Ilham Aliyev attended ceremony to lay foundation stone for restoration of Aghdam city, met with members of general public
The master plan of the city of Aghdam has been submitted to President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
The head of state first met with members of Aghdam general public.
President Ilham Aliyev made a speech at the meeting.
The head of state then attended a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the restoration of the city of Aghdam and planted a tree.
Speech of President Ilham Aliyev
– Dear friends,
It is the Republic Day today. First of all, I would like to cordially congratulate you and the entire Azerbaijani people on the Republic Day. I wish the people of Azerbaijan happiness and prosperity.
Before we start the meeting, I would request that we honor the blessed memory of our brave martyrs who gave their lives for the Motherland in the second and first Karabakh wars with a minute of silence.
May Allah grant peace to the souls of all our martyrs.
Residents: Amen. May Allah rest their souls in peace.
President Ilham Aliyev: We are celebrating the Republic Day in Aghdam, the city of Aghdam. This is very symbolic. The master plan of the city of Aghdam will be approved today. It has been submitted to me. We have been working on this plan for some time, and I would like prominent people from Aghdam district to get acquainted with it and express their opinion, so that we can hold this wonderful ceremony with your participation today.
We could have chosen a different time for this ceremony, for this meeting. But I thought that the most correct date would be our national holiday – the Republic Day, the Independence Day. the fact that we are here today shows again how strong our independence is. If we had not built a strong independent state, we would not have been able to liberate our historical lands from the occupiers. Only a strong Azerbaijan, an independent Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan pursuing an independent policy in the true sense of the word fulfilled this historic mission with dignity. The restoration of the city of Aghdam begins today, on the Republic Day. I am sure that all our plans will be implemented on the basis of the Master Plan and the city of Aghdam will be rebuilt.
During the occupation, I visited Aghdam district nine times. As you know, the city was under occupation, so we chose the village of Guzanli as the district center. I have been to Guzanli and other villages many times. Numerous events have been held in relation to this area. As a result of the implementation of state programs on the socioeconomic development of the regions, plans for the development of Aghdam district were approved. Numerous social projects, projects on the construction of schools, a mugham center, a children’s hospital, a central district hospital, an Olympic center and infrastructure projects have been implemented here. I can say that performance indicators here are higher than elsewhere in the country. Gas supply is almost at the level of 100 percent, there is electricity and water supply, more than 150 artesian wells have been drilled because the loathsome enemy deprived this region even of water. In other words, during the occupation we took serious steps related to the development of the part of Aghdam district that was under our control. During repeated meetings with the IDPs from Aghdam, I have said that after our lands are liberated, even better conditions would be created in the city of Aghdam and the entire district. The master plan of the city of Aghdam, which will be disclosed to you today, is evidence of my words. We will create a city, we will create Aghdam which will become an example for the whole world.
During the occupation, I repeatedly saw through binoculars the ruins of the city of Aghdam, a part of this city, while visiting the line of contact. While visiting the line of contact and looking at these ruins from afar, I told myself every time that we would definitely return there. We will return at any cost, restore historical justice, expel the enemy from our lands, and we have achieved this.
We tried to resolve this issue peacefully. But the people of Azerbaijan are well aware that peace negotiations were aimed simply at maintaining the status quo forever. Unfortunately, the mediators dealing with this issue did not put pressure on the aggressor and occupier over the course of 30 years of negotiations, did not force them, did not apply any sanctions against them, did not openly say that the occupying forces should vacate Azerbaijani lands. Naturally, the aggressor grew even more impudent and wanted to keep these lands under occupation forever, which is no secret.
Whereas initially I had certain hopes as President, at the final stage these hopes melted away. Because the Armenian leadership openly declared that the return these lands to us was impossible. Under such circumstances, the negotiations were actually stopped. I was openly stating that. Throughout the negotiations – from 2003 to the latest events – I have always told the Azerbaijani people the truth. I have always said that we will never allow the creation of a second Armenian state on our lands. I was saying that the solution to the issue should not be incomplete, which was why our position was often perceived ambiguously by the mediators. Certain pro-Armenian forces tried to accuse us – as if it was us who was the aggressor and occupier. Therefore, looking at Aghdam district through binoculars, I foresaw this day and knew that if the issue was not resolved through negotiations, then war was inevitable. The events that took place as a result of the military provocations of the Armenian state against us made the war inevitable.
The 44-day war has demonstrated our strength, shown the courage and heroism of our Armed Forces and the unity of our people. Uniting into a single fist, we inflicted crushing blows on the enemy and drove it out of our lands. Each of these 44 days is a heroic epic, each of these days is dear to us because we went forward every day, every single day. We did not retreat a single day. Towards the end of the war, the enemy began to panic, fell into hysteria and began to acknowledge its defeat. They were further convinced that they would not be able to cope with Azerbaijan.
