Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan

Overview
Azerbaijan officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 region of Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 to the east, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 to the north, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 to the northwest, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 to the west, and Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 to the south. The exclave of Nakhchivan is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, while having a short borderline with Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 to the northwest.

The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world . The ADR was founded on May 28, 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 by Azerbaijani National Council in...

, the first democratic and secular republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 in the Muslim world
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

, was established in 1918, but was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920.
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Quotations

Azerbaijan doesn't want to be enemies with any country. At the same time, we will not become victim to another country's policies.

Heydar Aliyev

Some people think we should be able to establish democracy in a short time, but that's impossible. Azerbaijan is a young nation and democracy is a new concept. The U.S. has been advancing on the path of democracy for a long time - more than 200 years. You've achieved a lot, but you're still working on it. Democracy is not an apple you buy at the market and bring back home.

Heydar Aliyev

The world has closed it's eyes to the humanitarian catastrophe in Azerbaijan, where every seventh citizen is a refugee

Leonid Kuchma|Leonid Kuchma, the former Ukrainian president.

Shusha is called the cradle of music and poetry. Almost all the famous singers and musicians of Azerbaijan are natives of Shusha.

Samad Vurgun|Samad Vurgun, Azeri poet

Imagine a town in the mountains, shrouded in greenery in spring and summer; and in mist and snow in autumn and winter. This is my town.

Yousif Vezir Chamanzaminli|Yousif Vezir Chamanzaminli (1887-1943), - prominent Azeri writer and public figure
Encyclopedia
Azerbaijan officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 region of Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 to the east, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 to the north, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 to the northwest, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 to the west, and Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 to the south. The exclave of Nakhchivan is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, while having a short borderline with Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 to the northwest.

The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world . The ADR was founded on May 28, 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 by Azerbaijani National Council in...

, the first democratic and secular republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 in the Muslim world
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

, was established in 1918, but was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920. Azerbaijan regained independence in 1991. Shortly thereafter, during the Nagorno-Karabakh War
Nagorno-Karabakh War
The Nagorno-Karabakh War was an armed conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan...

, neighboring Armenia occupied Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, lying between Lower Karabakh and Zangezur and covering the southeastern range of the Lesser Caucasus mountains...

, its surrounding territories
Armenian-controlled territories surrounding Nagorno Karabakh
The Armenian-controlled territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh are areas formally part of Azerbaijan and situated outside the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, which are since the end of the Karabakh War controlled by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.-Nomenclature:These areas have also been...

 and the enclaves of Karki, Yukhary Askipara, Barkhudarly and Sofulu
Sofulu, Qazakh
Sofulu is a village in the Qazakh Rayon of Azerbaijan....

. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic , or Artsakh Republic is a de facto independent republic located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, which emerged in Nagorno-Karabakh, continues to be not diplomatically recognized by any nation and the region is still considered a de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

part of Azerbaijan, despite being de facto independent since the end of the war.

Azerbaijan is a secular and a unitary republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 with an ancient and historic cultural heritage. It is one of the six independent Turkic states as well as an active members of the Turkic Council
Turkic Council
The Turkic Council is an international organization comprising Turkic countries. It was founded on 3 October 2009 in Nakhchivan. The General Secretariat is in İstanbul, Turkey. The member countries are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. The remaining two Turkic states, Turkmenistan and...

 and the TÜRKSOY
Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture
The Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture is an international cultural organization of countries with Turkic populations, speaking languages belonging to the Turkic language family....

 community. Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations. It is one of the founding members of GUAM
GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development
The GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development is a regional organization of four post-Soviet states: Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova....

 and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

 (CIS). On May 9, 2006 Azerbaijan was elected to membership in the newly established Human Rights Council by the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 (the term of office began on June 19, 2006). A Special Envoy of the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 is present in the country, which is also a member of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, the OSCE
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections...

, the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

, and the NATO Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation program aimed at creating trust between NATO and other states in Europe and the former Soviet Union; 22 States are members...

 (PfP) program. Azerbaijan is a correspondent at the International Telecommunication Union
International Telecommunication Union
The International Telecommunication Union is the specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies...

 and member of the Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

 and holds observer status in World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

.

The Constitution of Azerbaijan
Constitution of Azerbaijan
The Constitution of Azerbaijan was adopted on 12 November 1995 by popular referendum and amended on 24 August 2002. It carries the "highest legal force" in Azerbaijan as per article 147.-Preamble:...

 does not declare an official religion but majority of people adherents to the Shia branch of Islam, although Muslim identity tends to be based more on culture and ethnicity rather than religion and Azerbaijan remains as one of the most liberal majority-Muslim nations. After gaining its independence, Azerbaijan have reached a high level of human development
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

, economic development
Economic development
Economic development generally refers to the sustained, concerted actions of policymakers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area...

, standard of living
Standard of living
Standard of living is generally measured by standards such as real income per person and poverty rate. Other measures such as access and quality of health care, income growth inequality and educational standards are also used. Examples are access to certain goods , or measures of health such as...

, and literacy rate as well as a low rate of unemployment and intentional homicide compared to other Eastern European and CIS countries. On 1 January 2012, the country will start a 2-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

.

Etymology


The name of Azerbaijan derives from that of Atropates
Atropates
Atropates was a Persian nobleman who served Darius III, then Alexander III of Macedon, and eventually founded an independent kingdom and dynasty that was named after him...

, a Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 satrap
Satrap
Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sassanid Empire and the Hellenistic empires....

 under the Achaemenid Empire, who was later reinstated as the satrap of Media
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

 under Alexander the Great. The original etymology of this name is thought to have its roots in the once-dominant Zoroastrian
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

 religion. In the Avesta
Avesta
The Avesta is the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the Avestan language.-Early transmission:The texts of the Avesta — which are all in the Avestan language — were composed over the course of several hundred years. The most important portion, the Gathas,...

, Frawardin Yasht
Yasht
The s are a collection of twenty-one hymns in Younger Avestan. Each of these hymns invokes a specific Zoroastrian divinity or concept. Yasht chapter and verse pointers are traditionally abbreviated as Yt....

 ("Hymn to the Guardian Angels"), there is a mention of âterepâtahe ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide, which literally translates from Avestan
Avestan language
Avestan is an East Iranian language known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name...

 as "we worship the Fravashi
Fravashi
A fravashi is the guardian spirit mentioned in the Avesta of an individual, who sends out the urvan into the material world to fight the battle of good versus evil...

 of the holy Atropatene"
.

Atropates ruled over the region of Atropatene
Atropatene
Atropatene was an ancient kingdom established and ruled under local ethnic Iranian dynasts first with "Darius" of Persia and later "Alexander" of Macedonia, starting in the 4th century BC and includes the territory of modern-day Iranian Azarbaijan and Iranian Kurdistan. Its capital was Gazaca...

 (present-day Iranian Azerbaijan). The name "Atropates" itself is the Greek transliteration of an Old-Iranian, probably Median, compounded name with the meaning "Protected by the (Holy) Fire" or "The Land of the (Holy) Fire". The Greek name is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who flourished between 60 and 30 BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily . With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca...

 and Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

. Over the span of millennia the name evolved to Āturpātākān then to Ādharbādhagān, Ādharbāyagān, Āzarbāydjān and present-day Azerbaycan. The word is translatable as "The Treasury" and "The Treasurer" of fire or "The Land of the Fire" in Modern Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

.

Antiquity



The earliest evidence of human settlement in the territory of Azerbaijan dates to the late Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

 and is related to the Guruchay culture of the Azykh Cave
Azykh Cave
The Azykh Cave is an impressive six-cave complex known as a living site of stone-age man. It lies about 3 km northeast of the village of Tugh in the Fuzuli Rayon of Azerbaijan...

. The Upper Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of...

 and late Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 cultures are attested in the caves of Tağılar
Tagilar
Tağılar is a village and municipality in the Barda Rayon of Azerbaijan. It has a population of 277....

, Damcılı
Damcili
Damcılı is a village in the Goygol Rayon of Azerbaijan. The village forms part of the municipality of Qızılca....

, Zar
Zar, Azerbaijan
Zar is a village in the Kalbajar Rayon of Azerbaijan, currently under the control of the unrecognized Nagorno Karabakh Republic.-Etymology:...

, Yataq-yeri and in the necropolis
Necropolis
A necropolis is a large cemetery or burial ground, usually including structural tombs. The word comes from the Greek νεκρόπολις - nekropolis, literally meaning "city of the dead"...

es of Leylatepe and Saraytepe.

Early settlements included the Scythia
Scythia
In antiquity, Scythian or Scyths were terms used by the Greeks to refer to certain Iranian groups of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who dwelt on the Pontic-Caspian steppe...

ns in the ninth century BC. Following the Scythians, Iranian Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

 came to dominate the area to the south of the Aras. The Medes forged a vast empire between 900–700 BC, which was integrated into the Achaemenids Empire around 550 BC. The area was conquered by the Achaemenids leading to the spread of Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

. Later it became part of Alexander the Great's Empire
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

 and its successor, the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

. Caucasian Albania
Caucasian Albania
Albania is a name for the historical region of the eastern Caucasus, that existed on the territory of present-day republic of...

ns, the original inhabitants of the area, established an independent kingdom around the fourth century BC. During this period, Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

 spread in the Caucasus and Atropatene
Atropatene
Atropatene was an ancient kingdom established and ruled under local ethnic Iranian dynasts first with "Darius" of Persia and later "Alexander" of Macedonia, starting in the 4th century BC and includes the territory of modern-day Iranian Azarbaijan and Iranian Kurdistan. Its capital was Gazaca...

. Ancient Azerbaijanis spoke the Old Azari language.

Feudal era



The Sassanids
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state
Vassal state
A vassal state is any state that is subordinate to another. The vassal in these cases is the ruler, rather than the state itself. Being a vassal most commonly implies providing military assistance to the dominant state when requested to do so; it sometimes implies paying tribute, but a state which...

 in AD 252, while King Urnayr officially adopted Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 as the state religion in the fourth century. Despite numerous conquests by the Sassanids and Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, Albania remained an entity in the region until the ninth century. The Islamic Umayyad Caliphate repulsed both the Sassanids and Byzantines from the region and turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state after the Christian resistance, led by Prince Javanshir
Javanshir
Javanshir , in old Albanian Our Lion, in Persian young lion, was the prince of Caucasian Albania from 643 to 681, hailing from the region of Gardman. His deeds are the subject of legends and epic...

, was suppressed in 667. The power vacuum left by the decline of the Abbasid Caliphate was filled by numerous local dynasties such as the Sallarid
Sallarid
The Sallarid dynasty was an Islamic Iranian dynasty principally known for its rule of Iranian Azerbaijan and part of Armenia from 942 until 979...

s, Sajids
Sajids
The Sajid dynasty was an Islamic dynasty that ruled the Iranian region of Azerbaijan from 889-890 until 929. The Sajids originated from the Central Asian province of Ushrusana and were of Iranian...

, Shaddadid
Shaddadid
The Shaddadids were a Kurdish dynasty who ruled in various parts of Armenia and Arran from 951-1174 AD. They were established in Dvin. Through their long tenure in Armenia, they often intermarried with the Bagratuni royal family of Armenia....

s, Rawadid
Rawadid
Rawadid , , was a Kurdish principality ruling Azerbaijan from the 10th to the early 11th centuries, centered around Tabriz and Maragheh. The Rawadid tribe was one of the Arab tribes who became Kurdish by culture through assimilation...

s and Buyids. At the beginning of the 11th century, the territory was gradually seized by waves of Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 Oghuz
Oghuz Turks
The Turkomen also known as Oghuz Turks were a historical Turkic tribal confederation in Central Asia during the early medieval Turkic expansion....

 tribes from Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. The first of these Turkic dynasties established was the Ghaznavids
Ghaznavid Empire
The Ghaznavids were a Persianate Muslim dynasty of Turkic slave origin which existed from 975 to 1187 and ruled much of Persia, Transoxania, and the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent. The Ghaznavid state was centered in Ghazni, a city in modern-day Afghanistan...

, which entered the area now known as Azerbaijan by 1030.

The pre-Turkic Azerbaijani population spoke an Iranian language called the Old Azari language, which was gradually replaced by a Turkic language, now known as the Azerbaijani language
Azerbaijani language
Azerbaijani or Azeri or Torki is a language belonging to the Turkic language family, spoken in southwestern Asia by the Azerbaijani people, primarily in Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran...

 from the 11th century onward until it became completely extinct in the 16th century. To distinguish it from the Turkic Azerbaijani or Azeri language, this Iranian language, is designated as the Azari language (or Old Azari language), because the Turkic language and people are also designated as "Azari" in the Persian language
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

. However some linguists have also designated the Tati dialects of Iranian Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan (Iran)
Azerbaijan or Azarbaijan , also Iranian Azerbaijan, Persian Azarbaijan is a region in northwestern Iran. It is also historically known as Atropatene and Aturpatakan....

 and the Republic of Azerbaijan, like those spoken by the Tats
Tats
Tats are an Iranian people, presently living within Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia ....

