Palace of Happiness
The most popular of the Baku ‘Wedding Palaces’ – literally popular mansion venues that can be hired for weddings – the vast Palace of Happiness, with its ornate pseudo gothic spires, scrolls, twirls and flourishes, to say nothing of its rooftop statuary, is something of an architectural wedding cake in its own right. Built by oil baron Mukhtarov as a love gift for his second wife, their courtship (and the palace) has become synonymous with romanticism in Baku. Mukhtarov was low-born, exceptionally wealthy and infatuated byrnthe high-born daughter of a prominent aristocrat. When his petitions were resolutely refused, he embarked on a long and careful campaign building mosques in her hometown to demonstrate his piety and dependability. The aristo finally relented and, once married, the ever-romantic Muhktarov continued to shower his wife with touching gifts and tokens culminating in this enormous mansion, until his tragic death at his own hands after failing to defend his wife’s home against the Communist invaders.