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Tuesday, 16-Jan-2007 11:51 Email | Share | Bookmark
Baku - Part 2

Yashasin Iran Yashasin Azarbaijan, I LOVE YOU BOTH
Baku (Azerbaijani: Bakı; Cyrillic Бакы), sometimes known as Baky or Baki, is the capital and the largest city of Azerbaijan. It is located on the southern shore of the Apsheron Peninsula, at 40°23′N 49°52′E. Modern Baku consists of three parts: the Old Town (İçəri Şəhər), the boomtown and the Soviet-built town. Population (January 1, 2003 census): 2,074,300[1]. About 3 million people live in metropolitan area (due to large numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons).

The layout of the oil-rich city is rectangular, only in the oldest part of the city within the fortress walls the streets are crooked and narrow. The boomtown, south of the old city, was built after massive petroleum exploitation began nearly a century ago and has interesting beaux-arts architecture. Fine arts, history and literature museums are located there, all housed in the mansions of pre-Revolutionary millionaires.
Modern Baku spreads out from the city walls, its streets and buildings rising up hills that rim the Bay of Baku. Greater Baku is divided into 11 districts (Azizbayov, Binagadi, Garadagh, Narimanov, Nasimi, Nizami, Sabail, Sabunchu, Khatai, Surakhany and Yasamal) and 48 townships. Among these are townships on islands in the bay and one island town built on stilts in the Caspian Sea, 50-100 km from Baku proper (the so-called Oil Rocks).
Origin of the Name
The name Baku is widely believed to be derived from the old Persian names of the city Badu-kube, meaning "city where the wind blows", or Baghkuh, meaning "Mount of God". Arabic sources refer the city as Baku, Bakukh, Bakuya, and Bakuye, all of which seem to come from the original Persian name.
Other theories suggest that the name dates back to Zoroastrianism and comes from the word Baga meaning the "the sun" or "the god" in a number of ancient languages.

The history of Baku dates back to 1st millennium BC. The first written reference to Baku dates from 885.
The city became important after an earthquake destroyed Shemakha and in the 12th century, ruling Shirvanshah Ahsitan I made Baku the new capital. In 1501 shah Ismail I Safavi laid a siege to Baku. At this time the city was however enclosed with the lines of strong walls, which were washed by sea on one side and protected by a wide trench on land. In 1540 Baku was again captured by the Safavid troops. In 1604 the Baku fortress was destroyed by Iranian shah Abbas I.

On June 26, 1723 after a lasting siege and firing from the cannons Baku surrendered to the Russians. According to Peter the Great's decree the soldiers of two regiments (2,382 people) were left in the Baku garrison under the command of Prince Baryatyanski, the commandant of the city. In 1795 Baku was invaded and destroyed by Aga Muhammad khan Kajar and the tsarist Russia began maintaining a policy of subduing Azerbaijan to itself. In the spring of 1796 by Yekaterina II’s order General Zubov’s troops started a large campaign in Transcaucasia. Baku surrendered after the first demand of Zubov who had sent 6,000 militants to capture the city. On June 13, 1796 the Russian flotilla entered the Baku bay and a garrison of the Russian troops was placed in the city. General Pavel Tsitsianov was appointed the Baku's commandant. Later however Pavel I ordered to cease the campaign and withdraw the Russian forces back. In March, 1797 the tsarist troops left Baku but a new tsar, Alexander I began to show a special interest in capturing Baku. In 1803 Tsitsianov reached an agreement with the Baku khan to compromise, but the agreement was soon annulled. On February 8, 1806, after the city was surrendered, under the accompaniment of the retinue Huseyngulu khan left the city to present the city’s keys to Sisianov.
In 1813, Russia signed the Treaty of Gulistan with Persia, which provided for the cession of Baku and most of the Caucasus from Iran and their annexation by Russia.

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