Author: Sabira ALAKBAR
Back in 1982, the national leader of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, was 59 years old when he took part in the opening ceremonies of the tomb of Molla Panah Vagif and the House of Poetry in Shusha. At the same time, Heydar Aliyev gave instructions to hold the Days of Vagif poetry. On July 29-August 3, 1982, this colourful event with concerts and literary evenings was held for the first time in Shusha. It was held up until 1991 – initially in the poet's homeland, Gazakh, and then in the legendary Cıdırdüzü Plain in Shusha. Then there was the war, occupation and Armenian vandalism.
As if fulfilling the divine destiny and the will of his father, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, now 59 years old too, reopens the tomb of the Azerbaijani poet, statesman, vizier of the Garabagh Khanate Molla Panah Vagif restored after the liberation of Garabagh. He renewed the tradition of holding the Days of Poetry in Shusha. During the opening ceremony of the event, Ilham Aliyev drew attention to the symbolism of the tomb: “Dear friends, about 40 years ago, this is the place where my father stood, and I was standing next to him. The opening ceremony was held in in a frosty and snowy day of January, 1982. On July 29 of the same year, I came with my father to Shusha for the second time to take part in the Days of Vagif Poetry. And today we celebrate the opening of Vagif’s tomb for the second time. In 1982, my father was 59 years old. Today I am 59 years old. You may think that this is an accident, but I think it has a lot of symbolic meaning. History is recurrent. We left behind the black pages of Azerbaijani history, and we are breathing again.”
Photos. Here it is! The tomb of Vagif, with a beautiful architectural design, in all its splendour and grandeur. Realizing the importance of the moment is impressive. We have walked to this victory for a long time, and we deserved it thanks to the firmness of the Azerbaijani army, thanks to the President, thanks to the unbroken spirit of the Azerbaijani people. When you look at the tomb, you can see a striking contrast between what it was, what the invaders made it to be and what it is now. More gorgeous and beautiful. All the restoration works have been finished in the shortest possible time to make sure that the tomb of Molla Panah Vagif and the Days of Poetry survived the summer season outside the occupation.
Why was it so important to renew the glorious tradition of holding the Days of Poetry of Molla Panah Vagif? Because both then and now these events have a deep national meaning, which the President emphasised in his speech. “It was not an ordinary event, because at that time Shusha was part of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. As you know, for many years the Armenians claimed Shusha, tried to present Shusha as an Armenian city. Although this did not have any historical, cultural basis. It is also worth mentioning that Molla Panah Vagif was not only a poet, but also the vizier of the Garabagh Khanate, a statesman. In Soviet times, the ideological approach of the Soviet government to history was that the khanates were presented as a blind spot in history. Nonetheless, thanks to the will and determination of the great national leader, this tomb was installed. Today we once again can confirm that Shusha is an Azerbaijani city."
Shusha is a symbol of Azerbaijani ethnic culture. That is why all the events related to Shusha have a special symbolic meaning associated with history and predetermination. But there is also a human factor involved in this. “After the war, I came to Shusha for the first time on January 14, 2021. It was not an accidental choice of a date. On that day, 39 years ago, Heydar Aliyev opened the tomb of Vagif. My visit to Shusha on January 14 had a great symbolic meaning. One of my first instructions during that visit was to being the restoration of the Vagif Tomb, because the vandals destroyed it. They destroyed the bas-relief of Vagif inside the mausoleum, and the tombstone. As always, they committed vandalism, as we can eyewitness it in all the liberated lands."
