Correspondence from Azerbaijan
Józef Gosławski, Konstanty Borysoglebski, Kazimierz Skórewicz, Witold Zglenicki, Paweł Potocki – do these names mean anything to you? They are not players from a Polish club, and yet many people know them in Baku. They entered the history of this town as the makers of the old oil El Dorado from the time when people built their fortunes here in a few years, the Nobel brothers operated here and oil fields were built, which Stefan Żeromski wrote about in “Przedwiośń” .
Because Baku supports the Poles, and in fact it happened. During the first major boom in the 19th century.
Witold Zglenicki and Paweł Potocki even have their own streets in Baku, and they should look for similar ones in Poland. However, they earned it after the ‘black gold rush’ broke out in 1872, when tsarist Russia abolished the state lease system of parcels in Baku and private owners began to find oil deposits on them. And that meant a fortune.
– Where you do not put a shovel, oil flows out there – the Azeris say to this day, which is not quite true, because today Azerbaijan takes out 711 thousand. barrels of oil per day, ranking it only 22nd in the world. For example: Iran produces five times more oil, and the bigger producers than Azerbaijan are Angola, Oman, Colombia and even the United Kingdom.
However, the country is associated with oil as the “Caucasian Sheikhate”, perhaps because of what happened at the turn of the 20th century, when Azerbaijani’s oil boom was huge. Among other things, it flooded the market thanks to the Poles. Witold Zglenicki explored the oil-rich regions of the Caucasus and developed a method of extracting it from the Caspian Sea, and Paweł Potocki showed how Bibi-Ejbat Bay could be exploited and drilled into the sea.
This oil, which before the discovery of Arab deposits, came from Azerbaijan as much as half of world production in the 19th century, was followed by fortunes of the Rothschilds or the Nobel brothers of Sweden, of which Alfred is the best known. Many say he founded the Nobel Prize with oil money from Baku, although his brothers Ludvik and Robert were more closely involved in the ‘black gold rush’ in the Caucasus, which bought oil parcels in Baku in 1876. And they made a lot of money.
With these funds, the entire Baku secession and architectural gems that can be admired in the Azerbaijani capital and behind which stood Polish architects. The City Hall, Tagijew Palace, Tagijew Theater, Rothschild Family Building, and the headquarters of the Azerbaijan National Bank are the works of Poles that the Azeris say turned the city into “Paris of the Caucasus” in the 19th century . Józef Gosłowski, here called the “Caucasian Rastrelli”, in fact completely changed the face of the city center, with the main Nikolaevska artery.
They are probably fans of Lech Pozna who may remember their previous visits to Baku, when Lech played here in 2008 with Khazar Lenkoran, or in 2010, when he played against Inter Baku – winning both matches 1-0. However, more than 10 years have passed since then and in the case of Baku it is quite an era. The city changes just as fast today as it did during the “black gold rush”. The glass houses of eromski shoot up one by one.
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In 2013, the Azerbaijanis erected the Flame Towers, alluding to the mythology of fire and Zoroastrianism – they are quite close to another amazing building, the Azerbaijani Carpet Museum, where Baku made money before the discovery of oil here. Famous for Formula 1 racing and Battlefield, the towers reach 182 meters high. To this day, many companies have their headquarters here, for example Lamborghini. Flame Towers were the tallest in the city for a year, when the marvel of technology and architecture was created – the SOCAR Tower, a skyscraper over 200 meters that can withstand every hurricane and earthquake. In 2020, it broke the 277-meter-tall Baku Tower, more than twice the height of any other building in Pozna.
Azeris eagerly flaunt their city of blue skyscrapers. For example, we will see them during Formula 1 races that have been hosted on the circuit in Baku since 2016 (initially as the European Grand Prix, now as the Azerbaijan Grand Prix). This is one of the unusual streets that lead from old fortresses and buildings of 19th century Baku to modern skyscrapers.
Baku also changes sports. The route from the airport leads past the Olympic Stadium, which was built here for the Olympic Games that Baku hosted in 2015. The facility can accommodate nearly 70,000 people, more than any other stadium in Poland. It was here that Euro 2020 matches were held, so criticized for low attendance and lack of atmosphere. The Watersportpaleis is one of the most modern swimming pools in the world and the Olympic Games were also served by the impressive Crystal Hall, which was built here not for sports, but for the Eurovision Song Contest.
In 2011, Ell and Nikki surprised Europe when they won the competition for Azerbaijan with the song “Running Scared” and the country was forced to organize another edition in 2012. He didn’t have a suitable hall, so… he built it. In six months, for 140 million euros, the facility was completed for less than 20,000 people and is today also used for sporting events.
And yet Baku has many other sports facilities, let’s take the Gymnastic Palace with 9,000 seats, located on the large salt lake Boyukshor.
In short, fans of Lech Poznań, who will come to the Azerbaijani capital after 12 years, will not get to know this city. First oil, and now sport and the Eurovision Song Contest have pumped a lot of money into it, and a decade is a time of massive change for Baku.
Interesting and special, in this situation Lech Pozna plays against Karabakh Agdam in the old Tofik Bachramow stadiumwhich was founded in 1952.
Lech Poznań will face Karabakh Agdam 18 in Baku on Tuesday at the Tofik Bachramov stadium. Broadcast on TVP Sport. In the first game in Pozna he won 1-0.
REVERSE GAME about Lech Pozna. Can you take this quiz?