Ilham Aliyev reviewed progress of reconstruction at the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory

13 september 2011, 20:00

President Ilham Aliyev has reviewed progress of reconstruction at the Shamakhi astrophysical observatory named after Nasir al-Din al-Tusi of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences.

It was indicated that Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory, which plays an important part in the development of Azerbaijani astronomy, was established in 1959 and has been operating since 1960. Established on the initiative of renowned Azerbaijani scientists Hasan Aliyev and Yusif Mammadaliyev, the observatory is located at an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level and is ahead of a number observatories around the world. The observatory has advantages in studying the Southern sky which is considered difficult to observe. The number of clear nights during the year reaches 190-200 here.

It was noted that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who is paying special attention to the development of science in Azerbaijan, has issued orders and instructions in relation to the reconstruction and renovation of the observatory. In accordance with the orders signed by the head of state in September 2008 and July 2009, 8 million manats were allocated from the reserve fund in the state budget to improve the material and technical infrastructure of the observatory and conduct renovation and construction work here.

During familiarization with the office building of the observatory, it was noted that as a result of major overhaul a new 6.5-km water line from the Girkhbulag spring and the Chukhuryurd-Observatory gas line have been laid to the observatory. The above-ground power line has also been replaced. The office building has all of the conditions for the work of employees.

It was noted that great leader Heydar Aliyev, who always kept the activity of the Shamakhi Observatory in focus, visited the site and met with scientists here in 1974. Continuing this initiative, President Ilham Aliyev is paying great attention to the development of the observatory.

It was noted that the observatory operates on the basis of a scientific program approved by the ANAS. The program is compatible with the most advanced areas of world science. As part of its operation, the observatory monitors galaxies, stars, planetary nebulae, the Sun, planets and comets.

The head of state reviewed the observatory’s museum. The museum exhibits the results of research conducted in different periods. The most valuable exhibit of the museum is a 127-kg meteorite that landed in Yardimli District on 27 November 1959. It consists of iron by 92 per cent. The assembly hall of the observatory also has the conditions to conduct scientific activities. At the next stage, the focus will be on strengthening the material and technical infrastructure of the observatory and providing it with new equipment.

It was brought to the President’s attention that researches in the field of solar physics have yielded great academic results. Along with the researches related to the development, the magnetic field of solar flares, the fine structure of the solar atmosphere, stellar physics, etc., there have been researches on transient and changing stars, the system of binary stars, stars with a broad surface, super-dense stars, etc.

President Ilham Aliyev also examined progress of construction and reconstruction activities under way in the Yusif Mammadaliyev settlement of the observatory.

First the head of state laid flowers at a bust of Academician Yusif Mammadaliyev.


It was indicated that all the conditions and good infrastructure have been created for the academic personnel of the observatory and their families. Two five-storey residential buildings comprising 72 apartments have been constructed for the staff. The complex also includes such facilities as the post office, a medical center, a kindergarten. The apartments have all the conditions for the convenience of residents. Spacious and comfortable, these apartments will further stimulate scientists working at the observatory.

Greeting the observatory personnel, President Ilham Aliyev said:
Let me warmly salute you. It is a very good day today. The reconstruction of the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory is, one might say, nearing an end. The Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory has a great history. It enjoys a great reputation worldwide, in the academic community. The reconstruction of this observatory and the creation of excellent conditions here are very gratifying indeed. Three years ago, I signed an order on the reconstruction of the observatory, so renovation and construction work will be carried out here. The order is being executed, and office buildings are being wonderfully constructed, practically re-built. Also under construction are homes – today we are commissioning two five-storey buildings for scientists. The buildings constructed earlier had become dilapidated. The construction of new buildings, a kindergarten, a health center, beautiful public places, all the work being carried out shows that Azerbaijan is a strong state. Azerbaijan has always treated science and scientists with great attention.

I am sure that the observatory will serve the people of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani science for many years and decades to come. I would also like this observatory, along with doing research work, to become a popular travel destination. Because everything here is so beautiful! Both Azerbaijani citizens and foreign guests will be coming here with great interest to learn the place and relax.

In general, the tourist potential of this area is very broad. We have succeeded in developing the tourist opportunities of Azerbaijan’s northwest. Beautiful hotels are being built, parks established and recreation centers set up in both Shamakhi and surrounding districts. Today, visiting Shamakhi again, I have been enquiring about the construction of several sites, and I can see that things are going well.

The territory of the Olympic center built earlier is being expanded more than twice, new sports facilities, stadia, swimming pools, gyms are under construction. Restoration and reconstruction of Azerbaijan’s oldest mosque, the Shamakhi Juma mosque, are progressing with great love and taste. I am sure that after the restoration of the mosque we will demonstrate again that the Azerbaijani people and state are attached to their national and religious traditions. After restoration, this beautiful historical and religious monument will again become a unique architectural site on a global scale. We will give the Juma mosque new life.

