Building a New Baku, One Banner at a Time
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"We apologize for temporary inconvenience"

 

With roughly 2.4 million people, Baku, home to a quarter of Azerbaijan’s population, is the Caucasus’ largest city. But it is also the main canvas for showing the Azerbaijan of the future.

Massive construction has accompanied the wealth that has poured into the Azerbaijani capital over the past 20 years. City Hall’s desire to reconstruct post-Soviet Baku using its own understanding of aesthetics has often led to the demolition of so-called “outdated” buildings over the protests of those who wish to preserve Baku’s cultural heritage and their own family homes.

Downtown Baku began to resemble a huge construction site, decked with temporary banners depicting city landmarks and futuristic landscapes. Banners with low-quality photos became so widespread that they began to replace images of the real city.

These portrayals of the “perfect” city of the future have become an integral part of Baku. Passers-by can only guess what is hidden behind this artificial beauty, which causes, as the notices say, “a temporary inconvenience.”

But as is known, nothing is more permanent than the temporary.

 

 

The story is part of Ilkin Huseynov's book, “We Apologize for the Temporary Inconvenience” (2017) by Rally in the Streets Publishing.

The text is written by Ulviya Hasan. Edited by ChaiKhana's editor Elizabeth Owen. 

 

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