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Azerbaijan: Baku Coming Down From Eurovision High

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For sale at Baku's downtown market, a T-shirt is printed with pictures of Azerbaijan's 2011 Eurovision winners, Eldar and Nigar.

A song titled “Euphoria” won the Eurovision Song Contest for the Swedish entrant, Loreen. For many Baku residents, the word that comes to mind now that the contest is over is relief.

For the days that Azerbaijan served as the host of the Eurovision event, many areas of the capital were under tight security. That meant a mountain of hassles for locals.

Access to the main event venue, the Crystal Hall, was tightly controlled, with non-ticket holders not being allowed anywhere near the place. Police roadblocks also meant snarled traffic.

With the contest now in the rear-view mirror, officials can exhale and inconvenienced residents of downtown neighborhoods can resume their normal routines. Of course, hundreds of those who used to call the city center home were displaced, as their residences were demolished to make way for the glitzy Eurovision infrastructure. For these unlucky souls, Eurovision is a source of lingering sadness.

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Sitara Ibrahimova is a freelance photojournalist based in Baku.

Azerbaijan: Baku Coming Down From Eurovision High

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