices on that street, including The City Duma. For its architecture, as well as for improvement and transport, Baku was approaching the biggest cities of the USA, Europe and Russia, and later even became as developed as they were. Such kinds of urban and demographic booms in Baku first of al were caused by the development of science and industry, significance of oil as one of the most important types of raw material for producing energy , as well as the abrogation of the farming system for the so-called oil lands in 1872. Approximately in this period the elaboration of the first general complex plan of Baku started. The plan in included the citys historical part, city walls, as well as its new and intensively developing part - forshtadt Originally , all the versions of the general plan were, as a rule, developed by the Russian military engineers . the first city plans, dated the second half of the XVIII century were linked with the broadening of the borders of the Baku castle - this was predetermined mainly by militarystrategic tasks. Bur further variants of the general plan of the city were, due to practical tasks connected with the functioning of the forming city organism these tasksincluded the problems of the growing population, necessity of improving of living conditions, industrial growth, transport etc. Starting from 1859 , the civil engineers and architects conducted a work on those plans. A special place among them belonged to the Azerbaijani personnel, we must especially note the creative work of Gasim-bay Hajibabayev, improvement of different parts of the city was made under his projects. But the first and the most detailed, full and professionally made General Plan for the Development of the City was made by engineer V. Vender Nonne. The growth of Baku at the end of XIX and XX centuries as the world center for extracting and refining of oil, promoted the inflow of the capital of some of the biggest companies of the world such as Nobel Brothers, Rotshilds Mazut Trade firm, division of the Royal Dutch-Shell company, a subsidiary of the Rockfeller company etc. Baku really changed into the oil capital of the world. In accordance with this it would be very interesting to quot a prominent Russian diplomat and scientist P. Chikhachev. Describing the oil deposits of the Absheron Peninsula in the middle of the XIX century he , noted : ..As to the daily production of oil it has grown so much , that it exceeds the production of oil in the USA, because the average output of oil wells in the USA is 11.500 kg, in Baku - 40.000 kg. Thats why Mr. Marvin ( a reporter of The Morning Post ) stated that even the most enterprising industrialists of Pennsylvania cannot imagine, how the Absheron Peninsula and the bordering region are rich in oil .He compares this territory with a sponge plunged in water. Together with the western oil industrialists a big group of local entrepreneurs were originating and successfully acting in that period . a special place among them occupied such big oil industrialists as H-Z. Tagiyev, M. Nagiyev, M. Mukhtarov and others. A considerable part of profits obtained from oil production and refining were spent by them on the improvement of Baku, on its architectural sight. Buildings constructed by them were not only a subject of their prestige, but also contributed to the prosperity of group of architects, mainly Poles, was invited to Baku. Among them were I. Goslavsky, I. Ploshko and others. Local architects as Zivarbey Ahmedbeyova arid Gafar Ismaylova successfully worked with them. Many prestigeous residential buildings mansions and public buildings were built on the projects of these local architects. At the same time they conducted a good deal of work on the improvement of the citys economy. A considerable part of financial expenses was paid by a number of national oil industrialists - Maecenas, especially by H-Z .Tagiyev. the first branch of the modern water-supply system of Baku was laid at his initiative in 1911. This water-supply system, beginning at the feet of the Big Caucasus and 200 km in length, was completed by V.Lindsey, a German engineer of Scottish origin. The first public transport in the city - Konka ( horse driven tramway ) began to function in 1892. The active life of the city, its busy contacts, including the cultural relations with the biggest cities of Europe an Russia , caused the necessity of the construction of a number of public buildings, including the places of entertainment. A special place among them is held by the theater, the first theater in the Caucasus, as well as in the whole Near and Middle East. This theater was also built at the initiative and investments of the millionaire-maecenas H_Z.Tagiyev in 1883. Different kinds of performances were played there by the local and visiting professional actors. A considerable part o those performances were created by the Azerbaijani authors. The dry semi-desert climate, strong dry winds and lack of water negatively affected the growth of vegetation in the Absheron Peninsula. Thats why the newly developed territories of the city lacked vegetation until the end of the XIX century. There was only one green spot in Baku in 1859 the so-called Governors garden, with an area of 2.5 ha and planted under the