, as a remnant of Azari. Locally, the possessions of the subsequent Seljuq Empire
Great Seljuq Empire
The Great Seljuq Empire was a medieval Persianate, Turko-Persian Sunni Muslim empire, originating from the Qynyq branch of Oghuz Turks. The Seljuq Empire controlled a vast area stretching from the Hindu Kush to eastern Anatolia and from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf...

 were ruled by atabegs
Atabegs of Azerbaijan
The Ildegizids, Eldiguzids or Ildenizids, also known as Atabegs of Azerbaijan were a Turkic dynasty of Kipchak origin which controlled most of northwestern Persia/eastern Transcaucasia, including Arran, most of Azerbaijan, and Djibal...

, who were technically vassals of the Seljuq sultans, being sometimes de facto rulers themselves. Under the Seljuq Turks
Seljuq dynasty
The Seljuq ; were a Turco-Persian Sunni Muslim dynasty that ruled parts of Central Asia and the Middle East from the 11th to 14th centuries...

, local poets such as Nizami Ganjavi and Khagani Shirvani
Khaqani
Khāqāni or Khāghāni was a Persian poet. He was born in the historical region known as Shirvan , under the Shirvanshah and died in Tabriz, Iran.- Life :Khaqani was born into the family of a carpenter in...

 gave rise to a blossoming of Persian literature
Persian literature
Persian literature spans two-and-a-half millennia, though much of the pre-Islamic material has been lost. Its sources have been within historical Persia including present-day Iran as well as regions of Central Asia where the Persian language has historically been the national language...

 on the territory of present-day Azerbaijan. The next ruling state of the Jalayirids
Jalayirids
The Jalayirids were a Mongol Jalayir dynasty which ruled over Iraq and western Persia after the breakup of the Mongol Khanate of Persia in the 1330s....

 was short-lived and fell under the conquests of Timur
Timur
Timur , historically known as Tamerlane in English , was a 14th-century conqueror of West, South and Central Asia, and the founder of the Timurid dynasty in Central Asia, and great-great-grandfather of Babur, the founder of the Mughal Dynasty, which survived as the Mughal Empire in India until...

.

The local dynasty of Shirvanshah
Shirvanshah
Shirvanshah also spelled as Shīrwān Shāh or Sharwān Shāh, was the title in mediaeval Islamic times of an Arab in Ethnos but speedily Persianized dynasty within their culturally Persian environment. The Shirvanshah established a native state in Shirvan...

s became a vassal state of Timur's Empire
Timurid Dynasty
The Timurids , self-designated Gurkānī , were a Persianate, Central Asian Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turko-Mongol descent whose empire included the whole of Iran, modern Afghanistan, and modern Uzbekistan, as well as large parts of contemporary Pakistan, North India, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the...

 and assisted him in his war with the ruler of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

 Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh was the prominent khan of the White Horde, who briefly unified the White Horde and Blue Horde subdivisions of the Golden Horde into a single state. He was a descendant of Genghis Khan's eldest grandson, Orda Khan or his brother Tuqa-Timur...

. Following Timur's death two independent and rival states emerged: Kara Koyunlu
Kara Koyunlu
The Kara Koyunlu or Qara Qoyunlu, also called the Black Sheep Turkomans , were a Shi'ite Oghuz Turkic tribal federation that ruled over the territory comprising the present-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, north-western Iran, eastern Turkey and Iraq from about 1375 to 1468.The Kara Koyunlu Turkomans at one...

 and Ak Koyunlu
Ak Koyunlu
The Aq Qoyunlu or Ak Koyunlu, also called the White Sheep Turkomans , was an Sunni Oghuz Turkic tribal federation that ruled parts of present-day Eastern Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, northern Iraq, and Iran from 1378 to 1508.-History:According to chronicles from the Byzantine Empire, the Aq Qoyunlu...

. The Shirvanshahs returned, maintaining a high degree of autonomy as local rulers and vassals from 861 until 1539. During their persecution by the Safavids
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

, the last dynasty imposed Shia Islam upon the formerly Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 population, as it was battling against the Sunni Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

.

Modern era


After the Safavids, the area was ruled by the Iranian dynasties of Afshar
Afsharid dynasty
The Afsharids were members of an Iranian dynasty of Turkmen origin from Khorasan who ruled Persia in the 18th century. The dynasty was founded in 1736 by the military commander Nader Shah who deposed the last member of the Safavid dynasty and proclaimed himself King of Iran. During Nader's reign,...

 and Zand
Zand dynasty
The Zand dynasty ruled southern and central Iran in the 18th century.- Karim Khan Zand :The dynasty was founded by Karim Khan, chief of the Zand tribe which was Lur or Lak deportees. Modern scholarships such as Wadie Jwaideh suggested his Kurdishness. He became one of Nader Shah's generals...

 and briefly by the Qajars
Qajar dynasty
The Qajar dynasty was an Iranian royal family of Turkic descent who ruled Persia from 1785 to 1925....

. However de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 self-ruling khanate
Khanate
Khanate, or Chanat, is a Turco-Mongol-originated word used to describe a political entity ruled by a Khan. In modern Turkish, the word used is kağanlık, and in modern Azeri of the republic of Azerbaijan, xanlıq. In Mongolian the word khanlig is used, as in "Khereidiin Khanlig" meaning the Khanate...

s emerged in the area, especially following the collapse of the Zand dynasty and in the early Qajar era. The brief and successful Russian campaign of 1812 was concluded with the Treaty of Gulistan, in which the shah's claims to some of the Khanates of the Caucasus were dismissed by Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 on the ground that they had been de facto independent long before their Russian occupation.

The khanates exercised control over their affairs via international trade routes between Central Asia and the West. Engaged in constant warfare, these khanates were eventually incorporated into the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 in 1813, following the two Russo-Persian Wars. The area to the North of the river Arax, among which the territory of the contemporary republic of Azerbaijan were Iranian territory until they were occupied by Russia. Under the Treaty of Turkmenchay
Treaty of Turkmenchay
The Treaty of Turkmenchay was a treaty negotiated in Turkmenchay by which the Qajar Empire recognized Russian suzerainty over the Erivan khanate, the Nakhchivan khanate, and the remainder of the Talysh khanate, establishing the Aras River as the common boundary between the empires, after its...

, Persia recognized Russian sovereignty over the Erivan Khanate
Erivan Khanate
The Khanate of Erivan , was an administrative territory that was established Safavid Persia in the early 17th century. It covered an area of roughly 7,500 square miles, and corresponded to most of present-day central Armenia, most of the Iğdır Province of present-day Turkey, and the Sharur and...

, the Nakhchivan Khanate
Nakhchivan khanate
The Khanate of Nakhichevan was a feudal state in the southern Caucasus, nominally subordinate to the Persian Shahs, and named after its chief settlement, the town of Nakhichevan....

 and the remainder of the Lankaran Khanate.

In 2007, during the construction of a stadium, constructors discovered the Guba mass grave
Guba mass grave
Guba mass grave is an alleged mass grave of victims of mass killings of Azerbaijani, Jewish, Lezgi civilians by Armenian Dashnaks and Bolsheviks during the March days of 1918 in Guba, Azerbaijan.-Discovery:...

. Studies by Azerbaijani and foreign scientists have confirmed the human remains found there to be of local residents of various nationalities, including Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 and Lezgins
Lezgins
The Lezgians are an ethnic group living predominantly in southern Dagestan and northeastern Azerbaijan and who speak the Lezgian language.- Historical concept :While ancient Greek historians, including Herodotus, Strabo, and Pliny the Elder, referred...

 who were killed in the 1918 massacre. To date, the remains of 600 people have been found, including about 50 children and 100 women.
After the collapse of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Azerbaijan, together with Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 and Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 became part of the short-lived Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic
The Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic , was a short-lived state composed of the modern-day countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia in the South Caucasus.-...

. When the republic dissolved in May 1918, Azerbaijan declared independence as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world . The ADR was founded on May 28, 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 by Azerbaijani National Council in...

 (ADR). The ADR was the first modern parliamentary republic
Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of...

 in the Muslim World. Among the important accomplishments of the Parliament was the extension of suffrage to women, making Azerbaijan the first Muslim nation to grant women equal political rights with men. In this accomplishment, Azerbaijan also preceded the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Another important accomplishment of ADR was the establishment of Baku State University
Baku State University
Baku State University is a public university located in Baku, Azerbaijan. Established in 1919 by the Parliament of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the University started with faculties of history and philology; physics and mathematics; law and medicine with an initial enrollment of 1094...

, which was the first modern-type university founded in Muslim East.

By March 1920, it was obvious that Soviet Russia would attack the much-needed Baku. Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 said that the invasion was justified as Soviet Russia
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic , commonly referred to as Soviet Russia, Bolshevik Russia, or simply Russia, was the largest, most populous and economically developed republic in the former Soviet Union....

 could not survive without Baku's oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

. Independent Azerbajian lasted only 23 months until the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 11th Soviet Red Army
11th Soviet Red Army
The 11th Army of the Red Army was a unit of the then newly created Soviet armed forces. It was formed by the Bolsheviks on October 3, 1918 from the Red Northern Caucasus Army. In February 1919 it was dissolved and was again deployed in March 1919 as a subdivision of the Caspian-Caucasian Front...

 invaded it, establishing the Azerbaijan SSR on April 28, 1920. Although the bulk of the newly formed Azerbaijani army was engaged in putting down an Armenian revolt that had just broken out in Karabakh
Karabakh
The Karabakh horse , also known as Karabakh, is a mountain-steppe racing and riding horse. It is named after the geographic region where the horse was originally developed, Karabakh in the Southern Caucasus, an area that is de jure part of Azerbaijan but the highland part of which is currently...

, Azeris did not surrender their brief independence of 1918–20 quickly or easily. As many as 20,000 Azerbaijani soldiers died resisting what was effectively a Russian reconquest.

On October 13, 1921, the Soviet republics of Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia signed an agreement with Turkey known as the Treaty of Kars
Treaty of Kars
The Treaty of Kars was a "friendship" treaty signed in Kars on October 13, 1921 and ratified in Yerevan on September 11 1922.Signatories included representatives from the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, which in 1923 would declare the Republic of Turkey, and also from Soviet Armenia, Soviet...

. The previously independent Naxicivan SSR would also become autonomous ASSR within Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic by the treaty of Kars. On the other hand, Armenia was awarded the region of Zangezur and Turkey agreed to return Gyumri
Gyumri
Gyumri is the capital and largest city of the Shirak Province in northwest Armenia. It is located about 120 km from the capital Yerevan, and, with a population of 168,918 , is the second-largest city in Armenia.The name of the city has been changed many times in history...

 (then known as Alexandropol).

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Azerbaijan played a crucial role in the strategic energy policy of Soviet Union, with most of the Soviet Union's oil on the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

 being supplied by Baku. By the Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in February 1942, the commitment of more than 500 workers and employees of the oil industry
Petroleum industry
The petroleum industry includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting , and marketing petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are fuel oil and gasoline...

 of Azerbaijan was awarded orders and medals.
Operation Edelweiss
Operation Edelweiss
Operation Edelweiss , named after the mountain flower, was a German plan to gain control over the Caucasus and capture the oil fields of Baku during the Soviet-German War. The operation was authorised by Hitler on 23 July 1942...

 carried out by the German Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 targeted Baku because of its importance as the energy (petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

) dynamo of the USSR. A fifth Azerbaijanis fought in the Second World War from 1941 to 1945. Approximately 681,000 people with over 100,000 of them women went to the front, while the total population of Azerbaijan was 3.4 million at the time. Some 250,000 people from Azerbaijan were killed on the front. More than 130 Azerbaijanis were named Heroes of the Soviet Union
Hero of the Soviet Union
The title Hero of the Soviet Union was the highest distinction in the Soviet Union, awarded personally or collectively for heroic feats in service to the Soviet state and society.-Overview:...

. Azerbaijani Major-General Azi Aslanov
Azi Aslanov
Azi Agadovich Aslanov , commonly described as A. A. Aslanov, known as Hazi Aslanov or Hezi Aslanov in the Republic of Azerbaijan; January 22, 1910, Lankaran — January 24, 1945, Latvia) was an Azerbaijani Major-General of the Soviet armoured troops during World War II...

 was twice awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Republic era



Following the politics of glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

, initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, civil unrest and ethnic strife grew in various regions of the Soviet Union, including Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, lying between Lower Karabakh and Zangezur and covering the southeastern range of the Lesser Caucasus mountains...

, a region of the Azerbaijan SSR. The disturbances in Azerbaijan, in response to Moscow's indifference to already heated conflict, resulted in calls for independence and secession, which culminated in Black January
Black January
Black January , also known as Black Saturday or the January Massacre, was a violent crackdown of the Azerbaijani independence movement in Baku on January 19–20, 1990, pursuant to a state of emergency during the dissolution of the Soviet Union....

 in Baku. Later in 1990, the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan SSR dropped the words "Soviet Socialist" from the title, adopted the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Azerbaijan Republic and restored flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic as a state flag. On 18 October 1991, the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan adopted a Declaration of Independence which was affirmed by a nationwide referendum in December 1991, when the Soviet Union was officially dissolved.

