Museum of Miniature Books was registered by the Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan Republic on April 20, 2000.
On 23rd April, 2002, in historical part of the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, on the territory of State Historical-Architectural Reserve “Icherisheher”, near to the architecture monument of XIV century, the Palace of Shirvanshahs’, there took place the opening of the first and so far the only private Museum of miniature books in the world.
Why exactly this place and this day?
By the personal instruction of national leader Heydar Aliyev, City Hall by his own order confirmed chosen by us empty place, where museum building was built.
On April 23, 1616, on the same day, the great classics of world literature, William Shakespeare and Miguel Cervantes, passed away. In accordance with decision of UNESCO, this day is marked around the world annually as the Day of International Books and Copyrights, thus, to immortalize their names.
Museum visitors often ask me this question: – How did the idea of collecting miniature books come about?
I was offered to purchase a facsimile small-format edition of the complete collection of I. Krylov’s fables of 1835 with illustrations for 23 rubles in November 1982, in Moscow, in the All-Union Volunteer Book Society. At that time it was an expensive pleasure, but I still decided and, having paid the cost, went to the warehouse for a book. It was there that for the first time I saw miniature books of 6 titles. From this day on, the formation of my collection began. Over the past 37 years, I have collected more than 9,000 miniature books published in 83 countries.
Today, in the museum on the area 145 sq.m.in 39 glass cases (compared with 25 on the opening in 2002) exhibited more than 5800 miniature books, including about 3500 miniature books up to size 75×75 mm according to the standards of Guinness Book of Records.In the former USSR the format of miniature book was considered as 100×100 mm on the page and, of course, in my collection, presented in the Museum of miniature books, are exhibited mini books corresponding for the format of that period.
The rarest in the museum’s exposition are 4 micro-books by “Toppan” Publishing House, Tokyo, Japan: 1 in 0.75×0.75 mm format and 3 in 2×2 mm format, as well as micro books from German publishers: 1 in 2.0×2.9 mm format (Leipzig) and 4 in the format of 3.5×3.5 mm (Munich).
Principle of placing books in the museum exposit on is this: in the center of the hall, directly opposite the entrance are installed 3 glass cases – in the central, in the 1st – exhibited miniature books published in Azerbaijan; in the right, in the 2nd – micro books and rarity; in the left, in the 3rd – the religious mini book. To the left of the center of the hall, glass cases 4–22 display miniature books published in the former Soviet republics of the USSR and the Russian Federation after 1991, as well as autographed miniatures addressed to the creator of the museum. On the right, mini-books of near and far abroad countries are displayed in glass cases 23-38, and to the left of the entrance to the 39th glass case there are 47 unique miniatures donated to the Museum by American artists and 3 wooden presses for miniature and small books donated by the museum master from Australia. (see layout of glass cases on page 46-47).