Zeynalabdin Tagiyev was born in 1823 in a poor family of shoemakers in Baku.
His mother Ummu passed away when Zeynalabdin was 10 years old. Little
Zeynalabdin was a hardworking and an intelligent child. He worked as a
bricklayer when he was 10 years old. He
was already specialized in masonry by the age of 12, and he was already a stonemason
when he was 15 years old. After a while he begins to be recognized as a master
of construction and organizer. After saving, and accumulating some amount of
money he started to build houses and sell them. He personally supervised his
subsequent construction work. His style was obvious, in buildings which he
constructed, for example, in the building he lived and personally launched
gymnasium for girls.
Zeynalabdin was married twice. His first wife was his uncle’s daughter Zeynab
khanum. Zeynab khanum had two sons and a daughter. His sons are Ismail, Sadiq and
his daughter Xanim. His second wife was Sona khanum, daughter of the famous generalleutnant
Balakishi bey Arablinsky. The eldest of Arablinski’s two daughters was the wife
of Sadiq (son of Haji). Sona khanum had three daughters and two sons. Daughters
are Leyla, Sarah, and Suryaia. His sons are Muhammad and Ilyas. Mohammed killed
himself while serving in “Dikaya division”, while Ilyas died of the disease.
Later he starts to deal
with trade and light industry. He succeeds
in both fields thanks to his abilities, owns shops and manufactures. He was one
of the most successful entrepreneurs’ who was exporting Baku oil via Caspian
Sea and Caucasian railway. As a result of purposeful measures, Tagiyev was one
of the first national industrialists to break the colonial character of
Industry and Transportation
1870, Tagiyev had a kerosene plant with two boilers. Along with the Kerosene
plant, he later created “H. Z. Tagiyev” company. All Muslim, Russian,
and Jewish charities in Baku chose him as Honorary Chairman. At that time, Baku
became the real oil state. In the villages surrounding Baku, the lands were
bought by investors from Russia and abroad, and oil barriers were raised. This
also attracts Haji and he starts to operate in oil sector. In 1872, when the
oil rich lands were in auction, Tagiyev also rent’s a land. Tagiyev, who
never lost hope, finally actualize his desires. Oil erupts like a fountain from
the lands that he acquired. By registering the oil company “H. Z.
Tagiyev” he pays a high salary to the laborers of Zeynalabdin mine, and
installs the latest equipment. As a result his revenues are rapidly increasing.
After that, he also purchases oil refineries. In 1882, Tagiyev was nominated as
a merchant of the 1st Guild. In 1896 his oil company achieved the highest
results in production. 32 million pounds (512kg) of oil. Due to the creation of “Mazut”
company, they created the “Baku-Batumi” oil pipeline joint stock company with the
leadership of local wealthy person Colaq Aghabala Quliyev. At that time, the
oil pipeline, which was considered a gigantic construction, crossed the Kur
plain and crossed the slopes of the Caucasus Mountains and the slopes of Suram
Fortress, extending over 800 kilometers from the Reon Plain and linking the
Caspian coast to the Black Sea coast. Baku oil would lead to oceans, far-away
countries and international markets. Started in 1897, they completed the
pipeline construction in 1907.
In 1897 Tagiyev sold his oilfields to one of the British
companies, and invested to non-oil sector. The Baku textile factory, built by him,
was the beginning of the new production in Azerbaijan. In order to supply the
textile factory with raw materials, Tagiyev purchased land for cotton
cultivation in Yevlakh region and built a cotton-cleaning plant in Javad in
1909. The trade house, which is considered to be the largest shopping center in
Baku, was also created by Tagiyev.
II Nikolay’s brother, the great prince Mikhail Alexandrovich, married a Polish
girl, and after taking his throne, he asked Tagiyev to allow him to hunt in the
forests around Yevlakh and rest. He sent a gift to Haji with a golden gear
embellished with jewelry. He acquired the 300 km land for fishing from the
coast of Azerbaijan to the coast of Dagestan, Derbent and Port-Petrovsk of
Caspian Sea. He was renting the fishing territories around Kur from the
In 1890, Tagiyev, who
was invested a huge amount in the fishing industry, had large fishing grounds.
He has built a refrigerator plant, an ice-making plant, and a tub factory in
Makhachkala to keep the fish products.
