The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic made an outstanding contribution to the cultural development and progress of the Azerbaijani people in its short period of existence.
Establishment of the Democratic Republic caused a revival of activities of the national theatre as well. As a result of the state’s active assistance and intervention, significant quality changes have taken place in the development of the Azerbaijani theater. The theatre’s repertoire was extended with the new dramatic pieces about the history of Azerbaijan and national liberation struggle.
The professional theatrical art of Azerbaijan founded in 1873, was one of the fastest growing fields of the national culture in the early 20th century.
But during the March genocide of 1918, theatrical companies became sparse and almost stopped their activities. The opportunity for reorganization of the theatrical companies was provided only after the establishment of the Democratic Republic. The first company to restore its activity in Baku during the period of the Democratic Republic was "Hajibeyli brothers".
Theatrical companies were established in the other cities and provinces of Azerbaijan as well. A branch office of the theater’s management of Hajibeyli brothers was established in Shusha.
According to the Decree of the Government of the Republic dated October 9, 1918, the theater was handed over to the Ministry of Education. Having listened to the report of the Minister of Public Education on the organization of the State Theater on October 18, the Government arrived at a decision to buy the theater building of Mayilov Brothers (today's Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater) for that theater.
The opening and activity of the Azerbaijan State Theater was one of the brightest pages of the cultural life during the period of the Democratic Republic.
The Government of Azerbaijan decided to take the Muslim theatrical company under its guardianship. Having listened to the report of the Minister of Education on the establishment of the Turkish Opera and Drama Theater at the meeting dated November 17, 1919, the Council Of Ministers approved the bill envisaging the establishment of the State Turkish Opera and Drama Theater and allocated 300,000 manats for restoration of the State Theater. So, the Azerbaijani Turkish Theater was nationalized and handed over to state.
Organization of the charity performances was turned into a kind of tradition in the theater. Frequent announcements were made about theater performances organized for the benefit of the families of died soldiers in the newspaper "Azerbaijan".
The dramatic pieces devoted to the history of struggle for independence played an important role in the repertoire of the Azerbaijani theater. The patriotic pieces like "War for Baku" authored by Mirzabala Mammadzade, "Azerbaijan" of Isa bey Ashurbeyov, "Baku War" and "Conquest of Edirne" of Jafar Jabbarly were staged.
Historical relations between Azerbaijani theater and art figures of neighbouring countries were continued and expanded. The theatrical company "Hajibeyli brothers" went on tours to many cities of the Caucasus, Iran and gave performances in the cities Rasht and Anzali. In the spring of 1920, a group of theater actors from Baku was sent to Tabriz.
From the day of establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic the independence movement activists, the intelligentsia played an important role in revival of the national consciousness, national spirit and ideology, also in propagation and study of historical and national heritage traditions. Organization of "Turkish nights" concerts in Baku in late 1918, contributed to that purpose as well.
Folk singers and ashiqs played a significant role in development of the musical culture of Azerbaijan during the time of the Democratic Republic.
Special importance was attributed to the development of the national painting. The magazine "Zanbur" published in 1919, contained cartoons depicting the socio-political problems of time, authored by the founder of satirical graphic of Azerbaijan Azim Azimzade.
Several events have also been held in the field of architecture and sculpture. Sculpture class under Baku Technical School was intended to be opened.
The construction of a memorial complex due to be erected on the basis of Ziver bey Ahmadbayov's project in Chanbarakand Cemetery (today's the Alley of Martyrs) was launched to perpetuate the memory of the Turkish soldiers killed during the liberation of the city from Dashnaks and Mensheviks in 1918.
The Ministry of Public Education allocated 500,000 manats for the construction of Nizami Mausoleum in Ganja.
The Government of the Democratic Republic also carried out a lot of works in establishment of museums in the country. One of the great events in the history of the Azerbaijani culture - the Museum of Independence is the hallmark of that time. This cultural institution is the first state museum of Azerbaijan to demonstrate and promote the history, culture, national and artistic heritage of Azerbaijan. The museum was opened on December 7, 1919, in the building of the Azerbaijani Parliament on the occasion of the anniversary of the opening of the Parliament under which the museum functioned. All the expenses related to the establishment and function of the museum were covered by the Presidium of the Azerbaijani Parliament. The museum contained the exhibits reflecting our history and religion - household items, weapons and manuscripts.
The government attached special importance to the development of cinematography in the country as well. In 1919, there were 16 cinematographers in Baku. The first art studio was established in 1919. Bahruz Kangarli, a member of the studio, portrayed the arduous conditions of women and children who had been forced to leave their homes during the Armenian attack. He had opened a large art gallery on the topic of refugees.
Thus during the 23-month existence of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the development of the cultural education was a matter of great significance and a number of historically important works had been done in this direction.