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THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN

The Republic of Azerbaijan is located in the South-Eastern part of the Caucasus and South-Eastern Europe.

It has a territory of 86.6 thousand sq. km (33.4 thousand sq. miles).

Bordering Iran on the South, Armenia on the West, Turkey on the South-West, Georgia on the North-West and Daghistan, a Republic in the Russian Federation, on the North, Azerbaijan merges on the East with the Caspian (Khazar) Sea, the largest landlocked reservoir in the world.

The region of Iran south of the Araz River, which forms the border, is also known as Azerbaijan.

The people on both sides of the border speak the same Azerbaijani language, and had a common history until the Russian conquest of Azerbaijan north of the Araz in the early 19th century.

The Republic of Azerbai­jan is inimitable in its nature, ranging from the snow-covered mountains to subtropical forests.

The northern and eastern parts of the country fall within the Greater and Minor Cau­casus mountain ranges. Although quite moun­tainous, the country has a varied terrain including canyons, valleys, forests, steppes, rivers, lakes and the Caspian Sea coastline.

The Republic of Azerbaijan is rich in oil and other minerals; its chief resource is oil and the chief oilfields are in the Baku region, on the shore of the Caspian Sea and offshore (in 1901, Azerbaijan produced half of the world’s oil, and the world’s first oil pipeline and the first oil tanker were made in Azerbaijan).

The leading branches of its economy are developed in both heavy and light industries, as well as agriculture.

Manufacturing, including oil refining and the production of chemicals, is the most valuable activity.

Large areas are irrigated and crops include cotton, fruits, grain, tea, tobacco and vegetables. Fishing is also important.

As a geographical and historical notion, “Azerbaijan” includes the present day Republic of Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani provinces located in the North-West Iran.

These ancient Azerbaijani lands have given birth and rise to such powers as Manna, Media, Atropatena, and Caucasian Albania in the Ancient and early Medieval Times.

During the period from the 3rd to 10th centuries, first, Azerbaijani lands were included into the Sasanids' Iran Empire and then, into the Arab Caliphate.

During the Middle Ages, it managed to become the main “target” of Iran and Ottoman Turkey.

A bit later, Russia became the third opponent of this vital struggle.

Its logical result was the Turkmanchay Treaty of 1828, which was signed between Russia and Iran.

According to the treaty, the Northern part of Azerbaijan (including the present-day territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan) passed to Russia, while the Southern territory remained in Iran.

After the 1917 Revolution in Russia, on May 28, 1918, independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established.

But 23 months later, Azerbaijan was invaded by Soviet Russia and in a few years, was incorporated into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) as one of the Union’s fifteen titular republics.

Azerbaijan regained its independence on October 18, 1991 as a result of the collapse of the USSR.

Since March 2, 1992, the Republic of Azerbaijan has been a member of the United Nations.

Azerbaijan, as an ancient country, reflects rich history and original cul­ture.

The population of Azerbaijan is a little more than 8,5 million.

Side by side with Azerbaijani Turks (around 90%), here live Russians and Ukrainians, Lezghies, Avars, Udins, Talyshs, Kurds, Jews, Tatars, Turks, Georgians, and many other ethnic groups, including Armenians settled in the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia.

The official language is Azeri, or Azerbaijani, which belongs to the Turkic group of the Altaic family.

The principal religion is Islam although freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Constitution.

Besides Muslims, the population includes groups of Christians and Jews. Azerbaijan is a country that is internationally renowned not for only religious tolerance but also for inter-religious dialogue and friendship.

Baku (also spelled as Baki), the capital of Azerbaijan and the largest city in the Caucasus region, has a population of over 2 million.

The second and third largest cities are Ganja and Sumqayit, each with a population around 300,000.

Other important cities are Lankaran, Mingachevir, Nakhchivan, Shamakhy, Sheki, and Khankendi.

Azerbaijan has a very developed mix of old and new culture. It unites Caucasian, Turkic, Iranian, and European elements.

The organic unity of national and international values, as well as Eastern and Western cultures, enhance the beauty of Azerbaijan and its capital city, Baku.

 

Baku

Baku, the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan, is located on the shore of the Caspian Sea, Absheron Peninsula.

It is a political, industrial, intellectual, educational and cultural center of the country.

The population of Baku is approximately two million people.

Greater Baku, divided into 11 districts, encompasses almost the entire Apsheron Peninsula and 48 townships.

Among these are townships on islands off the tip of the peninsula and an artificial island - Neft Daşları (Oil Rocks) built on stilts in the Caspian Sea, 100 km from Baku.

The first historical reference to Baku dates from AD 885, although archaeological evidence indicates a settlement there several centuries before.

By the 11th cen­tury AD, Baku was in the possession of the Şirvanşahlar (Shirvan Kings), who made it their capital in the 12th century, although for a period in the 13th and 14th centuries it came under the sway of the Mongols.

In 1723 Peter the Great captured Baku, but it was returned in 1735; Russia re­cap­tured the town finally in 1806.

The core of pre­sent day Baku is the old town, or fortress of İçəri­şəhər (Inner City).

Most of the walls, strengthened after the Russian conquest in 1806, survive, as does the 27m (90ft) tower of Qız Qalası (Maiden's Tower, 12th century).

The old town is highly picturesque, with its maze of narrow alleys and ancient buildings.

These include the palace of the Şirvanşahlar, now a museum, the oldest part of which dates from the 11th century.

Also of the 11th century is the Sınıqqala Minaret and Mosque (1078-79).

Other notable historic buildings are the Divanxana (Court), the Cümə Məscidi (Friday Mosque), and the mausoleum of the 16th century thinker, Sufi leader and astronomer Seyid Yahya Bakuvi.

As the first oil-producing city of the world, Baku is proud of being first in witnessing many unforgettable events: the first National Opera of the Muslim East, the first Drama Theater, the first polyphonic music, the first metro (underground) in the Muslim World – to name only few.

Baku is unique in its climate: it has the greatest number of sunny days and the least amount of precipitation in the Caucasus; often winds purify the air, making it cooler in summer and bitter in winter.

The average annual temperature is +14.40 degrees Celsius; the average temperature in July, the hottest month, is +25.50 degrees Celsius, while that in January, the coldest month, is +3.50 degrees Celsius.

The basis of Baku's economy is petroleum.

The presence of oil has been known since the 8th century, and by the 15th century oil for lamps was obtained from surface wells.

Modern commercial exploitation began in 1872.

The Baku oil field at the beginning of the 20th century was the largest in the world, and it remained the largest Soviet field until late 1940s.

Currently most international oil companies have contracts with Azerbaijan on oil production and have already started their operations in the Azeri sector of the Caspian Sea.

Although a recent construction boom in Azerbaijan, particularly in Baku, including construction of highways, bridges and high-rise buildings, sometimes creates inconveniences now, certainly they will make Baku and the country more beautiful and facilitate a better infrastructure.