Thursday, May 9, 2013

Baku - Azerbeidzjan


Baku - Azerbeidzjan, originally uploaded by Rita Willaert.

Until 1988 Baku had very large Russian, Armenian, and Jewish populations which contributed to cultural diversity and added in various ways (music, literature, architecture and progressive outlook) to Baku's history. With the onset of the Karabakh War and the pogrom against Armenians starting in January 1990, the city's large Armenian population was expelled.
Under Communism, the Soviets took over the majority of Jewish property in Baku and Kuba. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev returned several synagogues and a Jewish college, nationalized by the Soviets, to the Jewish community. He encouraged the restoration of these buildings and was well liked by the Jews of Azerbaijan. Renovation has begun on seven of the original 11 synagogues, including the Gilah synagogue, built in 1896, and the large Kruei Synagogue.

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