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College of Design


Research + Work

Baku, Azerbaijan


Between 2006 and 2007 the University of Minnesota Center for World Heritage Studies and the Azerbaijan University of Architecture and Construction (AzUAC) conducted a UNESCO inventory project of Icheri Sheher—the walled inner city of Baku, Azerbaijan. From Baku’s prominence as a crossroads of the Silk Road trade routes and a port on the Caspian Sea to its current status as the capital of an independent Azerbaijan, the over 500 structures catalogued represent a diverse cultural landscape and reflect a wide range of historical and cultural influences.

The site of Icheri Sheher was listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2000, but following earthquake damage received that same year, as well as mounting development pressures, it was placed on the list of World Heritage in Danger in 2003. The inventory process was the first step toward improved conservation and management of Icheri Sheher, resulting in both a print catalogue and an electronic database of survey information. Since completion of the inventory several important steps have been taken by local authorities to ensure the long-term protection of Icheri Sheher. However, a number of issues remain to be addressed, and pending compliance with World Heritage Committee decisions, Icheri Sheher today remains on the list of World Heritage in Danger.

Download the Baku Project Summary