Report creation date: 14.10.2008 - 09:48
Countr(y/ies): Azerbaijan
Chapter(s): 1,2,21,22,23,24,241,242,243,244,245,246,3,31,32,33,4,41,42,421,422,423,424,425,426,427,428,429,4210,43,5,51,511,512,513,514,515,516,517,518,519,52,53,531,532,533,534,535,536,537,538,539,5310,6,61,62,63,64,7,71,72,73,8,81,811,812,813,82,821,822,83,831,832,84,841,842,9,91,92

Azerbaijan/ 1. Historical perspective: cultural policies and instruments

Over the last century, Azerbaijan experienced a great number of extraordinary events: severe changes in its political regime, national liberation movements, participation in the Second World War and local or regional wars. On 28 May 1918, the National Council of Azerbaijan adopted its Declaration of Independence which proclaimed the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR). Two years later, however, Azerbaijan fell under the Communist regime of the Soviet Union, which lasted for more than 70 years. In the first half of the 19th century, official politics, through both direct and more indirect ideological instruments, aimed to gradually "sovietise" the country's national identity and skilfully manipulate national awareness. The alphabet used in Azerbaijan was changed twice during this time: in 1929 from Arabic to Latin and again in 1939 from Latin to Cyrillic. This instability made it difficult for younger generations to study their cultural heritage. On a more positive note, efforts were made to ensure universal literacy and to broaden participation in the arts and culture. The famous slogan "art to the masses" was not merely rhetoric, but also a guideline for action. Culture was financed by the state. As a Soviet Republic, however, the arts had to be ideologically streamlined. A new state was being founded on a new ideology and longed for a new culture. The first signs of individualism and rejection of the principles of "socialist realism" became visible at the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s. Since that period, the arts have gradually emancipated themselves from state control. In some sectors, this process was more intense than in others, but it resulted in a powerful surge of national awareness around the middle of the 1980s.Baku, Maiden Tower

Beginning from 1988, Azerbaijan was faced with unjustified territorial claims by Armenia and forcibly involved into a military conflict. As a result of the Armenian aggression and military actions in Nagorno-Garabagh and adjoining districts - Kelbajar, Agdam, Lachin, Jabrayil, Gubadli, Zangilan and Fizuli - 20% of the national territory had been occupied, and the number of refugees and displaced persons had reached more than one million. As it was mentioned in the International Conference on refugees and displaced people in the South Caucasus (May 2001), organised by the PACE Committee on refugees, migration and demography, each eighth inhabitant of Azerbaijan is a refugee or displaced person. During the military conflict 20 000 people have been killed, 8 500 have become disabled, more that 100 000 have been injured; and approximately 900 settlements have been destroyed. As well as dwelling houses, industrial and agricultural buildings, there were numerous cultural institutions in the conquered zones: 927 libraries, 808 cultural centres, 85 music and art schools, 22 museums, 4 art galleries, 13 architectural and archeological  world monuments, 242 of national and 434 of local importance. There were 6 architectural and 7 archeological monuments of world significance, such as 15-arched Khudaferin bridges (VII-XII centuries), Ganjasar and Khudavend monasteries (both - XIII century) in the Kelbajar district, a mausoleum in the Turbatli village of Agdam district (XIV century) and the ancient city-reserve of Shusha.

On 20 January 1990, without declaring a state of emergency, troops from the former Soviet Union poured into Baku and some districts of Azerbaijan. Numerous victims were peaceful inhabitants; in total, 133 people have been killed and 611 have been injured. In spite of all these repressive measures, however, the Soviet Union was doomed. On 18 October 1991, the Constitutional Act was passed, and Azerbaijan's independence was restored. With many internal and external problems, the Republic had to pass through a difficult period of state establishment. Heydar Aliyev was returned to the leadership, as the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in accordance with the request of the Azerbaijan people in 1993. In a very short time, internal political stability was restored, and the strategy and main directions of further development of the country have been defined. The next stage in the progress of Azerbaijan started and Azerbaijan's cultural policy was initiated at this time.

Azerbaijan/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.1 Organisational structure (organigram)

Organigram 2.1.1

Azerbaijan/ 2. Competence, decisio../web/cultural-divern-making and administration

2.2 Overall description of the system

Azerbaijan is a democratic, law-based, secular, unitary republic. The Constitution, approved by general referendum on 12 November 1995, provides the principle of division of powers: Milli Mejlis (Parliament) exercises legislative power; executive power belongs to the President; and law courts exercise judicial power.

Milli Mejlis - one chamber body comprising 125 deputies, elected by direct elections for a 5 year term. The Standing Committee on Cultural Issues prepares a legislative basis for culture.

Judicial power in Azerbaijan is implemented through the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, ordinary and other specialised law courts.

The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan is the Head of the Azerbaijanian state. The President is elected for a 5-year term by way of general, direct and equal elections, with free, personal and secret ballot. Executive power in the Azerbaijan Republic belongs to the President. The President appoints the Prime-minister, by consent of the Parliament. For implementation of executive powers, the President establishes the Cabinet of Ministers, which is subordinate and reports to the President.

Following the reforms implemented in state management bodies of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and in order to ensure the best structural formation, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Tourism was reformed; the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Youth and Sport were established by a Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 30 January 2006.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan is an organ of central executive power, realizing state policy and adjustments in the fields of culture, arts, tourism, historical and cultural monuments, publishing and cinematography.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR), city administrations of culture and tourism in Baku, Ganja, Sumgayit, as well as 64 towns and district departments of culture and tourism, are responsible for local executive cultural policy issues.

Azerbaijan/ 2. Competence, decision-making and administration

2.3 Inter-ministerial or intergovernmental co-operation

Taking into account that there are many areas where joint efforts of two or more institutions are required, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism cooperates closely within the government with other ministries, state committees and relevant executive bodies, while drafting and putting into practice the national cultural and tourism policy - see table below.

Table 1:     Inter-ministerial co-operation

Field of activity

Cooperation with

General administration, local executive authorities

The Office of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Department of Science, Culture, National Education and Social Problems at the Cabinet of Ministers

Funding for culture

Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Taxes

Legislation on culture, copyright

Ministry of Justice, Republican Authors' Rights Agency

Education, training and research in culture

Ministry of Education, Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences

Infrastructure provision, information-communication technologies

Ministry of Economic Development

Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies

State Building and Architecture Committee

Social welfare

Ministry of Labour and Social Security of the Population

Ministry of Health, State Social Protection Fund

Human resources

Ministry of Youth and Sport

State Committee on Family, Women and Children's Issues

Cultural minorities

State Committee on Work with Religions

Parks and landscape planning

Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources


State Statistical Committee

International cooperation

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

State Committee on Work with Azerbaijanis Living Abroad

Armenian aggression consequences

State Committee on Work with Refugees and IDP

In a number of cases, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, or the Cabinet of Ministers, sets up specific state commissions and organizing committees, including representatives from the respective levels of government, to facilitate inter-ministerial cooperation and realise long-term state programmes or concrete projects. Examples of the work they carry out are the "State Programme on Poverty Reduction and Economic Development" or the "State Programme on Socio-economic Development of the Regions 2004-2008".

Governmental commissions can also be established in order to prepare national reports for international organisations e.g. the Second Periodical Report of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the "International pact on economic, social and cultural rights", with the intention to promote intercultural dialogue and the rights of cultural minorities. This report was prepared by a working group, with the participation of representatives of foreign, internal, justice, health, culture and tourism, education and other ministries.

Azerbaijan/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends

Since Azerbaijan regained independence, international cultural ties have become one of the important instruments of the new foreign policy. The main aims of the policy have been to foster relations based on mutual understanding and trust with other countries, work with them on the basis of mutual benefit and equal rights, and to give to the world a clear, objective picture of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Culture has played a major part in forming the young state's image, and achieved as much as political and economic developments in creating a strong and persuasive impression of the country. Democratisation, decentralisation and participation in many areas of culture have also been reflected in Azerbaijan's international relations. Collaborative links have been formed with many countries in Europe, Asia, America and Africa, at regional and city levels, and between artists' associations and individual artists, which now operate autonomously. Besides the traditional forms of bilateral cultural relations e.g. exchanges of theatre and concert ensembles, days of culture etc., the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is developing, in a very successful and productive way, multilateral cultural co-operation with international organisations such as the UN, UNESCO, Council of Europe, EU, WTO, ICT, ISESCO, TURKSOY, CIS, GUAM, ICCROM, IRCICO, etc.


Azerbaijan/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.2 Public actors and cultural diplomacy

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism drafts and implements bilateral and multilateral foreign cultural policy, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is the central executive body in Azerbaijan that is responsible for realisation of all international relations and cooperation issues. The Republic of Azerbaijan regards the development and strengthening of international standard-setting activity as a matter of high importance and has, accordingly, acceded to a number of international conventions with a vital bearing on the secure and extensive cultural interchange with other countries - which demands compliance with up-to-date standards of international law.

