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Martyr's Cemetry

Martyrs' Lane, Alley of Martyrs or Shahidlar Xiyabany (transliterated to Shehidler Khiyabani), formerly The Kirov Park, is a cemetery and memorial in Baku, Azerbaijan dedicated to those killed by the Soviet Army during Black January and later to those killed in Nagorno-Karabakh War.

In the closing days of World War I fighting broke up as a result of Russian Civil War. Four groups fought for control of the area when the Russian Empire collapsed. Fighting each other were the Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, Armenians and Azeris. Many people were killed in the fighting including men from a small British force sent to prevent Baku falling into the hands of the Ottomans or the Germans.

The site first served as former Muslim cemetery, where they buried the bodies of victims of the March Events of 1918 which was a part of the localized fighting of the Russian Civil War.

The cemetery was completely destroyed and the corpses removed from there after the Bolsheviks came to power, who created an amusement park and installed a statue of Sergei Kirov, the prominent Bolshevik leader. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the statue as well as park amusement facilities were removed and the location was reinstated as a burial site for national heroes. Some of its first men who were honoured by the newly instated memorial were those that died during Black January events of 1990 when Soviet forces invaded Baku.

The memorial was again used for men who died in the Nagorno-Karabakh War, an armed conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan.

It's estimated that about 15,000 people are buried in the cemetery. It is located on a hill in the south of the city and offers views of the Caspian Sea. Thousands visit the shrine to pay their respects to those who had given their lives for Azerbaijan's independence.

You can take a little tram ride up the side of the hill to reach this spot for 20cents, and it’s well worth the trip.

The Eternal Flame memorial at Martyrs' lane often covered by wreaths is usually attended by many presidents and dignitaries of Baku.

Martyrs' Lane is also home to the large memorial to the 1,130 Turkish troops, which were killed while fighting Bolshevik and Armenian forces in the Battle of Baku in 1918. Next to the memorial there is a Martyrs mosque also built by Turks. The memorial contains a hexagonal block cladded by red granite and at each face, a pure white marble crescent-star from Turkish national flag had fitted within and unveiled by the former Turkish president Su"leyman Demirel and Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev with a prestigious ceremony in September, 1999.

Not far from the Turkish memorial there is a small wall acknowledging the British soldiers killed in the same conflict.