The early years of independence were overshadowed by the Nagorno-Karabakh War
Nagorno-Karabakh War
The Nagorno-Karabakh War was an armed conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan...

 with neighboring Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

. By the end of hostilities in 1994, Armenia occupied up to 16 percent of Azerbaijani territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, lying between Lower Karabakh and Zangezur and covering the southeastern range of the Lesser Caucasus mountains...

 itself. An estimated 30,000 people had been killed and more than a million had been displaced. Four United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 Resolutions (822
United Nations Security Council Resolution 822
United Nations Security Council Resolution 822, adopted unanimously on April 30, 1993, after expressing concern at the deterioration of relations between the Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the subsequent escalation of armed hostilities and humanitarian situation in the region, the Council demanded the...

, 853
United Nations Security Council Resolution 853
United Nations Security Council Resolution 853, adopted unanimously on July 29, 1993, after reaffirming Resolution 822 , the Council expressed its concern at the deteriorating relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and condemned the seizure of the district of Agdam and other areas of Azerbaijan,...

, 874
United Nations Security Council Resolution 874
United Nations Security Council Resolution 874, adopted unanimously on October 14, 1993, after reaffirming resolutions 822 and 853 , the Council expressed its concern at the continuing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh, in addition to the inviolability of international...

, and 884
United Nations Security Council Resolution 884
United Nations Security Council Resolution 884, adopted unanimously on November 12, 1993, after reaffirming resolutions 822 , 853 and 874 , the Council expressed its concern at the continuing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh and condemned violations of the ceasefire...

) demands for "the immediate withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan." Many Russians and Armenians left Azerbaijan during the 1990s. According to the 1970 census, there were 510,000 ethnic Russians
Russian diaspora
The term Russian diaspora refers to the global community of ethnic Russians, usually more specifically those who maintain some kind of connection, even if ephemeral, to the land of their ancestors and maintain their feeling of Russian national identity within a local community.The term "Russian...

 and 484,000 Armenians in Azerbaijan.

In 1993, democratically elected president Abulfaz Elchibey was overthrown by a military insurrection led by Colonel Surat Huseynov
Surat Huseynov
Surat or Suret Davud oglu Huseynov |Ganja]]) is an Azerbaijani colonel and ex-Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, who rose to prominence during the Nagorno-Karabakh War...

, which resulted in the rise to power of the former leader of Soviet Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev
Heydar Aliyev
Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev , also spelled as Heidar Aliev, Geidar Aliev, Haydar Aliyev, Geydar Aliyev was the third President of Azerbaijan for the New Azerbaijan Party from June 1993 to October 2003, when his son Ilham Aliyev succeeded him.From 1969 till 1982, Aliyev was also the leader of Soviet...

. In 1994, Surat Huseynov, by that time a prime minister, attempted another military coup against Heydar Aliyev, but Huseynov was arrested and charged with treason. In 1995, another coup attempt against Aliyev, by the commander of the OMON
OMON
OMOH is a generic name for the system of special units of militsiya within the Russian and earlier the Soviet MVD...

 special unit, Rovshan Javadov, was averted, resulting in the killing of the latter and disbanding of Azerbaijan's OMON units. During his presidency, Aliyev managed to reduce the country's unemployment, rein in criminal groups, establish the fundamental institutions of independent statehood, and brought stability, peace and major foreign investment. At the same time, the country was tainted by rampant corruption in the governing bureaucracy. In October 1998, Aliyev was reelected for a second term. Despite the much improved economy, particularly with the exploitations of Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field
Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli
Azeri–Chirag–Guneshli is a large complex of oil fields in the Caspian Sea, about off the coast of Azerbaijan. An overall estimated area of the field is . It is operated by a BP-led consortium. The ACG fields have estimated recoverable reserves of about of petroleum...

 and Shah Deniz gas field
Shah Deniz gas field
Shah Deniz gas field is the largest natural gas field in Azerbaijan. It is situated in the South Caspian Sea, off the coast of Azerbaijan, approximately southeast of Baku, at a depth of . The field covers approximately . The Shah Deniz gas and condensate field was discovered in 1999...

, Aliyev's presidency was criticized due to suspected vote fraud and corruption.

Geography


Azerbaijan is in the South Caucasus
South Caucasus
The South Caucasus is a geopolitical region located on the border of Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia also referred to as Transcaucasia, or The Trans-Caucasus...

 region of Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

, straddling Western Asia
Southwest Asia
Western Asia, West Asia, Southwest Asia or Southwestern Asia are terms that describe the westernmost portion of Asia. The terms are partly coterminous with the Middle East, which describes a geographical position in relation to Western Europe rather than its location within Asia...

 and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

. It lies between latitudes 38°
38th parallel north
The 38th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 38 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean...

 and 42° N
42nd parallel north
The 42nd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 42 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 44°
44th meridian east
The meridian 44° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 51° E
51st meridian east
The meridian 51° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

. The total length of Azerbaijan's land borders is 2648 km (1,645 mi), of which 1007 kilometers are with Armenia, 756 kilometers with Iran, 480 kilometers with Georgia, 390 kilometers with Russia and 15 kilometers with Turkey. The coast
Coast
A coastline or seashore is the area where land meets the sea or ocean. A precise line that can be called a coastline cannot be determined due to the dynamic nature of tides. The term "coastal zone" can be used instead, which is a spatial zone where interaction of the sea and land processes occurs...

line stretches for 800 km (497 mi), and the length of the widest area of the Azerbaijani section of the Caspian Sea is 456 km (283 mi). The territory of Azerbaijan extends 400 km (249 mi) from north to south, and 500 km (311 mi) from west to east.

Three physical features dominate Azerbaijan: the Caspian Sea, whose shoreline forms a natural boundary to the east; the Greater Caucasus
Greater Caucasus
Greater Caucasus , sometimes translated as "Caucasus Major", "Big Caucasus" or "Large Caucasus") is the major mountain range of the Caucasus Mountains....

 mountain range to the north; and the extensive flatlands at the country's center. There are also three mountain ranges, the Greater
Greater Caucasus
Greater Caucasus , sometimes translated as "Caucasus Major", "Big Caucasus" or "Large Caucasus") is the major mountain range of the Caucasus Mountains....

 and Lesser Caucasus
Lesser Caucasus
Lesser Caucasus is one of the two main mountain ranges of Caucasus mountains, of length about 600 km....

, and the Talysh Mountains
Talysh Mountains
Talysh Mountains is a mountain chain in northwestern Iran, and southeastern Republic of Azerbaijan in the northwest section of the Elburz Mountains, extending southeastward from the Lankaran Lowland in southeast Azerbaijan to the lower part of the Sefid Rud in northwest Iran...

, together covering approximately 40 percent of the country. The highest peak of Azerbaijan is mount Bazardüzü (4,466 m), while the lowest point lies in the Caspian Sea (−28 m). Nearly half of all the mud volcano
Mud volcano
The term mud volcano or mud dome are used to refer to formations created by geo-excreted liquids and gases, although there are several different processes which may cause such activity. Hot water mixes with mud and surface deposits. Mud volcanoes are associated with subduction zones and about 700...

es on Earth are concentrated in Azerbaijan, which is also among nominees for New7Wonders of Nature.

The main water sources are the surface waters. However, only 24 of the 8,350 rivers are greater than 100 km (62 mi) in length. All the rivers drain into the Caspian Sea in the east of the country. The largest lake is Sarysu
Lake Sarysu
Sarysu is a relatively large lake of Azerbaijan located in Imishli and Sabirabad raions of the Kur-Araz Lowland.-Overview:Sarysu lake stretches along the Kura River from Imishli Rayon southeast to Sabirabad Rayon reaching the total length of . It is one of the four lakes present in the area and is...

 (67 km²), and the longest river is Kur
Kura River
Kura is a river, also known from the Greek as the Cyrus in the Caucasus Mountains. Starting in north-eastern Turkey, it flows through Turkey to Georgia, then to Azerbaijan, where it receives the Aras River as a right tributary, and enters the Caspian Sea...

 (1,515 km), which is transboundary. Azerbaijan's four main islands in the Caspian Sea have a combined area of over thirty square kilometer.

Since the independence of Azerbaijan in 1991, the Azerbaijani government
Politics of Azerbaijan
The Politics of Azerbaijan take place in a framework of a presidential republic, with the President of Azerbaijan as the head of state, and the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan as head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and...

 has taken drastic measures to preserve the environment of Azerbaijan. But national protection of the environment started to truly improve after 2001 when the state budget increased due to new revenues provided by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline is a long crude oil pipeline from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field in the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It connects Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan; Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia; and Ceyhan, a port on the south-eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey,...

. Within four years protected areas doubled and now make up eight percent of the country's territory. Since 2001 the government has set up seven large reserves and almost doubled the sector of the budget earmarked for environmental protection.

Landscape


Azerbaijan is home to a vast variety of landscapes. Over half of Azerbaijan's land mass consists of mountain ridges, crests, yailas, and plateaus which rise up to hypsometric levels of 400–1000 meters (including the Middle and Lower lowlands), in some places (Talis, Jeyranchol-Ajinohur and Langabiz-Alat foreranges) up to 100–120 meters, and others from 0–50 meters and up (Qobustan, Absheron
Qobustan, Absheron
Qobustan is a village in the municipality of Pirəkəşkül-Qobustan in the Absheron Rayon of Azerbaijan.-References:...

). The rest of Azerbaijan's terrain consist of plains and lowlands. Hypsometric marks within the Caucasus region vary from about −28 meters at the Caspian Sea shoreline up to 4,466 meters (Bazardüzü peak).

The formation of climate in Azerbaijan is influenced particularly by cold arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 air mass
Air mass
In meteorology, an air mass is a volume of air defined by its temperature and water vapor content. Air masses cover many hundreds or thousands of square miles, and adopt the characteristics of the surface below them. They are classified according to latitude and their continental or maritime...

es of Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

n anticyclone
Anticyclone
An anticyclone is a weather phenomenon defined by the United States' National Weather Service's glossary as "[a] large-scale circulation of winds around a central region of high atmospheric pressure, clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere"...

, temperate of Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

n anticyclone, and Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

n anticyclone. Azerbaijan's diverse landscape affects the ways air masses enter the country. The Greater Caucasus protects the country from direct influences of cold air masses coming from the north. That leads to the formation of subtropical climate
Subtropics
The subtropics are the geographical and climatical zone of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropical zone, which is bounded by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, at latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S...

 on most foothills and plains of the country. Meanwhile, plains and foothills are characterized by high solar radiation
Sunlight
Sunlight, in the broad sense, is the total frequency spectrum of electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun. On Earth, sunlight is filtered through the Earth's atmosphere, and solar radiation is obvious as daylight when the Sun is above the horizon.When the direct solar radiation is not blocked...

 rates.

9 out of 11 existing climate zones
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 are present in Azerbaijan. Both the absolute minimum temperature ( -33 °C ) and the absolute maximum temperature ( 46 °C (114.8 °F) ) were observed in Julfa and Ordubad. The maximum annual precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 falls in Lankaran
Lankaran
-History:The city was built on a swamp along the northern bank of the river bearing the city's name. There are remains of human settlements in the area dating back to the Neolithic period as well as ruins of fortified villages from the Bronze and Iron Ages. Lankaran's history is rather recent,...

 (1,600 to 1,800 mm) and the minimum in Absheron (200 to 350 mm).
Rivers and lakes form the principal part of the water systems of Azerbaijan, they were formed over a long geological timeframe and changed significantly throughout that period. This is particularly evidenced by remnants of ancient rivers found throughout the country. The country's water systems are continually changing under the influence of natural forces and human introduced industrial activities. Artificial rivers (canals) and ponds are a part of Azerbaijan's water systems. From the water supply
Water supply
Water supply is the provision of water by public utilities, commercial organisations, community endeavours or by individuals, usually via a system of pumps and pipes...

 point, Azerbaijan is below the average in the world with approximately 100,000 m³/year of water per km². All big water reservoirs
Reservoir
A reservoir , artificial lake or dam is used to store water.Reservoirs may be created in river valleys by the construction of a dam or may be built by excavation in the ground or by conventional construction techniques such as brickwork or cast concrete.The term reservoir may also be used to...

 are built on Kur. The hydrography of Azerbaijan basically belongs to the Caspian Sea basin.

There are 8,350 rivers of various lengths within Azerbaijan. Only 24 rivers are over 100 kilometers long. The Kura
Kura River
Kura is a river, also known from the Greek as the Cyrus in the Caucasus Mountains. Starting in north-eastern Turkey, it flows through Turkey to Georgia, then to Azerbaijan, where it receives the Aras River as a right tributary, and enters the Caspian Sea...

 and Aras are the most popular rivers in Azerbaijan, they run through the Kura-Aras Lowland
Kura-Aras Lowland
The Kura-Aras Lowland, Kura-Aras Depression or Kura-Aras Basin is a vast depression in central-southern Azerbaijan defined by the valleys of the Kura River and Aras River. It is situated by the West shore of the Caspian Sea and is part of the Aral-Caspian Depression...

