Leyla Aliyeva: “On BAKU Magazine’s fifth birthday we look back over five years of searching and finding”

BAKU Magazine is five years old. It’s been five years of searching and finding. The greatest find of all that time has been you – our beloved and wonderful readers!

We were able to reveal the beauty of ancient, yet eternally modern Baku; to bring you its history and culture, its traditions and its cuisine; and we introduced you to fascinating personalities who have shaped the city’s history. We shared our dreams and ideas with you, took you on astonishing journeys – and every reader who leafed through our pages was able to share with Christopher Columbus the feeling of being a discoverer of a new world.

This was the text that the founder and editor-in-chief of BAKU Magazine wrote in her preface to the special 5th-Anniversary edition. Over the past five years BAKU Magazine has played a vital role in popularising Azerbaijan to the wider world.

Have you seen Baku, on the banks of the Caspian Sea... a city of winds, that astounds everyone with its beauty?  Have you been entranced by the mystery of the legendary Icherischekher, Baku’s Old City - where every inch recalls a magical fairytale world, an ancient stronghold now turned into the very personification of the ancient and modern? Have you been transfixed in admiration of the glorious Maiden Tower, the symbol of Baku?

Or have you had the enjoyment of happy meetings with the simple, proud and welcoming people of this southern city as it marches forward in progress? A city which grows only more wonderful from day to day, as it turns into a true paradise?  Have you looked to the friendly dwellers of Baky, famed for their tolerance and hospitality, whose happy-go-luck humour brightens our hearts? Or have you enjoyed the delights of Azerbaijan’s cuisine?  Or revelled in the exotic rhythms of the tara, kemanchi and gevala as they pulse the sounds of the songs of Mugham?

If you’ve missed these delights, and not seen or heard them – then head immediately for a copy of BAKU magazine. Even those who have known Baku for many years, and feel they know its every last corner, will nevertheless feel that they’ve met the city anew in this magazine. BAKU magazine allows you to discover the hard-working, talented and fascinating inhabitants of Azerbaijan’s capital afresh, as it becomes your invaluable guide on further rambles in this ancient, yet at once modern and wonderful city.

Over these years the magazine’s pages – laid-out and printed to the highest publishing standards – have featured many interesting projects, reviews and interviews, and photo-reportage about Baku and its inhabitants. From the day it was founded, the magazine has striven towards a worthy goal – promoting Azerbaijan to the rest of the world, relating news about its ancient capital city, its people, its dreams, its humanism, culture and art, and national and spiritual values. This task has been  undertaken in recent years in English too, in which form the magazine is distributed throughout many countries of the world – with its editor-in-chief Leyla Ailyeva in an indispensible role.

Leyla Aliyeva has written an editor’s foreword to every edition of the magazine, charming the readers with her sincerity and ability to awaken their interest, and find the way to their hearts. These and other wonderful qualities of Mrs Aliyeva – her professionalism, her decisiveness, and her excellent taste can be clearly seen in every issue of the magazine.  My colleagues know that a huge amount of professional work goes into every page of the magazine, that goes on over many days and sleepless nights. Putting out a successful magazine with today’s modern technology is a far from simple operation.

It is worth noting that when mentioning BAKU magazine, foreign experts and professional journalists place the highest possible value on the personal qualities and abilities of Leyla Aliyeva, her tireless devotion to the values of democracy, and insistence of showing the reality of things as they really are. It’s also noteworthy that Leyla Aliyeva has won considerable recognition as a philanthropist. The Russian section of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, under the personal direction of Mrs Aliyeva has undertaken a number of charity concerts for the aid of orphan children, the sick and disabled.

It’s no exaggeration to state that during the past five years, BAKU magazine has become a true mirror of the real life of Azerbaijan.

The magazine plays a vital role in supplying world readers with statistics about the development of Azerbaijan, and valuable documents which reflecting the nation’s history. The magazine devotes considerable space to recounting the confident movement towards the future of modern Azerbaijan, whose architect was the great leader Heydar Aliyev. Readers are transfixed by the year-on-year political advancement of our Republic, and its social and economic development. What is published in the magazine mirrors real life exactly. These prudent and consistent policies, pursued by President Ilkham Aliyeva, continue to bring tangible results in all spheres. President Ilkham Aliyev is anxious to bring about all-round development of all of Azerbaijan’s regions, and has paid especial attention to Baku’s social and cultural advancement. Baku has metamorphosed beyond recognition in recent years, and prosperity and improved living conditions have come to the capital’s residents.

Mankind is Nature’s greatest adventure! We would not be wrong to claim this as the keynote of every edition of our magazine. Our contemporaries are the regular guests of our columns – famous figures of culture and science in Azerbaijan, leading intellectual figures, and religious leaders. Each recounts a unique life story, in which the importance of tradition in the name of contemporary progress is underscored.

Nor are our Azerbaijan’s compatriots who live beyond its borders ignored in the magazine. A list of these illustrious names would be almost endless. If we remember that there are hundreds of them, we can say that BAKU magazine will continue to delight you with stories about them for a long time to come.

All of the information which BAKU has brought its readers over these years give us pause for thought. It’s impossible not to think of one obvious question as we read through these articles. On what basis can Azerbaijan’s treacherous neighbours call our country backward and crude, when it has such a distinguished history, and has given the world so many great military leaders, intellectuals, artistic figures, and outstanding individuals? Despite wanting to portray our country to the world in this way, all their attempts to do so fail. Among those who have torn these accusations to shreds have been the creative team at BAKU magazine.

In her noble deeds Leyla Aliyeva has refuted the libels made against our people, and has carried on her task of popularising Azerbaijan and its people to the wider world. As one of the main figures of a magazine article wrote: “Not everyone can be an Azerbaijani, let alone one from Baku, or to wear that distinguished title. That’s why we strive to defend that name, and our homelands!”. Leyla Aliyeva and BAKU magazine, which celebrates its 5th birthday, carry on this idea. We remain certain that Leyla Aliyeva’s great sensitivity, her love for the Motherland, and her devotion to her native soil will be a fine example of true citizenship for many.