During the war, we also acted with dignity by observing all the rules of warfare. That is why the losses among the civilian population on the Armenian side are very insignificant. We fought and waged the war only against the occupying army. We have never fought with civilians. Unlike Armenians, we did not commit acts of genocide or other war crimes. However, the crimes committed by the Armenians are already known to the whole world: the Khojaly genocide, the murder of the inhabitants of our other villages, the destruction of our cities. Notice that there is no such city as Aghdam. There is not. There is not a single building left. Only the ruins of the Juma mosque remain. And even that, as I said, was done it for two purposes. The first goal was it was used as a sign associated with this land. In other words, this point, this site was intended to adjust artillery fire. The second goal was an observation point. They conducted observations from the minarets of the mosque. After the war, I have been visiting Aghdam for the second time. The first time I came here from the Aghjabadi direction, but this time I came from the Barda direction. There are several lines of defense and fortifications in both directions. Apart from the ruins of the Juma mosque, there is not a single sound building. This was not done by some aliens. This was done by the Armenians – our neighbors who ate our bread, settled on our land, but always harbored a feeling of hatred towards us. These destructions took place after the first Karabakh war. This destruction was not committed during the second war. All of our material wealth has been deliberately destroyed and plundered. Our historical and religious sites have been ravaged. This also pursued several goals. First, there was hatred for us. Secondly, the goal was to erase the cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani people from these lands and, of course, create a situation in the future for the people of Azerbaijan not to be able to return to these lands.
But they were wrong. They could not understand that the liberation of our lands from occupation was a national issue for us, for our people. They could not understand that we would never come to terms with such a situation and were openly declaring that. The second Karabakh war once again demonstrated to the whole world the determination, the resolve of the Azerbaijani people, and this glorious Victory will forever remain in history. From now on, the Azerbaijani state will develop as a winner state. The people of Azerbaijan will be proud as a victorious nation. Armenia, in turn, is a defeated state, and the atrocities they committed in our occupied lands put an end to the myths created by Armenian lobbying organizations about their people. Because the one who committed this destruction is a barbarian. There is no other name for it. This picture is observed not only here, but also in all the liberated lands. Having driven hundreds of kilometers, I saw that everything on the left and right was destroyed and plundered. It looked as if a wild tribe had swept through these lands. I have said this before and I want to say it again here, in the city of Aghdam, on the Republic Day: we waged war was not only against the fascist Armenian state but also against fascism. Our victory proves that all fascists will face the same end as the Armenians.
As for the war, we can talk a lot about it, of course. But we need to talk more about the future now. War is history, our glorious history. This history will remain forever. It should be deeply studied, and it is already being studied. The 44-day war and the innovations demonstrated by Azerbaijan are being studied on a global scale, in higher military schools of leading countries of the world. Of course, our technical capabilities seriously influenced the outcome of the war, but it was Azerbaijani soldiers and officers who hoisted the banner, raised it, walked forward in the face of death. We owe this Victory to our heroic servicemen, to our martyrs. There may be any equipment and material possibilities, but where there is no love of the Motherland and where there is no national spirit, if you are not ready to go to death for the Motherland, you will never secure a victory. The “brave” Armenian soldiers seeing our soldiers at the second stage of the war put down their weapons and fled. They are fleeing even today.
Unfortunately, the Armenian side has yet to give up provocative actions. I already spoke about this a few days ago when I was in Nakhchivan on May 10. If we see that there is a slightest threat to the security of our people and state, we will immediately destroy the enemy on the spot. They also know our strength and see it. Therefore, the provocation committed by the Armenian army on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border in recent days should not have remained unanswered and did not. They were disgraced yet again. Look, the whole world is laughing at them now. The prime minister puts forward one theory of events and the deputy chief of the general staff quite another – and it happens on the same day. These theories are also false. In other words, in 30 years the Armenians failed to build a state. This means that this people cannot build a state. This means that this people can only live within other large states. Using the capabilities of these large states, they can build life for themselves there. In 30 years, they had a unique chance – if it had not been for this occupation and hostility, if the Armenians had not committed these atrocities against our people, then Armenia, too, could possibly live as an independent state today. Look at the disgraceful state they are in now. They openly admit that they cannot defend their state and their borders. They are playing the blame game – the current government blames the previous one and the previous government blames the current one. In fact, they are all guilty because they made a big mistake. They did not think that they would find themselves in such a helpless state, and they themselves are the culprits of all their troubles.
We will strengthen our borders after this and gain a foothold on the state border. No-one can put pressure on us. No-one can influence us. Certain pro-Armenian countries and circles are making some statements these days. Let them make them, it is their own business. The European Parliament has once again adopted a resolution on the basis of falsified facts. I don’t even pay attention to that. And I recommend that not either. I do not advise the Azerbaijani people to pay any attention to it either. None of this makes any difference. What matters is that we are here today, we sit here, we stand here and we will live here forever. The 44-day war and the post-war period – six months have already passed – show again who is who and who is capable of what. We have also clarified many issues for ourselves, in particular, on the international plane. This will help us make the right decisions in the future.
I believe that it is a historic day today because the first master plan is being approved on the liberated lands today. At present, the master plan of the city of Shusha is being prepared, and it will be approved after some time. Work is underway on master plans of Fuzuli, Jabrayil and other cities. But the first master plan will be approved right here. Several events have already taken place. The foundation has been laid for school No. 1, which is very important for the city of Aghdam. You are well aware that this school has a very long history – 140 years long. To create jobs here in the future, the foundation of the Aghdam Industrial Park has been laid. The park covers an area of about 200 hectares, and hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people will be provided with jobs here in the future. The foundation of the Barda-Aghdam highway has been laid and it will be commissioned in the near future. At the same time, on my instructions, there are plans to build the Barda-Aghdam railway station. Work has already begun on the restoration of the Imaret complex. I have been shown the concept of the Museum of Occupation and the Museum of Victory in Aghdam. The location has been chosen – the Victory Museum and the Museum of the Occupation will be magnificent. There are other facilities and events, the foundation of a large forest has been laid. Inside the city, there will be a large green belt covering an area of 125 hectares. An artificial lake, canals and bridges will be created. The development plan of the city has already been fully developed, and it meets modern standards and requirements. The entire Karabakh zone will become a “green energy” zone. All cities will be built on the basis of a “smart city” concept. After this meeting today, we will be shown this presentation.
