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Bazaar in Baku is being demolished? / JAM news

Bazaar in Baku is being demolished?

“Keşlə Bazaar” has been operating in Keşlə, a municipality in Baku, for almost 30 years. Sellers suspect the market is about to be demolished and fear losing their livelihoods.

Old market in Baku threatened with demolition: what do workers say?

In early May, the State Agency for Azerbaijani Motorways (SAAR) announced that it would start construction of a new road according to the new master plan for Baku. They are currently measuring the structures that will be in the construction zone.

The “Keshla Bazaar” is located in the area where the road will be constructed. The SAAR press service states that it is still unknown whether the market will be demolished or not. This decision has not yet been made. However, representatives of the transport agency have been investigating the market, which has significantly increased the concerns of the people who work there.

“We spend more time here than at home”

Old market in Baku threatened with demolition: what do workers say?

“Keşlə Bazaar” consists of two parts: one completely enclosed and the other partially open-air. The people here earn their livelihood in various ways, from repairing shoes to selling chickens.

Market workers say rent here is cheaper than in other markets. They can work here for a few manats a day. This is one of the main reasons why Keşlə Bazaar vendors don’t want to leave.

“A few days ago, two people came with measuring tapes and started measuring the market area. We asked if the news was true, if the market would really be demolished. They said, ‘We don’t know, we haven’t been told. We were just ordered to measure the area, so we are measuring,’” says Sanubar Aliyeva, one of the market vendors.

Old market in Baku threatened with demolition: what do workers say?

48-year-old Sanubar Aliyeva has been working at the ‘Keshla Bazaar’ with her husband for 17 years. They say they provide for their family by selling chickens and eggs from a small stall here.

“This market has been our home for seventeen years. We spend more time here than at home. And if they take it away from us, we won’t know what to do. I have four grandchildren and three sons. We live together. We all earn 5-10 manat a day, mainly in this market,” says Sanubar, leaning on the counter.

“But when the market management came to collect the fees for the stalls, they said, ‘Don’t worry, the market will not be demolished,’” another vendor told Sanubar.

“Do you think they would say they are going to destroy the market when they come to collect the fees?!” a third seller joked.

“No one cares about us”

The ‘Keshla Bazaar’ is no longer as vibrant as it used to be. It seems that the rumors of the market’s demolition have even reached the buyers.

Old market in Baku threatened with demolition: what do workers say?
Old market in Baku threatened with demolition: what do workers say?

‘What does she take pictures of? She records our lives. She records how they take away our only means of existence. Shouldn’t we talk about what will happen to us, how we will live if the market is demolished?!” Before I could answer, Aunt Sadagat responded for me from behind her counter.

Old market in Baku threatened with demolition: what do workers say?

Aunt Sadagat is 62 years old. According to her, she has been working here practically since the market was founded. She sells seasonal fruit and vegetables on her one-meter counter.

She lives with her daughter, three sons, their wives and five grandchildren in their two-bedroom house on the outskirts of Baku.

“My children cannot afford to rent an apartment and live separately. What we earn barely covers food and clothing. If it comes to that, I don’t like sitting here from morning to night at all. But what can I do, I have no choice. Instead of creating new jobs, they are closing existing ones,” Aunt Sadagat complains.

Bazaar in Baku is being demolished?

Bazaar in Baku is being demolished?

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