"Mention the name Nobel and most people think of the prestigious prizes and maybe the invention of dynamite. But here the famous Swedish Nobels are synonymous with oil, the once and future lifeblood of Azerbaijan's economy. More than anyone, the Nobel family led the charge to develop Azerbaijan's oil resources at the end of the 19th century. They introduced innovations like oil pipelines and steam-powered tankers to a primitive industry, transforming Baku into one of the world's leading oil sources for a glorious and brief period" - this is how The New York Times begins its article on the Nobel Brothers heritage in Azerbaijan.
Built in 1884, Villa Petrolea was a residence for Nobel brothers for almost 40 years. In 1879 they established the Brothers Nobel Oil Company – "Branobel", which very soon became one of the biggest oil companies in the world and the only vertically integrated. Despite the common belief Alfred Nobel together with his elder brothers Ludwig and Robert was the initiator and one of the major shareholders of "Branobel". But of course the "father" of the company was Ludwig Nobel who made significant contribution to the development of oil industry in Azerbaijan, to its economic, scientific and cultural rise at the end of XIX century. He was generally regarded as a true oil king of that time. Ludwig Nobel built a first oil tanker in the world oil pipeline Baku-Batumi, which linked Baku oil to an open sea, rare storage
Ludwig Nobel and then his son Emmanuel, who skillfully managed the "Branobel" till 1920, when Bolshevik Red Army invaded in Baku and nationalized the oil industry, considered Baku (Villa Petrolea) as their second home. They created a real oasis, a beautiful park in the famous "Black City" of Baku, with trees and flowers from Italy and France. Their architects, invited from Europe, constructed a modern Village Petrolea with houses for top managers, school,
theatre, hospital, etc. But the central point was Nobel Brothers family house – Villa Petrolea, which was completely
reconstructed and restored in 2007 by Baku Nobel Heritage Fund (BNHF), a non-profit private organization. BNHF
was established in 2004 as a civil initiative to restore the Nobel brothers' heritage in Azerbaijan. Villa Petrolea is now
home to the Nobel Brothers' Museum, International Conference Centre and Baku Nobel Oil Club.
For more information on the BNHF and BNOC or if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.