. The rivers that directly flow into the Caspian Sea, originate mainly from the north-eastern slope of the Major Caucasus and Talysh Mountains
Talysh Mountains
Talysh Mountains is a mountain chain in northwestern Iran, and southeastern Republic of Azerbaijan in the northwest section of the Elburz Mountains, extending southeastward from the Lankaran Lowland in southeast Azerbaijan to the lower part of the Sefid Rud in northwest Iran...

 and run along the Samur-Devechi and Lenkeran lowlands.

Biodiversity


The first reports on the richness and diversity of animal life in Azerbaijan can be found in travel notes of Eastern travelers. Animal carvings on architectural monuments, ancient rocks and stones survived up to the present times. The first information on the animal kingdom of Azerbaijan was collected during the visits of naturalists to Azerbaijan in 17th century. Unlike fauna, the concept of animal kingdom covers not only the types of animals, but also the number of individual species.

There are 106 species of mammals, 97 species of fish, 363 species of birds, 10 species of amphibians and 52 species of reptiles which have been recorded and classified in Azerbaijan. The national animal of Azerbaijan is the Karabakh horse, a mountain-steppe racing and riding horse endemic to Azerbaijan. The Karabakh horse has a reputation for its good temper, speed, elegance and intelligence. It is one of the oldest breeds, with ancestry dating to the ancient world. However today the horse is an endangered species.

Azerbaijan's flora consists of more than 4,500 species of higher plants. Due the unique climate in Azerbaijan, the flora is much richer in the number of species than the flora of the other republics of the South Caucasus. About 67 percent of the species growing in the whole Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

 can be found in Azerbaijan.

Politics


The structural formation of Azerbaijan's political system was completed by the adoption of the new Constitution
Constitution of Azerbaijan
The Constitution of Azerbaijan was adopted on 12 November 1995 by popular referendum and amended on 24 August 2002. It carries the "highest legal force" in Azerbaijan as per article 147.-Preamble:...

 on 12 November 1995. According to the Article 23 of Constitution, the state symbols of the Azerbaijan Republic are the flag
Flag of Azerbaijan
The flag of Azerbaijan is the national flag of Azerbaijan. It consists of an horizontal tricolour of blue, red, and green, with a white crescent and an eight-pointed star centered in the red band. The blue band refers to the nation's Turkic heritage, the red stands for progress, and the green...

, the coat of arms
Coat of arms of Azerbaijan
The state emblem of Azerbaijan mixes traditional and modern symbols. The focal point of the emblem is the fire symbol. This symbol comes from the fact that Azerbaijan has many everlasting fires which also gives the name "land of eternal fire"....

 and the national anthem. The state power in Azerbaijan is limited only by law for internal issues, but for international affairs is additionally limited by the provisions of international agreements.

The government of Azerbaijan is based on the separation of powers
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

 among the legislative
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

, executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 and judicial
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 branches. The legislative power is held by the unicameral
Unicameralism
In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

 National Assembly
National Assembly of Azerbaijan
The National Assembly , also transliterated as Milli Majlis is the legislative branch of government in Azerbaijan. The unicameral National Assembly has 125 deputies: previously 100 members were elected for five-year terms in single-seat constituencies and 25 were members elected by proportional...

 and the Supreme National Assembly in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Parliamentary elections are held every five years, on the first Sunday of November. The Yeni Azerbaijan Party
New Azerbaijan Party
The New Azerbaijan Party is the ruling political party in Azerbaijan. It was formed on 18 December 1992 by the former President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev, who led it until his retirement and death in 2003...

, and independents loyal to the ruling government, currently hold almost all of the Parliament's 125 seats. During the 2010 Parliamentary election
Azerbaijani parliamentary election, 2010
A parliamentary election was held in Azerbaijan on 7 November 2010.-Candidates:The registration of candidates ends October 15 when the campaign period ends...

, the opposition parties, Musavat and Azerbaijani Popular Front Party, failed to win a single seat. European observers found numerous irregularities in the run up to the election and on election day.

The executive power is held by the President
President of Azerbaijan
The country of Azerbaijan is a presidential republic, with the President of Azerbaijan as the head of state, and the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan as head of government...

, who is elected for a 5-year term by direct election
Direct election
Direct election is a term describing a system of choosing political officeholders in which the voters directly cast ballots for the person, persons or political party that they desire to see elected. The method by which the winner or winners of a direct election are chosen depends upon the...

s. The president is authorized to form the Cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

, an inferior executive body, subordinated to him. The Cabinet of Azerbaijan consists primarily of the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Azerbaijan
The Prime Minister of Azerbaijan is the head of government of Azerbaijan. The current prime minister is Artur Rasizade.-Prime Ministers:* Fath Ali Khan Khoyski * Nasib Yusifbeyli...

, his Deputies and Ministers. The president does not have the right to dissolve the National Assembly, but he has the right to veto
Veto
A veto, Latin for "I forbid", is the power of an officer of the state to unilaterally stop an official action, especially enactment of a piece of legislation...

 its decisions. To override the presidential veto, the parliament must have a majority of 95 votes. The judicial power is vested in the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and the Economic Court. The President nominates the judges in these courts.

The Security Council is the deliberative body under the president, and he organizes it according to the Constitution. It was established on 10 April 1997. The administrative department is not a part of the president's office but manages the financial, technical and pecuniary activities of both the president and his office.

Although Azerbaijan has held several elections since regaining its independence and it has many of the formal institutions of democracy, it remains classified as "not free" (on border with "partly free") in Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

's Freedom in the World 2009 survey.

Foreign relations


The short-lived Azerbaijan Democratic Republic succeeded in establishing diplomatic relations with six countries, sending diplomatic representatives to Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

. The process of international recognition of Azerbaijan's independence from the collapsing Soviet Union lasted roughly one year. The most recent country to recognize Azerbaijan was Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

, on November 6, 1996. Full diplomatic relations, including mutual exchanges of missions, were first established with Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. Azerbaijan has placed a particular emphasis on its "Special Relationship
Special relationship
The Special Relationship is a phrase used to describe the exceptionally close political, diplomatic, cultural, economic, military and historical relations between the United Kingdom and the United States, following its use in a 1946 speech by British statesman Winston Churchill...

" with Turkey.

Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries so far and holds membership in 38 international organizations. It holds observer status in the Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

 and World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 and is a correspondent at the International Telecommunication Union
International Telecommunication Union
The International Telecommunication Union is the specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies...

. On 9 May 2006 Azerbaijan was elected to membership in the newly established Human Rights Council by the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

. The term of office began on 19 June 2006.

Foreign policy priorities of Azerbaijan include: first of all, the restoration of its territorial integrity; elimination of the consequences of the loss of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other regions of Azerbaijan
Armenian-controlled territories surrounding Nagorno Karabakh
The Armenian-controlled territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh are areas formally part of Azerbaijan and situated outside the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, which are since the end of the Karabakh War controlled by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.-Nomenclature:These areas have also been...

; integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structure; contribution to international security; cooperation with international organizations; regional cooperation and bilateral relations; strengthening of defense capability; promotion of security by domestic policy means; strengthening of democracy; preservation of the ethnic and religious tolerance; scientific, educational and cultural policy and preservation of moral values; economic and social development; enhancing internal and border security; migration, energy and transportation security policy.

The Azerbaijani Government, in late 2007, stated that the long-standing dispute over the Armenian-occupied territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is almost certain to spark a new war if it remains unresolved. The Government is in the process of increasing its military budget. Furthermore, economic sanctions by Turkey to the west and by Azerbaijan itself to the east have combined to greatly erode Armenia's economy, leading to steep increases in prices for basic commodities and a great decline in the Armenian state revenues.

Azerbaijan is an active member of international coalitions fighting international terrorism. The country is contributing to peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Azerbaijan is an active member of NATO's Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation program aimed at creating trust between NATO and other states in Europe and the former Soviet Union; 22 States are members...

 program. It also maintains good relations with the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and could potentially one day apply for membership.

Administrative divisions



Azerbaijan is divided into 10 economic regions; 66 rayons
Raion
A raion is a type of administrative unit of several post-Soviet countries. The term, which is from French rayon 'honeycomb, department,' describes both a type of a subnational entity and a division of a city, and is commonly translated in English as "district"...

 (rayonlar, singular rayon) and 77 cities (şəhərlər, singular şəhər) of which 11 are under the direct authority of the republic. Moreover, Azerbaijan includes the Autonomous Republic
Autonomous republic
An autonomous republic is a type of administrative division similar to a province. A significant number of autonomous republics can be found within the successor states of the Soviet Union, but the majority are located within Russia. Many of these republics were established during the Soviet...

 (muxtar respublika) of Nakhchivan. The President of Azerbaijan
President of Azerbaijan
The country of Azerbaijan is a presidential republic, with the President of Azerbaijan as the head of state, and the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan as head of government...

 appoints the governors of these units, while the government of Nakhchivan is elected and approved by the parliament of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
Absheron
  • Absheron (Abşeron)
  • Baku
    Baku
    Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

    (Bakı)
  • Khizi (Xızı)
  • Sumqayit
    Sumqayit
    Sumgayit is one of the largest cities in Azerbaijan, located near the Caspian Sea, about 31 kilometres away from the capital, Baku. The city has a population of 308,700 , making it the third-largest city in Azerbaijan after the capital Baku and Ganja. The city has a territory of 83 km². It...

    (Sumqayıt)

Aran
  • Aghjabadi (Ağcabədi)
  • Aghdash (Ağdaş)
  • Barda (Bərdə)
  • Beylagan (Beyləqan)
  • Bilasuvar (Biləsuvar)
  • Goychay (Göyçay)
  • Hajigabul (Hacıqabul)
  • Imishli (İmişli)
  • Kurdamir (Kürdəmir)
  • Mingachevir
    Mingachevir
    Mingachevir , sometimes spelled Mingecevir, is the fourth-biggest city in Azerbaijan with a population of about 100,000. It is known as city of lights because of its hydroelectric power station on the Kur River, which splits the city in half....

    (Mingəçevir)
  • Neftchala (Neftçala)
  • Saatly (Saatlı)
  • Sabirabad (Sabirabad)
  • Salyan (Salyan)
  • Shirvan (Şirvan)
  • Ujar (Ucar)
  • Yevlakh (Yevlax)
  • Yevlakh
    Yevlakh
    Yevlakh is a small city in Azerbaijan, 265 km west of capital Baku. It is surrounded by, but administratively separate from, the rayon of the same name...

    (Yevlax)
  • Zardab (Zərdab)

Daghlig Shirvan
  • Aghsu (Ağsu)
  • Gobustan (Qobustan)
  • Ismailly (İsmayıllı)
  • Shamakhy (Şamaxı)


Ganja-Gazakh
  • Aghstafa (Ağstafa)
  • Dashkasan (Daşkəsən)
  • Gadabay (Gədəbəy)
  • Ganja
    Ganja, Azerbaijan
    Ganja is Azerbaijan's second-largest city with a population of around 313,300. It was named Yelizavetpol in the Russian Empire period. The city regained its original name—Ganja—from 1920–1935 during the first part of its incorporation into the Soviet Union. However, its name was changed again and...

    (Gəncə)
  • Gazakh (Qazax)
  • Goygol (Göygöl)
  • Goranboy (Goranboy)
  • Naftalan
    Naftalan
    Naftalan is a sahar in Azerbaijan, surrounded by the rayon of Goranboy. It is on an agricultural plain near the Lesser Caucasus Mountains...

     (Naftalan)
  • Samukh (Samux)
  • Shamkir (Şəmkir)
  • Tovuz (Tovuz)

Guba-Khachmaz
  • Guba (Quba)
  • Gusar (Qusar)
  • Khachmaz (Xaçmaz)
  • Shabran (Şabran)
  • Siyazan (Siyəzən)

Kalbajar-Lachin
  • Gubadly (Qubadlı)
  • Kalbajar (Kəlbəcər)
  • Lachin
    Lachin Rayon
    Lachin is a rayon of Azerbaijan. The capital is the city of Lachin. The region has been controlled by the breakway Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, as part of its Qashatagh Province, since the Nagorno-Karabakh War....

     (Laçın)
  • Zangilan (Zəngilan)

Lankaran
  • Astara (Astara)
  • Jalilabad (Cəlilabad)
  • Lankaran (Lənkəran)
  • Lankaran
    Lankaran
    -History:The city was built on a swamp along the northern bank of the river bearing the city's name. There are remains of human settlements in the area dating back to the Neolithic period as well as ruins of fortified villages from the Bronze and Iron Ages. Lankaran's history is rather recent,...

