The 10th of May marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of former Azerbaijani president Heydar Aliyev. The third president of the independent Republic of Azerbaijan, from October 1993 to October 2003, Aliyev is considered the founder of contemporary Azerbaijan.
To commemorate the occasion, the Embassy of Azerbaijan to the Kingdom of Belgium organised a concert on 12th May at Bozar, Brussels. The Baku Chamber Orchestra was accompanied by the dance group “Land of Fire” to enchant guests and immerse them in the Azerbaijani culture.
Along with classical music instruments, the artists also played tar, a traditional instrument in the shape of a long-necked, waisted lute, characterised by the double-bowl shaped body carved from mulberry wood. Performances from famous Azerbaijani pianist Yegana Akhundova, tarist Arslan Novrasli, violinist Nazrin Aslanli and vocalists Gulnar Qudratli and Orkhan Jalilov further elevated the evening and captivated the audience.
This year was declared the “Year of Heydar Aliyev” by the current President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, who was in Brussels for a meeting at the European Council last week. Heydar Aliyev became the president of Azerbaijan in 1993 and is thought of as the Leader of the Nation, celebrated and commemorated on 12 December, the day he died, across the country.
The legacy of the Great Leader of independent Azerbaijan to the present and future generations, and his rich and diverse heritage is the national wealth of our people. Preserving this sacred heritage is the honorable duty of every Azerbaijani.Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Through a series of political and foreign policy reforms, he reshaped and transformed the country to what some now call modern Azerbaijan. Among his achievements, Heydar Aliyev reformed the constitution, ensuring the separation of powers in the state, legislative, executive and judicial, thus setting the cornerstone of democracy. He recognised the country’s treasure of oil and gas and implemented a new oil strategy that attracted foreign investors, starting a fast-paced development. At his initiative, the Baku-Tbilisi-Jeyhan oil export pipeline was build, securing gas supply to the west and deepening the relations between Azerbaijan and Europe. During his presidency Aliyev also rebalanced Azerbaijan’s foreign policy, strengthening bilateral relations with other countries and international organizations.
On what would have been Aliyev’s 89th birthday, 10 May 2012, the Heydar Aliyev Center, was inaugurated in Baku. The centre, designed by Iraqi-British architect Dame Zaha Hadid, was built to reflect the former president’s ideological foundations of supporting and promoting the Azerbaijani language, history, culture, national and spiritual values.