International legal instruments in the field of culture ratified by Azerbaijan are: the International Pact on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from 1966 (1992), the Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the Protocols (1993), the Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1993), the Convention on Cooperation of the States belonging to the Black Sea Region in the sphere of culture, education, science and information (1995), the Convention on Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees concerning Higher Education in the States belonging to the European Region (1996), the Universal Copyright Convention (1997), the Convention on Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Cultural Property (1997), the European Cultural Convention (1997), the Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1998), the European Convention of 1992 for the Protection of Archeological Heritage (1999), the European Convention on Joint Film-Making (1999), the UNIDRUA Convention on Stolen and Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (2000), the Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2006).

Azerbaijan/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.3 European / international actors and programmes

Azerbaijan participates in a series of multilateral cultural projects. Co-operation with the Council of Europe (CoE) is one of the key elements of multilateral engagement. The Ministry started working with the CoE Steering Committee on Culture in 1999 (i.e. before officially joining the Council of Europe in January 2001). Starting in 2000, Azerbaijan took part in the CoE / ERICarts project "Cultural policies in Europe: a compendium of basic facts and trends". The years from 2001 to 2005 were remarkable for Azerbaijan in terms of participation in the Council of Europe "STAGE" Project ("Support for Transition in the Arts in Greater Europe"), aimed at establishing new cultural policies, supporting cultural identity, cultural diversity, creativity and the participation of all groups of society in the cultural life of the South Caucasus. The main achievements of this project were to produce, by a joint team of Azerbaijani and Council of Europe experts, the National Report on Cultural Policy in Azerbaijan (2002) and to hold a National Debate on Cultural Policy (June, 2003, Baku). The country's library, museum and city policies were also observed by European experts and different seminars and training on current importance issues, such as fundraising, management, etc, were organised in the framework of the STAGE Project.

The Kyiv Initiative (KI) for democratic development through culture (in the South Caucasus countries plus Moldova and Ukraine) was initiated during the 5th (enlarged) Ministerial Colloquy of the countries participating in the STAGE Project in September 2005. In response to this initiative and the recommendations stemming from the STAGE project, the Secretariat of the Council of Europe has, jointly with participating countries, identified the objectives and defined the conditions for their realisation. It implements, in the framework of the KI, multilateral projects such as the "Regional Programme for Cultural and Natural Heritage", "Creating Cultural Capital", "Wine Routes", etc.

The Alexander Dumas Project in the Caucasus, initiated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan and supported methodically by the Luxemburg European Institute of Cultural Routes, is of particular interest. The project was presented at the meeting of the Advisory Committee on Cultural Routes, in the middle of 2005, and was approved as one of the Cultural Routes Programme projects of the CoE. The first stage of the project, realised with the participation of three countries of the South Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Russian Federation), and supported by France, is dedicated to the organisation of seminars and training for cultural tourism specialists, restorers and students, the creation of a CD and a web-site of the virtual visit of Alexander Dumas in the Caucasus, the translation and publishing of the memoirs of A. Dumas in the languages of the member states of the project, as well as the establishment of the Supporting Fund "Dumas in the Caucasus".

The second stage of the project will involve the launch of the real route of Dumas' travels in the Caucasus, involving tourism agencies in every member state, the organisation of tours to places visited by Dumas, conducting preliminary measures on the preservation of monuments, the production of souvenirs and the issuing of booklets and guides on the tourism route. Restoration, reconstruction and conservation of the cultural monuments along the route in three countries: Azerbaijan, Russia, Georgia and the staging of artistic (documentary / animation) films is expected in the third stage. In accordance with the agreement, a delegation from the Council of Europe and the Luxemburg European Institute of Cultural Routes visited Azerbaijan for expert analysis in August of 2006.

Azerbaijan joined UNESCO in 1992. Since then, special celebrations have been organised at UNESCO headquarters in Paris to mark the 1300th anniversary of the epic Azerbaijani legend Kitab-i Dede Qorqud (1998), the 800th anniversary of the birth of Nasir ad-Din Toosi (2001), the 200th anniversary of the birth of Mirza Kazem-Bey (2002), the 100th anniversary of the birth of academician Yusif Mammadaliyev (2005), and the 100th anniversary of the birth of carpet-maker artist Latif Kerimov (2006). The cultural exhibition "Azerbaijan - a crossroad of civilisations and cultures" was organised in the framework of the jubilee cycle "Dialogue of civilisations" dedicated to the 60th anniversary of UNESCO in the UNESCO headquarters, on19 October 2006.

Azerbaijan has active links with UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, the Cultural Heritage Department and the International Dialogue Department, regularly sends specialists to UNESCO conferences, seminars and symposia held in other countries, and hosts various UNESCO activities at home. The Walled City of Baku, with Shirvanshakhs Palace and the Maiden Tower, was added to the World Heritage List in 2000 and in 2007, Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape was added to the World Heritage List. A number of monuments have been submitted to the Tentative List: Surakhany, Atashgyakh (Fire - worshippers, temple - museum at Surakhany) (1998), The Mausoleum of Nakhinchevan (1998), Hyrkan State Reservation (1998), "Binegadi" 4th Period Fauna and Flora Deposit (1998), "Lok-Batan" Mud Cone (1998), "Baku Stage" Mountain (1998), The Caspian Shore Defensive Constructions (2001), Susha historical and architectural reserve (2001), Ordubad historical and the architectural reserve (2001),and Sheki, the Khan's Palace (2001).

"Azerbaijani Mugam" was proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the Director General of UNESCO in November, 2003. At present, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is implementing, with the support of UNESCO, the National Action Plan, which has been designed to ensure the safeguarding of the musical tradition of Mugam and to support the preservation and promotion of this cultural expression. On 9 September 2004, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura, designated Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva, First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the "Heydar Aliyev Foundation" and "Friends of Azerbaijani Culture Assosiation", as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Oral and Musical Traditions.

National Committees have been established for the following Intergovernmental Programs of UNESCO: International Council of Museums (ICOM), International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), International Music Council (IMC), International Institute of Theatre, etc. Azerbaijani representatives regularly take part in conferences, seminars and other events held within the framework of UNESCO.

Azerbaijan is invited to enter into intensified political, security, economic and cultural relations with the EU, regional and cross border co-operation and shared responsibility in conflict prevention and conflict resolution. The EU-Azerbaijan Action Plan enhances cultural co-operation, by investigating the possibilities for co-operation in the framework of EU programmes in the field of culture. It also involves exchanging views on the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and promoting the ratification and implementation of the text.

The Ministers of Culture of the Turkish-speaking countries (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan) founded, on an Azerbaijan initiative, TURKSOY, in July 1993. Bashkiria, Gagauzia, Khakasia, Tataristan, Tyva and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus joined as observers. Chaired at present by Azerbaijan, TURKSOY offers guidance and support in the field of culture and the arts, with a view to preserving and enriching the historic and cultural heritage of the Turkish-speaking countries and nations, promoting their intellectual and spiritual values, and protecting human rights and freedoms.

The International conference "East-West Inter-cultural dialogue among the states of GUAM: the creation of a Europe-Caucasus-Asia cultural corridor" took place in Baku on 9-10 June 2003. In May 2005, an International Conference on the Creation of a Europe-Caucasus-Asia Cultural Policy Observatory was held in Baku. Taking into consideration the vast cultural heritage of the GUAM states, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova have signed the Protocol on Cooperation in the Field of Culture within the Framework of GUAM for 2007-2010.

The Republic of Azerbaijan was nominated as a member of the Consultative Council for the Implementation of the Cultural Strategy for the Islamic World for 2005-2008. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is rapidly developing collaborative ties with the Islamic Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO); the Cooperation Protocol between the Ministry and ISESCO was signed during the Fifth Session of the Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers (September, 2006, Baku).

Chaired by the Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Council on Cultural Cooperation of the Commonwealth Independent States (CIS) supports the Youth Delphic Games, realises different cooperation programmes and projects such as "CUPOLA" and "Legends of the Commonwealth", focusing on safeguarding cultural ties between post-soviet countries.

The Government has initiated procedures to join the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The main ministries dealing with this issue are the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the National Commission on UNESCO.

Azerbaijan/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.4 Direct professional co-operation

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism encourages, on a continuing basis, trans-national co-operation between arts and heritage institutions, professional associations, networks and other NGO actors in fields such as theatre, dance, film, music, etc. E.g. recently the Ministry has funded yearly membership fees and supported participation of Azerbaijan specialists at the "Annual meeting and Conference of the European Music Council"; the "World Congress of Dance Research"; the "European Council of Artists (ECA) Annual Conference Right and Wrong?; and the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions - one year after", etc.


Azerbaijan/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.5 Cross-border intercultural dialogue and co-operation

In accordance with the approved working plans of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the performances of artists, theatre and music collectives and exhibitions organised abroad during the Days of Culture, as well as international competitions and festivals are covered by the Ministry. There is no special system of fellowships and financial aid, however, at the same time, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism assists artists and NGOs functioning in the field of culture. Furthermore, funds, banks and other financial institutions, operating in Azerbaijan, give considerable sponsorship to assist and promote the mobility of artists and artworks.

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.

Azerbaijan/ 2.4 International cultural co-operation

2.4.6 Other relevant issues

One new, and particularly significant, priority of Azerbaijan's cultural policy abroad is maintaining links with cultural centres and associations run by Azerbaijanis living in other countries. According to the latest data, there are about 100 of these, in a broad range of countries - Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United States and Uzbekistan. Many of these associations / centres were represented at the First and Second World Congress' of Azerbaijanis, held in Baku in November 2001 and in April 2006. The State Committee on Work with Azerbaijanis Living Abroad was formed in accordance with the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2002.

