Books, Films & Exhibitions
The Branobel History Website tells the history of the Nobel brothers’ once great oil industry in an accessible way through short web articles and associated images. Writers and researchers from various countries contribute their texts to give new life to the fascinating past of the early oil history of the Caucasus.
Many others are also engaged in making Branobel a living memory by selecting and presenting glimpses of the past in the form of exhibitions and films. We have therefore compiled some quick tips here to guide those who are interested in exploring the Branobel history further and beyond the contents of this website.
The Nobels in Baku
Swedes' Role in Baku's First Oil Boom
Swedish writer Brita Asbrink has spent three years of researching on the Nobel family and their ties to the oil fields of Baku. This book was published in Sweden in November 2001, prior to the 100th anniversary of the first Nobel Prize. The book's original title in Swedish is based on a quotation from a letter that Ludvig wrote in 1864 to his brother Robert: 'Petroleum Has a Bright Future'. The book covers the Nobel brothers and the oil company they created in the 1870s, with photographs from private collections and public archives. While the main subject is the oil business in Baku and the Nobels' competition with Standard Oil, Rothschilds and Royal Dutch/Shell, it also gives you a picture of how Russian politics influenced events of the time. Read the book (pdf)
The Nobels and Baku Oil
A photo-documentary, art and digital travelling exhibition dedicated to the 130th anniversary of the Nobel brothers’ activity in Azerbaijan 1879-2009. The exhibition was produced in Baku with financial support from Statoil, the Azeri national oil company SOCAR and the Ministry of Culture of the Azerbaijan Republic. Since its inauguration in Baku in 2009, the exhibition has been on the road for long and short periods around the world in London, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Oslo and Houston.
Alongside the exhibition, a richly illustrated Branobel 130th Anniversary Book was produced in Baku by Azada Huseynova (Azerbaijan Ministry of Culture), Amina Melikova (Azerbaijan State Art Museum) and Naida Abbasova (Expo-Org). With our permission from the authors, you can view the complete anniversary book here.
The Nobel Museum at Villa Petrolea, Baku
This museum constitutes the beautifully restored mansion building that used to be the residence of Branobel’s top management and home of the Nobel family themselves when they stayed in Baku. After decades of deterioration, the Baku Nobel Heritage Fund acquired the old property and carried out careful restoration of the entire building, its interiors and garden. Today, the ground floor of the main building contains a commemorative Nobel Museum with a collection of Branobel epoch furniture, Nobel family memorabilia and artefacts. For photos and information about the Nobel Brothers Museum, please go to the website of the Baku Nobel Heritage Fund.
The Nobel Brothers Technological Museum, Batumi
The Technological Museum is a small but well-presented exhibition in the restored former house of Ludvig Nobel, who built an oil refinery in Batumi, Georgia, which Stalin defied by organizing labour strikes against for several months in 1901-02. The museum was established in 2007 and exhibits maps and photos, old technological artefacts and former Nobel possessions that together explain how the Nobels helped to turn Batumi into an important commercial centre by the Black Sea a century ago. It all started when the Nobel brothers built the oil terminal in Batumi in 1883 to supply oil from Baku to the world markets. For more information on the museum, please visit the official website of the Georgian Museums.
The Nobel Museum, Stockholm
This is mainly concerned with Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prize, but it also occasionally hosts limited exhibits on the Nobel brothers’ oil industry. For example, Alfred Nobel: Networks of Innovation is an exhibition, produced by the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, that tells you about Alfred Nobel and the context in which he worked. Films and artworks are complemented by displays of artefacts, pictures, documents and texts related to Alfred Nobel and his era, including the history of Branobel in Baku.
It is a touring exhibition that was inaugurated in Dubai in March 2008. It has been shown in Paris, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, and New Delhi. In the autumn of 2011 it will be on show in Tokyo.
For more information, please visit the website of the Nobel Museum in Stockholm.
Khariton Akhvlediani Adjara State Museum, Batumi
The museum was founded in 1908 as a local history, scientific-educational institution, and it has a limited collection of photos from the Branobel era on permanent display, assigning the Nobel brothers a role of importance in the development of the city and port of Batumi. The museum has 180 000 exhibits.
Baku Oil and the Nobels
A documentary in three parts about the enterprising Nobel brothers and their technical and social innovations and hardships in Baku 1870-1922, which ultimately resulted in the contribution of resources to finance part of the world-famous Nobel Prize. The film was produced in 1999 by the Azeri writer and filmmaker Amir Pahlavan and was awarded two medals at the 2001 film festival in Nantes (France). Amir Phalavan teaches History of World Culture at the Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University and has published two novels on related subjects in English: Nobel of Baku (2003) and The Nobels’ Oil Fate (2008). See our list of literature.
With our permission from the author, you can view all three parts of the complete film Baku Oil and the Nobels by clicking here.