He built a large
palace in the center of the city in three years (1895-1897). All four facades
of this palace and giant domes on the roof attract attention from far away. One
side is “Bariyantinski” street, another is “Star?y politseyski” street, the
third is “Merkuri” street, and the fourth is “Qarçakov” street; it is considered as one of the most
beautiful buildings of the city in all respects due to its external
architecture and interior design. The author of the project, Yuzef Goslavski,
used the architectural style of the European order and created an individual
composition. A huge gas lantern was lit in every four corners and main entrance
of the building.
Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev spent about 300,000 manats in
1901 and built the first girls’ gymnasium in Baku. This was the only girls’
school in Transcaucasia. The building of the school started in 1898 and it was
ready in 1900. This school is located “Nikolayevski” street. The building of
the girls’ school is in the national-romantic style of the Azerbaijani architecture.
The wall of the main room is made of the white and golden bricks.
Zeynalabdin Tagiyev was known in all over the Russia for his kindness and
enlightenment. That was not a coincidence that his educational services mainly
start at the beginning of the twentieth century. After the 1905 revolution, the
government’s October Acknowledgment triggered the revival of cultural and
educational activities in the country. A number of societies have appeared throughout the
country for charity purposes. Newspapers and magazines have started to print. The
creation of these societies, the publication of newspapers and magazines is
primarily related to Tagiyev’s name. In this activity, Tagiyev was a kind of
organizer. The societies created for charity purposes are created either by Tagiyev’s
personal involvement or funds or by his help.
charity society was the Muslim Charity Society, founded in 1905. In addition,
Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev was a close associate in the creation of “N??r v? Maarif”,
time, prisoners were on the Nargin Island. The people were suffering while
visiting their relatives. Finally, they appeal to Zeynalabdin to help them with
this issue, and solve this problem. Then he gives the five- storeyed
mill (now a confectionery factory) which was considered to be a remote place of
the city built in Guba (Fuzuli) Square and the Coal Miners Square, for prison. According
to other references, a high-ranking official is appointed to Baku. Haji goes to
him and says that, if you need any help, do not be shy to say, I am not
stealing anything from the government. An official explains: “We keep the
prisoners on Nargin Island, and the workers spend a lot of time on the road.
They also suffer; if possible, help us with this issue.” Haji Zeynalabdin gives
the mill building to the government for the prison. He moves the mill equipment
which was imported from abroad to the area where the weaving factory is, and
builds a new mill there. He built a private property near the factory for his
family and stayed there periodically.
also allocated money for the construction of the Baku-Shollar water pipeline. An
expedition engineering team from abroad which was invited by Lindley find’s out
that there is transparent, fresh spring water in the woods from Xudat to the
north-east. Nevertheless, the construction of the Shollar Pipeline, which will
bring the inhabitants of Baku peace and prosperity, lengthened due to the lack
of necessary funds, and due to the propagandistic information of the opponents
who were against this project. Only After the permission of the emperor II
Nikolay in 1909, 6 October it was allowed to build the Shollar Pipeline. Thanks
to the commitment and loyalty of the project author Lindley, and Tagiyev all
the equipment needed for the construction of the pipeline is imported from
abroad. Even during the First World War, the construction work has not stopped.
Construction of the pipeline, warehouses, and intra-city network was
accelerating. Finally, construction of the first line of Shollar-Baku water
pipeline in December 1916 is completed due to the strong will and diligent work
of the Baku workers.
Girl’s Gymnasium of the Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev – Educated girl, educated mother, and
He wrote from my
Experience in the “Teze Heyat” newspaper of 12 February 1908: “When I was poor,
I did not receive anything from my parents except for love, and hugs and I
think that my present condition is due to the love and hugs they gave me. I
cannot explain whether it is just luck or a blessing of Allah, but I love and
cherish my nation, its happiness and future existence as much as industry and
business, even more so. The one thing that I believe is important for that
future is the upbringing and education of my people. Recognizing the necessity
of opening schools to educate and raise young children and the importance of
publishing books and newspapers for the education and development of adults, I
attended to these issues and will do so in the future.”
was anxious about Muslim women’s lives and their ignorance of their rights. He
extremely wished them to be educated, erudite and liberal. He believed that an
ignorant and oppressed woman is also an uneducated mother. He often asked: What
can such a woman give to her child? He was convinced that enlightenment should
begin with girls, thus the enlightenment of a child results in an educated
individual, nevertheless, an educated girl means an educated mother and an
educated family in the future. That is why he sent his daughters Leyla and Sara
to get higher education in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
school that has played an important role in the history of Azerbaijan’s
education, the development of secular education, the education of Azerbaijani
women. The school was opened with the support honorable Haji Zeynalabdin
Tagiyev. This school was the first secular girl’s school in the Muslim East.