Azerbaijan/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.1 Main elements of the current cultural policy model

The cultural policy system in Azerbaijan is very state-supportive in all respects, with the state taking the main decisions, providing financial support and coordinating the activities of the various partners involved in culture, in particular the regional and local authorities and professional organisations. This approach was necessary in order to protect culture and the arts, as well as secure artists and cultural workers, in the transition period.

At the same time, considerable societal changes during in recent years have led to the development of a new model of cultural policy. The national cultural policy, following rapid economic development, and thanks to the progressive "three D" approach - decentralisation, de-monopolisation and democratisation - has a good opportunity to flourish in the near future, combining flexible management at central level with activeness and initiatives at local level, an increase in the state cultural budget, together with improvements in fundraising and marketing skills of independent cultural managers, entrepreneurs and producers.

Azerbaijan/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.2 National definition of culture

The understanding of an official national definition of culture comes from the Law on Culture, Article 2, which considers cultural activities as creation, collection, exploration, popularisation, dissemination, demonstration and protection of cultural wealth. Cultural wealth is defined in Article 33 as: "Spiritual and aesthetic ideals, norms and behaviour regulations, languages, dialects, national and ethnic traditional customs, historical toponyms, folklore, traditional applied arts, works of art and culture, results and methods of scientific research on cultural activities, objects and buildings of historical and cultural significance that are unique from a historical and cultural point of view and cultural objects of the territories."

Azerbaijan/ 3. General objectives and principles of cultural policy

3.3 Cultural policy objectives

As outlined in the Constitution and in the Law on Culture, the national cultural policy is based on the principles of equal opportunities to create and use cultural values and to preserve the heritage in Azerbaijan. Every person has the right to create, use and disseminate cultural values, irrespective of their social and material status, nationality, race, religion and gender. The Law guarantees freedom of intellectual and creative expression and provides a legal basis for the development of national culture as a constituent part of world culture. These principles adequately reflect the Council of Europe principles based on humanistic positions, considering people as the highest value, advocating their freedom and overall development, and priorities such as promotion of identity and cultural diversity (e.g. freedom of expression), encouragement of creativity and participation in cultural life.

Henceforth, the newly established Ministry of Culture and Tourism has declared the following cultural objectives:

Azerbaijan/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism was established by a Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, on 30 January 2006, in order to improve the management of the cultural and tourism sectors and to organise these fields according to modern requirements. This new structural measure brought new optimism to these fields and called for the need to reconsider the existing national cultural policy.

In this connection, it was decided that all cultural policy issues and priorities should be developed together, hand in hand with national tourism and cultural tourism strategies. Azerbaijani culture, arts and cultural heritage are the main attractions for local and international tourists, and therefore need to derive as much benefit as possible from tourism sector development, which is traditionally more self-sufficient from an economic point of view. At the same time, the national tourism industry must use all potential advantages from its close links with the cultural administration, so as to make a real contribution to the nation's welfare and to assist in its integration with the world community.

Hence, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is currently elaborating draft strategies and programmes in different spheres of state cultural and arts policies such as the "State Concept on Development in the Cultural Sphere up to 2016", "Development and Modernisation of the Library-Information Spheres in the 2007-2011 Programme", "Museums' Development State Programme", "National Cinematography Development Perspectives for 2006-2016", "State Programme on Tourism Development in 2007-2016", etc. These strategies will be presented for public consultation.

Azerbaijan/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.1 Cultural minorities, groups and communities

Inter-regional issues in Azerbaijan, resulting from its geographical situation, social-political aspirations and historical-cultural traditions, have contributed historically to the transmission of this region as being a part of the East and the West, as well as the South and the North. Over the ages, and because of the historical, economic and cultural specifics characteristic of Azerbaijan, the population has operated in conditions of tolerance and respect for the cultures of other people and national minorities. There are more than 20 different cultural communities functioning in Baku, including Russian, Ukrainian, Kurdish, Laks, Lezginian, Slavyan, Tat, Tatar, Georgian, Ingiloy, Talish, Avar, Community of Akhiska Turks, Jews, Germans, and Greeks etc. Representatives of the three largest religions - Islam, Christian and Judaism - participate in all initiatives and events at the state level, on a permanent basis.

Table 2:     Composition of population, Azerbaijan (1999 census)

Ethnic group

Total number

% share of total


7 205 500



178 000



141 700



120 700



76 800



50 900


Akhiska Turks

43 400



30 000



29 000



15 900



14 900



13 100



10 900



8 900



4 100



9 600


Total population

7 953 400


Source:      State Statistical Committee. 2006 Statistical Yearbook of Azerbaijan.
*                 In 2006, the population of the Republic of Azerbaijan was 8 532 700 persons.

Supporting and safeguarding cultural diversity is reflected in the state policy of the Republic of Azerbaijan. National policies have their basis in the Constitution of Azerbaijan, which provides for equality of all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic, religious or racial background. All forms of discrimination and xenophobia, including ethnic, national and racial, are not acceptable. Ethnic minorities of Azerbaijan have equal cultural rights and the same access to cultural heritage of the country as the titular population of Azerbaijan. Article 8 ("the Right to cultural identity") of the Law on Culture states that "each person has a right to keep their national-cultural identity and to choose their own moral, aesthetic and other values; the State promotes the right to their cultural identity". (This article gives an immediate legal guarantee to protect cultural identities which are independent of racial, ethnic and national belonging, but are based on personality) There are a number of other articles of the Law on Culture that provide legal security for personal rights to cultural identity. In particular, Article 48 on International Cooperation in the Cultural Sphere, Article 49 on International Exchange in the Cultural Sphere, Article 50 on Cooperation in the Sphere of Conservation of Cultural Values provide for the development and progression of international contacts of cultural minorities with their historical motherlands. This guarantee is ensured also in other laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan referring to culture.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism carries out a concrete programme of activities connected with safeguarding and development of cultural values of national minorities and ethnic groups living in the country, which includes cooperation with cultural communities and centres of ethnic minorities; organisation of art performances of amateur collectives in regions where ethnic minorities are concentrated; organisation of exhibitions reflecting ethnography, art and traditions of the ethnic minorities; tour trips of the ethnic collectives in the Republic and abroad; encouraging creation and performance of art compositions, promoting customs and traditions of ethnic groups; and supplying amateur collectives with traditional clothes, musical instruments and means, etc.

Azerbaijan/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.2 Language issues and policies

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan of 1995, "The Azerbaijan language shall be the state language of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Republic of Azerbaijan shall ensure the development of the Azerbaijani language. The Republic of Azerbaijan shall guarantee the free use and development of other languages spoken by the population (Article 21)." Russian is considered to be the second most important language and is widely used in most large cities. The language of instruction for more than 93.2% of  (total - 1 620 371) pupils in state secondary schools is Azerbaijani, 6.7% pupils are instructed in Russian and 0.1% in Georgian, in the 2004-2005 school year.

On 18 June 2001, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan signed a Law on the Improvement of the Use of the State Language. It points out the need for the development of a comprehensive Law on the State Language and the General Use of Latin Script. The Law on the State Language of the Republic of Azerbaijan, which came into force in January 2003, prescribes using protection and development measures for the state language. There are no official language quotas in the mass media.

For more information see also 4.2.1 chapter 4.2.3 and 5.1.9.

Azerbaijan/ 4.3 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.3 Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes

The multinational and multi-confessional nature of the Azerbaijan population is an important aspect for intercultural dialogue, being one of the priorities of the national cultural policy. The basic spirit of the national policy derives from the Constitution, which proclaims all citizens equal, regardless of ethnic or racial origin. The Law on Joining the International Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (1996) has found its reflex in the Law on Culture (1998) and other relevant laws. On 16 June 2001, Azerbaijan joined the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe for the Protection of National Minorities. The main public actor responsible for implementing the programmes and policies to promote intercultural dialogue in Azerbaijan, at national and local policy levels, is the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. It closely cooperates with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth and Sport, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, State Committee on Work with Religious Formations, State Committee on Family, Women and Children's Issues, Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences and the Republican Authors Rights Agency, depending on the matter under consideration.

Azerbaijan actively takes part in all relevant programmes and activities of UNESCO, the Council of Europe and other international organisations on the promotion of intercultural dialogue. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism continues to implement the project "Cultural Diversity in Azerbaijan", which is designed to highlight the country's ethnic and cultural diversity. It involves the cultural associations of the various national minorities, and helps to realise one of its chief strategic aims - to develop and support intercultural dialogue. A Declaration, adopted at the scientific conference "Cultural Diversity in Azerbaijan" (June 2002), states the necessity to have constant interaction and partnership between the state sector, private sector and civil society; to hold periodical monitoring on the situation in the sphere of preservation and support for cultural diversity. Another significant event - the festival "Arts of national minorities" was organised in November 2006. In the framework of the festival, a scientific conference was held - "Cultural heritage of national minorities and modernity", along with a corresponding photo-exhibition. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is also planning to establish the Coordinating Council on Cultural Diversity, which will consider the work with ethnic cultural communities as one of its aspects; as well as to work out a special programme on the preservation and development of cultural diversity on the basis of existing traditions. For more information see also 4.2.1.

