Today was a remembrance day for a large battle that took place in Baku during Azerbaijan’s dissolution from the USSR on January 20th 1990. Tragically 130, or more, people were killed and more than 800 were injured. We were honored to be able to be part of the ceremony, as thousands of Azerbaijani’s walked through the city carrying carnations to be placed on the beautiful memorial built for those who sacrificed their lives 25 years ago today. In the Azerbaijani tradition you place an even number of flowers on the grave during a funeral while an odd number is brought to a celebration. We walked to the mausoleum carrying 4 carnations and placed them in front of different depictions of all of the people who lost their lives. The ceremony was appropriately solemn but incredibly beautiful and we are very grateful to have gotten this insight into the culture. This day is a large part of our Azerbaijani friends lives and I was humbled to be allowed to be a part of it.
The National flag pole in Azerbaijan, standing on the edge of the Caspian Sea, is one of the tallest in the world at 162 meters. Today all of the flags were flying at half mast in honor of those who lost their lives on 1/20/1990.
After the honoring of Martyr Day we walk all around the “Old City,” the original settling grounds of Baku. We had wonderful tour guides, Ismial and Eltaj, who relayed the history of the city intricately. There is some controversy on whether it dates back to the 12th century or as far back as the 7th. This is the place to buy beautiful and possibly ancient hand woven rugs and silk scarves. You could feel the history of the city as you walked around it.
Lets keep Azerbaijan in our thoughts and prayers on this day of remembrance and reflection.