I am sure that everything planned will be implemented and we will often meet with you in the city of Aghdam, in Aghdam district. I want to return to my words again. Over these 17 years – from 2003 to 2020 – I held many meetings with the then internally displaced persons and each time I told them that we would return to these lands, that they would return to these lands. But I saw in recent years that hope in their eyes was fading. I saw it, and it was natural because about 30 years have passed. However, I was always confident that this would happen. I simply couldn’t say that. I couldn’t say when and how it would happen. But I knew what was going to happen.
I want to touch upon another issue. I know that our people were looking forward to my tweets and speeches during the war. In all my speeches and tweets, I always spoke and wrote the truth. Once I thought that the people of Aghdam are probably thinking why Jabrayil was liberated, Khojavand was liberated, Hadrut, Sugovushan, Murovdag, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli were liberated. Look how far we went. But why aren’t the villages of Aghdam not being liberated? I thought that you, the people of Aghdam, were probably wondering why. But I restrained myself. I could not say why. Now everyone knows the answer now because if we had gone on the offensive in this direction, we would have had many martyrs. They had built such fortifications and mined the area so badly that if we had gone on the offensive from here, it would have been a huge mistake, of course. But we kept a fairly large military contingent in this direction to make sure that a significant part of the Armenian army remained here. Thus, we significantly limited their ability to maneuver. We would have liberated Aghdam anyway. After the capture of the impregnable fortress of Shusha, Aghdam was the next direction on my order. I can say that now. Coming from behind, we were supposed to surround the Armenian group and completely destroy it.
It is quite likely that the Armenian side also realized this and was forced to wave the white flag and surrender. The enemy, who had been challenging us for 30 years, playing on our nerves, insulting our people and inventing some fake heroes, fell to its knees before us, waved the white flag, surrendered and signed an act of capitulation. We liberated Aghdam without a single shot and without a single martyr. We are here today and from now on, we will be here forever.
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People’s Artist Mansum Ibrahimov: Dear Mr. President, we are greeting you. Today, together with you, we are witnessing the historic foundation-laying ceremony in Aghdam, the beating heart of Karabakh. We are very proud of the fact that as a people who, after 28 years, won the Victory thanks to our valiant army under the leadership of the victorious Commander-in-Chief, we are celebrating the Republic Day in Aghdam.
The magnificent “Kharibulbul” festival organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in Shusha after the historic Victory of our valiant army became a celebration of our culture and a message to the whole world. Of course, we are grateful for this to you, the victorious Commander-in-Chief and our valiant army. We bow our heads to the memory of our martyrs and wish our ghazis a speedy recovery.
Mr. President, in your speech at the opening of the Mugham Center in Guzanli in 2018, you noted that we would soon build an even more majestic center in Aghdam. Today we are already witnessing this historic event. We are truly proud of this. On behalf of all the people of Aghdam, all artists, I express my gratitude to you for the fact that our statehood is eternal. From now on, we will hold mugham festivals, major events and festivals here. Thanks to you. Thank you for your attention.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you.
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Member of Milli Majlis Bakhtiyar Sadigov: Dear Mr. President, it is one of the happiest days in our life today. The foundation is being laid for a new Karabakh, for a new Aghdam. We are also participating in this. It was you, the Victorious Supreme Commander-in-Chief, who gave us this happiness. You gave this happiness not only to us, not only to the former displaced persons, but also to the entire Azerbaijani people. You have restored our faith, revived our fading hopes and breathed new life into us. Thank you very much. We are grateful to you. You once again showed the world that the Azerbaijani people are a proud nation who have returned the lost lands in battles.
Dear Mr. President, in the 44-day patriotic war you worked a miracle. There is no other word for this – a miracle we all have witnessed. You have built a new army, brought up a new generation of patriotic youth. You created national unity. You have armed our army with the most modern weapons. As you waged the war in the 21st century, you applied the latest tactics and strategy. Even such a power center as the United States of America is studying your tactics, the tactics of the second Karabakh war, and making changes to its own army.
With an iron fist, you crushed the enemy and broke its back. You defeated Armenia not only on the battlefield, but also inflicted a shameful defeat on it in the field of diplomacy, in the information war. You are the only protagonist of the information war.
Dear Mr. President, thanks to you, we are experiencing happy and joyful days. You are a happy person yourself. You are a powerful commander who returned Azerbaijani lands that had been lost over five centuries. You are the victorious Supreme Commander-in-Chief who successfully resolved the two-century Karabakh conflict. You are a happy son who has fulfilled the sacred covenant of his father. You are a true savior, thanks to whom the innermost dream of the Azerbaijani people came true. Thank you very much.