For more information, see:
Database of Good Practice on Intercultural Dialogue and our Intercultural Dialogue section.

Azerbaijan/ 4.3 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.4 Social cohesion and cultural policies

Social cohesion, aimed at ensuring the welfare of all citizens and avoiding economic polarisation, is a national socio-economic and cultural policy issue in Azerbaijan. The Government of Azerbaijan prepared a State Programme on Poverty Reduction and Economic Development (SPPRED), which was approved by the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in July 2001. Work on Azerbaijan's final SPPRED programme was coordinated by a dedicated Secretariat, based at the Ministry of Economic Development. 15 Sector Working Groups and all of the government bodies, including the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, contributed to the strategy. Once the review was completed and full government ownership ensured, the final document was circulated more widely in both the Azeri and English languages. Presentation of the final document took place in October 2002, at the National Conference for the Presentation of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Development Programme, attended by over 560 participants from government and nongovernmental organisations, as well as international organisations and diplomatic representations. SPPRED was approved by a Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in February 2003. Cultural policy issues within the SPPRED programme was concentrated on 3 main areas:

Besides the achievements in economic growth, there still remain unsolved problems in the socio-economic life of the country, especially in the areas of development and employment in the regions. The main directions of state support and policy, regarding factors accelerating economic development of different regions in the years of 2004-2008, have been determined within the State Programme on the Socio-economic Development of the Regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Social policy in the regions consists of meeting the social needs of the population, improving their living conditions, regularly increasing pensions, paying special attention to disabled people, war veterans, young families and vulnerable sections of the population.

The strategic objectives of the measures in the cultural sector consist of protection and development of cultural potential, resources and traditions of the country, a systematic increase of budgetary financing of culture, and the development of the physical, technical and information infrastructure in the cultural sector. Development of the regions, in the directions mentioned above, and implementation of measures considered in the State Programme, is an important stage in the socio-economic development and improvement of the well-being of the population (it is expected that overall 600 thousand new jobs will be created in the 5 years; average monthly wages in the non-state sector will increase 3.1 times).

Azerbaijan/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.5 Media pluralism and content diversity

At present there are 1 830 registered mass communication media, 1 750 of which are newspapers and 80 are services in TV and radio broadcasting. Only 15% of newspapers and magazines were founded by government structures, and more than 65% of newspapers belong to oppositional political and social organisations, private structures and legal entities. Anti-trust measures, to prevent media concentration, are foreseen by the Law on Anti-monopoly Activity (1993), which gives a legal basis for protecting all officials and subjects of the market economy including mass-media from state, area, local, financial-credit, patent-license, spontaneous and other types of monopoly. There is no limitation in obtaining official information from government structures; it is the responsibility of the relevant press services to supply the public with official news.

There are no special arts and culture TV channels, but operating channels, depending on their broadcasting policy, offer a variety of regular programme series with cultural and artistic content, ranging from popular pop-shows to programmes on classical heritage. The international non-profit organisation "Internews Azerbaijan" has specific training programmes for journalists. It offers regular seminars, technical training (more than 50 seminars since 1997, attended by more than 500 professionals) and targeted consultations, aimed at strengthening the professional skills of Azeri journalists and editors.

The National TV-Radio Broadcasting Council was established by a Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and in accordance with the standards of the Council of Europe in January 2003. The Council's responsibilities are to realise state policy in the TV and radio broadcasting fields, issue licences to broadcasting channels and monitor their activities according to the Law on TV and Radio Broadcasting (2004).

The Press Council was established in March, 2003, at the time of the first congress of Azerbaijani journalists. The main functions of this independent council, which functions without any interference from the state and is directed by journalists, are regulation relationships between the press and individuals, as well as private companies, monitoring newspapers, and implementation of the Ethic Code regulations developed by the Council of Journalists. The Second Congress of Press Council was held in March 2004.

The Law on Public Television and Radio Broadcasting, which is based on the principles of transparency, impartiality and public interest, was adopted in 11 September 2004. In order to provide society with fair and impartial information and express the interests of different social groups, each of the following nominated two candidates to the Parliament to form the Broadcasting Council, which was established in March 2005: the Azerbaijan Trade Union Confederation, the National Academy of Sciences, the Press Council, youth organisations, woman's societies, sports federations, religious groups and creative organisations. The opening ceremony of the Public Television and Radio Broadcasting Company took place on 29 August 2005.

See also 5.3.8.

Azerbaijan/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.6 Culture industries: policies and programmes

The cultural industries in Azerbaijan are considered to include cinema, television and radio broadcasting, publishing, press, audiovisual and phonogram production, new technologies, leisure and high technology. With the exception of cinema and book publishing, whose development is state-supported and whose administration was taken over by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, all other fields are independent and not financed by the state. The overall tendencies follow those of the industrial market, namely that the private sector is growing. In the cultural sphere, this refers mainly to the production of audiocassettes and compact discs, book production, periodicals and the press, TV and radio broadcasting. The situation in the film industry is different, as it requires considerable financial investment.

It is very hard to define this market, study copyright problems and carry out sociological research in this area, because it is clear that many significant figures were being carefully concealed by private businessmen, and no in-depth research is needed to show that there are serious problems with copyright and tax law in the audio, video and computer sectors. Despite these issues, the cultural industries have enormous potential for the future and, if well managed and an adequate advocacy exists for partnerships with the cultural world, this can create a mutually beneficial relationship in the short term.

Due to the lack of data, it is difficult to characterise the market for cultural products in Azerbaijan. According to observation and estimates, there seems to be a "pyramid of demand":

Figure 1:    Pyramid of demand

The greatest demand is for audio and videocassettes, followed by participation in pop music concerts and discotheques; visits to theatre performances and cinemas are in the middle, whereas the demand for concerts of classical music and works of fine arts and decorative or applied arts is considerably smaller.

For more information see also 4.2.5.

Azerbaijan/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.7 Employment policies for the cultural sector

There are estimated 50 000 people to be working in the cultural sector of the Republic of Azerbaijan today. The Table below presents a number of employees in some areas of the cultural sector over the last decade.

Table 3:     Total employment in the different cultural sectors, in thousand, 1995 and 2000-2005









In public libraries








In clubs








In museums








In culture and recreation parks








In children's music, art and painting schools








Source:      Ministry of Culture and Tourism

There is no special programme to stimulate employment in the cultural sector at present. This is due to the fact that there is much less unemployment in culture than in other fields. The problem is not so much unemployment as low earnings and the matter of social status for cultural workers, as well as a decrease in consumer demand for cultural products. The average salary of employees working in public cultural institutions is 53.3 AZN per month, which is considerably less than the salary of teachers (99 AZN) in the specialised secondary education system, for example.

Azerbaijan/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.8 New technologies and cultural policies

Implementation of new information and communication technologies in the cultural field is one of the main priorities of the national cultural policy in Azerbaijan. The "State Programme for 2004-2008 on the Development of Communication and Information Technologies in the Republic of Azerbaijan (Electron Azerbaijan)" is currently being implemented by the government. Special attention in the Electron Azerbaijan State Programme is paid to the development and establishment of regional information-training centres and Internet stations, in local libraries, post-offices and schools, so as to widen access to informational resources. A special plan of activities is underway to digitalise, preserve and propagate the national cultural heritage and literature, by creating corresponding databases and web-sites and by modernising the library-information system. Overall, the state provides all necessary measures for rapidly providing all cultural spheres with new technologies. These include measures for permanent training and support measures for artists working with new technologies.

Azerbaijan/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.9 Heritage issues and policies

The government adopted a list of state-protected monuments in August 2001, which covers architecture, archaeology, formal gardens and parks, and which ranks monuments according to their importance - world, national or local. Buildings of world or national value may not be privatised. Residential buildings of local value, or apartments located in such buildings, may be privatised only with the consent of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Where such buildings or apartments are already in private hands, protection contracts, prohibiting any alteration from the original monument, are concluded with the owners.

Table 4:     List of state-protected monuments, 2001

Type of monument










3 480

3 860



1 616


2 044

Formal gardens, parks





Decorative and applied arts (statues, etc.)







2 034

4 209

6 308

Source:      Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Restoration and conservation works are conducted generally with financing from the state budget, the budget of local authorities and donations from individuals, as well as foreign and international organisations. One such example is the restoration of a small German church ("Kapelhaus") in Baku, which was fully financed by the German Government. Archeological works and restoration works on the Christian temple of the V-VI centuries, in the Kish village near Sheki city, have been financed by non-governmental organisations in Norway. In 1999, the Government of Azerbaijan and the World Bank signed a long-term credit agreement, amounting to 7.5 million USD, which will be used to reconstruct the second floor of the residence and conservation of Divankhana in the complex of Shirvanshahs Palace (XIV-XV centuries), conservation of the Mausoleum and two minarets of the XIV century in the Garabaglar village, conservation of the Mausoleum of Momina-khatun of the XI century in Nakhchivan and restoration of Shekikhans Palace of the XVIII century.