    (Lənkəran)
  • Lerik (Lerik)

  • Masally (Masallı)
  • Yardimly (Yardımlı)

Nakhchivan
  • Babek (Babək)
  • Julfa (Culfa)
  • Kangarli (Kəngərli)
  • Nakhchivan (Naxçıvan)
  • Ordubad  (Ordubad)
  • Sadarak (Sədərək)
  • Shahbuz (Şahbuz)
  • Sharur (Şərur)

Shaki-Zaqatala
  • Balakan (Balakən)
  • Gabala (Qəbələ)
  • Gakh (Qax)
  • Oghuz (Oğuz)
  • Shaki (Şəki)
  • Shaki (Şəki)
  • Zaqatala (Zaqatala)

Yukhari Garabakh
  • Aghdam (Ağdam)
  • Fuzuli (Füzuli)
  • Jabrayil (Cəbrayıl)
  • Khankendi
    Stepanakert
    Stepanakert is the largest city and capital of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, a de facto independent republic, though is internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan...

    (Xankəndi)
  • Khojaly (Xocalı)
  • Khojavend (Xocavənd)
  • Shusha (Şuşa)
  • Shusha
    Shusha
    Shusha , also known as Shushi is a town in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus. It has been under the control of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic since its capture in 1992 during the Nagorno-Karabakh War...

    (Şuşa)
  • Tartar (Tərtər)

Note: The cities under the direct authority of the republic in italics.

Military


The history of the modern Azerbaijan army dates back to Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world . The ADR was founded on May 28, 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 by Azerbaijani National Council in...

 in 1918, when the National Army of the newly formed Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was created on June 26, 1918. When Azerbaijan gained independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan were created according to the Law on the Armed Forces of October 9, 1991. The original date of the establishment of the short-lived National Army is celebrated as Army Day (26 June) in today's Azerbaijan.
As of 2002, Azerbaijan had 95,000 active personnel in its armed forces. There are also 17,000 paramilitary
Paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 troops. The armed forces have three branches: the Land Forces
Army of Azerbaijan
The Azerbaijani Land Forces are the land force component of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan has been trying to further develop its armed forces into a professional, well trained, and mobile military. Based on 2007 statistics the country has about 56,840...

, the Air Forces and the Navy
Azerbaijan Navy
The Azerbaijan Navy is the Naval component of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces operating in the Caspian Sea.-History:The inception of Azerbaijani Naval Forces dates back to August 5, 1918 when the government of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic established the navy force on the basis of Russian Imperial...

. Additionally the armed forces embrace several military sub-groups that can be involved in state defense when needed. These are the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Border Service
Azerbaijan Border Guard
The State Border Service of Azerbaijan Republic also known as Border Guard of Azerbaijan is a governmental law enforcement agency in charge of protecting the borders of Azerbaijan Republic.-History:...

, which includes the Coast Guard as well. The Azerbaijan National Guard
Azerbaijan National Guard
The Azerbaijani National Guard is an armed force of the Government of Azerbaijan, and operates as a semi-independent entity. The Guard was definitely active in December 1996 but now appears to have been incorporated into the Special State Protection Service...

 is a further paramilitary force. It operates as a semi-independent entity of the Special State Protection Service, an agency subordinate to the President.

Azerbaijan adheres to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
The original Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was negotiated and concluded during the last years of the Cold War and established comprehensive limits on key categories of conventional military equipment in Europe and mandated the destruction of excess weaponry...

 and has signed all major international arms and weapons treaties. Azerbaijan closely cooperates with NATO in programs such as Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace
Partnership for Peace is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation program aimed at creating trust between NATO and other states in Europe and the former Soviet Union; 22 States are members...

 and Individual Partnership Action Plan
Individual Partnership Action Plan
Individual Partnership Action Plans, or IPAPs, are plans developed between NATO and different countries, that state the objectives and the communication framework for dialogue and cooperation between both parties...

. Azerbaijan has deployed 151 of its Peacekeeping Forces in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and another 184 in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

.

The military expenditures of Azerbaijan for 2011 are set at $4,46 billion USD
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

. Azerbaijani defense industry manufactures small arms, artillery systems, tanks, armors and noctovision devices, aviation bombs, pilotless vehicles, various military vehicles and military planes and helicopters.

Economy




After gaining independence in 1991, Azerbaijan became a member of the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

, the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Founded in 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development uses the tools of investment to help build market economies and democracies in 30 countries from central Europe to central Asia. Its mission was to support the formerly communist countries in the process of establishing their...

, the Islamic Development Bank
Islamic Development Bank
The Islamic Development Bank is a multilateral development financing institution located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was founded by the first conference of Finance Ministers of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference , convened 23 Dhu'l Qa'dah 1393 AH.The bank officially began its activities on...

 and the Asian Development Bank
Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia...

. The banking system of Azerbaijan consists of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, commercial bank
Commercial bank
After the implementation of the Glass–Steagall Act, the U.S. Congress required that banks engage only in banking activities, whereas investment banks were limited to capital market activities. As the two no longer have to be under separate ownership under U.S...

s and non-banking credit organizations. The National (now Central) Bank was created in 1992 based on the Azerbaijan State Savings Bank, an affiliate of the former State Savings Bank of the USSR. The Central Bank serves as Azerbaijan's central bank, empowered to issue the national currency, the Azerbaijani manat
Azerbaijani manat
The Manat is the currency of Azerbaijan. It is subdivided into 100 qəpik. The word manat is borrowed from "moneta" which is pronounced as "maneta"...

, and to supervise all commercial banks. Two major commercial banks are the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan
International Bank of Azerbaijan
The International Bank of Azerbaijan is the state-controlled bank operating in the Republic of Azerbaijan. Headquartered in Baku, the bank consists of 36 branches and 95 service outlets in more than 40 cities....

 and the UniBank.

Pushed up by spending and demand growth, the 2007 Q1 inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 rate reached 16.6%. Nominal incomes and monthly wages climbed 29% and 25% respectively against this figure, but price increases in non-oil industry encouraged inflation in the country. Azerbaijan shows some signs of the so-called "Dutch disease
Dutch disease
In economics, the Dutch disease is a concept that purportedly explains the apparent relationship between the increase in exploitation of natural resources and a decline in the manufacturing sector...

" because of the fast growing energy sector, which causes inflation and makes non-energy exports more expensive.

In the early years of this century the chronically high inflation was brought under control and this led to the launch of a new currency, the new Azerbaijani manat
Azerbaijani manat
The Manat is the currency of Azerbaijan. It is subdivided into 100 qəpik. The word manat is borrowed from "moneta" which is pronounced as "maneta"...

, on January 1, 2006, to cement the acquisition of the economic reforms and erase the vestiges of an unstable economy.

In 2008, Azerbaijan was cited as one of the top 10 reformers by the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

's Doing Business Report
Doing Business Report
The Doing Business Report is a study elaborated by the World Bank Group since 2004 every year that is aimed to measure the costs to firms of business regulations in 183 countries in 2010...

.
Azerbaijan is also ranked 57th in the Global Competitiveness Report
Global Competitiveness Report
The Global Competitiveness Report is a yearly report published by the World Economic Forum. The first report was released in 1979. The 2011–2012 report covers 142 major and emerging economies....

 for 2010–2011, which is above other CIS countries.

Energy




Two thirds of Azerbaijan is rich in oil and natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

. The region of the Lesser Caucasus
Lesser Caucasus
Lesser Caucasus is one of the two main mountain ranges of Caucasus mountains, of length about 600 km....

 accounts for most of the country's gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

, iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

, copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, titanium
Titanium
Titanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. It has a low density and is a strong, lustrous, corrosion-resistant transition metal with a silver color....

, chromium
Chromium
Chromium is a chemical element which has the symbol Cr and atomic number 24. It is the first element in Group 6. It is a steely-gray, lustrous, hard metal that takes a high polish and has a high melting point. It is also odorless, tasteless, and malleable...

, manganese
Manganese
Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is found as a free element in nature , and in many minerals...

, cobalt
Cobalt
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal....

, molybdenum
Molybdenum
Molybdenum , is a Group 6 chemical element with the symbol Mo and atomic number 42. The name is from Neo-Latin Molybdaenum, from Ancient Greek , meaning lead, itself proposed as a loanword from Anatolian Luvian and Lydian languages, since its ores were confused with lead ores...

, complex ore
Ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

 and antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

. In September 1994, a 30-year contract was signed between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and 13 oil companies, among them Amoco
Amoco
Amoco Corporation, originally Standard Oil Company , was a global chemical and oil company, founded in 1889 around a refinery located in Whiting, Indiana, United States....

, BP
BP
BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

, ExxonMobil
ExxonMobil
Exxon Mobil Corporation or ExxonMobil, is an American multinational oil and gas corporation. It is a direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil company, and was formed on November 30, 1999, by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Its headquarters are in Irving, Texas...

, Lukoil
LUKoil
Lukoil/LUKoil ; ) is Russia's second largest oil company and its second largest producer of oil. In 2009, the company produced 97.615 million tons of oil; ....

 and Statoil
Statoil
Statoil ASA is a Norwegian petroleum company established in 1972. It merged with Norsk Hydro in 2007 and was known as StatoilHydro until 2009, when the name was changed back to Statoil ASA. The brand Statoil was retained as a chain of fuel stations owned by StatoilHydro...

. As Western oil companies are able to tap deepwater oilfields
Oil field
An oil field is a region with an abundance of oil wells extracting petroleum from below ground. Because the oil reservoirs typically extend over a large area, possibly several hundred kilometres across, full exploitation entails multiple wells scattered across the area...

 untouched by the Soviet exploitation, Azerbaijan is considered one of the most important spots in the world for oil exploration and development. Meanwhile the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan
State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan
The State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan is the state-owned fund managing financial assets generated by oil and natural exploration and development in Azerbaijan. It's located on Neftchiler Avenue in Baku.-Overview:...

 was established as an extra-budgetary fund to ensure the macroeconomic stability, transparency in the management of oil revenue, and the safeguarding of resources for future generations.

Azeriqaz, a sub-company of SOCAR, intends to ensure full gasification of the country by 2021.

Banking



The GDP growth rates
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

 observed in Azerbaijan during last years made the country one of the fastest growing economies in the world. But the banking sector of Azerbaijan has yet to tap the vast growth potential that should be achievable due to the continuation of the high economic growth. For this reason the banking sector remains small in relation to the size of the Azerbaijani economy
Economy of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is an economy that has completed its post-Soviet transition into a major oil based economy , from one where the state played the major role...

. Although in the more advanced countries banking sectors made further visible progress in the catch-up process, the Azerbaijani banking market being in an earlier stage of development, also successes in pushing forward market-oriented reform and the privatization
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 process.

Still the banking system is considered an important element of financial system of Azerbaijan. An advanced two-stepped banking system, which is based on market principles, (the Central Bank of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the first step, in the second one commercial banks and other non-bank credit organizations) functions in the republic.

Since 2002 important stage of restructuring
Restructuring
Restructuring is the corporate management term for the act of reorganizing the legal, ownership, operational, or other structures of a company for the purpose of making it more profitable, or better organized for its present needs...

 of banking system started to be carried out. Taking into consideration entry of big oil revenues in the country, as a logical result of successful oil strategy, and in this base, as the banks were ready to an effective transfer of their financial resources to the strategic goals, development strategy was made for 2002–2005. Far-reaching reforms of the banking sector are conducted in the country. The main challenges are due to the slow privatization rate of the state banks, a weak financial market and a lack of bank transparency. However, the reforms have started showing positive resu lts and competition among the leading banks is increasing.

By April 1, 2010, 47 banks, 631 bank branches function in Azerbaijan. One of banks was founded with participation of state capital, 23 of foreign capital. To the same date, 98 non-bank credit organizations operate in the republic along with banks. Growth of real money incomes of population, development of trust in bank system, improving the legal bases of protection of interests of creditors and depositors, in particular launch of ‘Deposits Insurance Fund’ were the criteria characterizing rapid growth of deposits of population. As of April 1, 2010, bank deposits of population were equal to 2,4 billion AZN. 33,3% of them were long-term deposits (higher than a year). Along with population, bank deposits of corporative customers increase dynamically. By April 1, 2010, bank deposits of corporative customers is 2,1 bn AZN. Dynamic development of volume of special and involved funds of the banks has created effective conditions for enlargement of active operations. As of April 1, 2010, the volume of bank assets is 12 bn AZN. Crediting plays special role in structure of bank assets. As of April 1, 2010, bank credits to customers is 8.5 bn AZN, which makes 70.5% of bank assets. Special weight of private sector in structure of credit investments is higher than 82% (7 bn AZN).

