Ilham Aliyev attended a ceremony to open Tasmajdan Park in Belgrade

08 june 2011, 20:30

A ceremony to open Tasmajdan Park has been held in Belgrade.

The ceremony was joined by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Serbian President Boris Tadic.

The President of Azerbaijan was informed that Tasmajdan Park is located in Belgrade’s municipality of Palilula. Two millennia ago the Romans produced stones from a local quarry that were subsequently used in the construction of a palace for the Belgrade governor. The quarry also existed in the time of Ottoman Turks, hence its name. The structures and walls built in Belgrade at the time of the Ottoman Turks were constructed of the stones produced at this quarry. Many outstanding Serbian figures of the 19th century are buried in Tasmajdan. At the end of the 19th century, the cemetery was moved to a different location and green areas established here. At present, it is one of the most popular places for residents of Belgrade.

There are monuments to the nationwide leader of the Azerbaijani people, Heydar Aliyev, and outstanding Serbian writer Milorad Pavic in the park. At present, the memory of great leader Heydar Aliyev has been perpetuated, parks and alleys named after him established and monuments erected in many countries of the world.

The fact that a monument to the world-famous political figure, Heydar Aliyev, has been put up in Tasmajdan park is evidence of the high level of relations between the two countries and of the Serbian people’s respect for the genius.

The Presidents of Azerbaijan and Serbia symbolically planted trees in the park.

Then the heads of state addressed a ceremony.

Speech by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev

- Dear Mr. President.

Dear guests, dear ladies and gentlemen.

It is a great and momentous day in the development of Serbian-Azerbaijani relations. This day will go down in our history as the day of friendship. Monuments to the outstanding personalities of our two nations have been put up in one of the most beautiful parts of Belgrade. Located side by side, the monument to the great son of the Serbian people, philosopher and writer Milorad Pavic and the monument to the great son of the Azerbaijani people, statesman and founder of independent Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev are a symbol of friendship of the two ancient nations.

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the creation of this wonderful park. I am grateful to the leaders of the Serbian state, the Mayor’s Office of Belgrade and all our friends for showing respect for the memory of the great son of the Azerbaijani people, Heydar Aliyev, and for putting up this wonderful monument.

My friend President Boris Tadic and I have held a broad exchange today. Specific plans have been outlined for further development of Serbian-Azerbaijani relations. Our relations are multifaceted. We have the same approach to all political issues. We have the same approach to the issues of territorial integrity of our countries. I am sure that great events lie ahead of us and our relations will become even better.

I want to inform you that the Mayor’s Office of Baku has made the decision to erect a monument to the great son of the Serbian people, renowned scientist Nikola Tesla in one of the parks in Baku. I am sure that a monument to Nikola Tesla will be put up in a beautiful park soon. I am inviting you all to see this event. Such events bring our peoples closer together. We want our people to be together and our countries always to be close to each other.

On this historic day I want to hand you a copy of the decision of the Mayor’s Office of Baku on putting up a monument to Nikola Tesla.

The Presidents of Azerbaijan and Serbia then visited the monuments to the nationwide leader of the Azerbaijani people, Heydar Aliyev, and outstanding Serbian writer Milorad Pavic.

President Ilham Aliyev also met with representatives of the Belgrade public. City residents thanked President Ilham Aliyev for his contribution to the development of relations between the two countries and peoples.

Then Azerbaijani artists staged a concert program on the occasion of the opening of the park. The concert was received well by the audience.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev handed the mayor of Belgrade a copy of the decision of the Mayor’s Office of Baku on setting up a monument to Nikola Tesla.

Remarks by Serbian President Boris Tadic

- Dear Mr. President.

Dear ladies and gentlemen.

Dear Mayor of Belgrade.

Dear friends, dear residents of Belgrade.

I am very honored and proud to attend the ceremony in this beautiful park today. Today we are taking part in a historic ceremony after which the park will acquire a new appearance.

The flags of Azerbaijan and Serbia are hoisted here. There are monuments to the personalities who have played an important part in the history of our nations. There is a monument to the founder of modern Azerbaijan, great leader Heydar Aliyev. At the same time, there is a monument to the great son of the Serbian people, writer Milorad Pavic. We would like to note that we have done this work thanks to our partnership. We will continue trying to implement specific projects which have strategic importance to both countries.

Today I want to congratulate Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev again. Azerbaijan has achieved very great successes in recent years and is demonstrating rapid development. We are genuinely glad to see such great achievements. Baku is a beautiful city. Baku has become one of the most beautiful capitals in the world today. This pleases us a lot. By conducting this ceremony in this park today, we are making our contribution, albeit small, to the achievements of your country. We want the future of both nations to be bright. We wish both countries prosperity and development. We hope that in the future, by working hard, especially in the sphere of culture, you will achieve new results, eliminate any differences between us and further strengthen our relations.

The ceremony in this beautiful place carries great symbolism. Let me bring to your kind attention some interesting facts about this park. It is located in the center of our capital. On the other hand, there is a sports center with a swimming pool and a swimming club here. I remember being part of this swimming club as a child. Earlier in our history, there was a quarry here, there was a deposit here. This is exactly why the park is called Tasmajdan. This word is derived from Turkish and points to our closeness with the Turkish culture. There is a church on our right. The Church of St. Marc. Then there is a building of Belgrade Law School. Besides, our generation and our people on the whole have quite emotional sentiments about this park. Because many of us have perpetuated our history in this park. There are two restaurants and other facilities here. I want to emphasize that by taking this step today, we are making a contribution to our cultural cooperation. Because culture and the development of this sphere bring people closer together. We are stating today that Serbia is part of Europe. Among other nations Serbia is proud of its tolerance. So we think we are making an important contribution to our relations. The fact that the ceremony is being held in Tasmajdan Park is of special importance to us, and we very pleased with that.

Our ingenious writer Milorad Pavic was the author of the Khazar dictionary. There are two kiosks with his works here.
People visiting this park can obtain a lot of information about Azerbaijani park. We want that Azerbaijanis currently live in other countries too, and so do Serbians.

Serbia is a multiethnic and multicultural country. Serbia is contributing to the dialogue between religions and cultures. Considering this, the ceremony is being attended by the head of the Muslim community, Jusis Bakic. In fact, we are in regular touch with him. We have sincere conversations about culture, religious matters. I dream of some free time to play basketball with him because he is fairly tall. In general, as you know, Serbia has achieved good results in basketball.
Azerbaijan and Serbia cooperate in the political sphere. Our countries, as well as international organizations, cooperate within the UN framework. We value this partnership a lot. Today we cooperate in economic, cultural spheres and sports. Yes, we do cooperate in sports, but this cooperation may be further improved.

Mr. President, let me express my appreciation to you for attending this ceremony. At the same time, I want to thank you for helping to restore this park. I think there are years full of great achievements ahead of us. In essence, we are congratulating the people of Serbia and Azerbaijan today. Thank you.

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Then the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Serbia visited the monuments to nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev and outstanding Serbian writer Milorad Pavic.

President Ilham Aliyev met with representatives of the Belgrade public. City residents thanked President Ilham Aliyev for his contribution to the development of relations between two nations.

A concert of Azerbaijani artists was organized on the occasion of the opening ceremony. The concert was received with great interest.