Memorial Dates in Azerbaijan: Martyrs' Day

Martyrs’ Day in Azerbaijan

Nationwide Sorrow for the victims of the "Black January"

On 20 January, every year Azerbaijan holds formal occasions dedicated to the victims of the events which took place on 20 January 1990 and went down in country’s history as “Black January”. That day as a result of the interference of the Soviet troops several hundreds of civilians were perished in the Azerbaijani capital Baku.

The 20 January events were preceded by numerous unrests occurred in Baku as well as in other cities of the country, and provoked by the events which had taken place in Karabakh. Many city-folk held a peaceful meeting. The Soviet government, scared by a growing discontent among the local community as well as a burst of political activity, convened an extraordinary meeting of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and took decision dated 19 January 1990, to bring the troops to the country and impose an emergency rule.

On 20 January 1990 at 00:20am, a 20,000 contingent of the Soviet forces intruded into Baku. Protesting against such infringement of the country’s Constitution, hundreds of civilians joined a meeting, with the result that almost 170 of them were killed and over 400 were injured. On 22 January 1990, in commemoration of the perished, almost 1.5 millions of Baku residents proceeded at gunpoint along the central streets of the city.

The memory оf the heroically perished Azrbaijanis was commemorated with the Shekhid Alley laid out in Nagorny Park were victims of the 20 January were buried, while this day was declared Martyrs’ Day in Azerbaijan. Every year thousands of metropolitans come this day to venerate the memory of the victims of those events and lay flowers to their memorials.