Azerbaijan, Baku, Energy, EurasiaNet, Publications

EurasiaNet: Azerbaijan – Baku is Bulldozing its Past

My images of demolitions and reconstruction in Baku illustrated a story by Ulviyya Asadzade and Khadija Ismayilova entitled, “Azerbaijan: Baku is Bulldozing its Past,” for EurasiaNet (April 27, 2012). I quite like the lede because it lends a universalism to this issue of the march of progress or so-called urban renewal confronting historic buildings and architecture in urban centers worldwide, notably so in modern cities and rapidly developing ones:

Does urban renewal signify progress? That question has dogged city planners worldwide for decades. And nowhere is the matter more pertinent these days than in Baku, the Caspian seaside capital of Azerbaijan.

Thanks to a massive cash infusion generated by energy exports, Baku has experienced a building boom over the past decade. Amid the makeover, scores of buildings with distinctive architectural attributes, some of them registered with UNESCO as having historical value, have fallen victim to the wrecking ball.

My images for EurasiaNet as published in their online photo gallery:

A woman looks onto her street being dug up near a construction site, where a garage, park, and tunnel are planned.

Khaliq Bagirov stands in the shell of his former living room in his partially demolished apartment on Agil Guliyev Street.

The construction site in front of the Government House in Freedom Square reveals where a parking garage is planned.

Workers dig on a construction site near Statistika in Baku.

Young customers arrive at the opening of Emporium’s second store at the still under construction Port Baku luxury residences.

A newly built road leads to Crystal Hall, the planned site of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Residents watch firemen attempt to douse a fire after a gas explosion in a new development sent 10-meter flames skyward.

The development of highrises has given way to “finger buildings,” which stand out amidst neighboring low-rise structures.

A man drives by in a convertible as a woman walks down the street beside a demolition site.

A supervisor walks near a construction site where the government forced the eviction of many people to make way for the project.

Gulnar Rzayeva and her son, Suleyman Rza, live in one of the last freestanding and undemolished homes on their block.

Near a construction site, young Azeris pose for a photo after holding a rally against the mass demolition work by the city.

Several families were evicted in order to begin the construction project in the Besh Mertebe neighborhood of Baku.

Several families were evicted in order to begin the construction project in the Besh Mertebe neighborhood of Baku.