The Palace of Happiness has been reopened in Baku after major overhaul and reconstruction.
The opening ceremony was joined by President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva.
The head of state cut the ribbon symbolizing the opening of the palace.
The Palace of Happiness, which holds a special place in the architectural ensemble of Baku, was built by renowned Azerbaijani millionaire Murtuza Mukhtarov in the early 20th century. Often traveling around Europe with his wife Lisa Tuganova, M. Muhtarov noticed the admiration with which she was looking at a palace during a trip to Venice. So he decided to build a similar one in Baku. One of the architectural masterpieces of Baku, the palace was built by “The Kasimov Brothers” based on a project of Polish architect Jozef Plosko.
The palace was built in French Gothic style, its interior is finished in classical, Gothic and rococo styles. By a decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan dated 2 August 2001, the building was registered as a historical and architectural monument of national importance.
Over the years the Palace of Happiness was the principal venue for marriage ceremonies in Baku. As part of the measures taken by President Ilham Aliyev to protect historical and architectural monuments in Baku and modernize the capital, major overhaul and reconstruction of the Palace of Happiness began in 2007. In 2010, the reconstruction work was stepped up.
Youth and Sports Minister Azad Rahimov told the President and his wife about the repairs and reconstruction carried out in the building. It was noted that the overall restoration and reconstruction of the interior were designed by French, Italian and local experts. Over 12,500 items of the interior have been reconstructed, parquet floors laid, the walls covered with mosaic marble and railings made of openwork metal.
The broken decorative elements and façade slabs have been replaced, cracks sealed and volcanic rocks used in the building renewed. The foundation has been reinforced with new concrete slabs and its groundwater protection secured.
To increase the seismic resistance of the Palace to 9 points, load-bearing walls and partitions have been reinforced with a special system Histeretik dempfer. Historical monuments in many cities around the world, including the History Museum in Berlin, the British Museum in London, etc., have been rebuilt in the same way.
President Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva watched the photographs documenting the life and activities of the oil millionaire Murtuza Mukhtarov, pictures of the representatives of the Baku elite of the early 20th century. The photos provide a wealth of information about intelligentsia activities of the time, the first girls' school in the East which was opened in Azerbaijan, the Women's Assembly. It was noted that restoration of the interior had been carried out with great taste and, most importantly, preserved the original appearance.
After the overhaul and restoration, the building was rearranged for the intended purpose and divided into two parts.
The first part is intended for business meetings and official receptions and the second for wedding ceremonies. Along with wide halls, the building also has an outdoor terrace. The ceremonial hall decorated in classical style, the rococo style VIP-hall for receptions, the dance hall and a waiting area for electronic and technical services are among other innovations that have improved the functionality of the Palace. Along with this, a room for official meetings with Gothic and rococo style interior, spacious rooms for formal negotiations and ancillary facilities will also meet the most demanding tastes.
Thus, due to major reconstruction, new life has been breathed into yet another architectural monument of Baku.