Azerbaijan International

Summer 2004 (12.2)

The "Ali and Nino" Walking Tour in Baku
by Fuad Akhundov and Betty Blair

Other articles related to "Ali and Nino"
"Ali and Nino" Covers: Novel is Published in 33 Languages ­ Betty Blair (AI 12.3)
2 Review: Inside the Soul of a Caucasian ­ Elin Suleymanov (AI 12.2)
3 Editorial: The World of "Ali and Nino" ­ It's Our World too! ­ Betty Blair (AI 12.2)
4 Photo Essay: Then & Now: Baku 100 Years Ago at the Peak of Oil Baron Period (AI 12.2)
5 Article: How to Collect Kurban Said's Novel "Ali and Nino" ­ Betty Blair (AI 12.3)
6 Letter to Editor: Copyright - Leela Ehrenfels (AI 12.4)
7 Letter: "Ali & Nino" Rediscovered - Ismail Kafescioglu (AI 10.3)

Map and Tour

Baku, Azerbaijan


Ali & Nino by Kurban Said

Starting point: Vahid's Statue in Governor's Park on Niyazi Street below the President Aparat.

Final destination: Baku Opera and Ballet Theater at 95 Niyazi Street.

Duration: About 3 hours.

Prerequisite for greatest enjoyment: Reading the novel: "Ali and Nino: A Love Story" by Kurban Said [Gurban Sayid]. New York: [Overland Press] Anchor Books, 2000.

In Baku, purchase "Ali & Nino" at the office of Azerbaijan International Magazine at 7 Alizade Street (No. 24 on the Walking Tour). Tel: 498-9353. Additional copies of this issue of the magazine which includes the "Ali & Nino Walking Tour" may also be obtained there, as can the Azeri and Russian versions of the novel "Ali and Nino". Or you may purchase at AI Store.

There's no better way to sense the glory and opulence that characterized Baku during the Oil Baron period (1890s to 1920) than by taking a walking tour of the city. These were the years when Baku produced more than 50 percent of the world's supply of oil and the days when the city was exploding with an enormous building boom, as each wealthy magnate tried to outdo all others in the luxuriousness and ornateness of the architecture that they produced. Little did the owners realize that overnight, the spirit of entrepreneurism would vanish, and the owners who had lived such privileged lives would either have to flee or risk being killed. Their world turned upside down and all private property was confiscated by the central government.

This tour also enables you to catch a glimpse of the complex and passionate spirit of the Caucasus as borne out in the magnificent love story between an aristocratic Azerbaijani khan and a Georgian princess-a Muslim and a Christian-who fall in love at the most perilous political times on the eve of the Bolshevik revolution.

The tour includes points of interest within the "Inner City" (Ichari Shahar), sometimes referred to as the "Old City", as well as along Baku's most prominent avenues with its most opulent Oil Baron mansions, many of which figure into the novel's setting.

Fuad Akhundov and Betty Blair.

Arzu Aghayeva, Ulviyya Mammadova, Aytan Aliyeva and Farid Alakbarov also contributed to this article.

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