Nazim Magomedov: "Derbent has been playing a binding role between Russia and Azerbaijan for a long time”
The two-day international scientific conference entitled ‘’The Interstate Relations in the Caucasus: One Hundred Years Ago and the Modern Period" was held in Baku. The event was organized by the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan (ANAS) and the Institute of the Caucasus Studies of ANAS. More than 200 scientists and researchers from Turkey, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Estonia, Ukraine and Georgia took part in the conference dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic (ADR). On the sidelines of the forum, the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza spoke with the Doctor of Historical Sciences, Dagestan professor Nazim Magomedov, who studies, in particular, the relations between Southern Dagestan and Azerbaijan.
- How do you assess the role of Derbent in the relations with Azerbaijan?
-It is a connecting city. In Baku, I was asked a question: ”Whose is Derbent”? I replied: "Derbent is yours, and ours." We have a large number of Azerbaijanis, the entire Derbent district, Derbent itself is almost an Azerbaijani city with its own culture, customs, rites, etc. Here in Baku, I present the report entitled ‘’The role of Derbent in trade and economic relations between Azerbaijan and Dagestan" - I start from the Middle Ages and finish with the declaration that was concluded between Russia and Azerbaijan. Dagestan has its own representative office in Baku, which has been operating since 1998. In Dagestan, the Azerbaijan-Dagestan Center operates, scientists from Azerbaijan come to us, and we come to Baku. I know Azerbaijan for a long time - worked here in the archives, while I was a Ph.D. This time being in Baku, I visited bookstores and saw a lot of literature and scientific works both in Russian and Azerbaijani languages. I have been studying the Middle Ages, so I know that the sources in Azerbaijan are very rich.
- Do Dagestani and Azeri historians communicate tightly?
- Yes. In June last year, Vidadi Muradov [the head of the carpet weaving center "Azer-Ilm", Honored Artist, Ph.D. in history, professor] came along with other Azerbaijani scientists. Studying the history, we find more and more materials that testify to the strong ties between Azerbaijanis and Dagestanis for several centuries. We have much in common. A lot of material is in the Russian archives and in St. Petersburg. We are talking about the archival materials that confirm our friendship, political, cultural, trade and economic ties. Derbent has long served as a bridge between our two countries.
- In the Soviet times, the historical heritage of Derbent attracted a huge number of tourists. 350 thousand people came only for the season. How is the situation today?
- Now the new head of Dagestan, Vladimir Vasiliev, pays much attention to the tourism. This topic is of a current interest. In particular, in 2015 we celebrated the 2000-year anniversary of the founding of one of the oldest cities in our country, the city of Derbent. The archaeologists say that the city is 5 000 years old - even then there were settlements on this territory. So, the Caucasus historian, archaeologist Alexander Kudryavtsev, who devoted more than a quarter of his scientific work to Derbent, found the archaeological sources that prove this. The Arab sources also say that this city is 5 thousand years old. A lot of money was allocated for the 2000-year anniversary and much was done, the restoration work was carried out. Now the tourists are coming.