Azerbaijan and the world memory heritage

Azerbaijan and the world memory heritage

Today many valuable manuscripts of the Middle Ages (Medieval) Azerbaijani scientists, philosophers, thinkers and poets are kept in the libraries of various countries of the world. As at the Medieval Azerbaijan was at the crossroads of the East and the West, historical manuscripts can be found in Europe and in Asia.    

Azerbaijani manuscripts are mainly in such countries of Asia as Iran, Turkey; in Europe, in the well-known libraries and museums of such cities as Moscow, Saint Petersburg, London, Paris, Dublin, Berlin, Dresden, Vatican, Vienne, Prague, Sarajevo and Uppsala.  Manuscripts on the Middle Ages of Azerbaijan are kept in the archives of Cairo, Tashkent, Dushanbe, Calcutta, Lucknow , Doha, Punjab as well.  

The future fate of disappeared manuscripts had remained unclear for researchers for years. The rare manuscript of the Khamsa was taken to Saint Petersburg and was sold to a German named Stiglitz, a collector. Only after the revolution in 1917, it was brought back to the State Hermitage Museum. The list of such factors is too long. The exact number of manuscripts kept in the world archives and libraries is unknown but it is undoubted this figure is more than 10 000.  

Azerbaijani manuscripts cover almost three percent of all manuscripts included into UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

Vatican is a country where Azerbaijani manuscripts are kept.

Professor Farid Alakbarli discovered that 85 rare documents at the Vatican Secret Archive adjacent to the Vatican Library belonged to Azerbaijan. These documents cover the X-XX centuries of our history. Most of them are the correspondence between Elkani, Aghgoyunlu, Garaqoyunlu, Safavid states, Garamanly, Afshar, Gajar tribes and the Popes of Rome. The discovery of official correspondence at the Vatican Secret Archive adjacent to the Vatican Library is natural, as the main function of the Library is the archiving of official documents on intergovernmental relations since the ancient times up today. By hypotheses, if the documents kept in the Vatican Secret Archive adjacent to the Vatican Library are publicized, the world political storm, at best, the Third World War can break out.

But manuscripts kept in the Vatican Apostolic Library are mainly scientific and literary works of thinkers and scientists of different countries.  Professor Farid Alakbarli found 65 documents related to Azerbaijan in this library. 'Kitabi-Sihri' by Abdul-Majid Shirvani, the interpretation of the work on the Arabic grammar by Abdul-Vahhab Zanjani, scientific manuscripts of Jalaladdin at-Tabrizi, Ali Shirvani, Yusif Garamani and Ibrahim Zanjan are among these manuscripts.  

For Sanan Ibrahimov, Doctor of Philological sciences, an orientalist scholar, the keeping of rare manuscripts on our history and culture in the archives of foreign countries is an impact for the Azerbaijan cultural heritage: "Yusif Garabaghi's literary heritage is kept in Oxford. Works of classics are not in Azerbaijan but abroad. Works of Nizami, Fuzuli, Falaki Shirvani and Shah Gasim Anvar are among those manuscripts. Unfortunately, we could bring none of those rare manuscripts to Azerbaijan. All those manuscripts are our historical heritage and intellectual wealth. Each of them reflects a part of our history. Of course, the authority of the Institute of Manuscripts carries out serious activities in this field. Even they were able to bring back certain documents, manuscripts belonged to Azerbaijan from far India. But much work is to be done. We haven't enough specialists in this field. Imagine that in 1828, after the occupation, the Russians carried the manuscripts of the Safavids Empire kept in the Ardabil Library on bullock carts. Historians wrote that even the bullocks were not able to pull the carts full of manuscripts."


Elmin Nuri