H – Heydar Aliyev Park

As mentioned, I am not a fan of politics, not at all, but I am under no illusion that in the world as we know it today, I could remain apolitical. There’s a lot of politics floating in the air of Ganja even if you carelessly stroll around the streets of the city.

One of the first sites during our visit was Heydar Aliev’s Park – an image of which is frequently being chosen to represent the city. And though I stick to the view that it’s none of my business to judge the political views of the Azerbaijani people, I have got to express that seeing this park has brought the deeply-rooted memory of the propaganda that I have only known from back in the Soviet day.

It’s been a while since we’ve started removing the statues of Lenin from Lithuanian city  streets and squares, but the bitter memory of the imposed political ideology is very much alive in my mind which is why I am probably overly sensitive to any praise of political views or politicians. Here, however, it would seem like it’s totally within the norm to have parks, alleys, squares, statues, and even the main Airport, build and named in the memory of the ex-president Heydar Alyiev, and I have kinda learned to take it for granted that every guided visit to a museum would start with a little praise of the glorious memory of Heydar Alyiev. And though people genuinely love, appreciate and worship this political figure,  it still strikes me as a bit of a cult. Each to their own, though, I guess.

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