A nation is known, recognized and distinguished among the world nations by certain characteristic features. The highest and the greatest of these features is culture.

HEYDAR ALIYEV
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Lachin City Day was solemnly celebrated

By the order of President Ilham Aliyev on July 31, 2023, city days were officially designated for the liberated regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan. According to this order, August 26 is celebrated as Lachin City Day.

On this occasion, on August 26 and 27, ceremonial events were held in Lachin with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Ministry of Culture, and the Special Representation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Lachin district. President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva, along with the returning residents of Lachin, cultural and artistic figures, representatives of the diplomatic corps, and other guests, also participated in the celebrations.

The city day was celebrated in three different locations in Lachin: Flag Square, Manzarali Terrace, and the bank of the Hakari River, along the boulevard area.

On the first day, a performance of the saga-play titled "Sari Ashug and Yakhshi" took place at the Flag Square. This saga-play, depicting the life of Sarı Ashug, a renowned master of bayati poetry from Lachin during the 16th and 17th centuries, garnered significant interest.

The City Day celebrations, featuring an extensive program, were held in various zones.

The tea traditions of the Lachin region were presented in the "Tea Table" zone.

The "Lachin Bazaar" zone provided a platform for the sale of various items, including arts and crafts, handicrafts, souvenirs, accessories, jewelry, ceramics, and more. In addition, the venue hosted entertaining activities with actors as well as guided tours with mascots representing national characters.

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As part of the festivities, lively programs were held on the Manzarali terrace. The event included master classes in folk arts such as weaving, mat making, ceramics, pottery, coppersmithing, carpet making, embroidery, hat making, silk making, and more. These master classes not only provided information about these crafts but also visually demonstrated the preparation process for many of them.

In the "Exhibition Pavilion" zone, guests had the opportunity to view an art exhibition titled "Views of Lachin", and in the Art Camp, the children's artistic skills were showcased as they created artwork and painted models of gazelles.

At the picturesque spot where "I love Lachin" was written, visitors could enjoy the city's captivating beauty and capture it with their cell phones and cameras. In addition, the theater studio "Oyug", under the Azerbaijan State Puppet Theater named after A. Shaig, presented a musical performance. In addition, the play "Malikmammad" was performed during the presentation of the Azerbaijan State Puppet Theater.

Summer Camp of the Children's Arts Festival

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the national leader Heydar Aliyev, the Summer Camp of the Children's Art Festival, jointly organized by the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Science and Education, and the Heydar Aliyev Center, and the main sponsor of "BP Azerbaijan," was held on the banks of the Hakari River, along the boulevard area.

Around 60 children who qualified for the finals of the festival in categories such as folk instruments, painting, artistic recitation, khananda art, ashug art, and solo national dance took part in the camp. During the camp, children enjoyed engaging and amusing games as well as a flash mob.

The event featured master classes led by people's artist Khananda Gulyanag Mammadova, tar virtuoso Elchin Hashimov, honored artists, choreographer Eteri Jafarova, singer Anar Huseynli, honored teacher and professor Hokuma Aliyeva, singer Elnara Khalilova, Ashug Ali Guliyev, art reciter Khazar Suleymanli, and others.

At the end of the day, the camp attendees gathered around a campfire, tasted various foods, and enjoyed dancing and singing songs.

In the "Valor Square" zone, an engaging program featuring Zorkhana, wrestlers, and jugglers entertained the audience. The culinary area treated guests to delicious dishes of Lachin cuisine, while in the "Poetry of Lachin" zone, actors rendered artistic recitations of poems by Lachin poets.

Musical Guests of the City Day

On August 26, a grand gala-concert of the city day was organized on the main stage located on the banks of the Hakari river.

President Ilham Aliyev, First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva, government officials, prominent representatives of culture and art, and other guests attended the concert.

The head of state delivered a speech before the concert.

People's artists Azer Zeynalov, Nazakat Teymurova, Teyyub Aslanov, and Aygun Kazimova, Honored artists Ramil Gasimov and Ehtiram Huseynov, performers Kamila Nabiyeva and Ashug Samira, as well as "Natig" rhythm group, Azerbaijan State Dance Ensemble, and The Azerbaijan State Orchestra of Folk Instruments (artistic director and chief conductor: People's Artist Aghaverdi Pashayev), "Gaya" vocal ensemble, "Lachin Ashighi" group, and "Lachin" mugham group, took the stage. The program included compositions like "Karabagh", U. Hajibeyli's "Jangi", V. Adigozalov's "Holiday Suite", O. Kazimi's "Oh life, how strange you are?", J. Jahangirov's "My Paradise Karabakh", E. Ibrahimova's "O homeland", B. Nasibov's "Karabagh", A. Mammadov's "Khudayar’s tasnif", N. Mirmammadli's "Azerbaijan and M. Kazimov's "My Lachin" deeply touched the hearts of the audience.

The concert was enriched by performances of "Karabagh shikastesi," a bouquet of folk songs, "Ay Lachin," folk song, ashug songs, "Igidlar" dance, and "Karabagh yallisi." To conclude the concert, all the performers came together to deliver a rendition of R. Hajiyev's song "Azerbaijan," which served as a significant artistic tribute to the liberation of Lachin and was met with resoundingapplause.e

One scene, three plays

The celebration of Lachin City Day included theatrical performances, including a performance of Uzeyir Hajibeyli's operetta "Arshin mal alan" on the large stage on the banks of the Hakari River, presented by the Azerbaijan State Academic Musical Theater. As always, this 110-year-old theatrical masterpiece was greeted with applause.

The Shusha State Musical Drama Theater presented the play "Dali Domrul" from the epic "Dada Gorgud". This performance is based on the play by Altay Mammadov, inspired by the saga "The Story of Dukha Goja oghlu Dali Domrul" from "Kitabi-Dada Gorgud". The play emphasizes the transitory nature of the world and the profound impact of love. The adventures of Dali Domrul, who dared to challenge Azrael, captured the attention of the audience.

The Azerbaijan State Pantomime Theater presented the performance "Pantomime Bouquet". "Pantomime Bouquet", is one of the first creative works of the theater, dating back to 1994. The show, consisting of a series of intermedia acts, was revived in 2022 with a new cast. This performance was also met with interest.

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At the end of the first day of the Lachin City Day celebrations, a stunning fireworks display lit up the evening sky along the banks of the Hakari River. The city's sky, which had endured three decades of enemy occupation, was now adorned with a vibrant display of lights. It was as if the mountains and rocks themselves recognized the return of the indigenous people, the true owners of this land...

The city days of Jabrayil (October 4), Fuzuli (October 17), Zangilan (October 20), Gubadli (October 25), Shusha (November 8), Aghdam (November 20), and Kalbajar (November 25) are on the horizon.

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