1897, Haji faces the bureaucracy of Russian emperor’s offices. Four years have
been spent on the permit for construction of the school building. The building
for the Muslim girl’s school is being built next to the building of “?smailiyy?”.
The architect IV Golovskiy was in charge of the building process. He spends 183 thousand 533 rubles for school
building. The great intellectuals were also involved in realization of school.
Hasan bey Zardabi’s wife, Hanifa khanim,
likes this initiative and helps Haji, first she becomes a teacher of the
school, and then the director. Haji’s second wife Sona khanum Tagiyeva,
Alimardan bey Topcubasov and other intellectuals welcome this innitiative and
do their utmost to open the school as soon as possible.
1901, the whole city gathered at the school’s opening. “Kaspi” newspaper
describes the event as follows: “The beautiful monument in Nikolayevski Street
was decorated with flags, and the great hall on the second floor was filled with
businessmen. There were speeches after the negotiations on the construction of
the school. The chorus of girls who would study at the school performed several
Azerbaijani songs. Then the congratulatory telegrams were read which was sent
to the school. The congratulation letter which read by Alimardan bey
Topchubashov was signed by Hesen bey. It was said, “Long live Haji!”.
to the school’s rules, the girls stayed at the school. The course was based on
the course of Russian elementary schools with additional classes on handicrafts
and homework, taking into account the needs of the Muslim family. Girls should
start education at the age of 7 and study for 4 years. Lessons were conducted
in Russian also Azerbaijani language and religion classes were held. Initially,
50 students were enrolled, 20 of them were getting the scholarships from Haji,
and they were also staying at school. However, although there are 50 people for
admission, the number of applicants for the first year reached 58. The first
female Muslim school in the Muslim East, incorporating Muslim traditions with
European modernism, laid the foundations for secular women’s education in
Azerbaijan. Teachers from different regions of Russia were invited for quality
teaching. Tagiyev limited the adoption of girls from wealthy families to
educate girls from poor families. The school’s reputation is rising, and
parents whose children reaching the age of seven are taking their daughters to
Haji’s school. A few years later, Haji paid a huge amount of money and gets Girls
seminary status by prolonging the study period to 6 years.
path by the great person Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev for the nation continued by
the Government of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan (ADR). At the beginning
of 1919, the Baku Women Teachers Seminary became a general teacher training
seminary. Parents were sending their daughters to the school without any hesitation
and doubt of security. The government has also taken important steps to open
museums, other educational and artistic centers that play an important role in
bringing people to national traditions, patriotic spirit.
With the Soviet Russia’s occupation
of Azerbaijan on April 28, 1920, the situation is radically changing. People’s
property is taken away, national cadres and intellectuals are being expelled,
and everything was for Russia’s interests. By request of local people to one of
the leaders of the new government, Nariman Narimanov, allowed Tagiyev to choose a property for
living. He chooses to stay in his summer cottage in Mardakan, not far from
Zeynalabdin Tagiyev died on September 1, 1924, at the age of 101. A large crowd
was gathered to his funeral. People brought food from all the Baku and
surrounding villages to the mourning ceremony.
help of Nariman Narimanov, a neurologist was published in Baku’s “Kommunist”
and “Bakinskiy raboçiy” newspapers.
Suleymanov M. The Things I Heard, Saw and Read.
State Literature and Art Archive of Azerbaijan
Republic, p. 675
Jabbarov F. From the History of the Girls’ School
of H.Z.??giyev. Baku, 2011
State History Archive of the Azerbaijan Republic,
Akhundov F. The Foundation of the Intelligent
Nation – Intelligent Woman. The Girls’ School of H.Z.??giyev. Baku, 2007