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Azerbaijan Culture at the beginning of the 20th century

At the beginning of the 20th century, the cultural ties of Azerbaijan with other countries extended. Democratic intelligence, which took into account the importance of education and knowledge among nation, conducted great work for the enlargement of enlightenment. The activity of N.Narimanov, U.Hajibeyli, H.Zardabi, Q.Mahmudbeyov, C.Mammedkuluzadeh, M.A.Sabir, S.M.Qanizadeh and others was much more precious.

The role of print was great in the formation of identity. From this viewpoint much more essential one was the journal of “Molla Nasireddin”, who edited by C.Mammedkuluzadeh. There were assembled such leading representatives of democratic intelligence of Azerbaijan as M.A.Sabir, O.F.Nemanzadeh, A.Qemkuser, A.Nazmi, A.Akhundov around this journal. In this journal, which possessed prominent place in the development of democratic literature and print there were criticized national-colonial yoke, despotism, religious and fanatism. There played an essential role such published journals in  socio-political life in this period as “Bahlul”, “Tuti”, “Zanbur”, “Babai- Emir”, “Fiyuzat”, “Shelale”, newspapers as “Sherqi-Rus”, “Irshad”, “Nicat”, “Caspi”, “Baku” and so on. For the children of Baku, there were published the journals of “Debistan (1906-1908), “Rahbar” (1906- 1907) and “Mekteb” (1911-1917).

The publication of Azerbaijan newspaper as “Hummet”, “Devet- goch”, “Tekamul”, “Yaddash”, “Bakinskiy rabochiy”, “Kudok”, “Prizev” (in Russian) at the beginning of the spoken century, enlargement of print work contributed to much more revival of socio- political life in Azerbaijan.

The role of such publishing house as “Irshad”, “Hayat”, “Teze Hayat”, “Fiyuzat”, “Yeni Fiyuzat” and others was unarguable. Most of these publishing houses, which were especially published by the vehicle of progressive businessmen were led by prominent thinkers of that period of Azerbaijan. There were reflected the works of such prominent individuals as A.Husseinzadeh and A.Aghayev along with H.Zardabi, N.Narimanov, M.A.Sabir on the pages of the paper of “Hayat”. In the journal of “Fiyuzat”, which was published by the aid of H.Z.Taghiyev there worked A.Husseinzadeh along with A.Kamal, M.E.Resulzadeh, Q.S.Eyvazov and other prominent representatives of intelligence. In the articles of A.Husseinzadeh, who possessed deep and wide knowledge, there were attempted to investigate ethnic and national origins of Azerbaijan nation, to analize the history of formation of the nation and its historical, political, literature, religious and other world-outlooks.

The revolutionary-democratic literature, represented by C.Mammed-kuluzadeh, N.Narimanov, A.Haqverdiyev, realistic direction, related with N.Vezirov, S.S.Akhundov, S.M.Qanizadeh, Y.V.Chemenzeminli, A.Shaiq and etc., and liberal-bourgeoisiec direction, represented by M.S.Resulzadeh, A.Hussein-zadeh, A.Aghayev in the beginning of the 20th century, played an essential role in the development of national culture of Azerbaijan nation, in the enlargement of enlightenment ideas and in the deepening of national cognition too.

In this period Azerbaijan national theatre, where appeared C.Zeynalov, H.Arablinsky, M.Aliyev, H.SArabsky, A.M.Sharifzadeh, S.Ruhulla and other talented actors went on the way of development of realistic art.

In the beginning of the 20th century, U.Hajibeyli, M.Magomayev, C.Qaryaghdi, Q.Pirimov wrote bright pages in the history of development of not only in Azerbaijan, but also Caucasian and Eastern  music. The production of U.Hajibeyli’s “Leyli and Mejnun” work in 1908, formed the basics of opera art not only in Azerbaijan, but also in whole Muslim East and Turkish world.

There shaped such charitable cultural-enlightening societies as “Neshri-maarif”, “Seda”, “Nicat” and etc., developed Azerbaijan movie- art, which foundation was set in 1898, widely extended scientific- popular knowledge among the mass at the beginning of the 20th century.

The development of print and theatre art made conditions to more opportunities for the progress of Azerbaijan decorative art, which rose in the beginning of the 20th century, by the aid of A.Azimzadeh, B.Kengerli, Kh.Musayev and other professionals.

Azim Azimzadeh (1890-1943) an author of cartoons, where were criticized social inequality, poverty and fanatism played essential role in the development of satirical graphics. One of the prominent artists of that period was Bahruz Kengerli (1898-1922), the founder of realistic stage of art, who was professional artist and got special artistic education. The drawings, created by B.Kengerli, as well as artistic design of suits for producted works as “Oluler” (“Died people” by C.Memmedkuluzadeh) in Nakhichevan in 1910, “Haji Gara” (M.F.Akhundzadeh), “Peri-Cadu” (A.Haqverdiyev) and others were the most precious samples of Azerbaijan art.

Applied art also continued to develop in Azerbaijan. Talanted masters, who came from civil population created many carpets, samples of holiday dresses, which were decorated with various bright pictures and ornaments.

The development of Azerbaijan architecture at the beginning of the 20th century, was related with the growth and development of Baku, which turned into one of the leading industrial cities of Russian Empire. Among the buildings of that time the “Ismailiyye” (contemporary Presidium of National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan) and the Theatre of Mailov brothers (Modern Azerbaijan state Academic Theatre of Opera and Balet) were much more significant.

Related with general growth of urban life in this period the construction of new buildings enlarged in other cities of Azerbaijan- in Ganja, Nukha, Quba, Shamakha, which caused to the change of architectural appearance of this cities as well.

Events, occurred at the beginning of the 20th century, became reason for great changes in the country. Azerbaijan nation, who lost its statehood, met with difficulties, but could find power, included an impact to the history of world development, dethroned foreign invaders and was able to create his own national state.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

Author of t extbook for the higher educational institutions "THE HISTORY OF AZERBAIJAN, from ancient times to the present day"