Agriculture



Azerbaijan has the largest agricultural basin in the region. About 54,9 percent of Azerbaijan is agricultural lands. At the beginning of 2007 there were 4,755,100 hectares of utilized agricultural area. In the same year the total wood resources counted 136 million m³. Azerbaijan's agricultural scientific research institutes are focused on meadows and pastures, horticulture
Horticulture
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

 and subtropical crops, green vegetables, viticulture
Viticulture
Viticulture is the science, production and study of grapes which deals with the series of events that occur in the vineyard. When the grapes are used for winemaking, it is also known as viniculture...

 and wine-making
Azerbaijani wine
Azerbaijani wine is produced in several regions throughout Azerbaijan. Prior to 20th century communist rule, Azerbaijan had a thriving wine industry that dated back to the second millennium BC...

, cotton growing and medicinal plants. In some lands it is profitable to grow grain, potatoes, sugar beet
Sugar beet
Sugar beet, a cultivated plant of Beta vulgaris, is a plant whose tuber contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar production. Sugar beets and other B...

s, cotton and tobacco. Livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

, dairy product
Dairy product
Dairy products are generally defined as foods produced from cow's or domestic buffalo's milk. They are usually high-energy-yielding food products. A production plant for such processing is called a dairy or a dairy factory. Raw milk for processing comes mainly from cows, and, to a lesser extent,...

s, and wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 and spirits are also important farm products. The Caspian fishing industry
Fishing industry
The fishing industry includes any industry or activity concerned with taking, culturing, processing, preserving, storing, transporting, marketing or selling fish or fish products....

 is concentrated on the dwindling stocks of sturgeon
Sturgeon
Sturgeon is the common name used for some 26 species of fish in the family Acipenseridae, including the genera Acipenser, Huso, Scaphirhynchus and Pseudoscaphirhynchus. The term includes over 20 species commonly referred to as sturgeon and several closely related species that have distinct common...

 and beluga. In 2002 the Azerbaijani merchant marine had 54 ships.

Some portions of most products that were previously imported from abroad have begun to be produced locally (among them are Coca Cola by Coca Cola Bottlers LTD, beer by Baki-Kastel, parquet by Nehir and oil pipes by EUPEC Pipe Coating Azerbaijan).

Tourism


Tourism is an important part of the economy of Azerbaijan
Economy of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is an economy that has completed its post-Soviet transition into a major oil based economy , from one where the state played the major role...

. The country's large abundance of natural and cultural attractions make it an attractive destination of visitors. The country was a well-known tourist spot in the 1980s, yet, the Nagorno-Karabakh War
Nagorno-Karabakh War
The Nagorno-Karabakh War was an armed conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan...

 during the 1990s crippled the tourist industry and damaged the image of Azerbaijan as a tourist destination.

It was not until 2000s that the tourism industry began to recover, and the country has since experienced a high rate of growth in the number of tourist visits and overnight stays. In the recent years, Azerbaijan has also becoming a popular destination for religious, spa, and health care tourism.

The Government of Azerbaijan has set the development of Azerbaijan as an elite tourist destination a top priority. It is a national strategy to make tourism a major, if not the single largest, contributor to the Azerbaijani economy. These activities are regulated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan
Ministry of Culture and Tourism (Azerbaijan)
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan Republic is a governmental agency within the Cabinet of Azerbaijan in charge of regulation of the activities in and development of tourism in Azerbaijan and promotion of Azerbaijani culture...

.

Transportation


The convenient location of Azerbaijan on the crossroad of major international traffic arteries, such as the Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

 and the South-North corridor, highlights the strategic importance of transportation sector for the country’s economy. The transport sector in the country includes roads, railways, aviation, and maritime transport.

Azerbaijan is also an important economic hub in the transportation of raw materials. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline
The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline is a long crude oil pipeline from the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field in the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It connects Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan; Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia; and Ceyhan, a port on the south-eastern Mediterranean coast of Turkey,...

 (BTC) became operational in May 2006 and extends more than 1,774 kilometers through the territories of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. The BTC is designed to transport up to 50 million tons of crude oil annually and carries oil from the Caspian Sea oilfields to global markets. The South Caucasus Pipeline
South Caucasus Pipeline
South Caucasus Pipeline is a natural gas pipeline to transport natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to Turkey...

, also stretching through the territory of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, became operational at the end of 2006 and offers additional gas supplies to the European market from the Shah Deniz gas field
Shah Deniz gas field
Shah Deniz gas field is the largest natural gas field in Azerbaijan. It is situated in the South Caspian Sea, off the coast of Azerbaijan, approximately southeast of Baku, at a depth of . The field covers approximately . The Shah Deniz gas and condensate field was discovered in 1999...

. Shah Deniz is expected to produce up to 296 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. Azerbaijan also plays a major role in the EU-sponsored Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

 Project.

In 2002, the Azerbaijani government established the Ministry of Transport with a broad range of policy and regulatory functions. In the same year, the country became a member of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic
Vienna Convention on Road Traffic
The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic is an international treaty designed to facilitate international road traffic and to increase road safety by standardising the uniform traffic rules among the contracting parties...

. The highest priority being; upgrading the transport network and transforming transportation services into one of the key comparative advantages of the country, as this would be highly conducive to the development of other sectors of the economy.

In 2012, the construction of Kars–Tbilisi–Baku railway expected to provide transportation between Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 through connecting the railways of China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

 in the east with Turkey's Marmaray to the European railway system in the west. Broad gauge
Russian gauge
In railway terminology, Russian gauge refers to railway track with a gauge between 1,520 mm and . In a narrow sense as defined by Russian Railways it refers to gauge....

 railways in 2010 stretched for 2918 km (1,813 mi) and electrified railways numbered 1278 km (794 mi). By 2010, there were 35 airports and one heliport
Heliport
A heliport is a small airport suitable only for use by helicopters. Heliports typically contain one or more helipads and may have limited facilities such as fuel, lighting, a windsock, or even hangars...

.

Science and technology



In 2000s, the wave of a new oil and gas boom, helped to improve the situation in the Azerbaijan's science and technology sectors, and the government launched a campaign aimed into modernization
Modernization
In the social sciences, modernization or modernisation refers to a model of an evolutionary transition from a 'pre-modern' or 'traditional' to a 'modern' society. The teleology of modernization is described in social evolutionism theories, existing as a template that has been generally followed by...

 and innovation
Innovation
Innovation is the creation of better or more effective products, processes, technologies, or ideas that are accepted by markets, governments, and society...

. Government estimates say, in the future, profits from the information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 and communication industry will grow and become comparable with those from oil production.

The country has also been making progress in developing its telecoms sector. Nonetheless, it still faces problems. These include poor infrastructure and an immature telecom regulatory regime. The Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies (MCIT), as well as being an operator through its role in Aztelekom, is both a policy-maker and regulator. Public pay phones are available for local calls and require the purchase of a token from the telephone exchange or some shops and kiosks. Tokens allow a call of indefinite duration. As of 2009, there were 1,397,000 main telephone line
Telephone line
A telephone line or telephone circuit is a single-user circuit on a telephone communication system...

s and 1,485,000 internet users. There are five GSM providers: Azercell
Azercell
The Azercell is a mobile telecommunications company, located in Baku, Azerbaijan.-Company background:“Azercell Telecom” LLC was established on January 19, 1996. Founders were Turkcell İletişim Hizmetleri A. S...

, Bakcell
Bakcell
Bakcell — is a cellular communication operator of GSM standard in Azerbaijan. It is the first and largest cellular operator in the country.- About Company :...

, Azerfon (Nar Mobile
Nar Mobile
Nar Mobile is a mobile telecommunications company, located in Baku, Azerbaijan.-Company background:Azerfon LLC launched its commercial activities in 21 March 2007 under brand name Nar Mobile....

), Aztrank
Aztrank
Aztrank is the operator of the modern wireless digital CDMA 2000 telecommunication services in Azerbaijan. AZTRANK Company was established in 1996 and until 2005 major service was the trunk communications support...

, Catel
CATEL
Caspian American Telecom LLC is an American Azerbaijan Mobile Telecommunications Joint venture between the Azerbaijan government and US consortium Omni Communications.-History:...

 mobile network operator
Mobile network operator
A mobile network operator , also known as mobile phone operator , carrier service provider , wireless service provider, wireless carrier, or cellular company, or mobile network carrier is a telephone company that provides services for mobile phone subscribers.One essential...

s and one CDMA.

In the 21st century a number of prominent Azerbaijani geodynamics
Geodynamics
Geodynamics is a subfield of geophysics dealing with dynamics of the Earth. It applies physics, chemistry and mathematics to the understanding of how mantle convection leads to plate tectonics and geologic phenomena such as seafloor spreading, mountain building, volcanoes, earthquakes, faulting and...

 and geotectonics scientists, inspired by the fundamental works of Elchin Khalilov
Elchin Khalilov
Dr.Prof. Elchin Khalilov is a geophysicist who works in the area of geodynamics and geotectonics.- Early life and family :Elchin Nusrat oglu Khalilov was born in 1959 in Baku to the family of a known Azerbaijani petroleum geologist...

 and others, designed hundreds of earthquake
Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

 prediction stations and earthquake-resistant buildings that now constitute the bulk of The Republican Center of Seismic Service.

The Azerbaijan National Aerospace Agency
Azerbaijan National Aerospace Agency
Azerbaijan National Aerospace Agency Azerbaijan National Aerospace Agency Azerbaijan National Aerospace Agency (ANASA; , is a governmental body that coordinates all Azerbaijani space research programs with scientific and commercial goals...

 is planning to launch its first satellite AzerSat 1
AzerSat 1
Azerspace will be Azerbaijan's first satellite. Built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, it is to be launched into orbit in July or August 2012 from Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana at orbital positions 46° East.. Arianespace will launch the satellite through Ariane 5ECA rocket carrier...

 into orbit in July or August 2012 from Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana
French Guiana
French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west...

 at orbital positions 46° East. The satellite will cover Europe and significant part of Asian countries and Africa and will have transmission for TV, radio broadcasting and the internet. The launch of its own satellite on orbit will be Azerbaijan's first action in realizing prospective projects to turn itself into a country with a space industry.

Demographics



Ethnic composition (1999)
Azerbaijanis
Azerbaijani people
The Azerbaijanis are a Turkic-speaking people living mainly in northwestern Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as in the neighbourhood states, Georgia, Russia and formerly Armenia. Commonly referred to as Azeris or Azerbaijani Turks , they also live in a wider area from the Caucasus to...

90.6%
Dagestanis
Lezgins
The Lezgians are an ethnic group living predominantly in southern Dagestan and northeastern Azerbaijan and who speak the Lezgian language.- Historical concept :While ancient Greek historians, including Herodotus, Strabo, and Pliny the Elder, referred...

2.2%
Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

1.8%
Armenians
Armenians in Azerbaijan
Armenians in Azerbaijan are the Armenians who lived in great numbers in Azerbaijan . According to the statistics, about 400,000 Armenians lived in Azerbaijan in 1989...

1.5%
Talysh
Talysh people
Talysh are an Iranian people indigenous to a region shared between Azerbaijan and Iran which spans the South Caucasus and the southwestern shore of the Caspian Sea. They speak the Talysh language, one of the Northwestern Iranian languages...

1.0%
Turks 0.6%
Other nations 2.3%


From the total population of 9,165,000 people as of July 2011, nearly 52% was urban population, the remaining 48% was the rural population. 51% of the total population were female. The sex ratio
Sex ratio
Sex ratio is the ratio of males to females in a population. The primary sex ratio is the ratio at the time of conception, secondary sex ratio is the ratio at time of birth, and tertiary sex ratio is the ratio of mature organisms....

 for total population in that year was therefore 0.97 males per female.

The 2011 population growth
Population growth
Population growth is the change in a population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals of any species in a population using "per unit time" for measurement....

 rate was 0.85%, compared to 1.09% worldwide. A significant factor restricting the population growth is rather a high level of migration
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

. An estimated 3 million Azerbaijanis, many of them guest workers, live in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. In 2011 Azerbaijan saw migration of −1.14/1,000 persons. With 800,000 ethnic Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs, Azerbaijan has the largest internally displaced population
Refugees and internally displaced persons in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani SSR was the first republic of Soviet Union that faced the problem of refugees. Those people were the Azerbaijani inhabitants of Armenia.-Refugees from Armenia:...

 in the region, and, as of 2006, had the highest per capita IDP population in the world.

The highest morbidity in 2005 was from respiratory disease
Respiratory disease
Respiratory disease is a medical term that encompasses pathological conditions affecting the organs and tissues that make gas exchange possible in higher organisms, and includes conditions of the upper respiratory tract, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli, pleura and pleural cavity, and the...

s (806.9 diseases per 10,000 of total population). In 2005, the highest morbidity for infectious
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

 and parasitic diseases was noted among influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

 and acute respiratory infections
Common cold
The common cold is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory system, caused primarily by rhinoviruses and coronaviruses. Common symptoms include a cough, sore throat, runny nose, and fever...

 (4168,2 per 100,000 population). 2007 estimate for total life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 is 66 years, 70.7 years for women and 61.9 for men.