Today, on the way here, I also attended the opening of a Training Center of the Ministry of Taxes. It meets the most modern standards. The center will encourage people to come and work here, there will be tourists coming here.

In short, the work under way in Shamakhi suggests that all the regions, all the districts of Azerbaijan are experiencing rapid development. Some time ago, we built a modern medical and diagnostic center which meets the highest standards. I am sure that the people of Shamakhi are using the services of the center because they must be free. There is state-of-the-art equipment there. I have the information that other infrastructure projects are being implemented here as well: laying of gas, water and sewer lines. I have signed an order today to allocate additional funds to resolve these issues too. The entire infrastructure, including irrigation, sewage, water and gas supply, must be arranged at a high level. We have to resolve all these issues within the next two years at the latest. There are also projects on the construction of rural roads, and we are dealing with them.

In short, Shamakhi District is ancient Azerbaijani land, while Shamakhi is a city with a very long and ancient history. Shamakhi is present on old maps, it has retained its name. Prominent people of science, culture and arts from Shamakhi have glorified our country. While reviewing the exposition of the local history museum last time, I was further convinced how many prominent figures come from Shamakhi. It is our great asset. Shamakhi should be and is treated with special attention. The reconstruction of this observatory, the renovation of social facilities, the diagnostic center, the Olympic center, the Juma mosque, other buildings, the implementation of infrastructure projects will make Shamakhi the most comfortable and developed city with beautiful scenery. At least this is my wish. I am sure that you are sharing these thoughts.

The work done in Shamakhi in recent years is obvious. The current development of our country suggests that we will do even more in the future. As for the development of Azerbaijani science, I am fully confident that this observatory is now the most beautiful, at least in the CIS. I am sure of that, and you can also confirm this.
In general, we are paying great attention to Azerbaijani science. Some time ago we raised the salaries of the academy members. Work is underway to strengthen the material base of the academy, scientific research institutes are renovated, new equipment is purchased. We should pay great attention to this sphere because scientific potential, education and knowledge are perhaps the key contributors to the future of any country. This beautiful observatory is a great monument of architecture. The research and tourist centers certainly lend further beauty to Shamakhi. My greetings to all of you! As you know, I have repeatedly visited Shamakhi. I have come here both as president and in the previous period. I will be coming here in the future too. There will be many more opening ceremonies here. I wish you good health and success.

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The deputy director of the observatory for scientific work, Khidir Mikayilov, thanked President Ilham Aliyev on behalf of the staff and said:

Allow me to salute you, Mr. President, on behalf of our scientists and the local public as a whole, and welcome you, as you have said yourself, to the ancient Shamakhi land!

We are very grateful to you for coming to meet with us. Besides, you are here to open a number of facilities under the program on the reconstruction of the Research Center in Shamakhi. We sincerely thank you.

Thanks to your attention and care, sufficient funds have been allocated to the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory, and construction started here in the shortest possible time. As you said yourself, the office building has been renovated, communications upgraded, landscaping carried out, a water line replaced and a gas line laid. To improve the living conditions of our scientists, two beautiful buildings have been constructed – you have seen them yourself. You have given us these beautiful buildings. Thank you very much. The entire infrastructure here has been completely renewed.

President Ilham Aliyev: The conditions here are at the level of a five-star hotel.

Khidir Mikayilov: So we only need to work hard. You have created such conditions for us. We promise that we will respond to this care with scientific achievements. Our joy is truly boundless. We are very grateful to you. We could never imagine that the observatory can be brought to such beautiful condition. This is the result of your attention and care. The work carried out here has gone beyond Azerbaijan. We have been to Turkey and elsewhere in the region. This creative work is cited as a good example.

The great leader has repeatedly visited our observatory. Most of the scientists working in the observatory today are graduates of the department of astrophysics which was established at Baku State University on his instruction. Then, in order to improve the living conditions of our scientists, a five-storey building was built. We are very pleased that you, a worthy successor of the great leader, are giving such a high assessment to science. All this is obvious. The work carried out is obvious. We are used to seeing such changes in our country.

Once again we thank you on behalf of our scientists and the district public. We would also like you to participate in our observations through telescopes.
President Ilham Aliyev: I will. Thank you very much.

Khidir Mikayilov: We will be glad to see you at the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory again.

President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, I will certainly come here again. There are some ideas regarding further development of the observatory. We will discuss them later. The latest technologies and equipment must and will be delivered here.

Khidir Mikayilov: May Allah grant you good health. May the Almighty protect you.

An employee of the observatory: Hello, Mr. President. May the Almighty help you in your difficult, glorious, noble and highly responsible work.

President Ilham Aliyev congratulated the staff of the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory again, and wished further successes.

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In conclusion, a picture was taken.