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'Making Bread From Stone' In Baku

Oil-rich Azerbaijan is enjoying a construction boom, which means soaring profits for some, and backbreaking labor for others. RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service photographer Abbas Atilay visited a quarry in the Türkan district on the outskirts of Baku, where seasonal workers from the provinces spend long days cutting stone for use in new buildings.

Oil-rich Azerbaijan's construction boom means high profits for some and hard work for others. - Photos by Abbas Atilay, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service
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Oil-rich Azerbaijan's construction boom means high profits for some and hard work for others. - Photos by Abbas Atilay, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service

There are about 50 quarries in and around Baku supplying stone to the construction industry.
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There are about 50 quarries in and around Baku supplying stone to the construction industry.

The quarries mainly employ migrants who can't make a living in their home regions.
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The quarries mainly employ migrants who can't make a living in their home regions.

The workers refer to their hard labor as "making their bread from stone."
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The workers refer to their hard labor as "making their bread from stone."

Zakir, a 44-year old farmer, came here from a remote village near the Iranian border.
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Zakir, a 44-year old farmer, came here from a remote village near the Iranian border.

Workers receive 5 cents for each stone block they cut. They usually earn $20-$30 for up to 11 hours of work.
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Workers receive 5 cents for each stone block they cut. They usually earn $20-$30 for up to 11 hours of work.

The workers divide their earnings evenly among the members of the team.
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The workers divide their earnings evenly among the members of the team.

Zakir adjusts one of the stone-cutting machines, which require frequent servicing.
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Zakir adjusts one of the stone-cutting machines, which require frequent servicing.

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Loading the bricks onto trucks earns the whole group another $25.
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Loading the bricks onto trucks earns the whole group another $25.

Workers spend an average of two weeks at the site between visits to their families.
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Workers spend an average of two weeks at the site between visits to their families.

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The workers sleep and eat in trailers by the quarry.
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The workers sleep and eat in trailers by the quarry.

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Sharing a watermelon after a hard day's work
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Sharing a watermelon after a hard day's work

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