September 27, 2018

100th anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan is celebrated in Vatican

The 100th anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan was celebrated in Vatican, with organizational support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Azerbaijan’s Embassy in France and the Holy See.


The guests first became familiarized with the exhibition comprising photo and video materials dedicated to the history of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, arranged by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. Reflecting views of the first republic’s founders, the Declaration of Independence and the oil industry – the artery of the country’s economy, the exhibition aroused great interest in the attendees of the event. They were presented publications about our country’s history in the Italian language.


Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to France and the Holy See Rahman Mustafayev, speaking at the dinner-party arranged in the Chancellery Palace of the Holy See, talked about the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, the achievements it had reached in a short time span, reforms carried out in all spheres, and the development activities.


The ambassador mentioned that on May 28, 1918, the first parliamentary republic – the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan – was built in the Muslim Orient. Azerbaijan then founded state institutions considered progressive for that period, formed a multiparty system and pluralist parliament, and citizens had equal rights regardless of their ethnic identity, gender, religion, and social status. The ambassador, talking about the achievements reached at the time of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, underscored that the actions taken towards the state building, institution of the country’s anthem, flag and emblem opened a new page in the Azerbaijani history. One of the most significant accomplishments of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan was granting women the right to vote. It was mentioned that representatives of those big states that were watching the achievements of the first republic endorsed its heads. In 1919, Britain’s High Commissioner on the Caucasus Oliver Waldrop said Azerbaijan was the best example for other ethnic groups of the Transcaucasia.


The ambassador noted that due to the policy founded by national leader Heydar Aliyev and successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev, today, Azerbaijan has its worthy place in the world. He talked about the economic development, stability and balanced foreign policy of independent Azerbaijan. He said, regardless of the aggression by Armenia against our country, Azerbaijan has turned into the leading state of the region, and Baku has become a city where agreements on big projects linking continents are concluded.


Telling that in January 2019, the 25th anniversary of establishing the relations between the Holy See and our country would be marked, R.Mustafayev underscored that during this period, our bilateral relations have reached the highest point, advancing dynamically, relying on mutual respect, active dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation.


The ambassador emphasized that pressing issues had been the subject of discussions in the sphere of bilateral and international relations within the framework of the mutual visits by the heads of states, in particular, visits by Pope John in 2002 and Pope Francis in 2016 to our country, as well as the visit by Vatican’s foreign minister, archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher this year. Then he talked about the close cooperation between the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Holy See, and the fruits of the joint activity. Restoration of Vatican’s rare historical and cultural symbols, Saint Marcellino and Pietro catacombs, as well as statue of Zeus in the Vatican Museum and wall cupboards in the Cappella Sistine in the framework of the cooperation was emphasized, and the inauguration of the Saint Sebastian catacombs, dating back to over 2000 years, by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation was brought to attention.


The diplomat also underscored that archival researches are being carried out with support from the Vatican’s Cultural Council and Apostle Library in the field of science, and new information - unknown to readers - about Azerbaijani thinkers of the Middle Ages -Nizami, Fuzuli and Nasimi - have been obtained, emphasizing that our country is ready to continue the multilateral cooperation and dialogue with the Holy See.


Chairperson of the Holy See’s Board for Cultural Affairs, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, touching upon the visit by Azerbaijan’s First Vice-president Mehriban Aliyeva to Vatican, talked about the high-level relations between the two countries in the field of politics, dialogue among cultures and religions, providing comprehensive information about significant projects implemented by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. Azerbaijan’s support for the restoration of Christian religious monuments of cultural heritage, regardless of majority of the country’s population being Muslims, has been underscored as an obvious example of a dialogue among cultures.


The dinner-party dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan continued with a national music programme performed by Azerbaijani masters of art, led by People’s Artist Anvar Sadykhov and Honoured Artist Emil Afrasiab.


A documentary picturing our country’s culture, nature, economic achievements, and international events hosted by the country was shown on big monitors in the dinner-party and exhibition halls within the framework of the event.  


Publications related to the catacombs restored in the Saint Sebastian Church with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation were presented to participants of the event.