26 June – Azerbaijani National Army Day
The national armed forces of Azerbaijan are almost 101 years old. The national army was first formed on 26 June 1918 upon proclamation of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, when the units of former Caucasian army were used to form Georgian, Armenian, Muslim (Azerbaijan) and Russian corps. The Azerbaijan corps was headed by the general-lieutenant Ali-Aga Shikhlinsky. Thus the national Army of Azerbaijan was first formed. The national army of Azerbaijan now consists of ground, air and navy forces, and also internal military forces, state border guard service and military household troops.
Following independence, 26 June, by Heydar Aliyev’s order, dated 22 мая 1998, was announced Azerbaijani Armed Forces Day, celebrated every year since that, and considered a public holiday.
This day, 26 June, Azerbaijan holds one of the most grandiose holidays dedicated to the armed forces. All the metropolitans gather in the city’s central streets to watch a military parade with participation of all country’s army military units held every year. And the demonstration of the country’s naval forces along with the ground ones makes it a truly magnificent spectacle. In addition, another spectacular moment of the parade is the demonstration of the country’s air forces with the latest fighters flying over Baku at the end of it.
Upon the parade, the whole country begins solemn events and open air celebration. Many cities host gala concerts, dedicated to soldiers. In addition, the country’s citizens hold flower- and wreath-laying ceremonies in memory of the perished defenders of the country, as well as to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in memory of the Second World War heroes.