Jewish tracesin Baku
Jews have lived in Azerbaijan for centuries, but their arrival in Baku mainly dates to the 1830s. Later, the community grew rapidly during the Oil Boom, which enticed diverse people to the city in search of work and wealth.
From then on Jews were an integral part of Baku’s uniquely multicultural society and played an outstanding role in its intellectual and cultural life. Some Azerbaijani Jews became world-famous, such as the mathematician and creator of “fuzzy logic” Lotfi Zadeh, the physicist and only Nobel laureate from Azerbaijan Lev Landau, the pianist Bella Davidovich, the medieval historian and statesman Rashid al-Din the musician, tar player and vocalist from Red Village, Guba Nisim Nisimov, and the others.
Since first migrating to Baku, Jews have left an indelible mark on the city’s culture and landscape. Several synagogues still exist in the city: Synagogue of Ashkenazi and Georgian Jews which opened in 2003 and is considered one of the largest synagogues in Europe, and the Synagogue of Mountain Jews which has been functioning since 1945 and following reconstruction in 2011 is well worth seeing for anyone interested in Azerbaijan’s Jewish heritage. The very first synagogue in the city, however, was what is today’s Rashid Behbudov State Song Theatre, which was built in 1901 and functioned as a synagogue between 1910 and 1934. While exploring Jewish heritage around the city, you can see Landau’s memorial board, whose plaque adorns a magnificent building at the corner of Nizami and Samad Vurgun street, along with Memorial Board of Solomon Gusman and Lola Barsuk, who were outstanding members of Baku’s Jewish community. A variety of Jews continue to reside in Baku today, where they have always been held in high regard and symbolise Azerbaijan’s unique brand of multiculturalism.
You can find out more about the Jewish traces in Baku by downloading the brochure, as well as have a tour around the most famous landmarks of Baku’s Jewish heritage by downloading the map below.
It is also possible to virtually explore Jewish heritage in Baku by using Clio Muse Tour audio guide. Prior to visiting and discovering physically, this will be extremely helpful.