BOOK HOUSES OF AZERBAIJAN
Despite the fact that the development of the book business in our area dates back to the XI century, the history of its foundation dates back to ancient times — the time of the creation of the first state. From historical sources, it is known that as early as the 5th century in Caucasian Albania there was an alphabet consisting of 52 letters, in connection with which a number of books of that time were translated into Albanian, and the first libraries began to appear in churches and schools. With the arrival of Islam on the territory of Azerbaijan, libraries began to be created at madrassas and schools, which led to a widespread culture of reading among the people. Thus, the peak of the development of librarianship falls in the 11th century. During this time, the most valuable books were copied and sent to various libraries for storage, which contributed to an even greater increase in the number of book houses.
True connoisseurs of literature, scientists, respected, famous, and wealthy people of their time often had their own libraries. These libraries contained books from various parts of the world. Among them, the most famous are the Bahmanyar Library, founded in the 11th century and considered at that time the most valuable in the world; the library of Khatib Tabrizi, considered the first Azerbaijani literary theorist, founded at the turn of the 11th-12th centuries; the library "Seiyidin" by Nasreddin Tusi, established in Maragha in the 13th century and containing over 400,000 books; libraries "Rashidiyye" Rashidaddin, consisting of two buildings and the city university library.
Books from Iran, Egypt, China, Greece, Byzantium, and other countries were brought here, to the first Azerbaijani university "Rashidiyye", the library of the city mosque and hospitals.
After the development of libraries in the Middle Ages, various libraries functioned in Azerbaijan — palace, religious, special scientific, and private. Of the palace libraries, it is worth noting the library of the Shirvanshahs' palace (XII century), the Tabriz library (XIII century), the palace libraries of the Akkoyunlu and Karakoyunlu states (XIV-XV centuries). In the 16th century, the prominent Azerbaijani statesman Shah Ismail Khatai founded the Tabriz Palace Library. In 1522 Shah Ismail Khatai signed a decree "On librarianship".
At the beginning of the last century, the Azerbaijani intelligentsia organized charitable societies in order to establish new libraries and reading rooms. During the period of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (1918-1920), the library named after M.A. Sabir and the library of the Baku State University was created.
In 1920, there were already 965 school libraries in Azerbaijan. There were about 50 libraries in Baku and its suburbs and more than 100 in villages and districts.
Today, more than 12,000 libraries function in Azerbaijan, the largest of them is the National Library named after M.F. Akhundov, the Central Scientific Library, the Scientific Medical Library, the Library of the Baku State University, the Presidential Library, the Republican Youth Library named after Jafar Jabarly.
There are also a number of bookstores in Azerbaijan — Baku Book Center, Libraff, Ali, and Nino, including others, which display examples of classical and modern world literature.