CHARLY KURZ
 
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Baku, Oil City

 

2003 Charly Kurz / Lookat
Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, is located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea. Life in this city has always been closely associated with oil. Here black gold comes out of the ground. The city is sourrounded by endless oilfields, broken pipelines and oil lakes. In between the squeaking pumps a few oil workers are fighting the ongoing decline.

By the beginning of the 20th century the Baku oil field was the largest in the world and once the drilling was extended to the sea, Oil Rocks, a whole unique city was built on stilts 60 miles off the shore. Today more than 1500 people live and work here.

Azerbaijan has long been known for its rich oil resources and following its independence in 1991 contracts with major oil companies such as BP were signed. For the last ten years the country has been ruled by Heydar Aliyev. The now 80 year old president has long been a strong factor for stability and continuity. What changes will the western influence bring and what will come after the elections to be held in Fall of 2003 remains a big question mark.

Magommed Agajew chief ingeneer of Oil Rocks, in front of a monument to honor oilworkers. Oil Rocks Azerbaijan, 04/2003
View Images: Baku