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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.

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          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
Azerbaijan’s economy.


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.

The first
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”,
“Nicat” societies.

At that
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.


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