Baku, history and culture

Heydar Aliyev’s 91st Birthday

Late Heydar Aliyev’s 91st birthday is today celebrated in Baku with the Flower Festival. Heydar Aliyev was the third President of independent Azerbaijan and is considered as crucial for the development of the country. He is ubiquitous in Azerbaijan – but more on him in another post.

During the Flower Festival and the week before colorful flower pictures are displayed all over Baku, mainly in its many parks. People love to go out to visit the parks and their colorful flower displays. Often girls are dressed as flowers and sometimes look like little brides.

Yesterday celebrations took place in Sahil Park with flower pictures, portraits and models of Baku’s landmarks such as the Flame Towers and the Maiden Tower. Also a concert with singers took place.

The most popular park is the Heydar Aliyev Park, which displays among others a huge flower portrait of Heydar Aliyev in front of Heydar Aliyev Palace on one end of the park. The park hosts a Heydar Aliyev monument that faces the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, on the other end. As this park is the most popular venue for the festival people have to wait in a line to enter and are guided on a path through the park.

Rather than waiting for entrance a good alternative is to walk a little further beyond the Heydar Aliyev Palace to the Winter Park, a new park inaugurated one year ago on Heydar’s birthday. It is less crowded and people can stroll among all the flower displays. Flowers are displayed in different colors – either on temporary walls or in little pavilions. People (or the photographer makes them to) like to blend in with their clothes into the color theme of the pavilions.

Last year I heard the figure of 30 million Manats that were spent for the festival. There are critical voices about the spending, while the city government claimed this year that most of the flowers are donations by firms.

Certainly I’d like to know what happens with the flowers after the festival. So many orchids and other plants in their colorful pot that can decorate homes.