Just the other day, in Baku, I had the fortunate opportunity to meet a new(ish) expat here in Azerbaijan. Steve Hollier has a nice blog going. While his topics are varied, Steve has written some interesting notes about Azerbaijan and Baku. In particular, I really enjoyed his two-part post about old buildings and erasing history, comparing how the landscape changed in London to how the landscape is changing in Baku. Well worth the read:
The Azeri people have been going through a process of de-Sovietisation for nearly two decades and an obvious part of that is modification of the built environment. It is not the first time Baku has been through this process.
When the Russians of pre Soviet era controlled Azerbaijan, they decided to put their stamp on the city which from the 1870′s onwards went through a process of “Russification”. Up to that time, Baku was a town that existed only within the precincts of the old city walls.
Then as money from the first oil-boom started to flow, the city began to change. A new city of sandstone towers and finials grew. In the 1890′s there were so many Russians living in Baku that with substantial contributions forced from the Islamic and Jewish communities an Orthodox cathedral was built.