Dear Mr. President, you promised to return us to Karabakh, to Aghdam. Thank you very much. We are in Aghdam today. You said that we would turn Karabakh into a paradise. There are so many projects, and one is better than the other. You are the main author of these projects. We are confident that we will live calmly and joyfully in Karabakh very soon. We will always be proud of you. We are proud of you, Mr. President. Happy Holidays! Karabakh is Azerbaijan! Karabakh is ours!
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Chairman of the Council of Elders of Aghdam district Avaz Mikayilov: Dear Mr. President, at the beginning of my remarks, let me greet you on behalf of numerous elders of Aghdam district and convey their best wishes to you.
Of course, we were impatiently looking forward to this day. War – this word sounds so scary and awful. This word is filled with the groan of thousands of mothers and sisters, behind this word are devastated cities, villages and the death of our sons. All these sufferings were inflicted on us by the Armenians in the 30-year war. It is a great day today. We have left behind the sorrowful days, and such a foundation-laying ceremony is being held in Aghdam today. During the 44-day war, your answers to the questions of many foreign correspondents in Baku seemed to put them in a quagmire. They regretted asking you such questions. They did not expect that. Of course, we expected this from you. Or let’s take the four-hour-long press conference held in Baku after the war, where you communicated your point of view to the world in four languages – Azerbaijani, Turkish, Russian and English. We are proud of you. Your second visit to Aghdam, your arrival here to approve the master plan is a great honor for us, residents of Aghdam. We express our gratitude to you for this and are proud of you. Thank you very much.
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Member of Milli Majlis Agil Abbas: Dear Mr. President, first of all, we are the happiest people in the world, because we are here with you. Our people headed by you are happy. Standing under the flag in Horadiz facing Nakhchivan, I said: dear Mr. President, this flag was first raised as a state flag by your father, the great leader. We, including the residents of Karabakh, are confident that you will carry this flag directly to Nakhchivan and raise it there. You raised this flag, hoisted it in Shusha, our anthem and the overture were played. You will raise this flag over the Zangezur corridor.
Dear Mr. President, the great leader loved Mammad Araz’s poem very much: “The world is yours, the world is mine, the world is nobody’s.” Today that poem has changed. Now it goes: “The world is yours, the world is mine, the world is ours.” You gave this world to us, to the people. This is how people read the lines of this poem now.
Dear Mr. President, my friends here talked about our 44-day victory. I don’t want to repeat them. At that time, I was here on the front line. We were doing observations. I want to mention another idea – I probably talk a lot. I want to remember Mammad Araz again. He writes: “If the Motherland will call me a son, I would be glad to be a blade of grass on its rocks.” You have become the son not only of this Motherland, you have become the son of the entire Turkic people, the greatest son. Glory to you.
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President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much, thank you. As you know, Jabrayil district was the first district to be liberated from occupation during the war. Informing the people about this, I thought that this was probably one of the happiest days in my life. Because to completely liberate the first district and clear it of the occupiers is a truly historic event. This breathed a new life into our people and army, instilled faith in them. This was followed by Fuzuli, then Hadrut, Murovdag, Sugovushan, Zangilan, Gubadli. Each time, I told myself that I was experiencing the happiest days of my life. On 10 November, we witnessed Armenia’s capitulation. Moreover, not only the Azerbaijani public, but also the whole world knows how it was signed. I still don’t know in which corner Pashinyan signed it. This was the culminating point of the war, of the victory, it was a real act of surrender. This is how everyone perceives it today.
After that, when I was in Shusha for the first time on 14 January, I told myself that I was experiencing the happiest days of my life. I am saying the same words today. I am sure that there will be many more happy days in the life of our people after this. I wish our people happiness. I hope we will soon restore Aghdam, return citizens and live on our beautiful land, on the Karabakh land forever. Congratulations again.
From the place: Led by you.
President Ilham Aliyev: Let’s go now. We will be informed about the master plan.
X X X
President Ilham Aliyev: They have never seen Aghdam, but they have shown excellent results. I am told that they scored 644, 644 and 650 points. Right? At last year’s admission exams, they demonstrated their knowledge, gaining these scores, so today, on this historic day, I specifically invited them to their native land, so that along with the elders and renowned people, representatives of the younger generation would also be present here. Because we must celebrate this historic day in this way, together with representatives of all generations. The future of our country is in the hands of such competent and educated youth who are attached to their native land.
Members of the public: Led by you, Inshallah. Glory to you.
Ruslan Sadigov, Executive Director of the “White City” project: These are photographs from the meetings of our national leader with the public in Aghdam.
President Ilham Aliyev: Where is this spring located?
Members of the public: The spring is in Khindiristan and Ildirim Jafarov was the chairman of a collective farm. This is in Garvand, Khuraman Abbasova. I am from Garvand.
President Ilham Aliyev: From Garvand village?
Public representative: Yes, I attended that event there. The spring is called Heydar Spring. May Allah rest his soul.
President Ilham Aliyev: And this is from a meeting with the elders.
Ruslan Sadigov: Mr. President, you asked for the plan of the city of Aghdam to be reviewed together with the district public because communications, roads, railways and drainage lines, which is important infrastructure, should complement each other. Therefore, this part of the district liberated from occupation, covering an area of 70,900 hectares, was examined. At the same time, its geographical features were also taken into account. Climate conditions are considered as well – what can be planted, what agricultural crops can be grown depending on climatic conditions. On the basis of that, together with the public and the administration, 33 villages have been designed in order to equip all 71 villages with great comfort.
