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Azerbaijan, formally the Republic of Azerbaijan, is a South Caucasus nation located at the crossroads of Southwest Asia and Southeastern Europe. It is bordered to the east by the Caspian Sea, to the north by Russia, to the northwest by Georgia, to the west by Armenia, and to the south by Iran. The exclave of Nakhchivan is bordered to the north and east by Armenia, to the south and west by Iran, and to the north and west by Turkey.

In 1918, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic declared its independence. In 1920, the nation was admitted to the Soviet Union as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, the modern Republic of Azerbaijan declared its independence on August 30, 1991. The Armenian majority in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area seceded in September 1991 to establish the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. With the conclusion of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994, the area and seven neighboring districts became de facto autonomous. These areas are internationally recognized as being part of Azerbaijan awaiting a solution to the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, which will be determined via OSCE-facilitated talks.

Azerbaijan is a semi-presidential unitary republic. The nation is a member of the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. It is one of six autonomous Turkic nations, a member of the Turkic Council, and a member of the TÜRKSOY community. Azerbaijan has diplomatic ties with 158 countries and is a member of 38 international organizations. It is a member of GUAM, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Azerbaijan has been a member of the United Nations since 1992, and on May 9, 2006, the United Nations General Assembly elected Azerbaijan to membership in the newly formed Human Rights Council. Its tenure started on June 19, 2006. Azerbaijan is also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, a World Trade Organization observer, and an International Telecommunication Union reporter.

Azerbaijan’s constitution does not designate an official religion, and the country’s main political parties are all secularist. However, Shiite Muslims constitute the vast majority of the population. Azerbaijan has a high level of human development that is comparable to that of the majority of Eastern European nations. It boasts a strong economic development and literacy rate, as well as a low unemployment rate.

However, corruption is prevalent in Azerbaijan, particularly in the governmental sector. The governing New Azerbaijan Party has been accused of authoritarianism and violations of human rights.


Tourism is a significant component of Azerbaijan’s economy. In the 1980s, the country was a popular tourist destination. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh War in the 1990s, harmed the tourism sector and Azerbaijan’s reputation as a tourist destination.

The tourism sector did not begin to revive until the 2000s, and the nation has subsequently seen rapid increase in the number of visitor visits and overnight stays. Azerbaijan has also been a popular destination for religious, spa, and health care tourism in recent years. During the winter, the Shahdag Mountain Resort provides skiing with cutting-edge amenities.

The development of Azerbaijan as an elite tourism destination is a key goal for the Azerbaijani government. It is part of a national plan to make tourism a significant, if not the only, contributor to the Azerbaijani economy. These activities are governed by Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.


Azerbaijan is located in Eurasia’s South Caucasus area, spanning Western Asia and Eastern Europe. It is located between the latitudes of 38° and 42° N, and the longitudes of 44° and 51° E. The entire length of Azerbaijan’s land boundaries is 2,648 kilometres (1,645 mi), with Armenia accounting for 1007 kilometers, Iran accounting for 756 kilometers, Georgia accounting for 480 kilometers, Russia accounting for 390 kilometers, and Turkey accounting for 15 kilometers. The coastline extends for 800 kilometers (497 miles), while the width of the Azerbaijani portion of the Caspian Sea is 456 kilometers (283 mi). Azerbaijan’s area stretches 400 km (249 mi) north to south and 500 km (311 mi) west to east.

Azerbaijan is dominated by three geographical features: the Caspian Sea, whose coastline provides a natural border to the east; the Greater Caucasus mountain range to the north; and the vast flatlands in the country’s middle. There are also three mountain ranges, the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, as well as the Talysh Mountains, which encompass about 40% of the nation. Mount Bazardüzü (4,466 m) is Azerbaijan’s highest point, while the Caspian Sea (28 m) is its lowest. Azerbaijan is home to almost half of all mud volcanoes on the planet; these volcanoes were also nominated for the New7Wonders of Nature.

