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The techniques and compositions of Azerbaijan embroideries have reached us through the centuries, The Italian traveller Marco Polo (13th century) noted the beauty of silk wares from Shemakha and Barda.
The English merchant and traveller Anthony Jenkinson (16th century) who had visited the local ruler in his summer residence marvelled at its splendour.
"The king was sitting in a rich tent embroidered in silk and gold", he wrote, adding that the ruler's garments were decorated with pearls and gems.
Embroideries were made on locally produced canaus, darai or velvet. The art prospered in Shemakha, Basgal, Gyanja, Sheki, Shusha and other Azerbaijan towns.
The more popular and widespread type of embroidery in Azerbaijan were gold stitch, satin-stitch, chain-stitch, "bird's eye" technique, the use of spangles, glass beads and stamped plaques, quilting, applique, spiral and fillet work.
Gold stitch on a very tight fabric is the oldest type. The embroideries used factory-made gold or silver threads. This type of embroidery was called gyulya-batyn.
Chain-stitch type was widespread among the silk embroidery. In the 19th century the town of Sheki was the main producer of chain-stitch embroideries.
Fertile soil, mild climate and warm sun rays have determined favourable conditions for flora. Almost each out of 6000 species of plants found on the territory of Azerbaijan has medical properties. For centuries Azerbaijan had been a country of various handicrafts, particularly carpet-making.
Carpet-making is one of the ancient fields of the decorative-applied art of Azerbaijan. According to archaeological excavations in the territory of Azerbaijan and to literature sources, carpet-making had been conceived in ancient times.
Carpets and carpet-ware made in Azerbaijan had repeatedly been glorified in historical books, classic and folk literature.
Magically playing, the colours of carpets absorbed ruby brightness of pome-granate, golden brilliance of quince, copper of saffron and lilac tints of grapes.) Inexhaustible richness of colours, inimitable in its beauty interlacement of patterns, flight of artistic fantasy and consummate skill- that is Azerbaijan carpet.
According to the historical sources, Azerbaijan was one of the most important centres of pile and flat-woven carpets production in the East in Middle Ages.
Facts confirm, that north-eastern part of Azerbaijan was a centre of high quality carpets production in the VI-VII centuries.
Famous Chinese traveller Khuan-Tesank, who visited Iran in the VII century, wrote in his memoirs: "Azerbaijan is one of the largest centres of the carpet-making".
A special scientific interest is shown in two stone moulds for casting bronze articles, the evidence that the bronze implements and weapons discovered in Azerbaijani excavation sites were chiefly of local make.
This fact has been confirmed by spectral analysis.
Attention is drawn to a large collection of lusterware and glazed ceramics discovered at excavation sites in Balakan, Baku, Barda, Ganja, Shemaha, all existing from medieval times.
Glazed ceramics from these cities bears the distinctive traits of that period and embraces in terms of territory a wide range of Oriental countries.
At the same time it has many local features.
Many items boast a virtuoso technique and subtle elegance which make them veritable genres of Azerbaijani applied art.
Many glazed dishes and cups bear paleographic inscriptions dating to the 9th-12th cc., the golden age of the art of ceramics.
They have preserved several names of ceramics masters of those days, although unfortunately most of them have remained unknown.
These were silver coins - drachmas and tetradrachmas - of the great conqueror himself. Alongside the broad circulation of Hellenistic coins in ancient Azerbaijan - Atropatheneum and Caucasian Albania - the mintage of domestic means of circulation silver coins imitating those of Alexander the Great and the kings of Seleucia and Parthia - was launched here since the 3rd century B.C.
The conquest of Azerbaijan by the Arabs in the 7th century was marked by an advancement of money circulation and increase in intensity of money minting. From the second half of the 9th century A. D: The coinage, in particular, silverirhams of such feudal Azerbaijan states as those of the Shirvanshahs-Mazyadids (in Shirvan), the Sajids, the Salarids, the Ravvadids, and the Sheddadids (in Arran) not only met the requirements of the domestic market of Azerbaijan, but also played the role of international money alongside the Caliphate's coins In the 15th-16th centuries Azerbaijan economy and culture blossomed forth anew. High-standard coins tangas of the Shirvan-shahs circulated throughout the whole of Transcaucasus, playing the role of a universal medium of payment. In the south of the country, in Arrant and Azerbaijan, several states sprang up one after another under the aegis of the Turkic dynasties of Gara-goyunlu and Ag-goyunlu, and the Sefevids, which minted not only silver but also gold coins.
After the formation of the Sefevid state in the early 16th century, objective conditions were created there for the development of productive forces and the shaping up of spiritual values.
The monetary system of the Sefevids based on a heavyweight 9.4-gramme silver unit reflected in a certain sense the economic and political might of that state.
is a diversified industrial country. After the USSR collapsed, it
entered the market economy from the planed socialist system. The
Republic has been developing in balanced development and stable
increasing speed since 1994-2003. The theoretical and methodological
fundamentals of this development established on the policy carried out
by the national leader and builder of Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev.
Azerbaijan is one of the ancient countries in the world. Primitive men
had inhabited in Azerbaijan since the existence of initial periods of
humanity. Primitive man is considered to live 1,5 million years ago.
Azikh cave is considered to be the third settlement of man for its
The Old City of
Icheri Sheher occupies 22 hectares in the center of Baku. It hosts over
50 historical and architectural monuments from various eras. The Palace
of Shirvanshakhs, the Maiden Tower and Synyg Gala (The Broken Tower) are
among the monuments which survived till present day.
Fire Temple - Ateshgah
In early history
Azerbaijan was called the "land of the sacred fireâ€ť. Although the
"everlasting fireâ€ť mentioned by early travelers such as Alexandre Dumas
was due to the gas and oil deposits erupting from the earth, it became
surrounded by legend and mystery. Some 2,600 years ago, Zarathustra was
formulating Zoroastrianism, one of the first major monotheistic
religions. His idea to use fire as a metaphor for the mysteries of God
probably came from witnessing the spontaneous flames that rise so eerily
from Azerbaijan's Absheron Peninsula. Today some such fires still burn.
Most notable is Yanar Dagh near Mammedli, where a small hillside is
constantly and naturally aflame.
Absheron there were many temples of Fire as well. From their variety
the most famous is the well-preserved temple Ateshgah ("the Fire Place")
in Surakhany, located 20 kilometers east of the town center. The temple
was built over a pocket of natural gas that fuelled a vent providing an
'eternal' fire. This kind of use of fire in Zoroastrian temples led to
the followers of Zoroaster (Zarathustra).
Towers of Absheron
In the XI-XIII centuries in connection with the consolidation of the Shirvanshahs in the territory of the Apsheron Peninsula a great construction work was carried out. Among the buildings of that time the towers and castles hold a special place; they served as reliable strongholds for the feudal lords in the intestine wars, also as shelters and places of defence during the foreign invasions. Particularly this question was keenly raised in the XII century, when Apsheron was exposed to the attacks of the Russian buccaneers from the sea. Thus in 1175 Shirvanshah Akhistan I repulsed several raids of the Russians, who attacked on 73 vessels.
Shirvanshah Fariburz III had a fortification built on one of the rocky
islands of the Baku bay which was subsequently called the Sabael Castle,
Shahri Saba, Shahri Nau, the city under water, the caravanserai, the
Bail rocks, etc. Wrapped in legends, the castle is completely under
water at present and is about 350 meters distant from the shore.