The Government pays special attention to preserving Azeri traditional music, which embraces a wide range of genres and forms. Historically, it developed in two directions: songs and dances (solo and group) inspired by everyday life and work, and connected with folk theatre; and the professional, oral tradition, represented by the ashugs and singers-khanende, performing Mugams and folk songs. Most of the country's centuries-old crafts have survived into modern times. They include carpet-making, stone-carving, silk-weaving, copper-working, jewellery-making, etc. Industrial development obviously tended to erode these traditional crafts, but the continuing demand for certain craft items produced in Baku, Sheki, Gazakh, and other towns and regions, helps to ensure that there are still plenty of masters to keep the old skills alive.

At present, there are 160 museums and 33 picture galleries in Azerbaijan, most of which are supervised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. By focusing on all aspects of the country's cultural heritage and mounting exhibitions which reflect and clarify its people's collective experience, museums help to forge a sense of community, encourage the public to get involved, and promote Azerbaijani culture. The state's museum policy priorities include creating a centralised computer data-base for optimizing access to information on museum collections and activities; bringing registration procedures up to modern standards; developing museum marketing; giving museums a bigger role in cultural tourism development; and improving protection and security systems in museums etc.

Azerbaijan/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates

4.2.10 Gender equality and cultural policies

Concerning the gender aspect of equality in Azerbaijan, culture, as well as education, is traditionally a "female" sphere. The vast majority of employees of libraries, museums, archives, music schools, theatres, etc. are women, who also participate actively in managing culture. 70% of cultural workers in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism system are women. The representation of women in key decision-making positions in cultural institutions and in important cultural policy making positions is also very high. The Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, 2 heads of departments and 6 heads of divisions in the Ministry apparatus, 14 heads of local administrations and departments of culture and tourism, and the directors of many cultural institutions and arts organisations are women.

The State Committee on Family, Women and Children's Issues was established on the basis of the State Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Women's Issues, by a Presidential Decree of 6 February 2006.

Recently, there has been a women's movement growing throughout the Republic. Several specialised organisations have been established in the cultural sphere, e.g. "Women in Music", "Association of Creative Women", etc. A whole series of magazines for women and about women are being published.

Azerbaijan/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate

4.3 Other relevant issues and debates

Information is currently not available.

Azerbaijan/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.1 Constitution

Following a referendum on 12 November 1995, the new Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan was adopted and entered into force on 5 December 1995. The country's basic law was developed in line with the fundamental principles and norms of international law. There are a number of provisions in the Constitution that directly concern the interests of artists and cultural workers. The most important are: "Intellectual Property Rights" (chapter III, Article 30); "Rights on Culture" (chapter III, Article 40); "Freedom of Thought and Word" (chapter III, Article 47); "Freedom of Information" (chapter III, Article 50); "Freedom to Create" (chapter III, Article 51); "Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments" (chapter IV, Article 77).

Azerbaijan/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.2 Division of jurisdiction

The legal division of cultural competence between central and local authorities is provided in the Constitution of Republic of the Azerbaijan, Article 124 of which, on Local Executive Power, declares that "Local Executive power shall be implemented by the Heads of Executive Power. Heads of Executive Power shall be appointed and removed from holding positions by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The authority of the Local Executive Power shall be determined by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan".

Article 4 of the Law on Culture, on "Credentials of institutions of local government in the cultural sphere" defines that "institutions of local government create conditions for free realisation of all rights and freedoms subsequent from this Law". Principles of division of cultural competence between central and local authorities, also worded in the Statute of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Statute of Local Executive Powers of the Republic of Azerbaijan, are affirmed by relevant Decrees of the President.

Azerbaijan/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.3 Allocation of public funds

All cultural institutions should be jointly financed by the state and local cultural budgets, as well as by their own resources, according to the Law on Culture. Allocations made by the state should increase yearly, a condition fixed by law. Additional resources are collected via national funds for culture, which have been set up by executive bodies of the various cultural institutions. Self-governing local bodies, public unions, legal and physical entities can also create funds to support their cultural activities.

Azerbaijan/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.4 Social security frameworks

According to the Constitution, all citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan have the right to social protection (chapter III, Article 37). Social welfare (health insurance, occupational accidents, disability, unemployment and pensions) issues are described in laws such as the Law on Employment (July, 2001), Law on Social Insurance (February, 1997), Law on Medical Insurance (October, 1999), Law on Pension Guarantees for Citizens (September 1992), Law on Prevention of Disability, Rehabilitation and Social Protection of Disabled People (August, 1995), Law on Healthcare of the People (June, 1997); the Presidential decrees, such as the Decree on Additional Measures on Social Aid (1992), Decree on Realisation of the Complex Programme on the Issues of Disabled People (the Cabinet of Ministers Decree, 1994), Decree on Financing the Measures of Social Security, Pensions and Allocations for Disabled, Unemployed People (2002), Decree on the Measures Towards Improving the State Pension System (2003), Decree on Increasing Pensions (2003), Decree on the Wage Augmentation for 50% of Artists (2003). The Law on Culture also provides social security measures for cultural workers. This applies to creative workers and includes provisions to improve the working conditions of artists and scientists e.g. artists and sculptors receive working space under favourable conditions (e.g. low rents). Salaries for cultural institutions with national status are well above those that do not enjoy this status. Workers who were actively involved in the country's cultural development, and have long service, may receive special pensions after retirement.

For more information, see our Status of Artists section

Azerbaijan/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.5 Tax laws

The tax policy holds one of the main keys to attracting funds and investment into culture.  The new Tax Code, the most progressive element of which is the application of simplified tax rates, took effect on 1 January 2001. Article 219.2 of the new code states that: "Firms paying taxes under the simplified system shall not be liable for VAT, income tax, land tax or property tax". This applies to firms with a quarterly (three-monthly) turnover of less than 20 000 AZN. They pay tax at 2% of total turnover.

Similar to all countries with an economy in transition, the tax legislature of Azerbaijan is in a period of establishment. Approximately 100 changes and additions to the Code took effect on 1 January 2002. One of the results of the changes is that the number of cultural institutions liable for VAT and income tax has increased, with significantly negative effects for their operation.

However, due to the Decree of the President on Additional Measures in the Sphere of State Provision of the Development of Entrepreneurship in the Republic of Azerbaijan (September, 2002) the following steps took place from the 1 January 2003:

All these measures provide the basis for future development of tax policies in the field of culture.

Azerbaijan/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.6 Labour laws

Employment in the cultural field is regulated by the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan (1995), the Labour Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan (February 1999), the Law on Employment of the Republic of Azerbaijan (July 2001), and the Law on Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan (April 1998). A unified system of salaries is in place for those working in the different spheres of the public sector. Relationships between employers and workers are based on a contract system, (which are usually concluded on a permanent or short term basis). The collective contract is signed between the employer on the one side and the trade union on the other. In the event of the trade union's absence, the working collective signs the contract. The trade union, working collective, employer, corresponding executive and representative body of employers can initiate signing the contract. The negotiating, related to the contract signing, can be promoted by the trade union, or in the event of its absence, the working collective can establish a commission for that purpose. Employment of state employees, of all levels, is regulated by the Law on State Service (September, 2001).

See also 5.1.4.

For more information, see our Status of Artists section

Azerbaijan/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.7 Copyright provisions

The main principles of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, which came into force on 8 October 1996, are those current in European countries. First of all, it follows the "continental" conception of copyright as a personal right, preferring this to the Anglo-Saxon vision, which stresses the commercial side of copyright. Secondly, the term "author" is interpreted broadly, as it is in other countries with high standards of copyright protection. In the audiovisual field, authorship is not restricted to directors, scriptwriters and composers, but extends to cameramen and set-designers too.

The Act also recognises related rights, performers' rights, and the rights of phonogram producers and broadcasting bodies (TV and radio). Inherited rights are also acknowledged, for a period of 50 years after an author's death. Proportional payment, which is more profitable for authors and other rights-holders, is the only type expressly provided for. Only the minimum rate of payment is fixed by the state, and methods of payment are to be negotiated between rights-holders and the users of their works. 

Azerbaijan/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.8 Data protection laws

Translations, anthologies and collective works are all protected, as are computer programmes and databases, by the Copyright and Related Rights Act (8 October 1996). The Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Information, Information Provision and Protection of Information, which came into force in June 1998, defines state policy on information systems, types, ways and forms of collecting and use of information data. The Law of Azerbaijan Republic on the National Archives (June, 1999) also regulates this field of activity.

Azerbaijan/ 5.1 General legislation

5.1.9 Language laws

After regaining independence, the Azerbaijani language was recognised as the state language in the 1995 Constitution, and conditions for its widespread use in all areas of the nation's life have been created. The Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Mass Media (February, 2000) states: "No language limitations are applied to the mass media in the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic" (Article 6). The Law on the State Language of the Republic of Azerbaijan was passed and came into force in January 2003. The Law on Advertising (October, 1997) determines that advertising in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan must be in the state language, with the use of other languages when it necessary.

See also 4.2.2.

