Azerbaijani Facebook users are outraged over a series of photos depicting construction activities and new stones visible on an ancient fortress wall in the historic centre of Baku, Icheri Sheher.
Officials say that the construction work has been sanctioned and is not causing the original wall any harm.
Baku’s Icheri Steher is surrounded by a fortress wall, has the status of a historical and architectural reserve, and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
For many years, several cafes and restaurants adjoined one of the sections of this wall from the inside. Recently they were demolished.
On social media, photos taken from above, apparently from the window of one of the buildings opposite the site, shows how the construction work is going on behind the barriers along the wall. Althoug modern stones are visible on the wall, it is impossible to say for sure whether a fragment of the wall has been replaced or whether it is a facade.
Citizens raised a fuss on social networks:
“Even we cannot save our history. Baku is sick … My nerves are so wrought, I can’t even look at it.”
“Get plenty of reposts! We need to let them know about it at the very top!”
“You may think ‘above’ they do not know about it! All this is done with the knowledge of the government.”
The Icheri Sheher administration officially stated that “the repair and restoration work are not damaging the fortress walls, their stability or appearance”.
According to the administration, new one-story cafe-terraces of glass and light metal structures will be built in the area.
Baku history enthusiast Togrul Valiyev is surprised that people are alarmed right now, as this is not the first time that modern “patches” have appeared on the fortress wall or on other ancient buildings.
“This section of the wall has been in this condition for 10 years. Preservationists initially opposed the construction of restaurants there,” Valiyev said.
He added that there are currently several similar construction projects taking place in Icheri Sheher, even though construction in the old city is prohibited.
Social media is also sounding the alarm over another historical monument, a residential building from 1912, which has allegedly been scheduled for demolition.