In a world where bigger means better and wealth and power are expressed in architectural wonders, the competition for the world’s tallest building is an ongoing one. Ibrahim Ibrahimov, president of the Avesta Group of Companies, first envisioned the Azerbaijan Tower in 2010 on a flight from Dubai to Baku. He wanted to create a city and sketched out a lobster-shaped development of 40 to 50 artificial islands in the Caspian Sea. This planned community would be home to the world’s new tallest building, apartments, hotels, racetrack, yacht club, an airport, and at least 800,000 permanent residents.
the Khazar Islands (Azerbaijani: Xəzər adaları), also known as Caspian Islands,is a stalled development of artificial islands 25 km (16 mi) south of Baku, Azerbaijan consisting of 41 islands extending 3,000 hectares (30 km2; 7,400 acres; 12 sq mi) into the Caspian Sea .
|Location||25 km (16 mi) south of Baku, Azerbaijan|
|Coordinates||40.24134°N 49.634242°ECoordinates: 40.24134°N 49.634242°E|
|Area||20 km2 (7.7 sq mi)|
The stated plan was for $100 billion, with $30 billion coming from foreign investors and another $30 billion from apartment sales, the city aiming to house 1 million residents in a development with 150 schools, 50 hospitals and daycare centers, numerous parks, shopping malls, cultural centers and a university campus plus a Formula 1 quality racetrack around a centrepiece $2 billion Azerbaijan Tower (planned to have been the tallest in the world).
The city was expected to be equipped with 150 bridges and a large municipal airport to connect the islands to the mainland. It is expected that, in general, the city, when completed in 2022–2023, will host 1 million residents. According to the project, the price of completely renovated apartments will be around $4000–$5000 per square meter.
All of these facilities were to be able to withstand up to magnitude 9.0 earthquakes.The president of the controlling Avesta Group of Companies, Ibrahim Ibrahimov, reportedly had the original idea in a flash while flying between Baku and Dubai. He told reporters that American, Turkish, Arab and Chinese investors had showed interest in the project which he described as being like a “new Venice”.
Construction on Khazar Islands began in March 2011 and substantial building works were achieved during Azerbaijan’s economic boom. In August 2014, the main beach area was opened with a fanfare with many sky-scraper buildings already part constructed. However, the project’s gigantic scale and overly ambitious design became more obvious in 2015 as the oil price crashed. Between May 12 and May 27, 2015 Ibrahimov was arrested due to his company’s inability to start repayment of his/Avesta’s debt to the International Bank of Azerbaijan, a debt then reckoned to be around US$57 million.
After Ibrahimov’s release, company statements later insisted that the project was still scheduled to be completed between 2020 and 2025 with investors from China cited as keen to fill the funding gap. In an April 2017 interview, Ibrahimov insisted that long-delayed works would finally restart later that year. In October 2017 Ibrahimov was reported to have restarted his work with Avesta and declared that he would not leave Azerbaijan but raised doubts as to the continuation of the Khazar Islands project and as of January 2018, there is little sign of any work resuming.
During my time in the Azeri Capital, working on my Crude Gentrification Story, I tried to visit and learn about as many places and project as possible . The Khazar Islands project is by far the one that surprised me the most ! This gigantic complex, as large as a small city is suppose to be spread on 30 Km2 over the caspian Sea and house about a million residents over luxury villas and supposely the tallest tower in the world.
As per the wikipidia page , the project is suppose to go and be finished by 2025 but the reality seems otherwise. The site has been abandoned after only a few of the buildings have been erected. The Khazar Islands project can be seen as a reflection of the situation in Azerbaijan, a country that is trying hard to shine through new urban development and international event but that fails to see its realities . Here are a few images of it and some renders of the project found on the wikipedia page.
Azerbaijan Tower Construction
The proposed Azerbaijan Tower would stand 3,445 feet, making it taller than Burj Khalifa’s by about 728 feet and even Saudi Arabia’s proposed Kingdom Tower by about 164 feet. Its blueprint features 189 floors and will be capable of withstanding earthquakes up to a magnitude of 9.0. Approximately 150 bridges will connect the islands and facilities within the complex.
“It will cost $3 billion just to build Azerbaijan Tower,” Ibrahimov told the New York Times. “Some people may object. I don’t care. I will build it alone. I work with my feelings.” He has stated that if anyone tries to out-do his tower, he’ll build an even bigger one.