Azerbaijan/ 5.2 Legislation on culture

Azerbaijani society is typified at present by cultural diversity, and so all laws on culture are geared to satisfying a broad range of cultural requirements. Some laws are general (e.g. the Culture Act of 1998), others more specific (e.g. the laws on cinematography, town planning, museums and publishing). The Culture Act spells out the principles and aims of the state policy, and lays down the duties of government and local authorities in this area. It guarantees the right of individuals to engage in creative activity, promotes international contacts and co-operation, prevents the state from monopolising culture, and covers preservation and development of the cultural identity and heritage of Azerbaijan and ethnic minorities, historically resident in its territory. It also provides measures to promote creativity and the activities of public agencies and organisations working in the cultural sphere. State interference is limited to prohibiting any material that is pornographic or which encourages violence, racial, national or religious intolerance, or drug addiction. These prohibitions are backed by effective legal sanctions. All other forms of state interference in cultural activity are prohibited. Many aspects of the functioning, funding and development of culture and cultural institutions are also regulated by this law.

Azerbaijan/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.1 Visual and applied arts

The very important Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Protection and Development of Azerbaijan Carpet Art was signed by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in December 2004. The Law regulates relationships emerging during the preservation, research, and promotion of carpets created in the historical territory of Azerbaijan and in the manual weaving by craftsmen, applied arts masters and artists.

Azerbaijan/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.2 Performing arts and music

The Law on Theatres and Theatre Activities, initiated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and adopted by Milli Mejlis (National Parliament) in December 2006, establishes an institution of theatre producers and brings new impetus to the development and infrastructural reforms of Azerbaijani theatre, which has a rich history dating back 135 years.


Azerbaijan/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.3 Cultural heritage

The Law on the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments (1998) defines the issues, specifies the responsibilities of state and local authorities, and lays down principles for the use, study, conservation, restoration, reconstruction, renovation and safety of monuments. The law declares that cultural objects with national status: historical and cultural monuments, cultural goods stored in state museums, archives, libraries, as well as the territories where they are situated, are not subject to privatisation. The Law on Museums (2000) regulates relations between museums and the state, defines the duties, functions, privileges and powers of both sides, lays down detailed rules on museum activity, promotes the protection, conservation, development and enrichment of museum collections, and improves the social security position of museum workers. New requirements concerning the keeping and use of national archives, the need to determine the ownership status of state and non-state archives and documents, and the absence of any legal basis for management and use of this immense intellectual resource, were the main inspiration for the National Archives Fund Act (1999). The Law on Legal Protection of the Samples of Azerbaijani Folklore (2003) protects the national intangible heritage.

Azerbaijan/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.4 Literature and libraries

The Libraries Act (1998) aims to improve the organisation of libraries, make libraries more effective and useful, and extend library and information services to people living in rural areas. More generally, it sets out to develop the community's intellectual potential, and contribute to the progress of knowledge. It provides the legal basis that libraries require to do their job effectively and to improve and up-date their working methods. The aim is not to tinker with principles, but to re-address them radically in terms of the new economic and political situation. The Act formulates the principles of state policy on libraries, provides a common basis for the library system, regulates the founding and running of libraries, and covers funding, the public's rights regarding use of libraries, and the principles of international co-operation in this area.

Azerbaijan/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.5 Architecture and environment

Negative building trends in the early years of independence had serious effects on the architectural and aesthetic quality of Azerbaijan's cities, towns and settlements. This was the background to the Architecture Act (1998) and the Town Planning Act (1999), both of which set out to stop the downward slide caused by a lack of proper control, to restore architectural harmony, and to preserve for future generations the architectural heritage which, over the centuries, has given Azerbaijani cities their unique character. To ensure that this character is enhanced and preserved, the Act allows foreigners or foreign legal entities to realise architectural projects only in co-operation with Azerbaijani nationals or legal entities. The Town Planning Act aims at optimum population distribution, lays down standards for building and for territorial and urban planning, and regulates the conservation of historic, cultural and natural monuments. Both texts make for consistent and harmonious architectural development and for effective solutions to the problems of city management.

Azerbaijan/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.6 Film, video and photography

The Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Cinematography (1998) provides a legal basis for cinematography as a special form of art. State supply, rights and responsibilities of the legal and natural entities are defined by this law. It provides a solid basis for the national film industry, regulates state funding, and covers measures to promote the distribution of Azerbaijani films and participation in international festivals. It also offers legal solutions to the issues of regulating the organisation of the film industry. In October 1999, the Law on Joining the European Convention on Joint Film-Production was adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan. This document provides vast opportunities for co-operation with European countries in the field of cinematography and is a fine example of new initiatives.


Azerbaijan/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.7 Culture industries

There are no overarching laws covering the entire field of the cultural industries in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Publishing Act (2000) is designed to remedy shortcomings in the publishing and printing industry, and to supply the lack of comprehensive legislation in this sector. Its central aim is to revive the country's ailing publishing industry. The Act lays down the main principles of state policy, specifies the state's duties, defines optimum approaches to the organisation and running of publishing and printing activities, and formulates principles to govern relations between operatives in this area. Geared to the economic realities of the country's situation, and practical in its whole approach, it holds promise for the future of publishing and printing in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.8 Mass media

The new Law on Mass Media dates from 2000 and states that government and non-government TV and radio organisations have equal rights and responsibilities to carry out programming, irrespective of their form of property, organisational and legal status. There are no language limitations for media in the territory of Azerbaijan. Besides the state language, any other languages spoken by the population of Azerbaijan may be used, as well as other languages. The Azerbaijani television stations broadcast programmes in Azerbaijani, Russian and English. The radio stations in Azerbaijan also produce programmes in Georgian, Lezghin, Talish and Kurdish.

The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan signed two orders during 2001: "On increasing state support to the mass media" (July) and "On additional measures relating to increased state aid for the mass media" (December). The measures envisaged include: the abolition of import duties on newsprint, long-term loans and preferential credit facilities for development of the mass media, measures to promote the extension of independent TV and radio broadcasting, regulation of broadcasting by foreign TV companies in the national territory, a review of taxes levied on press concerns and private TV and radio companies, and printing facilities for private newspapers in state printing houses.

In June 2002, a new Law on TV and Radio Broadcasting was introduced, which describes the principles and organisation of these spheres, as well as the legal relations between the State and TV and radio company owners.

See also 4.2.5.

Azerbaijan/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.9 Legislation for self-employed artists

On becoming independent, Azerbaijan opted for a market economy. Free enterprise is a central element in this, and a national privatisation programme was implemented in two stages. The establishment of a market economy in Azerbaijan made it necessary to rethink social security and introduce a whole new welfare strategy. Within a short space of time, over ten laws were passed, extending social security to broad sections of the population. Although there are no special legal provisions for cultural workers as a separate professional group in Azerbaijan, and their activities are regulated in general by legislation for private entrepreneurship, there are a number of provisions in the Constitution and the Law on Culture that directly concern and defend their interests.

See also 5.1.5.

For more information, see our Status of Artists section

Azerbaijan/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation

5.3.10 Other areas of relevant legislation

The Law on Tourism (1999) is of renewed interest to the cultural sector, given the recent structural reforms within the Cabinet of Ministers and the joining of the cultural sphere with tourism within the newly established Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The main goal is to bring the tourism sector, being potentially self-sufficient from an economic point of view, closer to culture and cultural heritage and to help the two sectors to develop together in a framework of joint cultural tourism programmes and projects.

Azerbaijan/ 6. Financing of culture

6.1 Short overview

A boom in economic development in recent years, and new oil finds in Azerbaijan, has led to considerable growth in the State budget and correspondingly to levels of expenditure and public financing of culture.

Expenditure on culture in 2006 accounts for approximately 2% of the total budget (4 024 767 300 AZN, exchange rates: 1 AZN (Azeri New Manat) = 0.9 euro). Specific expenditure on culture, arts, cinema, monuments restoration, excluding mass media, comes however, to approximately 1%. In other words, two figures can be given: one for total expenditure on culture, and one for expenditure directly covered by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

It should be noted that, as a result of decentralisation of budgetary expenditure on culture, 60% of funds are now distributed locally. Local authorities and the regions' cultural departments are now determining the patterns of cultural expenditure in the regions (districts) of the Republic. It should also be noted that subjective factors are very significant at local and regional level, where a great deal depends on the people in charge and - as monitoring shows - attitudes to culture vary widely.

Centralised expenditure on culture is largely focused on the capital, Baku. With culture permanently short of funding, preference also goes to organisations of national importance, most of which operate from Baku.

Average household spending, on cultural activities and goods, amounts to not more than 3% of the total household budget.

Azerbaijan/ 6. Financing of culture

6.2 Public cultural expenditure per capita

Rapid economic development in Azerbaijan influences a continuous yearly increase in the level of public culture expenditure. In 2005, cultural expenditure per capita amounted to AZM 13, which corresponded to 3% of overall expenditure per capita.

Azerbaijan/ 6. Financing of culture

6.3 Public cultural expenditure broken down by level of government

Table 5:     Public cultural expenditure: by level of government, in AZN, 2005-2006*




Level of government

Total expenditure

% share
of total

Total expenditure

% share
of total


10 245 000


12 968 100



15 500 000


20 572 000



25 745 000


33 540 100


Source:      Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Economic Department, 2006.
*                 Total public cultural expenditure for culture, arts and mass media in 2006 is 70 628 500 AZN.
**              Total for culture, arts, cinema and monuments restoration.

