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Hajinski Mansion

One of the richest of the turn-of-the last-century oil mansions, the Hajinsky Mansion is also one of the few to have been sensitively restored to all of its original glory. This is also famously where de Gaulle stayed in 1944 on his circuitous route to Moscow for his summit with Stalin while still leader of the French Resistance, a fact commemorated by a bas relief on the wall of what now houses the Tom 'Gucci' Ford flagship store.

The Hajinski residence is located near the most dominant landmark in the city-the Maiden's Tower. This mansion was constructed in 1912 for Isa Bey Hajinski (1862-1918), a wealthy landowner who discovered oil on his property, and who also owned a kerosene refinery in the "Black City" sector of Baku.

Taller than most buildings of the period, the Hajinski residence has five stories and is distinguished by its unusual limestone carvings, especially the comic faces on the fac,ades of the building. The building style is eclectic; in fact, the two facades are so different from each other that it seems like they could belong to two different buildings. It is said that the architect diverted money and construction materials from the project to build his own residence (now the American Embassy).

Hajinski died shortly before the Bolsheviks took power in Baku. His three sons had to flee the country. According to information which has yet to be verified, one of them, Ahmad, tried to return to Baku along with the Germans during World War II. He was captured and escorted to Baku as a prisoner and subsequently sentenced to death. They say his last wish was just to take a look at the family residence prior to his death. His request was denied.

During the Soviet period, the Hajinski residence was divided up into separate apartments. On November 26, 1944, Charles de Gaulle stayed overnight in one of the best apartments. DeGaulle was enroute from Tehran to Moscow where he was to meet Stalin.