President Ilham Aliyev: This will be the first stage. At the first stage, 33 villages have been identified, while some villages will be merged. At the next stage, the remaining villages will be gradually restored. But we have built our main plan around 33 villages.
Ruslan Sadigov: The initial reforms here are associated with farmland. In accordance with the reforms, approximately 25 hundredths of a hectare are envisaged. With your permission, 18 hundredths of a hectare are provided to each household as a private land parcel. Compared to other districts, this is a high figure. This was recommended by you.
President Ilham Aliyev: That is, a private land parcel?
Members of the public: A very high number. Perfect. It is a very large plot.
Ruslan Sadigov: After this, in accordance with your instructions, in order to attract investors and ensure the development of modern agricultural sectors in Aghdam, there are plans to create 200 modern farms on 10 and 50 hectares. The rest of the public land is to be used create 50 modern farms on 50-100 hectares. At the same time, on your instructions, the first large enterprises have been carrying out sowing work here from the very first day so that the sown areas do not remain empty. Several large modern farms will also be set up on 1,500, 3,000 and 4,000 hectares.
President Ilham Aliyev: Aghdam entrepreneurs are also hearing this now. Let them make proposals so that not an inch of the land remains empty here.
Ruslan Sadigov: Thank you, Mr. President. If you look at this slide, you can see that several villages are to be joined here. They will be joined in such a manner that land reclamation structure is aligned with roads of villages and the flow of water after water supply to the reclamation canals is restored, so that they do not interfere with each other. You can see these villages – we are showing the area in the middle part of Aghdam district – from the Khachinchay to the Gargarchay rivers. These villages will be joined in this form and the rest of the state lands in another. In places between all country roads, forest belts will be established so that to restore green spaces in the city of Aghdam. Mr. President, the villages are divided so that large plots cover 150 hectares, which we can divide into smaller plots of 25 hectares each. In accordance with the size of land parcels for each family, we will divide them into plots of 4 hectares, 5 hectares, 18 hundredths of a hectare – for each family, as it was said. They will be planned in such a way that, whether a village is built or not, the location of water communications is already known.
President Ilham Aliyev: Will everyone have water?
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes. It is possible that land reclamation lines will be built in two to three years, but their plans will be coordinated and they will not interfere with anything. According to the new system, as shown on this picture, there will be reclamation waters in front of each courtyard. This will allow the residents of Aghdam district the opportunity to build a farm, but also carry out their work using traditional old-fashioned methods.
President Ilham Aliyev: What do thing about this proposal?
Representatives of the public: Excellent, it would be great, Mr. President. Good luck. Everything is thought out very carefully. It will be built for the future. The future is the main thing. It is an exemplary project.
President Ilham Aliyev: I am telling you that this city and the entire district will become an example for the world.
Ruslan Sadigov: Mr. President, as far as the city is concerned, it has been taken mainly within its historical borders. In addition to this, several villages have been joined to it.
President Ilham Aliyev: Which villages are joined to the city?
Representatives of the public: Eight villages – Etyemazli, Garagashli, Khidirli, Sarihajili, Chukhurmahla, Garazeynalli. Mr. President, these villages have urban traditions.
President Ilham Aliyev: Are they joined together?
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes. The population of the city of Aghdam was 36,000 people. Taking into account the residents of the joined villages and population growth, it exceeds 50,000. According to your instructions, the city has been designed for 100,000 people. We are sure that Aghdam will become one of the largest industrial and tourist cities of Azerbaijan and, according to your instructions, all aspects have been taken into account. As for the city itself, it is surrounded by gardens, dense modern gardens. When approaching the city, tourists and local people will see the most modern gardens in its vicinity. These gardens can accommodate small businesses, tourist facilities, hotels for 8-12-20 people, so that visitors of the city can stay in these hotels without leaving here. There will be an interesting landscape. Blooming plants have been selected, such as lavender, almond and others. With the onset of spring, Aghdam will be surrounded by flowers that change every month.
Representative of the public: Mr. President, anything you plant will grow in Aghdam. All subtropical plants grow in Aghdam. The land is very fertile.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, the land is very fertile.
Representative of the public: Mr. President, I am from Garvand. There were water canals. Certain measures will probably be taken to open them in the future.
President Ilham Aliyev: An instruction has been given, a commission has been set up and this work is now progressing under the leadership of the Deputy Prime Minister. Thanks to the liberation of Sugovushan, things will go easier. The fact is that there were two canals from there, if I am not mistaken. One canal was closed because during the occupation it was used for military purposes. It needs to be opened, and we can direct any volume of water from Sugovushan. We plan to restore water supply to about 100,000 hectares of land that used to be irrigated before. As you know, the Armenians cut off the water in the summer and then opened it.
Members of the public: Yes, they blocked both Khachin and there.