Surface waterways are the primary water sources. However, only 24 of the 8,350 rivers are longer than 100 kilometers (62 miles). All of the rivers flow into the Caspian Sea in the country’s east. Sarysu (67 km2) is the biggest lake, while Kur (1,515 km) is the longest river, both of which are transboundary. The four major islands of Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea have an area of more than thirty square kilometers.

Since Azerbaijan’s independence in 1991, the Azerbaijani government has made significant efforts to protect the country’s ecology. However, national environmental protection began to really improve after 2001, when the state budget expanded owing to additional funds supplied by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Protected areas more than quadrupled in four years and currently cover 8% of the country’s land area. Since 2001, the government has established seven major reserves and almost quadrupled the budgetary allocation for environmental preservation.


Azerbaijan has a diverse range of landscapes. Over half of Azerbaijan’s land mass is made up of mountain ridges, crests, yailas, and plateaus that rise to hypsometric levels of 400–1000 meters (including the Middle and Lower lowlands), 100–120 meters in some places (Talis, Jeyranchol-Ajinohur, and Langabiz-Alat foreranges), and 0–50 meters in others (Qobustan, Absheron). The remainder of Azerbaijan’s topography is made up of plains and lowlands. Hypsometric markers in the Caucasus range from approximately 28 meters along the Caspian Sea coast to 4,466 meters (Bazardüzü mountain).

Azerbaijan’s climate is affected mostly by frigid arctic air masses of Scandinavian anticyclones, temperate Siberian anticyclones, and Central Asian anticyclones. The varied terrain of Azerbaijan influences how air masses approach the nation. The Greater Caucasus shields the nation from the direct effects of chilly air masses from the north. As a result, most of the country’s foothills and plains have a subtropical climate. Meanwhile, lowlands and slopes have high sun radiation rates.

Azerbaijan has nine of the world’s eleven climatic zones. Julfa and Ordubad both had absolute lowest temperatures of 33 degrees Celsius (27.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and absolute high temperatures of 46 degrees Celsius (114.8 degrees Fahrenheit). The highest yearly precipitation occurs in Lankaran (1,600-1,800 mm or 63-71 in) and the lowest in Absheron (200 to 350 mm or 7.9 to 13.8 in).

Rivers and lakes are the main components of Azerbaijan’s water systems; they developed over a vast geological time span and altered considerably throughout that time. This is especially evident in the remains of ancient rivers located all throughout the nation. The country’s water systems are constantly altering as a result of natural forces and human-initiated industrial activity. Azerbaijan’s water systems include artificial rivers (canals) and ponds. In terms of water availability, Azerbaijan falls short of the global average, with about 100,000 cubic metres (3,531,467 cubic feet) of water per square kilometer per year. Kur is the foundation for all large water reservoirs. Azerbaijan’s hydrography is mostly associated with the Caspian Sea basin.

Azerbaijan has about 8,350 rivers of varying lengths. Only 24 rivers are longer than 100 kilometers. The Kura and Aras rivers flow through the Kura-Aras Lowland and are the most popular rivers in Azerbaijan. Rivers that flow straight into the Caspian Sea originate mostly on the northwestern slopes of the Major Caucasus and Talysh Mountains and run through the Samur–Devechi and Lankaran plains.

Yanar Dag, which translates as “burning mountain,” is a natural gas fire that burns constantly on a hillside on the Absheron Peninsula on the Caspian Sea near Baku, known as the “land of fire.” Flames shoot into the air from a thin, permeable layer of sandstone. It is a tourist attraction for Baku tourists.


As of July 2011, approximately 52 percent of the entire population of 9,165,000 people lived in cities, with the remaining 48 percent living in rural areas. Females made up 51% of the overall population. As a result, the sex ratio for the entire population that year was 0.97 men for every female.

The population growth rate in 2011 was 0.85 percent, compared to 1.09 percent globally. A high degree of migration is a major factor limiting population expansion. Azerbaijan had migration of 1.14 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2011.

