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President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the inauguration of a statue to philanthropist Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev in Baku.
The head of state unveiled the statue erected in a square in front of the Icharishahar metro station.
Welcoming People's Artist Khanlar Ahmadov, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- It is a very beautiful statue.
Khanlar Ahmadov: Thank you very much.
President Ilham Aliyev: There were quite a few proposals.
Khanlar Ahmadov: As you know, a competition was announced.
President Ilham Aliyev: Of course, I do.
Khanlar Ahmadov: I did my best.
President Ilham Aliyev: It is beautiful indeed. As they say, it reflects both his greatness and is beautiful. It is also architecturally similar.
Khanlar Ahmadov: I tried. I worked on it a lot. The place itself is good. It is a historical place. It is the historical Istiqlaliyyat Street.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, it is a historical place. Historical fortress walls. It is one of the most beautiful places in Baku. I remember several places being offered at that time. I chose this one because his statue should be here.
Khanlar Ahmadov: It is a great place.
A photo was taken.
Khanlar Ahmadov: I am very glad that you have also unveiled my “Shot Statues” in Karabakh for the second time.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, we celebrated that very well. You will have a lot of such work. The process of erecting statues of our historical figures is underway.
Khanlar Ahmadov: We are always happy to work.
President Ilham Aliyev: I congratulate you once again.
Khanlar Ahmadov: Thank you very much.
President Ilham Aliyev: You have won an open competition. This statue will stand here forever. Is the author's name here?
Assistant to the President Anar Alakbarov: Of course, there is. We have provided it in both Azerbaijani and English. Out of 26 works, Khanlar Ahmadov’s work was selected in the competition.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, I know. Thank you very much and I wish you continued success.
Khanlar Ahmadov: Thank you very much.
The head of state then made a speech.
Speech of President Ilham Aliyev
- A few minutes ago, we celebrated the unveiling of the statue of Zeynalabdin Taghiyev. Since the statue is close to the entrance to the subway, I congratulate my dear people on this occasion from here, so as not to cause problems for people.
The unveiling of this statue is a very significant event. In 2020, I signed a relevant Order on the erection of a statue of Zeynalabdin Taghiyev. An open competition was announced and the work of People's Artist and prominent sculptor Khanlar Ahmadov won it. After that, I was offered a few alternative locations for the statue, and I chose this place. Because it is a place worthy of the name of Zeynalabdin Taghiyev, one of the historical places of Baku, one of the favorite places of our city residents, and it is close to the historical fortress walls. The location of Taghiyev's statue here has a great symbolic meaning because Zeynalabdin Taghiyev made an immense contribution to the development and landscaping of Baku throughout his life.
He was a wealthy man, but everyone knows that he grew up in a very poor family and earned his wealth through hard work. He went down in history, however, not a rich man but as a philanthropist. If it were not for his charitable activities, he would probably not be remembered by the Azerbaijani people. It was on his initiative that many important projects were implemented in Azerbaijan. Among them, of course, I should mention the project to bring clean drinking water to Baku. The Shollar water pipeline is still in operation, providing Baku and Sumgayit with clean drinking water. Zeynalabdin Taghiyev used his own money to build this pipeline. It was also on his initiative and financial support that a theater was built in Baku, as well as many industrial enterprises and the first secular school for Azerbaijani girls. I can say that the first secular school for girls in the Muslim world was established in Baku at the expense of Taghiyev's funds and on his initiative. The opening of streetcar tracks in Baku is also associated with Taghiyev's name. Taghiyev was the author of many beautiful buildings that added beauty to Baku and contributed to its architectural style. We can see his architectural works in different parts of Baku. Although he was born into a poor family and grew up in the environment of that time, the fact that he invited architects from abroad to increase the beauty of Baku shows that he was a progressive individual. The opening of a school for girls was a step into the future. Everyone knows that by sending hundreds of students to Russia and Europe, he paid for their education, and this was a step towards the future. He clearly thought about the future. I have already said this once but I want to say again that my grandfather Aziz Aliyev was among those students. Aziz Aliyev was born in ancient Azerbaijani land, the Iravan Khanate. Like Taghiyev, he hailed from a poor family and wanted to study. He wrote a letter to Taghiyev, asking for financial assistance. Of course, Taghiyev did not know him, he simply sent him money taking into account the young man's interest in education, and Aziz Aliyev studied at the St. Petersburg Military Medical Academy at that time. I think that this event played the crucial role in his future. Because he was both a wonderful doctor and a great statesman. During World War II, he was sent from Baku to Dagestan. For several years, he worked as the leader of Dagestan and saved the people of Dagestan from exile. At that time, along with other Caucasian peoples, there were plans to deport the Dagestanis to Kazakhstan. The Soviet government had such plans. This did not happen because of Aziz Aliyev's resolute position. Dagestanis are well aware of this, remember this perfectly well, and it is no coincidence that a monument to Aziz Aliyev was erected in Makhachkala at the initiative of Dagestanis.