President Ilham Aliyev: Khachin is with us now, the full reservoir. I have sent a group there. They are examining its surroundings. The Khachinchay reservoir itself has a large capacity – about 23 million cubic meters. It is a large reservoir. So it is under my control. Work is underway on one of these canals. The other one will be opened as well. Water from there will flow not only to Aghdam, but also to Barda, Yevlakh, Tartar, Goranboy and several other districts. This is why we drilled artesian wells here. We have drilled the most artesian wells here – 150. It is necessary to drill an additional 10 wells.
Ruslan Sadigov: Mr. President, taking into account the peculiarities of Aghdam, we know that Shahbulag is one of the most beautiful and popular places in the vicinity of the city. It is a historical place and a landmark. Therefore, the outskirts of the city will be arranged so that the gardens will be laid out around it to the north, in the direction of the Shahbulag fortress all the way to the Khachinchay river, and from there to the village of Eyvazkhanbayli, where, according to your instructions, a stud farm will be located. So visitors to Aghdam will be able to admire Shahbulag. There will be a historical part and museums in the fortress. People are already coming to see that. A museum route has already been created. Signs have been installed everywhere, a lot of mine clearance work has been done, and visitors are already coming here as tourists.
President Ilham Aliyev: As you know, we have created a horse-breeding farm in Aghjabadi. We will build another one here, on a historical site.
Ruslan Sadigov: This is why the roads leading here are in the spotlight. Gardens will be laid out around them to give the roads a special beauty.
This is an analysis of a network of cities in the world. It shows how the most beautiful cities in the world are planned, what their networks look like, what the width of their streets is, views, parks, vehicles. We can see cities with a population of 813,000 people, 6 million, 2 million, as well as 90,000, 350,000. This is the previous plan of the city of Aghdam. We have built this network on the basis of this plan in order to preserve a specific beauty.
President Ilham Aliyev: Types of green energy, “smart city” – are there presentations about that? About buses and streetcars?
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, everything is there. It is with great pleasure that we want to inform the public that, on your instructions, UNECE, a UN agency, has published a brochure “On the provisions of a smart and sustainable city”, which includes 18 provisions. It reflects everything – from the IT network to tourism and green areas, transport. So everything will be taken into account.
President Ilham Aliyev: Are there comparisons too?
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, these are comparisons – the density of cities. These are the cities of the world. This shows their density. And here are our villages and the city of Aghdam. Only Ganja and Sumgayit will surpass Aghdam in terms of density.
President Ilham Aliyev: Will it cover a larger area than Sumgayit?
Ruslan Sadigov: It will be bigger than Sumgayit. Mr. President, even though 1,700 hectares have been taken as a basis, when analyzing the density, we saw that, for example, a city like Berlin has a density of 1. It is a fairly green city. If we take less, then the area for transport slightly increases. Therefore, on your advice, we decided to allocate some territories within these 1,700 hectares for gardens, so that there is a slightly higher density.
President Ilham Aliyev: The city of Aghdam used to cover an area of 700-800 hectares. Now we are doubling it.
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, an industrial zone is also envisaged. There will be a unity of everything in future transport zones. There will be multi-storey buildings here. Thirty percent of the territory of Aghdam will accommodate 70 percent of the population. Another thirty percent of the population will live in individual houses. There will be 1,750 individual houses, 23,000 apartments and a population of 100,000 people in Aghdam. The center will be the most populous place. This is the master plan itself.
President Ilham Aliyev: Is this the road to Barda?
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, it is the road to Barda. You planted the first hackberry tree. These trees are beautiful and majestic. In our demolition work, we take care of every tree. We quickly opened a forest park so that, if possible, we would have a place to plant them. We will move all suitable trees from here to the park.
Representatives of the public: Hackberry is a sacred tree that protects from the evil eye.
President Ilham Aliyev: Is this the park I mentioned – 125 hectares, an extended city park?
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes. The canal we mentioned also passes through here. We placed the canal so that there were houses along it.
President Ilham Aliyev: Will the canal pass through the city like the river?
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, according to land reclamation projects, there will always be water – sometimes a strong, sometimes a weak stream. On this 2-kilometer stretch, people will be able to take boat rides.
President Ilham Aliyev: Walking along the boulevard and boating?
Ruslan Sadygov: Yes, we will tell you about this as well now. They will be able to cover a two-kilometer distance from there by boats. As you know, the people of Aghdam have excellent cuisine, everyone wants to try it, so there will be recreation areas of this type. This will be the historical center. And this is the open-air museum of occupation. There is a mosque here. A neighborhood in the ancient Aghdam style will be set up in front of the mosque. This is the site lace of school No. 1, the central park with an area of 4 hectares was located next to the mosque, because since there will be a museum of occupation there, the park will be moved here. And here is the well-known access to the Barda-Aghdam road. We intend to restore the sculptural composition “Farhad cuts through Mount Bisutun”, which is memorable for the people of Aghdam. The park we are seeing will be the most beautiful part of the city. Earthwork is already under way.
President Ilham Aliyev: One of them will also be here.
Representatives of the public: There are many parks.
Ruslan Sadigov: There are many parks, Mr. President. Typically, green belts in cities occupy 15 percent of the territory, while here forest belts will account for 23 percent. This is one of our main principles of a “sustainable city”, a “smart city”. We will provide additional information on the mechanism being created here. Preference will be given to pedestrians. Social infrastructure and schools are planned so that people can reach them on foot from everywhere.
President Ilham Aliyev: Can people reach anywhere on foot?
