21st May 2008

The walled city of Baku, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been proposed for the Olympic Games cultural programme

The Baku 2016 Bidding Committee has developed a plan for using the UNESCO protected site for its Olympic Games programme.

This was disclosed by First Vice-Prime Minister Yagub Eyyubov, Chairman of the Bid Committee, following a meeting with members of the Bid Supervisory Board.

Built on a site inhabited since the Palaeolithic period, the walled city of Baku reveals evidence of continuous Zoroastrian, Sasanian, Arabic, Persian, Shirvani, Ottoman and Russian cultural presence. The Inner City (Icheri Sheher) has preserved much of its 12th century walls of defence. The 12th century Maiden Tower (Giz Galasy) was built over earlier structures dating from the 7th to 6th centuries BC and the 15th century Shirvanshah’s Palace is one of the pearls of Azerbaijan’s architecture.

This cultural masterpiece would take centre stage in the cultural programme 2016.

According to the Bid Committee, the programme would express the unique position of Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea. The preliminary title of the programme is: “Heritage and future of mankind, bridge between Europe, Arabia and Asia.” Based on Azeri traditions, its main focus would be music, dance and theatre.