Much has been restored in Shusha since the beginning of 2021, including the resumption of the Xarıbülbül Festival in May. As the President said, the construction of the Victory Road was the first priority. Currently, the construction of the main road with tunnels from the city of Fuzuli is going on. This will be a shorter route. We have restored the electrical facilities of Shusha, with high-voltage lines extended here from Fuzuli. There is also a new power substation. When the enemy was leaving Shusha, they blew up the water pipelines of the city. We have restored water supply to Shusha. We have also launched the restoration of historical monuments. The tomb of Vagif has already been restored. The bust of Vagif destroyed by the Armenians has been restored, and reopened. Repair and restoration works are underway in three mosques. Renovation of the Yukhary Govher-Agha Mosque is almost comlpete. I gave instructions on the renovation of mosques Saatly and Ashaghy Govher-Agha. Restoration of these mosques was also funded by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The Natavan Spring has been restored too. Armenians had drained all 17 springs in Shusha. If it was an Armenian city, why did they drain these springs? Then we opened the Xarıbülbül Hotel here, and in May-June it already received its first guests. The busts of our brilliant personalities – Natavan, Uzeyir Hajibeyli, Bulbul, destroyed by the Armenians were brought back and reinstalled in the central square of the city. A monument to Uzeyir Hajibeyli, which was also destroyed by the enemy, was also restored. I gave an instruction to restore the destroyed house of Uzeyir Hajibeyli. Together with Polad Bulbuloglu and his son, Bulbul's grandson, we celebrated the opening of the Bulbul House. Polad restored his father's house and now has a wonderful museum. After a major overhaul, Qarabağ Hotel again opened its doors to the guests. We saw the state of the hotel during the occupation and after it. Only two floors were operating, there was no water or light,” President Aliyev said at the opening ceremony of the Days of Vagif Poetry in Shusha.
During his visit to Shusha, President Aliyev also chose a location and laid the foundation for the construction of a five-star hotel and conference centre. This decision also had a special sense. “On this patch of land, our hideous enemy built a building for the so-called parliament of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. This was done to hurt us. There is no concept of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. They managed to complete the foundations of the building and stoneworks. On my instructions, this devil's nest was completely destroyed,” Mr. Aliyev explained. However, according to the president, the most important event on his visit to Shusha was the groundbreaking ceremony of a new residential building based on the master plan of the city. “The master plan of Shusha was approved. This is a very detailed, perfectly developed plan. At the first stage, it is planned to build 25 residential buildings here, 3-, 4- and 5-storey buildings, so that our citizens could begin to return to Shusha," said Mr. Aliyev.
Fortresses - 270
Shusha is the heart of the Azerbaijani people, and we will never forget those who conquered and returned it to us sacrificing their own lives. “We came here as a victorious nation. Not through negotiations, not through agreeing to concessions that Armenia could have made to us, but by shedding our blood on the battlefield, giving martyrs, showing self-sacrifice, we restored our territorial integrity and national dignity. The 44-day Patriotic War is our glorious history. This story will live forever. Because this Victory has no analogue in history,” Ilham Aliyev said.
Next year we will have a triumphal celebration of the 270th anniversary of the founding of the Shusha Fortress by the khan of Garabagh, Panah-Ali khan Javanshir. Apparently, Azerbaijan will thoroughly prepare for this date, taking into account the efficiency of the ongoing works.
“Today I am full of emotions. Speaking at a ceremonial event in 2010 in front of Mr. President, I said that I was 72 years old, but I promised that I would go to Shusha with you. And it happened. I am grateful to Allah, my destiny and you. I am grateful to you personally, because although I said those words, I did not believe that I would be able to see Shusha again. However, I am here today. I am grateful to you, grateful to our victorious army,” Anar Rzayev, People's Writer, Chairman of the Writers' Union of Azerbaijan, said in his address at the opening ceremony of the Vagif Tomb.
May Allah make all our dreams related to Garabagh come true!
Photos of monuments to the prominent residents of Shusha, outstanding representatives of the Azerbaijani literature and culture. Joint photographs with the President and First Lady of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva. I am emotional, I feel a lump in my throat. Come on, these are only photographs. It is difficult to imagine what happened in the hearts of the residents of Shusha who were lucky enough to be there these days, people who returned to their homeland. It is difficult to imagine the state of happiness and calmness of those who have directly contributed to our Victory and the restoration of Shusha. Soon, very soon each of us will be in Shusha to touch this happiness not only through photos and videos. And this is just the beginning. We will take a breath, realise this happiness, put it in our souls and move on.
May Allah rest the souls of our martyrs in peace!