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::: The Love Palace Story

The glorious epoch of last century oil boom in Azerbaijan left great heritage of bright personalities. It did not only remain in the history as a time of megabuck oil investments and huge stream of foreign capitalists, it was time which completely influenced to spiritual life of the city which still keeps the secrets of that great epoch and continues to amaze us. Oil industry not just reasoned to the coming of foreign entrepreneurs to Azerbaijan but gave opportunity to growth of national capitalists Ц oil magnates who above all were involved in charity and many other activities connected with the development of their country and took really care of their nation. Completely prohibited during era of Soviet supremacy the history of national bourgeoisie and wonderful stories over their lives and things theyТve done aroused again causing never-ending interest. Very many of those stories are connected with the name of one of the richest Azerbaijan oil barons Aga Murtuza MukhtarovЕ He was born in family of poor wagoner, in Amirjan settlement of Baku. As many millionaires of Baku he also grew from simple worker till the level of oil magnate. He developed the family tradition and started working as a carter. Also for a long time Mukhtarov worked as a plasterer, then was pulling oil in wagons, worked as a small contractor. Then finally he succeeds and oil industry made him millionaire. In 1985 for the first time in the world history Murtuza Mukhtarov constructs blow drill equipment with metal bars and gets patent from the Government for it. His name is closely connected with the improvement of petroleum production technology in Baku. In spite the fact that he had no higher education at any field there could be found anyone who knew the drilling and oilfields secrets better than he. Mukhtarov was a splendid diploma-less oil engineer. In the end of XIX century M. Mukhtarov established drilling equipment plant in Bibiheybat. It was first oil equipment enterprise in Russia. He also builds three-storey dwelling house for the workers and employees near the plant. Mukhtarov sells the equipment and machines produced in this plant to Russia and other foreign countries. His oil industry activities occupied not only Baku and Azerbaijan region, he also signed many contracts with the owners of Maykop and Grozni oil-fields and drilling oil-wells. He had wide relations with different plant and factories. In connection with that he often had trips to Northern Caucasus. Very big part of MukhtarovТs life and activities is connected particularly with Vladikavkaz. Here indeed he meets beautiful Yelizaveta Tuganova and marries her. His wife was originated from ossetin hereditary noble family of military aristocracy. It was MukhtarovТs second marriage, as his first family broke up tragically after he lost his two small aged daughters as the result of the accident. Inspite the fact that Murtuza Mukhtarov was 24 years older than his second wife and they were from different social origins it did not prevent them from living happy till the end. Their magnificent wedding took place in Vladikavkaz and after that they moved to Baku. Rich and powerful magnate was closely involved on construction of magnificent buildings as in Azerbaijan as in some Russian cities. For instance, the Mosque which was built in Amijan village in 1910 by his assistance is still staying. In honor of Yelizaveta Tuganova Mukhtarov constructed splendid mosque in Vladigavkaz still existing on the bank of Terek River. But this was not the last structure dedicated by beloved husband to his wife. While being at the journey over the Europe couple was traveling through Italian city Florence when Liza khanum was deeply affected by the architecture of Italian buildings Ц especially one of them and expressed her delight to husband. Approximately after one year when they were walking down the streets of Baku Mukhtarov brings his wife to the side of Persian street. There were no limit to astonishment and pleasure of the young woman when turning the corner at her gaze appeared beautiful palace just the same which she has seen in far Italy. Mukhtarov kissed her hand gracefully and congratulated with the new residency Ц The Palace of Happiness where they would spend the best days of their lives. The palace was projected by Russian architecture Ploshko in French gotic style during 1911-12 years. Ploshko was specially invited by Murtuza Mukhtarov from Moscow and sent to Italy to see the original construction. The slender architectural work, originality of construction still charming everyone who passes through this great palace. The mission of Murtuza Mukhtarov did not only consist of purchasing and selling. He was also very close cooperating with many charity organizations existing in Baku and helped them. Liza khanum as well was actively involved in activities of charity foundations. She was a member of Baku department of Caucasus Society of Struggle with Tuberculosis. On the means of this organization was working Ambulatory on Gorkiy street. She was also one of the active members of charity society УKinder hospitalФ which was organized in 1913. This noble woman gave assistance to Baku muslim society УNijatФ (УRescueФ). In 1914 on the base of this society she creates first Muslim LadyТs Charity organization where were also involved many azeri enlightener women of that time. They organized charity parties where gathered money was delivered to poor and needy families, orphans. But, unfortunately, the romantic story of benevolent couple ends sadly. Captured Azerbaijan in 1920 new Bolshevik government put forward its own demands on confiscation of property and was conducting mass arrests. One day they knocked MukhtarovsТ palace as well demanding to evacuate the building surrendering it to new government. Hearing it Murtuza Mukhtarov came out with revolver and shot some pullets firstly to Bolshevik officers and then one to himself. He dies on hands of his loving woman in cellar of their house. After his death Liza khanum was placed in this cellar, while the apartment became the headquarters of the XI Red Army. As staying in Baku was becoming more and more dangerous her close friends tried to help Liza khanum to emigrate abroad. She signs sham marriage with one of the old friends of the family Ц one Turkish diplomat and leaves for Istanbul. But here she again faces with injustice Ц the man takes the casket with her valuables Ц the only possessions of the poor woman and disappears in noisy streets of Istanbul. According some versions she was assisted by Azeri Diaspora in Turkey and lived till 1950-s. Today the beautiful palace Mukhtarovs is still alive keeping the love spirit of its brave and courageous landlords within its walls. УThe palace of happinessФ continued its mission of favoring with love and joy everybody who steps inside the State Marriage Register Office with hope to build a strong and happy family just like Yelizaveta and Murtuza MukhtarovsЕ
Samir Cavadzadeh
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