The Azerbaijani diaspora
Azerbaijani diaspora
The Azerbaijani diaspora are the communities of Azerbaijanis living outside of places of their ethnic origin: Azerbaijan Republic and Iranian Azerbaijan...

 is found in 42 countries and in turn there are many centers for ethnic minorities inside Azerbaijan, including the German cultural society "Karelhaus", Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 cultural center, Azerbaijani-Israeli community, Kurdish
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

 cultural center, International Talysh
Talysh people
Talysh are an Iranian people indigenous to a region shared between Azerbaijan and Iran which spans the South Caucasus and the southwestern shore of the Caspian Sea. They speak the Talysh language, one of the Northwestern Iranian languages...

 Association, Lezgin
Lezgins
The Lezgians are an ethnic group living predominantly in southern Dagestan and northeastern Azerbaijan and who speak the Lezgian language.- Historical concept :While ancient Greek historians, including Herodotus, Strabo, and Pliny the Elder, referred...

 national center "Samur", Azerbaijani-Tatar
Tatarstan
The Republic of Tatarstan is a federal subject of Russia located in the Volga Federal District. Its capital is the city of Kazan, which is one of Russia's largest and most prosperous cities. The republic borders with Kirov, Ulyanovsk, Samara, and Orenburg Oblasts, and with the Mari El, Udmurt,...

 community, Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars or Crimeans are a Turkic ethnic group that originally resided in Crimea. They speak the Crimean Tatar language...

 society, etc.
The ethnic composition of the population according to the 1999 population census: 90.6% Azerbaijanis
Azerbaijani people
The Azerbaijanis are a Turkic-speaking people living mainly in northwestern Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as in the neighbourhood states, Georgia, Russia and formerly Armenia. Commonly referred to as Azeris or Azerbaijani Turks , they also live in a wider area from the Caucasus to...

, 2.2% Dagestanis
Lezgins
The Lezgians are an ethnic group living predominantly in southern Dagestan and northeastern Azerbaijan and who speak the Lezgian language.- Historical concept :While ancient Greek historians, including Herodotus, Strabo, and Pliny the Elder, referred...

, 1.8% Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

, 1.5% Armenians
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 (Almost all Armenians live in the break-away region of Nagorno-Karabakh), 1.0% Talysh
Talysh people
Talysh are an Iranian people indigenous to a region shared between Azerbaijan and Iran which spans the South Caucasus and the southwestern shore of the Caspian Sea. They speak the Talysh language, one of the Northwestern Iranian languages...

, 0.6% Avars
Caucasian Avars
Avars or Caucasian Avars are a modern people of Caucasus, mainly of Dagestan, in which they are the predominant group. The Caucasian Avar language belongs to the Northeast Caucasian language family ....

, 0.5% Turks
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

, 0.4% Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

, 0.4% Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

, 0.2% Tsakhurs, 0.2% Georgians
Georgians
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....

, 0.13% Kurds
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

, 0.13% Tats
Tats
Tats are an Iranian people, presently living within Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia ....

, 0.1% Jews, 0.05% Udins
Udi people
The Udis are one of the most ancient native peoples of the Caucasus.Currently they live in Azerbaijan, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and many other countries. The total number is about 10,000 people. They speak the Udi language. Among them are distributed also Azeri, Russian,...

, other 0.2%.

Iranian Azerbaijanis
Iranian Azerbaijanis
Iranian Azerbaijanis also known as Iranian Azeris, Iranian Turks, Azeri Turks or Persian Azerbaijanis, are Iranians of Azerbaijani ethnicity. Iranian Azeris are mainly found in the northwest provinces of East Azerbaijan, Ardabil, Zanjan, parts of West Azerbaijan, and in smaller numbers, in other...

 are the largest minority in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. The CIA World Factbook estimates Iranian Azerbaijanis as comprising nearly 16 million, or 24% of Iran's population.

Religion


Around 95 percent of the population are Muslims. 85% of the Muslims are Shia Muslims and 15% Sunni Muslims, and the Republic of Azerbaijan has the second highest Shia population percentage in the world after Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. In Baku there is the Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 Fire Temple of Baku
Fire Temple of Baku
The Baku Ateshgah or "Fire Temple" is a castle-like ancient Hindu religious structure in Surakhani, a suburb of greater Baku, Azerbaijan. "Atash" is the Persian word for fire....

 ("ateshgah") with an "old" structure which, according to travellers, has been a place of visit for Hindu priests for more than a millennium The place is often "misrepresented as a Zorostrian fire-temple" due to frequent association of "fire temple" with the Iranian religion of Zorostrianism. There are some other faiths practiced among the different ethnic groups within the country. By article 48 of its Constitution
Constitution of Azerbaijan
The Constitution of Azerbaijan was adopted on 12 November 1995 by popular referendum and amended on 24 August 2002. It carries the "highest legal force" in Azerbaijan as per article 147.-Preamble:...

, Azerbaijan is a secular state
Secular state
A secular state is a concept of secularism, whereby a state or country purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. A secular state also claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential...

 and ensures religious freedom. Of the nation's religious minorites, Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s are mostly Russian
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 and Georgian Orthodox
Orthodox Christianity
The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

 and Armenian Apostolic
Armenian Apostolic Church
The Armenian Apostolic Church is the world's oldest National Church, is part of Oriental Orthodoxy, and is one of the most ancient Christian communities. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD, in establishing this church...

 (Almost all Armenians live in the break-away region of Nagorno-Karabakh).

In 2003 there were 250 Roman Catholics
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. Other Christian denominations as of 2002 include Lutherans
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

, Baptists and Molokan
Molokan
Molokans are sectarian Christians who evolved from "Spiritual Christian" Russian peasants that refused to obey the Russian Orthodox Church, beginning in the 17th century...

s. There are also Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, Bahá'í
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

, Hare Krishna
International Society for Krishna Consciousness
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness , known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement, is a Gaudiya Vaishnava religious organization. It was founded in 1966 in New York City by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada...

 and Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 communities, as well as adherents of the Nehemiah Church, Star in the East Church and the Cathedral of Praise Church.

Language


The official language is Azerbaijani, which belongs to the Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 language family
Language family
A language family is a group of languages related through descent from a common ancestor, called the proto-language of that family. The term 'family' comes from the tree model of language origination in historical linguistics, which makes use of a metaphor comparing languages to people in a...

, spoken in southwestern Asia, primarily in Azerbaijan and Iranian Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan (Iran)
Azerbaijan or Azarbaijan , also Iranian Azerbaijan, Persian Azarbaijan is a region in northwestern Iran. It is also historically known as Atropatene and Aturpatakan....

. Azerbaijani is member of the Oghuz
Oghuz languages
The Oghuz languages, a major branch of the Turkic language family, are spoken by more than 110 million people in an area spanning from the Balkans to China.-Linguistic features:...

 branch of the Turkic languages and is closely related to Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

, Qashqai
Qashqai language
Qashqai is a Turkic language spoken by the Qashqai people, an ethnic group living mainly in the Fars region of Iran. Estimates of the number of Qashqai speakers vary. Ethnologue gives a figure of one and a half million...

 and Turkmen
Turkmen language
Turkmen is the national language of Turkmenistan...

. The Azerbaijani language is divided into two varieties, North Azerbaijani and South Azerbaijani, and a large number of dialects. Turkic Khalaj
Khalaj language
Khalaj is a Turkic language spoken in Iran.It is a member of the Azerbaijani subgroup of the Oghuz languages.There were approximately 42,000 speakers of this language as of 2000...

, Qashqa'i
Qashqai language
Qashqai is a Turkic language spoken by the Qashqai people, an ethnic group living mainly in the Fars region of Iran. Estimates of the number of Qashqai speakers vary. Ethnologue gives a figure of one and a half million...

, and Salchuq
Salchuq language
Salchuq is a Turkic language spoken in Iran. It is probably a dialect of Azerbaijani although ISO 639-3 and Ethnologue list it as a separate language....

 are considered by some to be separate languages in the Azerbaijani language group. Azerbaijani served as a lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

throughout most parts of Transcaucasia (except the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coast), in Southern Dagestan
Dagestan
The Republic of Dagestan is a federal subject of Russia, located in the North Caucasus region. Its capital and the largest city is Makhachkala, located at the center of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea...

, Eastern Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, and Iranian Azerbaijan from the 16th century to the early 20th century.

Although Azerbaijani
Azerbaijani language
Azerbaijani or Azeri or Torki is a language belonging to the Turkic language family, spoken in southwestern Asia by the Azerbaijani people, primarily in Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran...

 (also called Azeri) is the most widely spoken language in the country and is spoken by about a quarter of the population of Iran, there are 13 other languages
Languages of Azerbaijan
Many different languages have dominated in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan.-Present-day:The main language of Azerbaijan is Azerbaijani. The Azerbaijani language is spoken by 96.6 % of the population , while English and Russian play significant roles as languages of education and...

 spoken natively in the country. Some of these languages are very small communities, others are more vital. Azerbaijani is mutually intelligible with Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 and Gagauz
Gagauz language
The Gagauz language is a Turkic language, spoken by the Gagauz people, and the official language of Gagauzia, Moldova. There are two dialects, Bulgar Gagauzi and Maritime Gagauzi. This is a different language from Balkan Gagauz Turkish....

. The northern variety of the language is written with a modified Latin alphabet
Azerbaijani alphabet
In the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani alphabet refers to a Latin alphabet used for writing the Azerbaijani language. This superseded a previous versions based on Cyrillic and Arabic scripts....

 today, but was earlier written in the Perso-Arabic alphabet (until 1929), in the Uniform Turkic Alphabet
Uniform Turkic Alphabet
The Uniform Turkic Alphabet was a Latin alphabet used by non-Slavic peoples of the USSR in the 1930s. The alphabet used ligatures from Jaŋalif as it was also a part of the uniform alphabet. The uniform alphabet utilized Latin ligatures, excluding "w." Some additional ligatures were also introduced...

 (1929–1939), and in the Cyrillic alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

 (1939–1991). The changes in alphabet have been largely molded by religious and political forces.

Education



A relatively high percentage of Azerbaijanis have obtained some form of higher education, most notably in scientific and technical subjects. In the Soviet era, literacy and average education levels rose dramatically from their very low starting point, despite two changes in the standard alphabet, from Perso-Arabic script
Perso-Arabic script
The Persian or Perso-Arabic alphabet is a writing system based on the Arabic script. Originally used exclusively for the Arabic language, the Arabic alphabet was adapted to the Persian language, adding four letters: , , , and . Many languages which use the Perso-Arabic script add other letters...

 to Roman in the 1920s and from Roman to Cyrillic in the 1930s. According to Soviet data, 100 percent of males and females (ages nine to forty-nine) were literate in 1970. According to the United Nations Development Program Report 2009, the literacy rate in Azerbaijan is 99.5 percent.

Since independence, one of the first laws that Azerbaijan's Parliament passed to disassociate itself from the Soviet Union was to adopt a modified-Latin alphabet
Azerbaijani alphabet
In the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani alphabet refers to a Latin alphabet used for writing the Azerbaijani language. This superseded a previous versions based on Cyrillic and Arabic scripts....

 to replace Cyrillic. Other than that the Azerbaijani system has undergone little structural change. Initial alterations have included the reestablishment of religious education (banned during the Soviet period) and curriculum changes that have reemphasized the use of the Azerbaijani language and have eliminated ideological content. In addition to elementary schools, the education institutions include thousands of preschools, general secondary schools, and vocational schools, including specialized secondary schools and technical schools. Education through the eighth grade is compulsory.

Culture


The culture of Azerbaijan has developed as a result of many influences. Today, Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 influences, including globalized
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 consumer
Consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

 culture, are strong. National traditions are well preserved in the country. Some of the main elements of the Azerbaijani culture are: music, literature, folk dances and art, cuisine, architecture, cinematography and Novruz Bayram
Novruz in Azerbaijan
Novruz in Azerbaijan is referred to as Novruz Bayramı. Novruz is a traditional Persian/Iranian holiday, which celebrates the New Year, and the coming of Spring. When Azerbaijan was part of the Soviet Union, celebration of Novruz was generally unofficial, and at times even prohibited. Currently in...

. The latter is the traditional celebration of the ancient New Year
New Year
The New Year is the day that marks the time of the beginning of a new calendar year, and is the day on which the year count of the specific calendar used is incremented. For many cultures, the event is celebrated in some manner....

. Novruz is a family holiday.

Azerbaijan folk consists of Azerbaijanis, the representative part of society, as well as of nations and ethnic groups, compactly living in various areas of the country. Azerbaijani national and traditional dresses are the Chokha
Chokha
A chokha is part of the traditional male dress of the peoples of the Caucasus. It has been in wide use among Georgians from the 9th century until 1920s, The trend of Chokha in Georgians still continue to occur as they see it as their proud cultural heritage they inherit till this day...

 and Papakhi
Papakhi
Papakhi , also known as Astrakhan hat in English, is a male wool hat worn throughout the Caucasus.For example, Georgian papakhi are made of wool and have a circular shape....