The Azerbaijani diaspora is present in 42 countries, and there are numerous centers for ethnic minorities within Azerbaijan, such as the German cultural society “Karelhaus,” Slavic cultural center, Azerbaijani-Israeli community, Kurdish cultural center, International TalyshAssociation, Lezgin national center “Samur,” Azerbaijani-Tatar community, Crimean Tatarssociety, and so on.

According to the 2009 population census, the ethnic makeup of the population is as follows: 91.60 percent Azerbaijanis, 2.02 percent Lezgians, 1.35 percent Armenians (nearly all Armenians live in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh), 1.34 percent Russians, 1.26 percent Talysh, 0.56 percent Avars, 0.43 percent Turks, 0.29 percent Tatars, 0.28 percent Tats, 0.24 percent Ukrainians, 0.14 percent Tsakhurs, 0.11 percent Georgians,

Iranian Azerbaijanis are by far Iran’s biggest minority. Furthermore, the number of ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran considerably outnumbers those in neighboring Azerbaijan. According to the CIA World Factbook, Iranian Azerbaijanis account for at least 16% of Iran’s population.


Muslims make up about 98 percent of the population. The Republic of Azerbaijan has the world’s second largest Shia population proportion, with 92 percent of Muslims being Shia and 8 percent Sunni. Other religions are practiced by different ethnic groups in the nation. Azerbaijan is a secular state that guarantees religious freedom, according to Article 48 of its Constitution. In a Gallup survey conducted between 2006 and 2008, just 21% of Azerbaijani respondents said that religion is an essential component of their everyday life.

Christians account for about 280,000 (3.1 percent) of the nation’s religious minorities, with the majority being Russian, Georgian Orthodox, and Armenian Apostolic (almost all Armenians live in the break-away region of Nagorno-Karabakh). There were 250 Roman Catholics in 2003. Lutherans, Baptists, and Molokans were among the other Christian faiths in 2002.  In addition, there is a tiny Protestant community. Azerbaijan also boasts a 2,500-year-old Jewish community; Jewish groups estimate that 10,000–20,000 Jews exist in Azerbaijan. Members of the Bahá’, Hare Krishna, and Jehovah’s Witnesses groups, as well as followers of other religious communities, live in Azerbaijan. Unofficial restrictions on religious freedom have been imposed on certain religious groups. According to a State Department report on the subject, members of some Muslim and Christian organizations have been detained, and numerous groups are having difficulties registering with the SCWRA.


Azerbaijan joined the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Asian Development Bank after achieving independence in 1991. Azerbaijan’s financial system is made up of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, commercial banks, and non-banking credit institutions. The National (now Central) Bank was established in 1992 on the basis of the Azerbaijan State Savings Bank, an affiliate of the former USSR State Savings Bank. The Central Bank of Azerbaijan is the country’s central bank, with the authority to issue the national currency, the Azerbaijani manat, as well as oversee all commercial banks. UniBank and the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan, led by Dr. Jahangir Hajiyev, are the two largest commercial banks in the country.

The 2007 Q1 inflation rate hit 16.6 percent, pushed up by rising expenditure and demand. Nominal income and monthly salaries increased by 29 percent and 25 percent, respectively, in comparison to this number, while price rises in the non-oil sector fueled inflation. Azerbaijan exhibits certain symptoms of the so-called “Dutch disease” due to its rapidly expanding energy industry, which generates inflation and raises the cost of non-energy exports.

Chronically high inflation was brought under control in the early 2000s. This resulted in the introduction of a new currency, the new Azerbaijani manat, on January 1, 2006, in order to solidify economic changes and eliminate the remnants of an unstable economy.

The World Bank’s Doing Business Report named Azerbaijan one of the top ten reformers in 2008.