Zeynalabdin Taghiyev had the Holy Quran translated into Azerbaijani and proved to be an innovator in this field too. For the first time, the Holy Quran was translated into Azerbaijani. Many religious sites were built and renovated in Azerbaijan on his initiative and with his financial resources. His educational initiatives were not limited to Baku. At the same time, schools were opened at his expense in Nakhchivan, Ganja, Shamakhi, Georgia and places where Azerbaijanis lived.
So we can talk a lot about him. He was a great person, a man who was attached to the people, a man who loved the people with all his heart, who thought about the future of the people. I must also say that it was Zeynalabdin Taghiyev who established the traditions of charity in the 19th century. Of course, these traditions did not last during the Soviet era. I should also note that after the collapse of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the Soviet government deprived him of all his opportunities, all his property was confiscated, there was only one garden left, and he lived there until the end of his life. He lived a long life, a full life. Unfortunately, at the end of his life, he was faced with such injustice and this worried him a lot.
Today, the charity traditions of independent Azerbaijan, the charity traditions established by him are being continued and have become widespread. I should say that the largest philanthropist in this field not only in Azerbaijan, but also in the South Caucasus is the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation has been in operation for about 20 years, and the main objective and goal of the Foundation has been to help people, promote Azerbaijani culture in the world and contribute to the development of education, health, culture, art and science. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation has rendered exceptional services in promoting Azerbaijan as a multicultural and modern state in the world. As a result of the Foundation's activities, Azerbaijan is better known, and it was this factor that helped us during the second Karabakh war. Because the people of Azerbaijan know very well that the Armenian lobby and its supporters made up all sorts of lies about Azerbaijan and threw them into the media. However, the many years of activities of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in various countries and the recognition of Azerbaijan as a modern and progressive state have subverted this propaganda. Today, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation faces new tasks. In addition to its traditional activities, the Foundation has launched extensive activities in the liberated lands. At present, the process of overhaul, restoration and construction of our religious sites has begun at the initiative of the Foundation in the liberated lands. The Yukhari Govharagha, Ashaghi Govharagha and Saatli mosques in Shusha, the Aghdam city mosque and the Zangilan city mosque are being overhauled by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. At the same time, the construction of new mosques in Dashalti, Hadrut and Shusha has been initiated by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The number of these religious sites alone is eight, and I am sure that the Foundation will take an active part in other projects. As you know, the construction of new IDP settlements was also initiated by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and I attended the commissioning of a number of large multi-storey houses in Gobu settlement.
In other words, these traditions do exist, are being carried on and are highly valued in our society. After the war, the Karabakh Revival Fund and the “YASHAT” Foundation were established on my initiative. At the same time, Azerbaijani citizens and companies voluntarily donate funds to both the Karabakh Revival Fund and the “YASHAT” Foundation. Today, hundreds of veterans are receiving treatment, returning to life and restoring their health both in Azerbaijan and abroad. This once shows that charity has always been an integral part of the Azerbaijani people. It was simply necessary to create conditions for it. This policy had to be supported by the state, and we are seeing it today.
I have always had great respect for Zeynalabdin Taghiyev's personality. Back in the early 2000s, when I was not President yet, the Pirhasan shrine where his tomb is located was renovated on my initiative, and the area around the tomb took on a new look. Immediately after becoming President, his house, the building of the Museum of History, was renovated on my initiative, and the part of the house where he lived remained a museum, while the Museum of History displays exhibits from different periods of our history.
Today, I am very glad that the statue of Zeynalabdin Taghiyev has been erected in Baku. He deserves it. The Azerbaijani people keep in their hearts every person who has served the Azerbaijani people, our history and nation.
I once again sincerely congratulate my dear people on this occasion and wish the people of Azerbaijan continued success and new victories. Thank you.