Germans in Azerbaijan

A Swabian family in Helenendorf

Since 1818 Germans have been living in Azerbaijan. The process of settlement of German colonists in Azerbaijan began with the first German settlers from Württemberg who settled in Elisabethpol County, now Gəncə, in 1818, where they founded two settlements in 1819 Helenendorf, now Göygöl, and Annenfeld, today Şəmkir.


The history of German settlements in the territory of Azerbaijan has begun since the first decades of the 19th century. In other words, the moving of German villagers from the Württemberg city of Germany to the South Caucasus and their settlement in the territories of Azerbaijan began between 1816-1818. Two German colonies - Helenendorf and Annenfeld were built in 1819 in Azerbaijan. Later, number of German settlements in the territory of Azerbaijan increased and reached eight in the beginning of the twentieth century: German settlements named Helenendorf, Annenfeld, Gorgesfeld, Alekseyevka, Grünfeld, Eygenfeld, Traubenfeld, Yelizavetinka were built in the old Azerbaijani villages of Goygol, Shamkir, Gazakh, Tovuz and Aghstafa regions. Among them there are specialists from different fields, business people, academics, architects, engineers, and so on.[1][2]


German colonists worked in the field of viticulture and wine growing in Azerbaijan. Forer and Hummel brothers are known for their winery companies, medium and small farms. Beer and cognac factories were built by Forer brothers' firm in Helenendorf. Cultivation, livestock, and various kinds of art have also developed in German settlements along with vine-growing - wine-making. In 1922, vine-growing - wine-making production named "Concordia" was established in German settlements, and in the 1930s kolkhozes began to function.[3]


Education and culture in the cultural life of the German community were of great importance. In 1842 the first school building was built in Helenendorf. Total 8 German schools functioned in the German villages of Azerbaijan and in Baku in the mid-1920s. German, Azerbaijani and Russian teachers have worked in these schools. The German population showed great interest to the Azerbaijani language. At the end of 1920, engineering school, and in the 1930s the vine-growing and wine-making school began to function in Helenendorf.

Culture life[edit]

Lutheran churches were established in Helenendorf in 1854, and in Annenfeld in 1909 based on project of German architect A.Eyxler and F.Lemkul, as well as the Lutheran lantern was opened in Baku in 1899.

Deputy of parliament Lorenz Yakovlevich Kun was representative of the German population during the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. At that time, one of important historical events in the Germans life took place, the 100th anniversary of the Germans' settlement and Helenendorf colony were celebrated in Azerbaijan on June 9, 1919.[2]

Between 1920-1930, newspapers "Bauer und Arbeiter" ("Kəndli və fəhlə"), and "Lenins Weg" ("Lenin yolu") in the German language were published in Azerbaijan. In 1928, an Ethnological Museum was opened in Helenendorf by organization of archaeologist, educator Hummel. In 1940 an exhibition dedicated to the Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjavi for the 800th Anniversary in the former USSR was organized in that museum, which is one of the most obvious examples of the dialogue of cultures.

During their living in Azerbaijan, the German population preserved their mother language, national-cultural and ethnographic features. The style of gothic in the German settlements was in the center of attention during the construction of the churches. German colonists have never forgotton traditions, always celebrated national and religious holidays and they differ with their dresses, and national cuisine. Cultural club was organized in Helenendorf, which included theater, sports associations, orchestra, chorus, library and was held performances, concerts.[2]

The German population had religious freedom, as representatives of other peoples living in Azerbaijan. They studied, worked, preserved national-cultural values, lived peacefully in the multicultural Azerbaijan.


Annenfeld or Annino (German Annenfeld) is the German colony, which was founded in 1818 in the South Caucasus and located in the current territory of Shamkir district in Azerbaijan.

The first deportation of the Germans was in 1818. In the summer of that year, 194 German family moved from Tbilisi moved to Yelizavetpol (currently name,Ganja), built two colonies near Shamkhor: Helenendorf (currently name, Khanlar region) and Annenfeld (currently name, Shamkir). The settlement was based on the plan. One of the colonies, Annenfeld German colony, remained in the province of Yelizavetpol until 1917.

Helenendorf (Goygol)[edit]

On August 22, 1819, the first German colony of Helenendorf was founded in Azerbaijan. The moving of the Germans to the Caucasus began in 1817 with the agreement of the Russian Tsar. Helenendorf was founded by the people coming from Württemberg. Then several German settlements were built in the area. In 1938, the settlement was named Khanlar, and in 1941, Germans were deported to Kazakhstan by the order of Stalin. In 2008, the National Assembly of Azerbaijan made a decision to rename Khanlar region as Goygol.[4]


In 1941, after the Great Patriotic War, Germans living in the former USSR, as well as Azerbaijan, were deported to provinces of Kazakhstan and Siberia by the decision of the Soviet leadership as representatives of many different nations.


Cultural events, concerts, exhibitions are held at the German-Azerbaijani Cultural Association "Kapellhaus" in Baku. Architectural buildings built on the basis of German architectural projects are preserved in Azerbaijan.[2][5][6]

See also[edit]