How To Travel To Azerbaijan

By planeHeydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku serves as the main international gateway, with other international airports (which mostly serve Moscow and Istanbul) located in Nakhchivan City, Ganja, and Lankaran.The main carrier is the national airline AZAL (Azerbaijan Airlines), which flies to Ganja, Nakhchivan, Tbilisi, Aktau, Tehran, Tel-Aviv, Ankara,...

How To Travel Around Azerbaijan

Most cities are connected by buses, minibuses (marshrutka), and taxis. In these places, there is often a hub, such as a bus terminal near the bazaar. Bus and minibus fares are often displayed in both old and new manats (qupik). Taxis, on the other hand, require bargaining abilities, which...

Destinations in Azerbaijan

Regions in AzerbaijanBaku RegionAzerbaijan's political, economic, and cultural hub. Since 1871, oil has been extracted here.Ganja RegionNakhchivanAn exclave on Turkey's western border.Northeastern AzerbaijanA multi-ethnic area in the Greater Caucasus highlands enveloped in beautiful green woods.Sheki RegionA lovely green mountainous area bordering Georgia that has Azerbaijan's most attractive cities.Southern AzerbaijanTalysh...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Azerbaijan

Visa restrictionsIf you have evidence of going to Nagorno-Karabakh, you will have difficulty entering Azerbaijan. Azeri officials will refuse you a visa, revoke any prior Azeri visas you may have acquired, and expel you from their country. You will be turned away, deported, or arrested if you attempt to...

Things To See in Azerbaijan

The nation has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower, and the Rock Art Cultural Landscape of Gokustan.Neft Daşları—The Caspian Sea's first operational offshore oil platform, City Above the Sea, is situated 55 kilometers from the closest coast.Mud volcanoes which...

Food & Drinks in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan's specialities include cabbage, grape leaves, and eggplant wrapped meat (kelem, yarpaq, badimjan - dolmasi), kabab (kebab), rice with various toppings (plov - it is claimed that plov is the king of Azerbaijani cuisine), gutabs, and meatballs (kufta).Yarpaq dolmasi is often regarded as the national dish.Bread is a foodstuff...

Money & Shopping in Azerbaijan

The "old" manat AZM was replaced by the "New Azerbaijani manat" on January 1, 2007, due to inflation, although the transition is still ongoing, and old manat may still be exchanged for new.New banknotes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 New Azerbaijani manat and metal...

Internet & Communications in Azerbaijan

Azercell, Bakcell, Nar Mobile, and Azerfon-Vodafone are the three mobile carriers.The biggest is Azercell. To reach an Azercell number, dial (050) or (051) followed by the number. Only with Azercell can you communicate in Baku's metro (subway).Nar Mobile is reasonably priced, however it is not available in all areas....

Traditions & Customs in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijanis are a quiet yet courteous and well-mannered people.Things to doWomen in Azerbaijan have historically been treated with the greatest respect, as is the case across the CIS/former USSR region. Female travelers should not be surprised or indignant when their Azerbaijani male friends pay their bills at restaurants, open...

Culture Of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan's culture has evolved as a consequence of a variety of factors. Despite Western influences, such as globalized commercial culture, native traditions are largely maintained in the country today. Music, literature, traditional dances and art, food, architecture, cinematography, and Novruz Bayram are all important aspects of Azerbaijani culture. The...

History Of Azerbaijan

AntiquityThe oldest evidence of human habitation in Azerbaijan goes back to the late Stone Age and is linked to the Azykh Cave's Guruchay civilization. In the caves of Talar, Damcl, Zar, Yataq-yeri, and the necropolises of Leylatepe and Saraytepe, the Upper Paleolithic and late Bronze Age cultures may be...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Azerbaijan

Robbing and pickpocketing are conceivable but uncommon in Baku's city, particularly in impoverished and poorly inhabited regions, and is more prevalent at night. As in all other nations, common sense is beneficial. In public transportation, keep an eye on your belongings as well.Corruption is rampant. However, as a foreigner,...



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