April 25, 2011
In the program, its producer and host Daniel Forster goes behind the scenes of the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center and the Flame Towers - unique complexes currently under construction in Azerbaijan's capital.
"Determined to remake the Azeri identity, this 2000-year old oil-rich city is undertaking one of the most ambitious construction projects in history, spending $6 billion a year on over 500 new developments to transform an area three times bigger than Manhattan in just 15 years," says Daniel Forster in the program. "They are starting with two of the most audacious projects – the world's first flame-shaped skyscrapers atop the highest point in the city, and the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, housing a museum, national library and 1200-seat performance hall, all under one flowing roof - unlike any in the world."
Remembering the crucial moments of the struggle of Azerbaijani people for independence, the host notes: "The liberation of Azerbaijan from the Soviet Union was not a peaceful process. In 1990, a year before the fall of the USSR, hundreds of thousands of Azeris got together to protest for their independence. That night Soviet tanks rolled into the city and opened fire, killing 137 civilians... Now, 20 years later the country is celebrating its independence with a different kind of symbol, by building the tallest buildings in the entire region."
"The idea is not just building monuments to Azeri history, but it is the idea of a place that can actually create a different Azeri future," concludes Daniel Forster.