Speech of President Ilham Aliyev at the opening of the Gabala Culture Center28 february 2013, 12:50
- My warm greetings to all of you. I sincerely congratulate you on the opening of the Gabala Culture Center. It is a beautiful and magnificent building with a wonderful architectural design. At the same time, it is perfectly suited for conducting any activities. When I last visited Gabala, I examined the progress of construction of the center, while today we are gathered for the opening of this beautiful building.
This is indeed a great event. First of all, there was a great need for a modern center of culture and arts in Gabala. At the same time, it is evidence of the overall development of our country. The construction of such beautiful and wonderful facilities from both architectural and functional points of view shows that the state of Azerbaijan is developing successfully. We can clearly see this development on the example of Gabala District, because social, cultural and infrastructure projects have been successfully implemented here. Some time ago we celebrated the opening of the Gabala International Airport. At that time certain opinions were expressed as to how this airport will operate and whether it will function at all. But I said back then that if we want to create modern tourist facilities in Gabala, there has to be an international airport here. This airport already operates flights to foreign countries. The number of these flights will be gradually increased. It will also be used by residents of Gabala District and our citizens living in neighboring districts. At the same time, foreign visitors can now comfortably come to Gabala. In other words, the construction of the airport, the establishment of culture centers and hotels – all this is already a reality. And it is a reality of the recent years.
Today Gabala has become one of the cultural and tourist centers of the country. A growing number of people come here from Baku, other places, other cities and other countries. In the future, the tourism sector will probably assume a certain percentage of the economic development of Gabala. This is an area that constantly develops, leads to the creation of jobs and at the same time serves the development of the district and promotion of our country in the world. Today, modern hotels, tourist complexes and recreation areas are opening up. Of course, the opening of such a beautiful culture center will provide additional support for all these activities.
Gabala has already become a well-known city worldwide. The Gabala music festivals are already a wonderful tradition. Leading musical ensembles from around the world come here to participate in this festival. I know that those who have been here at least once always want to come back. And this is great because the work carried out here, the hospitality provided to visitors, the excellent conditions, hotels and, in general, the beautiful and unique natural setting will attract even more tourists to Gabala. All foreign visitors coming here certainly tell their friends and families about Gabala and about Azerbaijan after returning to their countries.
Thus, over time people of the world are receiving more information about Gabala, and this is very gratifying because the development of our country also consists in the development of the regions. A lot has been done in the countryside since the adoption of the state program on the socioeconomic development of districts nine years ago. The gap between the regions and the capital is narrowing even though the capital is also growing fast. It is not so easy to bridge this gap. But the creation of normal living conditions in every city has been the priority of our policies in recent years. There must be jobs, excellent facilities and qualified medical services everywhere, schools must be renovated. The development of Gabala demonstrates that. In previous years we built a beautiful diagnostic center and refurbished schools.
I repeat that tourism infrastructure is being put in place. A mountain ski center is being created in Gabala. And these are the realities of recent years. Azerbaijan has extensive opportunities for the development of tourism – the Caspian Sea, forests and mountains. But we have never had mountain ski resorts. In Soviet times they were available in the neighboring countries, but not in Azerbaijan. But our natural environment and the climate allow this, so it was decided to develop this direction of tourism in Azerbaijan. The Shahdag tourist mountain ski resort was commissioned in Gusar District several months ago. According to the information provided to me recently, 2,000 tourists come and enjoy these facilities on Saturdays and Sundays. This is great support for the development of Gusar District and it will give a major impetus to the work ongoing there.
Another mountain ski center is being created in Gabala. It will probably become operational next year, perhaps even at the end of this year. This too will be of help in attracting more tourists. There is already an international airport, beautiful roads are being built and infrastructure projects implemented. Among them, as you know, the projects related to drinking water are of top priority. These projects are carried out in Gabala too and they will be completed in the near future. Work on gasification is under way, rural roads are being restored, and new industrial enterprises and livestock farms based on the latest technology are being established. This comprehensive development must be everywhere. Social and economic issues, the rehabilitation and construction of industrial, infrastructure facilities, culture centers, historical and religious monuments – all of this work is being done in a comprehensive manner. These issues are being successfully resolved in Gabala. I want to congratulate the people of Gabala on all these achievements. I wish you all every success and good health.