supervision of Dracopulo, a Greek by nationality. But in the city plan of 1878 together with the Governors garden ( now A. Vahid garden) there appeared the so-called Cician garden ( now the garden near the Press House) Parapet square ( now Fountain Square ) , Malocan garden ( now Khagani garden ) and others . but the most significant of all for planting trees and shrubs was the foundation of Maritime boulevard in 1909 with an active assistance and initiative of M. Hahinsky a local engineer. Later it became the main place of relaxatio for the people , as well as the main element of the sea-side front of the city. The rapid and high quality construction of residential and public buildings in the XIX century in Baku took into raptures and astonished many of contemporaries, including specialists. According to eyewitnesses, Ziverbey Ahmedov - the chief architect of the city claimed that Baku was a unique phenomenon for the speed of its development, and it ( Baku) was blooming and becoming prettier before the eyes. The architectural styles and methods use in the construction were very diverse, and sometimes depended not on the skill of architects, but on the customers taste. Buildings in new renaissance , new-gothic ( of very various tendencies) , new-baroque, classicism , ampere , modern styles appeared in Baku. There were, the also buildings in the pseudo-oriental , the so-called Moresque style, they also made endeavors to re-comprehend the local architectural tendency of the Shirvan Absheron architectural school. But most often and mainly due to the customers tastes we n see two or more architectural styles mixed in one building. Sometimes these styles were successfully combined by their authors, but sometimes not . Anyhow all those styles were very organically interlaced in a unique style , which adorned many streets and squares of Baku . the unique architecture of Baku, highly appreciated by the contemporaries, still has not lost its beauty. The high quality of building and final woks were the main reason for that. Successfully continuing the glorious traditions of the unknown masters of the Middle Ages , the stone-cutters embodied embodied the conceptions of architects i stone so perfectly that sometimes their work was equal that of sculptors. Development of capitalists relations not only resulted in an intensive growth of the oil industry in Azerbaijan and turned it to the leader of oil extraction and refining of the world at the end of the XIX and the beginning of the XX century, but also promoted the birth of different kinds of industrial entities, such as big and small oil refineries, mechanical workshops, commercial ports and other industrial buildings. A considerable part of the Baku oil was extracted and refined in the industrial districts. Besides oil biased plants there also were many factories and plants of light , food, construction and other industries there. They were interesting for their conception as well as for their embodiment. Speaking about the architecture of the industrial districts of the city it is necessary to mention the architectural phenomenon of that time, the so-called Villa Petrolea a complex of building and installations created in the territory of an enormous park, belonging to the company of Nobel Brothers. The territory was densely planted with numerous trees, fower-beds and bushes under the supervision of an experienced gardener. Bokle, moreover, because of too much mazut in the territory of the complex they were planted on imported soil, here and there were buildings intended for the companys technical-administrative personnel. This complex became not only the first successful example of park building , but also a unique model for the worlds dander-parking architecture of that time. Together with the immeasurable significance of Baku as a center of oil industry of the world , it is enough to mention, that in 1900 Baku produced more than half of the worlds oil output, due to its significance as the biggest trade and transport junction , where the most significant marine and rail-road routes of the Russian empire, Iran and other Eastern countries joined . The route connecting Baku with Tbilisi and The Black Sea coast of Georgia enabled to export the main part of oil products to the world market. Touching upon the architecture of in the period of capitalism , it is enough to mention the fact that comparatively within short time Baku had one of the most remarkable periods of its development - the city, its heart , beating for many centuries within the castle walls, in several years gave birth to a new city center in the best tradition of the world architecture on the territory of the former suburbs. New residential districts appeared , gardens and park systems were laid , transport and city communications were organized, oil producing and refining industrial districts were founded . The city considerably expanded its boundaries uniting a number of suburban settlements. The sight of Baku changed , it different styles and tendencies adapting them to new circumstances, owing to the work and talent of architects and builders Baku acquired a unique and original sight and became famed as the Paris of the Orient.

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