Nestled between Europe and Asia and poised like an eagle over the oil-rich Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan encompasses dramatic landscapes, UNESCO-recognised heritage, and a spectacularly modern capital, which over 300 guests were invited to discover last night at a photographic reception hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Kingdom of Belgium.
Taking place at one of the European capital’s most beautiful event spaces, the neoclassical Caryatids Ballroom in the Cercle Royal Gaulois at the heart of the Royal Park of Brussels, the exhibition, Land of Fire, presented a Belgian take on the South Caucasian country, through the work of four upcoming Belgian adventurers and photographers: Anja Van Der Borght, Luc Embise, Linda Gezels and Maarten Van Middelem.
Discovering the landscapes and its people is a new and unique experience for travellers from every corner of the world. It takes visitors to a different place every time and opens the mind to see something new.Ambassador Vaqif Sadıqov
If someone told me I had to take every holiday for the next 10 years in Azerbaijan, I would be very happy.Anja Van Der Borght, Belgian photographer
Her words were borne out by the images on display. Modernity and history collide in this curation of 50 candid and formal photographs from across the adventurers’ travels, conjuring the spirit of Azerbaijan, from the undying flame of Yanar Dag and historic Ateshgah Temple to the architectural wonders and street sellers of Baku.
Buscardini Communications partnered the event, showing a selection from their documentaries about Azerbaijan produced for TV5MONDE.
Alongside the visual feast, live music accompanied the evening as a string quartet played international and Azerbaijani classics, delighting the audience with pieces by the founding father of Azerbaijani professional music and national opera, Uzeyir Hajibeyov.
For full immersion in Azerbaijani culture, food and red and white Savalan Valley wine was served – an award-winning region at the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains where vines are irrigated by mountain streams and gently cooled by mountain breezes, balancing sun and freshness for optimal growing conditions.
Azerbaijan is included in the European Neighbourhood Policy aimed at bringing the EU and its Eastern neighbours closer. The EU is Azerbaijan’s main trading partner, biggest export and second-biggest import market with a 51% share of Azerbaijan’s exports and a 16% share of Azerbaijan’s imports and accounts for around 36.7% of Azerbaijan’s total trade. Trade relations have been supported since 1999 by a Partnership and Trade Agreement which is in the advanced stages of renegotiation.