Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Controvertial War Memorial

On the hill above Baku is the memorial to those who were killed in either the battles for freedom in 1990 or the war in Karabackh. It is a fine place to see the city and the way up is helped by a funicular railway.

There is another war memorial that has a more troubled history, for it is for those British and Commonwealth soldiers and sailors that died there in the first world war.

It was news to me that we Brits had even got this far, but apparently it was one of those complex Caucasus political sagas where by this time the Turks were the friends of the Azeris and tried to help them gain independence. However the Turks were the enemy of the British, and using the logic that my enemy's friend is my enemy too came and fought the Azeri.

So this memorial is not that welcome.

That is one trouble with being British - almost every country has some story and complaint against the actions of the old Empire.

In the tour of the Abseron Peninsula (next post) my guide told me another story. Apparently the British soldiers and sailors far from home had Baku girlfriends and even wives and when they had to leave they were given the last carriage of the train out of town. However for some reason, which my guide put down to tricks and treasons, the last carriage got disconnected from the train and was left behind!

My guide told me this story after asking if I was married - hmmm, maybe a message there.

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