Zeynab Jahan – Icherisheher (Azerbaijan)



It was just mid March when I’ve started to realize how the spread of COVID-19 would dramatically disrupt our lives – our community and work style. And by “our lives” I mean lives worldwide. Still having my working routine between museum and work bureau that day, I was shooting the Gosha Gala Square (the main square of Icherisheher and Baku city, with double gates dating back to the 12th century), completely empty. Completely empty in March! March is the Novruz fest time – a time when you wouldn’t find a room to swing a cat, there’s that – seeing it so deserted felt particularly odd.

Once a self-isolation was announced obligatory (our State message was #StayHome), we have been challenged with the question of engagement of the cultural heritage. All of our everyday life was based on being inside that Fortress – in museums, in towers, palaces, mosques and hammams. Even my routine, so simply done remotely, would happen between the most visible spots and hidden streets. We asked ourselves, how do we remain in contact with our community in regards of heritage?

Whatever we were about to invent, we knew, that along with keeping people in touch with heritage, we had to encourage them to stay at home as well. This is why our campaign is called – #MuseumFromHome. Since March 14, we’ve organized 6 full guided live-streaming tours (online visit), 6 online live-streaming lectures (online communication), and 9 online documentaries (online cinema). By means of our Instagram and Facebook page, where our followers (or random visitors) could watch Icherisheher along with the narrative of one of our best guides, have a talk with historians of the Administration, or invited guests, and watch documentaries on Shirvanshah’s Heritage.

All the way of our “Museum from Home” broadcasting I thought how is it, really, to be a digital nomad those days, and was genuinely grateful for living in this century – where each of us, is able to accomplish most of our ideas by the means of our computers. This evident fact became more luminous to me with COVID isolation.

Zeynab Jahan
PR Manager to State Administration of Historical-Architectural Reserve “Icherisheher”
Baku Hub Global Shapers Community