Architecture of the First Oil Boom

From about 1870 to 1920, Baku experienced its first oil boom and investment flowed into Azerbaijan. As the city industrialized, oil barons began commissioning Russian and European architects to create expensive, modern, Western-style buildings in Baku. In the decades after Azerbaijan’s first oil boom, Azerbaijani architects mixed Safavid and other Azerbaijani architectural elements with elements from Italian Renaissance, Neo-Classical, Venetian Gothic Revival, Vienna Recession, and French Islamic Maghreb styles.
Palace of the Happiness
Palace of the Happiness

Polish architect Jozef Ploszko (1867-1931) built the Palace of the Happiness in Baku in 1911-12. Ploszko designed and constructed the neo-gothic residence, which was commissioned by Azerbaijani oil baron Murtuza Mukhtarov (1865-1920) as a surprise for his wife. The design is based on a French building Mukhtarov’s wife liked.

AZERBAIJANI Architecture

Old City BakuModern Azerbaijan is both a dynamic, progressive nation and an ancient civilization with vibrant traditions and culture. Nowhere is this combination of old and new more evident than in Azerbaijan’s built environment. For example, the architecture of Azerbaijan’s capital city, Baku, beautifully showcases this legacy. While Baku’s office buildings, apartment complexes, and glass skyscrapers mirror modern European design, ”Old City” Baku, known as  Icheri sheher,  features medieval Islamic domes, minarets, and ancient stone walls.

Azerbaijani Radio Hour

The Voice of the Karabakh Foundation, October 2, 2011. Access any of the shows of the Azerbaijani Radio Hour: The Voice of the Karabakh Foundation at