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, anywhere. All roads – we are going to show you the road maps now – have cycle paths for people to use bicycles, because we know that a sedentary lifestyle has already become an urgent issue in large cities.
President Ilham Aliyev: It is necessary to preserve the ecological balance as much as possible.
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, we will inform you additionally about the percentage. Transport infrastructure – pedestrians first, individual bicycles second, public transport third. On your instructions, new streetcar lines operating on electricity are also envisaged. The streetcars will run on wheels without rails.
President Ilham Aliyev: There are no streetcars anywhere else in our country, especially those powered by electricity.
Representatives of the public: And trolleybuses. Dear Mr. President, may Allah bless you, you are implementing such wonderful projects that our Aghdam, together with Shusha, will become a garden of paradise.
President Ilham Aliyev: I said that they would become a paradise.
Representative of the public: In the garden of paradise, there will also be my tar and my performance. May Allah bless you.
Ruslan Sadigov: Mr. President, the streetcars will run in a circle, in the middle of which there will be a 60-meter road. It will originate from the first residential block, the foundation of which was laid by you and reach the administrative center. A new square with a platform will be built in the center. The city administration will be located there and, in front of it, there will be a congress hall.
President Ilham Aliyev: Public events, parades, congress hall.
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, there will be public and exhibitions. It is also possible to organize agricultural and tourism exhibitions. Near Aghdam there is a height that can be used as a Highland Park. There are plans to create an outdoor theater there so that the sounds of mugham concerts to be organized in Aghdam can be heard throughout the city.
On the suggestion of the Ministry of Education, 15 school projects have been presented. According to your instructions, there are plans to establish the Karabakh University. In addition to the university, secondary vocational education institutions and lyceums will be set up as well.
President Ilham Aliyev: Aghdam will become the educational center of the entire Karabakh.
Ruslan Sadigov: Future investors also want to build a special school. If they wish, they can also set up a campus here. Our students can receive education in beautiful Aghdam, a historical place very close to Shusha. It is better than staying somewhere else. In this part, on your instructions, a stadium will be built provided. The stadium is designed for more than 30,000 spectators. It must meet certain standards in order for matches to be played here.
President Ilham Aliyev: And it will be called Imaret. But we will also rebuild Imaret, because it was originally envisaged as a hippodrome. So we will transform it into the form of a hippodrome.
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, I think the Imaret palace of Panahali Khan will become one of the most visited places in Aghdam and Azerbaijan in general. Projects have been prepared on your instructions. I think that it will become one of the most magnificent tourist sites.
President Ilham Aliyev: Railway station?
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, it will be located in the eastern part of the city. Large enterprises, one- and two-storey shopping facilities will be created along the roads leading to the station, so that there are no large facilities inside the city, so that they are all located on this road. The smart and sustainable social infrastructure is designed so that schools, social services, medical facilities, parks, city squares – all this constitutes a unity and is close to each other. Schools are indicated here by circles, all of them will be located at a distance of 300-350 meters. Wherever a person lives, a school will be 300-350 meters from them.
President Ilham Aliyev: So people will walk to them?
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, they will walk. This is done to minimize the use of public and personal transport. The coverage area of city parks is shown here. Leaving home, people will be able to reach any park located at a distance of 400 meters. And these are public places.
President Ilham Aliyev: It will be a city to live in.
Ruslan Sadigov: Smart and sustainable city, public transport. You have already mentioned this: pedestrians come first, bicycles come second, then public transport, then taxis and car sharing. As you know, people can share cars using Smart Mobility. There are also electric scooters and young people give prefer them. We can see this in our city too. There will be separate conditions and infrastructure for that so that people can safely and comfortably use bicycles without accessing the highway. They will not interfere with pedestrians and pedestrians will not interfere with them. This is one of the most important provisions of a smart and sustainable city. It has an impact on both the environment and the standard of living. There is a 79-kilometer cycle path.
This is the electric streetcar we mentioned.
President Ilham Aliyev: Without rails?
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, without rails. This is the first circle that will be arranged at the initial stage. And this is the second circle. With the grace of God, when the population of the city reaches 100,000 people, an additional bus service is provided as a third circle.
This is the road infrastructure, Mr. President. We see that the widest road – the avenue with a streetcar line – is 60 meters wide. There are pedestrian and bicycle paths here. Streetcar and motorways are not included here.
President Ilham Aliyev: Is this a separate line?
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, separate. This means that cars are placed in the middle so as not to interfere with the movement of pedestrians.
President Ilham Aliyev: In all cities, streetcars usually move along the middle of the road, which creates some danger, but there will be a separate line here.
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, this is a separate line. There will be stops where people can board the streetcar. This will not affect personal cars or traffic. The 60-meter road will be similar to the one in Lisbon. The sidewalks are wide enough. These are intersections, and the smallest roads are 20 meters long. Their structure is also shown. All have bicycle paths.
I would like to inform you that “AzerEnergy” is already laying high-voltage lines. “AzerIshig” has already extended temporary lines here, the location of two substations has been determined and they will be put into operation in the coming days. Water sources are being identified. Water will be pumped from water sources in the western part of the city from a height of about 500 meters into the reservoir, and from there it will flow out under its own pressure. The loop line will also be built in the water system to provide water pressure without the need for additional pumps and motor systems to be installed in people’s homes. This is also in line with the provisions of a new smart and sustainable city. And these are samples of houses to be built in Aghdam. Of course, they can be different in shape, but this is the first glance. These are the surrounding gardens I reported to you about, such farms.
