Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the meeting with representatives of the general public in Shamakhi
02 october 2017, 12:00
My warm greetings to all of you! This is my sixth visit to Shamakhi as President. I am very glad that things are going well in Shamakhi district and major projects are being implemented. One of them is the Shamakhi-Padar road. This is a major project – a lot of investment has been invested. The road is 53km kilometers long. At present, it has been fully renovated restored and a comfortable road linking 16 villages is now available to the people of Shamakhi.
This road is of great importance both socially and economically. Large agricultural enterprises are being established along this road. The road infrastructure of Shamakhi district is being upgraded. In previous years, we also marked the opening of roads linking several villages. Currently, the Baku-Shamakhi road is being expanded to four lanes – it will be a very comfortable road. At the same time, roads to several villages have been built within the framework of this major road project. Roads means development, life and comfort. Of course, the farmers engaged in agriculture will take advantage of these opportunities to grow even better harvest and deliver their produce to the market even more quickly.
This project occupies an important place among many projects. But it is not the only one. A lot of work has been carried out in Shamakhi district in recent years related to development, construction and landscaping. The social infrastructure of Shamakhi is improving. A modern diagnostic center has been built. The Central District Hospital, the Olympic Sports Center and many schools have been built. Roads have been laid and gasification projects have been being successfully implemented. According to the information available to me, gasification has reached about 70 per cent or more, but it will be even higher.
The drinking water project. A drinking water project has already been completed in the city of Shamakhi. An official opening ceremony of this project will take place today. This is also a very large and historic project, because drinking water is perhaps one of the most important factors for every person. We have resolved this issue in Shamakhi too. At the same time, a drinking water project was also commissioned in Gobustan today. Therefore, this project, of course, also occupies an important place among infrastructure projects. Issues related to electricity are being addressed. In other words, issues related to roads, drinking water, electricity, gasification, healthcare, sports and education have been resolved.
We all know that Shamakhi is our ancient land and historical city. The name of the city is found on ancient maps. This is our huge asset. The historical monuments located in Shamakhi District are our national treasure and asset value. Among them, the Shamakhi Juma Mosque deserves a special mention. It is the oldest mosque in Azerbaijan. One of the oldest mosques in the world, it was built in 743. It was overhauled and reconstructed several years ago, and additional buildings were constructed. The Shamakhi Juma Mosque is of great importance for the entire Muslim world. At all events held under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, both on the basis of bilateral relations and in my speeches, I specifically note that Azerbaijan is an ancient Muslim region – one of the oldest mosques in the world is located in our country.
The opening of an ancient mosque after major overhaul will also take place in the village of Damirchi today. This indicates that there are numerous historical and religious monuments in Shamakhi district. We are protecting them. First of all, the Azerbaijani people have protected them for centuries. Regardless of all the public and political formations, our people have preserved national and religious values. Today, the independent Azerbaijani state protects, cherishes and restores them. Today Shamakhi district holds a special place in the history and present-day life of our country. This is well known to all the Azerbaijani people.
At the same time, serious steps are being taken in connection with the economic development of Shamakhi. Agricultural estates are being set up along this road. I am told that there are three agricultural estates already functioning in Shamakhi district. We have already announced our policy related to agro-parks – a total of 37 agro-parks are being created in our country. Some of them have already been commissioned. Agro-parks are provided with machinery and relevant infrastructure is created. The private sector receives loans, the farmers and business people also invest their money, so that we could achieve even better results in the fields of crop production and livestock breeding. Three of these 37 agro-parks are in Shamakhi District. One covers an area of 15,000 hectares, another covers 1,500 hectares and the third 2,000 hectares. So favorable opportunities for agricultural development are being created on an area of about 20,000 hectares. Our people will work and cultivate crops. There will be abundance and our export opportunities will expand.
Therefore, the work carried out in this area makes me very happy, of course. In addition, wine-growing, the traditional branch for Shamakhi, has recently been restored. New vineyards are being established. I will look at one of them today. New plantations have been set up on an area of more than 300 hectares. I am aware that another major project is being implemented here – the area also exceeds 300 hectares.
We are restoring and will restore viticulture in Azerbaijan. The people of Shamakhi are well aware that in the 1970s, at the initiative of great leader, Shamakhi was one of the main centers of viticulture. People received so much benefit, built houses, bought cars, refrigerators, etc. At that time, all this became possible thanks to Heydar Aliyev. Today we give preference to other branches – cattle-breeding, plant-growing, grain production. As you know, we did not sufficiently develop these sectors at the time because both meat and milk were imported from other republics. Today, a part of the acreage is used for this purpose. However, viticulture has great prospects and traditions. And we are already accessing foreign markets today. We have already signed major contracts, the state provides assistance and viticulture will be restored very fast in Azerbaijan. Shamakhi district should become a leader in this. I can see that there is a great interest in viticulture here, and this will be the case.
Of course, Shamakhi is a region with huge opportunities for the development of tourism. There are historical and religious monuments. New beautiful hotels meeting the highest standards are under construction. A safari park is opening in Shamakhi for the first time in our country today. This is also a significant event, because such parks operate in developed countries. There, in the open conditions, there are animals, gazelles, marals. Now we also have a safari park in Shamakhi. The village of Damirchi, also a historical place, has also been restored. Therefore, the development of tourism should go even faster because it is preconditioned by both natural conditions, climate and the beauty of Shamakhi, and its proximity to Baku, the availability of infrastructure projects and hotels.
This is how the district will develop – agriculture, processing enterprises, tourism, industrial production, and agricultural estates. I am sure that Shamakhi will continue to develop successfully. I congratulate you on all your achievements!