A Symbol of Wealth and Power
There have been discussions of building shopping centers, university campuses, cultural centers, and parks on the new islands as well. Ibrahimov’s vision is an impressive one, but not entirely unique. For example, Dubai already boasts of the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab Hotel with its abundance of glass and steel towers flanked by palm trees. These are the symbols of wealth and power in the Persian Gulf. Azerbaijan is a small country that’s made its wealth in the oil industry, bordering the Caspian Sea but separated from the world’s oceans.
Improvements and Challenges
But Ibrahimov’s vision for the world’s largest tower and surrounding community strays a bit from the Dubai models. He wants his structures to seem less artificial, safer, and more beautiful. The islands are being built by trucking rocks and dirt in from a nearby mountain to build them in the sea. Not only is this the most ambitious project in Azerbaijan’s history, but it’s also a serious challenge due to recent political turmoil and protests against local corruption.
Avesta Consern has been planning to start construction of the new tower in 2015, with an estimated completion date in 2019. It will be the centerpiece of the island community, which is fully scheduled to be completed by 2022. We’ll be very curious to hear about the progress of this new construction in the year ahead!
Ibrahimov is planning to build “a sprawling, lobster-shaped development called Khazar Islands — an archipelago of 55 artificial islands in the Caspian Sea with thousands of apartments, at least eight hotels, a Formula One racetrack, a yacht club, an airport and the tallest building on earth, Azerbaijan Tower, which will rise 3,445 feet. When the whole project is complete… 800,000 people will live at Khazar Islands, and there will be hotel rooms for another 200,000. …It will cost about $100 billion.”
Savodnik reports that the day before he arrived in Azerbaijan, Ibrahimov’s representative flew to Moscow to hand-deliver a book and DVD on the Khazar Islands project. Once in Baku, the journalist was struck by the oligarch’s lavish lifestyle — “sitting in the back seat of a black Rolls-Royce as it tore across island No. 1 of his soon-to-be built archipelago. Nigar Huseynli, his 23-year-old assistant, was sitting up front in a black and white floral-print skirt, black tights and rectangular black sunglasses. She seemed to be vaguely worried, always. She wore a great deal of perfume that, she said, came from Italy. ‘When he’s in Azerbaijan,’ Huseynli said, ‘Mr. Ibrahimov always drives in his black Rolls-Royce. In Dubai, he has a red one.’”
Sporting “blue Stefano Ricci crocodile-skin shoes that matched his blue Stefano Ricci jeans, blue Zilli jacket and blue Zilli button-down shirt,” Ibrahimov told Savodnik that the Azerbaijan Tower would definitely be in Guinness World Records. If the Saudis or Emiratis or anyone anywhere tried to build a bigger building, Ibrahimov said he would then build an even bigger one!
Savodnik writes that the Azeri oligarch described Pres. Ilham Aliyev, the Boss of All Bosses, as “a great supporter, an ally, the son of the savior of the people of Azerbaijan.” When the NY Times reporter asked Ibrahimov “about other features of his regime: the lack of transparency, the lack of civil liberties, the detention of opposition activists,” his response was typical of all oligarchs: “I don’t know anything about politics.”
The American journalist boldly slammed both Ibrahimov and his country: Azerbaijan “builds nothing that the rest of the world wants and has no internationally recognized universities. It does, however, have oil.” In a follow up article, Savodnik concluded: “Underneath all the glass and steel and neon lights, it [Azerbaijan] is still an authoritarian state.”
This is not the first time The New York Times has published an exposé of Azerbaijan. In an October 27, 2003 editorial, the newspaper wrote: “Ilham Aliyev, businessman, playboy and novice politician, received a nice gift from his father — the country of Azerbaijan. Heydar Aliyev had ruled Azerbaijan almost continuously for 34 years, first as an agent of the Soviet Politburo and then as an autocrat in his own right. When he became too ill to continue, he anointed his son to run for president in his place. Ilham Aliyev ran a rigged campaign, using all the powers of the state, and then celebrated his victory by arresting most of the opposition.”
The New York Times concluded its scathing editorial by urging the United States to keep Pres. Aliyev “at arm’s length and avoid repeating the unfortunate history of supporting autocrats who sit atop oil riches.” Regrettably, this warning went unheeded by successive US administrations.
The Things You Should Know About Azerbaijan
source : wikipedia.org _ viatechnik _ timfranco _ hayem.org
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