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Топики (темы) на английском языке: Baky

BAKY [Baky] , formerly Baku , city (1991 pop. 1,782,000), capital of Azerbaijan, on the Caspian Sea. Greater Baky includes almost the whole Apsheron peninsula, on which Baky proper is situated. The city was a leading Soviet industrial and cultural center and until World War II was the USSR's chief petroleum center. It handled one of the greatest volumes of freight (mainly oil and oil products) of any Soviet port. Oil drilling (especially on the Apsheron peninsula and offshore) is the major economic activity. Baky has many oil refineries and factories that produce oil-field equipment, and is one terminus of a pipeline that extends to near Ceyhan, Turkey. Other important industries include shipbuilding and the processing of food and tobacco. Many of Baky's people are Azeri (46%), but there are large numbers of Russians and Armenians.

The city was first mentioned in a 9th-century chronicle; but as early as the 6th cent. BC oil and gas wells in the area were worshiped, and shrines were made of constantly burning fires. Baky was a great medieval trade and craft center. It flourished in the 15th cent. under the independent Shirvan shahs and from 1509 to 1723 under Persian rule. Captured by Peter I in 1723, it was returned to Persia in 1735. Russia annexed it definitively in 1806. Oil production began in the late 19th cent. Taken by the Bolsheviks in 1917, the city was occupied during the next two years by the White Army and its foreign allies (mainly Britain). From 1918 to 1920, Baky belonged to the independent, anti-Bolshevik Azerbaijan republic. In Jan., 1990, Baky was the scene of fierce fighting as Soviet forces put down Azeri militants who had declared independence.

The Old City, comprising the 13th-century fortress of Bad-Kube, has narrow, winding streets, several mosques, and the 17th-century palace of the khans of Baky, who were vassals of the Persian shahs. The mosque of Synyk-Kala dates from the 11th cent. and the Maiden's Tower from the 12th. In the European-style New City are the university (est. 1920), the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences, and many other educational and cultural institutions. The Fire Temple, 16 mi (26 km) from the city, still taps an ancient natural gas seepage and was a place of worship for Zoroastrians.


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