Saturday, January 17, 2009

Inappropriate changes



I've been traveling so much lately, that this evening I felt the need to explore my own neighborhood. I hadn't really taken a walk on the perimeter of Icheri Sheher (Old City) in weeks. Since my last walk in the area, much fencing has come down, revealing freshly completed construction projects.

Some of this is nice. A new fountain. Some landscaping. It's certainly more scenic that the ubiquitous fencing that surrounded so many parks in Baku this summer. But I have a few aesthetic quibbles.

Perhaps my major complaint is with this clock pictured above. The Icheri Sheher is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. So - how does this neon colored clock fit? It doesn't. I'm not sure where it would be appropriate, but certainly not on these ancient walls.

And while I personally am glad to have a functioning metro station near my residence, the newly-opened and renamed Icheri Sheher station also looks completely inappropriate for the site. Two people have complained to me about the expense of the facility - which was reportedly more than $10 million. I can't get verification of the cost. Couldn't find any reference at all to the cost in any Internet-listed sources.

I did find a news reference that confirmed what I heard - that within days of the metro opening, severe leaks were found in the roof. The ticket sellers took refuge under umbrellas, according to my source.