In 2005, the state budget for culture, including mass media, represented 2.2% of the entire state budget; of which 1.2% (0.7% on regional and 0.5% on central levels) was used to maintain the system of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. In 2006, 2% of the state budget was allocated for public cultural expenditure, 1% (0.6% on regional and 0.4% on central levels) of which was used directly for culture, arts, cinema, and monuments restoration, excluding mass media. At the same time, total expenditure is growing rapidly - as the table shows, centralised and regional expenditure both grew steadily, in accordance with the Culture Act.

Azerbaijan/ 6. Financing of culture

6.4 Sector breakdown

Table 6:     State cultural expenditure: by sector, in AZN, 2005

Field / Domain / Sub-domain

Direct expenditure

(to local government)


% total

Cultural Heritage





Historical Monuments

812 400





638 800





537 100









Visual Arts

200 000




Theatre-performance enterprises

4 230 000










140 000





60 000





1 535 100




Other cultural enterprises

117 700




International cultural relations

1 973 900




TOTAL (culture, theatre, cinema and monuments)

 10 245 000

 15 000 000

 25 745 000



329 700

13 905 500




743 900

447 700



Capital investment

9 039 000





20 357 600

29 853 200

50 210 200


Source:      Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Azerbaijan/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.1 Re-allocation of public responsibilities

The rise in entertainment businesses, the culture industries and cultural tourism has inevitably attracted the attention of private business. The number of private galleries, museums, antique shops and shops for national souvenirs and crafts is growing. Design agencies, the book market, and printing houses are developing.

The culture industries such as book-publishing, the press, audiovisual and phonogram production, entertainment industries and new technologies are undergoing rapid development. Indeed, there is a totally new independent business sector developing in Azerbaijan, which is not yet considered in the overall national cultural policy.

Democratisation processes in society have stirred up the private as well as the third sector. Civil society in Azerbaijan is in the first stages of its development. The Ministry of Justice has registered 1 500 non-governmental organisations. There are also many unregistered organisations, although few of them can be described as really active. Most of NGOs suffer from a shortage of funds, organisational skills, research potential and members.

Azerbaijan/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.2 Status/role and development of major cultural institutions

The majority of cultural institutions have state status, being financed by centralised or local budgets. Libraries, museums and art galleries are fully financed by public budgets, and the theatre-entertainment organisations are partially financed by the state. Salaries are guaranteed by the state, while expenditure on maintaining buildings, or to build new stages, etc., are carried out at the expense of the organisations themselves. A high percentage of centralised expenditure goes on libraries and museums of national importance, subsidies to state theatres, centralised events, theatrical and musical performances, the visual arts, restoration of cultural monuments, creation of new monuments, and conduction of events in foreign countries, etc.

Table 7:     State cultural institutions in the system of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2007


Total number



Concert organisations



3 985

Palaces and houses of culture, clubs

2 699

Child music, art and painting schools


Baku School of Choreography


Scientific-methodological centre for culture


Centre for the cultural institution workers' training and professional development


State museums


State reserves


Art galleries


Exhibition Hall


Culture and recreation parks




Leisure centres


State Film Foundation (with filial)


State film studios


City and district cinemas


Film distribution bases


Editorial and publishing houses


Scientific-Research Project Institute "Azerberpa"


Scientific restoration-production agencies and departments


Republican Library Collector


National Culinary Centre


Historical and cultural monuments

6 308

Source:      Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Economic Department

Azerbaijan/ 7. Cultural institutions and new partnerships

7.3 Emerging partnerships or collaborations

There are a number of new partnerships between public cultural institutions and private sponsors e.g. during 1998-2001, the Azerbaijan State Theatre of Opera and Ballet was able to attract additional funds to cover its expenditure. It formed an Opera Trust Fund, whose members included wealthy oil and other companies such as BP-Amoco, AGIP, Arco, HSBC British Bank, Mobil, Shell, Texaco, Wicklow Group Limited etc. Various other theatres obtain sponsorship for new productions. The Azerbaijan International Cinema Company, a joint venture of the Union of Cinematographers and a private British firm "ITIL", has modernised "Azerbaijan Cinema" and successfully manages it.

Azerbaijan/ 8. Support to creativity and participation

8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

Cultural creativity and artists in Azerbaijan are supported by centralised and local budgets, mainly by providing relevant conditions for maintaining cultural institutions, salaries, honoraria afnd payment of retirement and health contributions. Other ways that the state supports creativity are by involving artists in realising state development programmes and projects, as well as organisational and financial supporting of private projects and initiatives, holding festivals and competitions in different spheres of culture for professionals (theatre, music, visual arts and etc), sending delegations to international events, and by providing free primary, secondary and high special education etc.


Azerbaijan/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.1 Special artists funds

There are different special funds in the cultural field, set up at national and local levels by local authorities, associations, legal entities and individuals in the hope of attracting further contributions. Another alternative source is sums earned by cultural organisations e.g. fees charged for services provided by museums, exhibition halls and libraries. However, these sums are still insignificant, accounting for less than 1% of total expenditure on culture, the arts and monument conservation.

Privatisation is another answer to the problem of funding, and the periodical press, publishing, TV and radio, records, film production and distribution, concert organisation, etc. are the areas most affected.  At the same time, privatisation has slightly impacted on the cinema production and distribution industry, which requires significant capital contributions.

There are also restrictions on privatisation, for example, the following may not be privatised: state museums, libraries, galleries, historical monuments and cultural assets of international importance.

Azerbaijan/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.2 Grants, awards, scholarships

Grants for artists are a new concept in the state support system. The Law on Grants (April 1998) regulates economic and legal relations for the issuing, receipt and use of grants. Some of the most important grants available for artists are given by the Open Society Institute - Azerbaijan and other humanitarian foundations. Their activities are directed towards the exchange of artists, musicians and art critics with foreign countries, including travel grants, which enable cultural workers to participate in seminars, conferences and festivals abroad, and to receive research grants in the field of social sciences, including culture and art.

Targeted support for certain art forms is an approved approach to cultural financing in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The following resolutions of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan provide direct support to particular artists or groups: On measures to improve the activity of the Symphony Orchestra of Azerbaijan; On pensions for persons engaged in creative activity in Azerbaijan; On presidential stipends for talented young people included in the "Gold Book"; On improvement of social welfare provision for members of the ballet troupe at the Azerbaijan State Opera and Ballet Theatre; On personal stipends to young writers of the Republic of Azerbaijan; On improvement of social welfare provision for the Azerbaijan State Choir Chapel; On improved social welfare for the workers of the Azerbaijan State Dance Ensemble; On establishment of grants of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for  prominent figures in the arts; On establishment of individual pensions of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan etc. The system of governmental awards such as the People's Artist, People's Actor, etc., plays an important role in a moral sense.

Azerbaijan/ 8.1 Direct and indirect support to artists

8.1.3 Support to professional artists associations or unions

A multi-branched system of creative unions continues to function and operate mainly as professional unions. They obtain their main funds and material-technical bases, including buildings, from the state system, but administer material, social and professional matters themselves, without state interference at present. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and other central and local authorities, involve the creative unions' members in different national and international events and purchases products of their art and creativity at regular intervals.

Table 8:     Professional artists' unions in Azerbaijan, 2007

Name of union

Year of establishment

Union of Writers


Union of Composers


Union of Architects


Union of Artists


Union of Theatrical workers


Union of Cinematographers


Union of Journalists


Union of Musicians


Union of Designers


Source:      State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation

8.2.1 Trends and figures

The social, economic and political changes in society, including consequences of the war in Azerbaijan, have had a direct impact on the quantity and quality of cultural institutions and the number of visitors. A considerable number of cultural institutes remain in occupied territories and, thus, remain out of reach for many visitors.

Table 9:     Number of attendees of public cultural institutions, 1990 - 2005







Libraries (number of readers)

4 145 000

3 031 000

2 881 000
 (in 1998)

2 400 000

2 400 000

Participants in clubs

199 500

125 200

107 500

87 300

83 600




116 100
(in 2003)

123 300

115 400


1 376 000

1 201 000

925 000

604 000

544 000


994 000

393 000

339 000

246 000

259 000


1 154 000

1 543 000

1 196 000

1 501 000

1 477 000



109 000

178 800

101 600

103 000

Zoo visits


110 000

64 000

80 000

93 000

Pupils in child music, art and painting schools



69 099 000

72 979 000

72 005 000

Source:      State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Table shows that attendance figures for libraries, clubs, theatres and concerts have decreased. On the other hand, the numbers visiting museums, cinemas and pupils in children's music, art and painting schools have increased, a fact which can be explained by the development of the these spheres in recent years. The overall decrease in attendance is first of all due to the Armenian aggression and occupation on 20% of the Azerbaijan territories. In 1990, the military operations had just started and there were already about one million Azerbaijani refugees from Armenia and Garabagh by 1998. Social status and living conditions of refugees and IDP are so low that it is very hard to consider their participation in cultural life and this fact undoubtedly influences the overall picture.

In 2001, the Ministry ordered a survey "Cultural Participation", for the National Report, on the cultural activities of social groups, differing from each other with respect to gender, age or education. This survey was carried out by SIAR, a social and marketing research centre and was essentially focused on the culture industries - television, cinema, radio, computers, newspapers and books.

