Remembrance Day

Azerbaijani Day of Nationwide Sorrow


00:00 - 12:00

Every year, on the 20th of January, Azerbaijan observes Martyrs' Day, remembering the victims of the event that went down in Azerbaijani history as “Black January”.

On the night between the 19th and 20th of January, 1990, 26,000 Soviet troops entered Azerbaijan amid escalating ethnic violence between Azeri and Armenians, which was triggered by the Armenian Supreme Council’s decision to annex Nagorno-Karabakh. A state of emergency was declared by the authorities, but it would be publicly disclosed only several hours after the beginning of the offensive, when many civilians were already dead or injured. 

Using the tensions as a pretext, Soviet officials tried to suppress the growing nationalist and pro-independence movement. That night, Soviet military units carried out a brutal massacre in Baku: more than 130 people were killed, around 600 were injured, and 841 were unlawfully detained. 

Despite the state of emergency, many people took to the streets again to bury the victims. During the ceremony, their bodies were carried to be buried in the Alley of Martyrs.

Each year, people converge there to honor the memory of the victims.