President Ilham Aliyev: Agricultural?
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, suburban. It is quite likely that suburban villages of Aghdam will be like this, because the division of all of them has been transferred to this system. There are beautiful stones in Aghdam. We have allocated a place for the stones collected after the demolition to be collected there. Although the quarries are not yet used, these stones will impart special beauty to the open-air museum of occupation in Aghdam, for example – and this is already foreseen in the project. And this is the Garaghaj cemetery of Aghdam, which has a long history. All the gravestones in this cemetery have been destroyed by the Armenians and the cemetery has been plowed up. This is the most painful topic for the people of Aghdam. A separate project is also envisaged here. We will restore whatever can be restored.
Representatives of the public: There are graves of our parents there. Everything has been destroyed and plowed up.
Ruslan Sadigov: Mr. President, you laid the foundation of a magnificent mosque in Shusha. Shusha with its mosque is waiting for our people. Glory to Allah that this remains as the largest historical site of Aghdam, a source of our pride. At the same time, there are projects of new mosques.
President Ilham Aliyev: Work has already begun on the restoration of the Aghdam Juma Mosque. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation took over this work and specialists have been involved. First of all, we must restore this mosque.
Representatives of the public: We are grateful to Mehriban khanim.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, we also have to restore the Giyasli mosque. It has also been destroyed. Of course, mosques will be built elsewhere too.
Ruslan Sadigov: This film shows the happy days of Aghdam in the past and then the city destroyed during the occupation.
President Ilham Aliyev: Show this too, this is interesting.
Ruslan Sadigov: Yes, the canal system we have mentioned. This canal will stretch to the city waterfall.
President Ilham Aliyev: Like Venice.
Ruslan Sadigov: The canal starting from the city waterfall will pass between the houses and stretch to the park where you planted the tree. Around the city, the canal will have this shape.
President Ilham Aliyev: What will be the width?
Ruslan Sadigov: The width is expected to be about 30 meters. Neither more nor less. And around it, there will be sidewalks and places for walking, as well as catering facilities.
President Ilham Aliyev: Bridges.
Ruslan Sadigov: There will be beautiful bridges there, some of the best in the world. You approved them and gave us instructions. There will be recreation areas and beautiful places for people to relax in the summer.
President Ilham Aliyev: And here is the building the foundation of which we laid. We laid the foundation for the first building, of white color.
Representatives of the public: In short, it is a miracle you spoke about. It is indeed a miracle.
President Ilham Aliyev: Aghdam means a white building.
Ruslan Sadigov: You laid the foundation of for the first large white building in the city.
Representatives of the public: Mr. President, both our war and creative work have become an example.
President Ilham Aliyev: That is right. I said that this would become an example for the world. This is a modern concept of urban planning principles.
Ruslan Sadigov: Mr. President, the place you are seeing is planned in such a way that it will remain in the future as a city pavilion. The foundation will be laid here for future generations to see.
President Ilham Aliyev: To see that the foundation was laid here.
Ruslan Sadigov: Here, on your instructions, a pavilion will be built, where we plan to present a model of the future Aghdam. Both local and visitors will be able to see it. This is the square where you raised the flag. On the right
is the territory reserved for the museum of the occupation, which will remain in the same form. And in front of us is a park with an area of 4 hectares.
President Ilham Aliyev: We are approaching this historic moment.
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The head of state laid the foundation for the restoration of the city.
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Representatives of the public: Good luck. It is a great honor for us.
President Ilham Aliyev: This is a historic day, a historic event.
Public representative: With your blessing, we also want to show the “Leyli and Majnun” performances here.
President Ilham Aliyev: Concerts can be organized here during construction work.
Public representative: Believe me, Mr. President, I have performed on stage with my tar for 60 years. No matter how many festivals there have been, the most grandiose was the one in Shusha. May Allah bless you. May Allah grant you a life as long as that of Shusha.
Public representative: Mr. President, it is worth living and creating. You have done a brilliant job. It is hard to believe, but it is really the case. May Allah bless you.
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Then singers performed mugham together.
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Public representative: Mr. President, we want the opera “Leyli and Majnun” to be staged in Shusha, where Uzeyir Bey was born, and to go on stage there.
President Ilham Aliyev: A very good proposal.
Public representative: Mr. President, yesterday you signed an excellent Order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Baku Music Academy named after Uzeyir Hajibayli. On the 100th anniversary of the Academy, we will present you the best performances. But the greatest poem, story, symphony, a masterpiece was written by you. By freeing these lands, you have done a huge job. Thanks to this, music, art and the Motherland will live on. We, too, will always be with you. You have breathed life into us. May Allah bless you.
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Then photographs were taken.
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The head of state planted a tree on the territory.
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Public representative: Driving through Aghdam and Guzanli, the great leader said: The people of Aghdam, do not worry, there will come a time when Aghdam will be liberated from occupation.
President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, that’s right, I was there too.
Public representative: The great leader has always paid great attention to the development of Aghdam. And you have liberated Aghdam from occupation. We, the people of Aghdam, are always indebted to you.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you. Congratulations again!