Azerbaijan/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation

8.2.2 Policies and programmes

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is initiating special programmes, starting from 2007, in order to broaden and promote participation in cultural life for different social strata. Besides the traditional privileged categories of the population, it is proposed to provide free and favourable access to museums, reserves and monuments for Nagorno-Garabagh War participants, martyrs' family members, disabled people, pensioners, orphans, secondary schools pupils and high school students, etc., as well as for all visitors on state official holidays, international museum and tourism days. All of these measures are intended to raise the social consciousness and cohesion of citizens by activating participation in the cultural life of society.

Azerbaijan/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education

8.3.1 Arts education

Arts education has a long and deep tradition in Azerbaijan and is marked by a high degree of democratisation and accessibility for the majority of the population. Responsibility for cultural education and training institutions is divided between the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (children's music, art and painting schools and the Baku School of Choreography) and the Ministry of Education, which supervises the special secondary and the higher arts education in Azerbaijan.

At present, there are 266 specialised schools teaching music, dance and painting at primary level, which children attend for 4 to 7 years (art - 4 years, dance - 5 years, music - 7 years). Music schools teach classical (piano, violin, cello, flute, clarinet, oboe, trumpet, tuba, bassoon, etc.) and folk (tar, kemancha, nagara, canon, balaban, etc.) instruments, as well as classical and folk singing. Music and art schools are almost totally (99.4%) state-funded. Only 0.6% comes from parents, who pay approximately 0.8 AZN per child, per year.

There are 16 specialised schools providing education in culture and the arts at secondary level (11 music schools, 3 cultural technical schools, a college of art and a dance school). Technical schools specializing in music (there are 8, including the Music College of Azerbaijan National Conservatoire) train performers in classical and folk instruments, and also teachers for children's music schools. The Arts College of the Azerbaijan State Academy of Arts teaches painting, sculpture, carpet-making, ceramics, model-making, theatre design and the decorative and applied arts. Technical schools specializing in culture provide training in the following fields: culture and arts management, museum management, monument conservation, decorative and applied arts, librarianship. They also have music departments, which train music teachers for pre-school institutions and music schools. The second-level course runs for three years, the first-level course for four. Some specialised schools offer both as a continuum; the Secondary Special Music School, named after Byulbyul, of the Baku Academy of Music and the Baku School of Choreography - the country's only training school for ballet and folk dancers - are among them. Training in these institutions lasts 11-12 years, is provided free of charge, and students with good grades also receive scholarships.

The Baku Academy of Music, the Azerbaijan National Conservatoire, the Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts, and the Azerbaijan State Academy of Art offer third-level courses in culture and the arts. Some universities also run courses for students intending to work in cultural institutions. Composers, musicologists, choir-leaders, classical and folk instrumentalists, and singers receive their training at the Baku Academy of Music, whose graduates have won international recognition, both as teachers and performers. The State University of Culture and the Arts runs courses in the following fields: theatre, cinema and TV (directing, acting, scriptwriting, camera operating, etc.), choreography, museum management, monument conservation, cultural management, performing arts, decorative and applied arts (carpet design, industrial graphics, commercial art, fashion design, interior design, etc.). The Azerbaijan State Academy of Arts offers courses on painting, graphics, sculpture, architecture, decorative and applied arts, theatre design, the history and theory of the performing arts, interior design, carpet design, advertising and model-making. Architects are trained at the College of Architecture and Building Techniques. The State University of Azerbaijan offers the only graduate course for librarians and bibliographers.

Some institutions of higher education have arts departments that train music, history of music, performing arts, piano and folk instrument teachers. Arts departments at some universities have commercial status, e.g. Western University (design, decorative and applied art) and "Khazar" University (design). Some of the above courses are fee-paying, others not. Students who achieve good results qualify for scholarships. Courses last between 4-6 years, depending on the level (bachelors, masters and PhD), in accordance with the Bologna process.

Training and further training courses for cultural workers have been functioning since 1966. These help people working within the Ministry of Culture and Tourism system (directors of municipal cultural centres, theatre and concert hall managers and staff, librarians, and staff of museums, children's music and art schools, adult art schools, cultural associations and centres, picture galleries, etc.) to improve their skills. The number of students, and the range of categories from which they come, are increasing yearly.

Azerbaijan/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education

8.3.2 Intercultural education

Intercultural education is a part of the general school and university curricula. There are different themes focused on shared national values and identity; to promote tolerance, multilingualism, equality; to inform students about world cultures, religions, traditions, etc, within humanitarian disciplines, delivered at all levels of education.

For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.

Azerbaijan/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and community centres

8.4.1 Amateur arts

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and partly, the Azerbaijan Trade Unions' Confederation, support the amateur arts via a network of cultural clubs, which are financed by the state or by large enterprises. Cultural clubs and houses of culture provide a good background and conditions for functioning of club circles, amateur art groups and unions, clubs of interests and amateur unions, amateur art circles and collectives, technical creation courses and classes, children's circles and collectives.

Table 10:   Club circles, amateur art groups and unions, by system of the 
                  Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 1990, 1995, 2000-2005











13 084

9 386

8 236

7 818

7 339

7 323

7 109

6 997


199 500

125 200

107 500

100 400

93 500

92 400

87 300

83 600

Clubs of interest and amateur unions

1 441

1 086

1 076



1 099

1 046

1 094


29 000

16 200

15 200

14 300

13 100

14 500

13 900

14 000

Amateur art circles and collectives

10 130

7 509

6 604

6 281

5 834

5 852

5 664

5 474


143 200

97 000

85 300

78 900

73 800

73 400

68 500

64 800

Technical creation courses and classes

1 513









27 300

12 000

7 000

7 200

6 600

4 500

4 900

4 800

Children's circles and collectives

3 788

3 989

3 632

3 734

3 614

3 442

3 410

3 375


65 200

56 100

50 400

52 400

48 400

46 200

44 900

44 200

Source:      State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and community centres

8.4.2 Cultural houses and community cultural clubs

There has been a decrease in the number of cultural clubs over the last years. This is not only due to the fact that many of the "nomadic" or so-called "mobile clubs" or "cultural tents" have shut down because of insufficient funding, but also to the internal changes occurring within society, increased social and political activity by the people, freedom of choice and freedom to develop one's own initiative. Reorganisation processes in this sphere caused some artificial rises in number of urban clubs in 2004, but it didn't influence on total declining tendencies.

Table 11:   Number of clubs by years, 1990, 1995, 2000-2005




















3 151

3 174

2 922

2 677

2 659

2 659

2 373

2 370


3 680

3 677

3 354

3 091

3 077

3 066

3 030

2 763

Source:      State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is the main responsible central executive body for the functioning of the clubs, taking into consideration that the club system is funded by local authorities. There are also a number of clubs within the Azerbaijan Trade Unions' Confederation.

Table 12:   Distribution of clubs by departmental division, 2000-2005








Ministry of Culture and Tourism

3 275

3 016

3 000

2 997

2 968

2 703

Azerbaijan Trade Unions' Confederation








3 354

3 091

3 077

3 066

3 030

2 763

Source:      State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan/ 9. Sources and Links

9.1 Key documents on cultural policy

Baumer, Markus: Baku - Azerbaijan: a Proposal of Cultural Strategy. 2003. DGIV/CULT/STAGE (2003)9:

Berza, Maria: Cultural Policy in Azerbaijan: Report of an Independent Panel of European Examiners. Strasbourg: Council of Europe, 2003. (STAGE Project) CDCULT(2002)28B:

Council of Europe: Cultural Policy in Azerbaijan: the Republic of Azerbaijan National Report on Cultural Policy. Strasbourg: Council of Europe, 2002 (STAGE Project) CDCULT(2002)28A [PDF]:

Haavisto, Tuula: Libraries in South Caucasus - a Manual for Managers, 2005, DGIV/CULT/STAGE(2005)1:

Kuzmin, Evgheny: Libraries in Azerbaijan: How and What Next?. 2004, DGIV/CULT/STAGE(2004)16:

Mason, Timothy: At the Crossroads: the Strategic Development of Museums in Azerbaijan. 2004, DGIV/CULT/STAGE(2004)13:

Azerbaijan/ 9. Sources and Links

9.2 Key organisations and portals

Cultural policy making bodies

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

The Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan

The Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Grant-giving bodies

Heydar Aliyev Foundation

Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation-Azerbaijan

Professional associations

Azerbaijan Film Directors' Guild

Association of Culture of Azerbaijan "Simurg"

"Creative Women" Azeri Non-governmental association

Experimental Creative Association "Baku Arts Centre"

Official site of Azerbaijan Photographers' Union

Cultural research and statistics

Azerbaijan Development Gateway

Baku Musical Academy

State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Culture / arts portals

Azeri painting

Azerbaijan State Philharmonic named after Muslim Magomayev

Gobustan State Historical and Artistic Preserve

Official web site of "Qiz qalasi" art gallery

Official site of Azerbaijan Museum of Miniature Books

Official site of modern creative art group "Wings of time"

Palace named after Heydar Aliyev

The site devoted to the city of Baku

The magazine, "Musiqi dunyasi", dedicated to musical culture


The Council of Europe/ERICarts "Compendium of Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe, 9th edition", 2008