TODAY.AZ / Your Corner

Your Corner: Western man's view on the Fountain Square of Baku

18 July 2010 [11:20] - TODAY.AZ
"Your Corner" is exactly what you think it is - your stories, pictures, art, and pretty much everything else you can share with the rest.
As part of “Your Corner” project, we present our readers an article, sent to us by one of our readers, Matthew Kent, an American, who lives and works in Azerbaijan. The article focuses on the newly reconstructed Fountain Square in the center of Baku. Read on.

"Ahh, the new park and Fountain square is open! For months I have waited for them, behind the steel walls and barriers that prevented me from seeing the truly remarkable reconstruction of such beautiful tile work. My Azeri friends have told me of the beauty it was, I want to see the beauty of what it will be. Every week, I was frustrated by the changing dimensions of the square, moved walls, new corridors that sometimes lead me to the wrong part, but now! Wow, the new square is open and I must say, it truly has been worth the wait. I must admit that one late night while on my way home and being curious like I am, I saw an opening in the wall, I sneaked in and saw the gorgeous tiles that were being put down! It was dark and quiet and luminous. I walked the whole square from North to South, before I was chased off! So for months I have been waiting to see this new place of tile and fountains…
There was a preview last week of Azeri craftsmanship. A new park opened and it bridged the gap between the Russian Drama Theatre and Maliken Gardens. This new park is lush green grass and a beautiful fountain in the center, lots of places to sit and enjoy the new fountain and the warm breezes that flow through the City of Wind. I walk the park almost every day, and see little children playing, couples sitting on the benches, men playing board games, couples sometimes holding hands, engaged in conversation, laughing smiling and reminding me of the carefree feeling the Azeri people have. It makes me smile, as I walk the park and see all these simple pleasures of life. At night when I walk through, the park is equally as busy, but there are more adults, fewer children and the conversation is bit more subdued, more intimate. Day or night, I believe this is the Azerbaijan that I have read about somewhere in the past, people playing chess in the parks, friends gathering, enjoying light playful conversation, observing chess and board games in play.
The park is brilliantly lit and there is still a new building, covered in green mesh, awaiting to be opened, I do not know what is its undercover. Its going to be an all glass building, with green tint. Like a giant present waiting to be unwrapped and I wait….
Fountain Square, if there was ever a name befitting a location! I was gone for 3 weeks on vacation and when I came back, there was a buzz in the air, more people, more cars and I had to discover what this excitement was all about since I live near Fountain Square. I walked through the new park, on my way to the new square. The first thing I noticed was the amount of people had tripled that were walking on the new pavement and finally the barriers were gone! I imagine that this is what a horse sees after its blinders are removed and it can see to the left and to the right. I was in awe at the transformation in just a few weeks. It was more then just a few weeks, it was months of construction and dozens of workers and craftsman, but the barriers gone, the construction over. The first thing I noticed was the tile, the long white arches of intersecting tile squares, with black centers through the whole square, no pavement, no fillers, just beautiful tile.

I just walked and walked and my months of anticipation were over. Finally the entire square was visible. The long stone archways that Baku is famous for was finished! It was a bright day, so I decided to explore the archways and I was in for a surprise. As I walked through I noticed the irregular pattern of tan squares covering the walls and archways. As I looked up I saw the white painted ceilings, covered with painting after painting, they do not look like stenciled or copied and pasted there, they look hand painted! Painted on the ceilings are depictions of Azeri life past and well into Azerbaijan's long history. Men in robes, military uniforms, women playing instruments, a maiden in a window, both dressed in the clothing of their period, the Maiden tower and of course old Baku. I exited the archways to explore more of the new square and to walk across it and discover what I have been waiting for months. There are at least 3 new large fountains and several single individual ones. There is a working carousel, lots of benches, lighting and box gardens. All I can say, is the square must be walked, explored and viewed in person, since it’s a delight to the visual senses. I am not that good of a writer to explain in detail the beauty of the square, despite traveling all over the world, I have never quite experienced something this man made, this beauty of Baku."

Matthew Kent
Baku, Azerbaijan

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