Heydar Aliyev Centre – An Important Cultural Center of Azerbaijan’s Capital
The Heydar Aliyev Centre is a significant cultural centre in Azerbaijan’s capital and is housed in an iconic building designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. It is located near the Baku Convention Centre in a 10-hectare public park. Heydar Aliyev (1923–2003), from which the centre takes its name, was the founder of modern Azerbaijan and the country’s national leader from 1969 to 1987 and from 1993 to 2003.
The Heydar Aliyev Centre was created as a symbol of the process of Azerbaijan nation-building and the recent economic development and modernization of the country, in addition to hosting cultural events and advertising the Azerbaijani language, history, and culture. The centre is a venue with a 1000-seat auditorium, provisional exhibition spaces, a conference centre, workshops, and a museum. It has a gross floor area of over 57,000 square meters.
The Heydar Aliyev Centre is the country’s largest cultural hub and came to be after an international design competition in 2007. It was completed in 2012. The centre is known for its fluid shape, which was designed as a reaction to the Soviet-rigid era’s architecture, as well as being a reference to Islamic calligraphy and traditional Azeri architecture.
Traversing eight levels, the collection of column-free functional spaces of the centre is encompassed by a free-form curvilinear envelope. The skin satin finish of the building as well as its semi-reflective glass, make the centre’s appearance change from the day, when it visually responds to changing weather conditions and position of the sun, to the night, when light passes from the interior onto the outer surfaces.
Within the centre’s program of activities, you will find temporary exhibitions of art, science, and history, as well as local and international contemporary culture, and includes music concerts, screenings, theatrical performances, conferences, workshops, educational activities, and special events. If you make your way to the museum housed in the centre, you will find permanent exhibitions focused on the history of Azerbaijan, as well as the heritage and personal life of national leader Heydar Aliyev, through an ensemble of artworks, historical objects, architectural models, videos, and interactive exhibits.
The Heydar Aliyev Centre is an amazing locale to visit, one that you should definitely put on your itinerary when visiting Azerbaijan.