“Memories of Baku” book presented in London

Mon 30 September 2013 04:30 GMT | 09:30 Local Time

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Author Nicolas V. Iljine has launched his latest book which is a highly visual narration of the history of Azerbaijan's capital city, as cultural and cosmopolitan hub and the birthplace of the global oil industry on the Caspian Sea.

Memories of Baku: Beyond the Land of Fire was presented at an event hosted by the Ambassador of Azerbaijan Fakhraddin Gurbanov, the Britain Azerbaijan Business Council, Asia House and the book's sponsor Ulvi Kasimov at Baku restaurant in London, AzerTAc reports.

Using a rare collection of art work and essays, the book demonstrates how Azerbaijan became one of the largest oil producing nations in the world, and how the country's rise to power over the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had a profound effect on the culture, economics and politics of the country; in particular its effect on the capital city of Baku.

The book tracks how the oil industry boom acted as a major catalyst for change, resulting in a surge in Azerbaijan's population and enriching of its ethnic diversity; the cultural effects of which have become a defining feature of Baku.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Gurbanov, who contributed to the book's fruition, explained "Memories of Baku represents a true and vivid illustration of Azerbaijan and its evolution over a critical time in our country's history. In today's global village, understanding the history and culture of our modern day economic and political partners is as critical as it has ever been. This book beautifully illustrates our country's past and how Azerbaijan arrived at the present; it is a book to learn from, and to cherish."

The editor, Nicolas Iljine, outlined in his address that, "This book started with a collection of postcards from Baku and turned into a passion for discovering local impressions from further afield in Azerbaijan. As I travelled back to the country many, many times it continued to fascinate me with its warmth and cultural diversity that imbued a unique mix of Europe and Asia. This book focuses on the formative elements of today's cultural scene, a period that leads us up until the 1920s which we believe were so critical to the making of the modern, progressive Baku that we have today."

Other speakers at the event included Michel Lawrence, CEO of the “Asia House”, Lindsay Howard, Director of the Britain Azerbaijan Business Council, Ulvi Gasimov, CEO and founder of the investment company SFERIQ, and Nicolas V. Iljine, author of the book and GCAM vice-president.

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