. There are radio broadcasts in Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

, Georgian
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

, Kurdish
Kurdish language
Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

, Lezgin and Talysh
Talysh language
The Talyshi language is a Northwestern Iranian language spoken in the northern regions of the Iranian provinces of Gilan and Ardabil and the southern regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Historically, the language and its people can be traced through the middle Iranian period back to the ancient...

 languages, which are financed from the state budget. Some local radio stations in Balakan and Khachmaz
Khachmaz (city)
Khachmaz is a city in the Khachmaz Rayon of Azerbaijan.-Origin of the name:...

 organize broadcasts in Avar
Avar language
The modern Avar language belongs to the Avar–Andic group of the Northeast Caucasian language family....

 and Tat. In Baku several newspapers are published in Russian, Kurdish (Dengi Kurd), Lezgin (Samur) and Talysh languages. Jewish society "Sokhnut" publishes the newspaper Aziz.

Music and folk dances


Music of Azerbaijan builds on folk traditions
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

 that reach back nearly a thousand years. For centuries Azerbaijani music has evolved under the badge of monody
Monody
In poetry, the term monody has become specialized to refer to a poem in which one person laments another's death....

, producing rhythmically diverse melodies. Azerbaijani music has a branchy mode
Musical mode
In the theory of Western music since the ninth century, mode generally refers to a type of scale. This usage, still the most common in recent years, reflects a tradition dating to the middle ages, itself inspired by the theory of ancient Greek music.The word encompasses several additional...

 system, where chromatization
Chromaticism
Chromaticism is a compositional technique interspersing the primary diatonic pitches and chords with other pitches of the chromatic scale. Chromaticism is in contrast or addition to tonality or diatonicism...

 of major and minor
Major and minor
In Western music, the adjectives major and minor can describe a musical composition, movement, section, scale, key, chord, or interval.Major and minor are frequently referred to in the titles of classical compositions, especially in reference to the key of a piece.-Intervals and chords:With regard...

 scales
Musical scale
In music, a scale is a sequence of musical notes in ascending and descending order. Most commonly, especially in the context of the common practice period, the notes of a scale will belong to a single key, thus providing material for or being used to conveniently represent part or all of a musical...

 is of great importance. Among national musical instruments there are 14 string instruments, eight percussion instruments and six wind instruments. According to The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, "in terms of ethnicity, culture and religion the Azeri are musically much closer to Iran than Turkey."

Mugham
Mugham
Mugam also known as Azerbaijani Mugham is one of the many folk musical compositions from Azerbaijan, contrast with Tasnif, Ashugs. Mugam draws on Iranian-Arabic-Turkish Maqam....

, meykhana
Meykhana
Meykhana is a distinctive Azerbaijani literary and folk rap tradition, consisting of an unaccompanied song performed by one or more people improvising on a particular subject...

 and ashiq art
Art of Azerbaijani Ashiqs
The art of Azerbaijani Ashiqs combines poetry, storytelling, dance and vocal and instrumental music into a traditional performance art. This art is one of the symbols of Azerbaijani culture and considered an emblem of national identity and the guardian of Azerbaijani language, literature and...

 are one of the many musical traditions of Azerbaijan. Mugham is usually a suite with poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

 and instrumental interludes. When performing Mugham, the singers have to transform their emotions into singing and music. Mugham singer Alim Qasimov
Alim Qasimov
Alim Qasimov is an Azerbaijani musician, and one of the foremost mugam singers in Azerbaijan. He was awarded the International Music Council-UNESCO Music Prize in 1999, one of the highest international accolades for music. His music is characterised by his vocal improvisation and represents a move...

 is revered as one of the five best singers of all time. In contrast to the mugham traditions of Central Asian countries, Azeri mugham is more free-form and less rigid; it is often compared to the improvised field of jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

. UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 proclaimed the Azerbaijani mugham tradition a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
The Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity was made by the Director-General of UNESCO starting in 2001 to raise awareness on intangible cultural heritage and encourage local communities to protect them and the local people who sustain these forms of cultural...

 on 7 November 2003.

Meykhana is a kind of traditional Azeri distinctive folk unaccompanied song, usually performed by several people improvising on a particular subject.

Ashiq combines poetry, storytelling, dance and vocal and instrumental music into a traditional performance art that stands as a symbol of Azerbaijani culture. It is a mystic troubadour or traveling bard who sings and plays the saz
Baglama
thumb|180px|Cura and bağlamaThe bağlama is a stringed musical instrument shared by various cultures in the Eastern Mediterranean, Near East, and Central Asia....

. This tradition has its origin in the Shamanistic beliefs of ancient Turkic peoples
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

. Ashiqs' songs are semi-improvised around common bases. Azerbaijan’s ashiq art was included in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Intangible Cultural Heritage
The concept of intangible cultural heritage emerged in the 1990s, as a counterpart to the World Heritage that focuses mainly on tangible aspects of culture...

 by the UNESCO on September 30, 2009.

Azerbaijan made its debut appearance at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest 2008
The Eurovision Song Contest 2008 was the 53rd edition of the Contest. It was hosted in Belgrade, Serbia after Marija Šerifović won the 2007 Contest in Helsinki, Finland. This year was the first contest to have two semi-finals which were held on 20 and 22 May, and the final held on 24 May 2008...

. The country's entry
Azerbaijan in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009
Azerbaijan participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009, making their second appearance at the contest. Aysel Teymurzadeh represented Azerbaijan at the contest after she was internally selected by the Azeri broadcaster, İctimai Televiziya və Radio Yayımları Şirkəti .-Selection:A multi-artist...

 gained the third place in 2009 and fifth the following year. Ell and Nikki won the first place at the Eurovision Song Contest 2011
Eurovision Song Contest 2011
The Eurovision Song Contest 2011 was the 56th annual Eurovision Song Contest and was won by Eldar & Nigar performing "Running Scared" for Azerbaijan. The event took place in the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany, following Germany's win in the previous year...

 with the song "Running Scared
Running Scared (Eldar & Nigar song)
"Running Scared" is a song performed by Azerbaijani duo Eldar & Nigar . It won the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 for Azerbaijan, held in Düsseldorf, Germany. The song was performed in, and qualified from, the first semi-final on 10 May...

", and Azerbaijan therefore will host the contest in 2012
Eurovision Song Contest 2012
The Eurovision Song Contest 2012 will be the 57th annual Eurovision Song Contest. It will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, following Azerbaijan's win in the 2011 Contest with Ell & Nikki's song "Running Scared". The two semi-finals will be held on 22 May and 24 May 2012, with the final on 26 May 2012,...

, in Baku.

There are dozens of Azerbaijani folk dance
Folk dance
The term folk dance describes dances that share some or all of the following attributes:*They are dances performed at social functions by people with little or no professional training, often to traditional music or music based on traditional music....

s. They are performed at formal celebrations
Celebrations
Celebrations are a chocolate collection made by Mars, Incorporated, comprising miniature versions of Mars-produced chocolate bars. After the success of Celebrations, Cadbury UK released their own version, Miniature Heroes.-Contents:...

 and the dancers wear national clothes like the Chokha
Chokha
A chokha is part of the traditional male dress of the peoples of the Caucasus. It has been in wide use among Georgians from the 9th century until 1920s, The trend of Chokha in Georgians still continue to occur as they see it as their proud cultural heritage they inherit till this day...

, which is well preserved within the national dances. Most dances have a very fast rhythm
Rhythm
Rhythm may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions." This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or...

. The national dance shows the characteristics of the Azerbaijani nation.

Architecture


Azerbaijani architecture typically combines elements of East
Eastern world
__FORCETOC__The term Eastern world refers very broadly to the various cultures or social structures and philosophical systems of Eastern Asia or geographically the Eastern Culture...

 and West
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

. Many ancient architectural treasures such as the Maiden Tower
Maiden Tower (Baku)
The Maiden Tower or also known locally as Giz Galasi located in the Old City, Baku in Azerbaijan is an ancient tower with cultural affinity corroborating the presence Zoroastrians, Sassanians, Arabs, Persians, Shirvanis, Ottomans, and Russians...

 and Palace of the Shirvanshahs
Palace of the Shirvanshahs
Palace of the Shirvanshahs is the biggest monument of the Shirvan-Absheron branch of the Azerbaijan architecture, situated in the Inner City of Baku...

 in the Walled City of Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

 survive in modern Azerbaijan. Entries submitted on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list include the Ateshgah of Baku, Momine Khatun Mausoleum
Momine Khatun Mausoleum
The Mausoleum of Momine Khatun is located in Nakhchivan City, the capital of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in Azerbaijan...

, Hirkan National Park
Hirkan National Park
Hirkan National Park — is a national park of Azerbaijan. It was established by the decree of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, in an area in Lankaran Rayon and Astara Rayon administrative districts on February 9, 2004 on the basis of the former "Hirkan State Reserve" which it superseded,...

, Binegadi National Park, Lok-Batan Mud Volcano, Baku Stage Mountain, Caspian Shore Defensive Constructions, Susha National Reserve, Ordubad National Reserve and the Palace of Shaki Khans
Palace of Shaki Khans
The Palace of Shaki Khans in Shaki, Azerbaijan was a summer residence of Shaki Khans. It features decorative tiles, fountains and several stained-glass windows...

.

Among other architectural treasures are Quadrangular Castle
Quadrangular castle (Mardakan)
Quadrangular castle is a fortress in Baku, Azerbaijan....

 in Mardakan, Parigala
Parigala
Parigala, also known as the Fairy Castle, is considered one of Azerbaijan's lesser-known archeological treasures and historical mysteries. The site consists of a limestone brick structure of three rooms with a window, built 300 meters up the side of a cliff in the foothills of the Caucasus...

 in Yukhary Chardaglar
Yuxari Çardaqlar
Yuxarı Çardaqlar is a village and municipality in the Zaqatala Rayon of Azerbaijan. It has a population of 2,083....

, a number of bridges spanning the Aras River, and several mausoleums. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, little monumental architecture was created, but distinctive residences were built in Baku and elsewhere. Among the most recent architectural monuments, the Baku subway
Baku Metro
Baku Metro is a rapid transit system serving Baku the capital of Azerbaijan. First opened on November 6, 1967, during the time of the Soviet Union, it has the features found in most other ex-Soviet systems, including very deep central stations, and exquisite decorations that blend traditional...

s are noted for their lavish decor.

Cinematography


The film industry in Azerbaijan dates back to 1898. In fact, Azerbaijan was among the first countries involved in cinematography
Cinematography
Cinematography is the making of lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for cinema. It is closely related to the art of still photography...

. Therefore It's not surprising that this apparatus soon showed up in Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

 – at the turn of the 20th century, this bay town on the Caspian
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 was producing more than 50 percent of the world's supply of oil. Just like today, the oil industry attracted foreigners eager to invest and to work. In 1919, during the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
Azerbaijan Democratic Republic
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world . The ADR was founded on May 28, 1918 after the collapse of the Russian Empire that began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 by Azerbaijani National Council in...

, a documentary The Celebration of the Anniversary of Azerbaijani Independence was filmed on Azerbaijan's independence day, May 28, and premiered in June 1919 at several theatres in Baku. After the Soviet power was established in 1920, Nariman Narimanov, Chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of Azerbaijan, signed a decree nationalizing Azerbaijan's cinema. This also influenced the creation of Azerbaijani animation.

In 1991, after Azerbaijan gained its independence from the Soviet Union, the first Baku International Film Festival East-West was held in Baku. In December 2000, the former President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, signed a decree proclaiming August 2 professional holiday of filmmakers of Azerbaijan. Today Azerbaijani filmmakers are again dealing with issues similar to those faced by cinematographers prior to the establishment of the Soviet Union in 1920. Once again, both choice of content and sponsorship of films are largely left up to the initiative of the filmmaker.

There are 3 state-owned television channels: AzTV
AzTV
AzTV, or Azeri TeleVision , is the national broadcaster for Azerbaijan. AzTV was declined active membership of the European Broadcasting Union since the channel was not independent enough from the ruling government....

, Idman TV and Medeniyyet TV. One public channel, Ictimai TV and 7 private channels: ANS TV
ANS TV
ANS TV is a news television channel in Azerbaijan, which owned by ANS Group of Companies since it was founded on March 9, 1992...

, Space TV
Space TV
Space TV is a public television channel in Azerbaijan. It was founded on October 12, 1997.-External links:**...

, Lider TV
Lider TV
Lider TV, is a private television channel in Azerbaijan. It was founded on 1 September 2000 by Media Ltd....

, Azad Azerbaijan TV
Azad Azerbaijan TV
Azad Azerbaijan TV is a private television station in Azerbaijan. It has been broadcasting since December 25, 2000. ATV began broadcasting through movies and music videos, but later news, shows and other programmes was added. In the last years ATV claim to be the most popular and the most...

, Xazar TV
Xazar TV
Xazar TV, also spelled as Khazar TV is a public television channel in Azerbaijan. It was founded on February 2009 by Ahmad Gul, Turkish entrepreneur who had previously worked for Samanyolu TV of Turkey overseeing several big projects.-External links:*...

 and Azerbaijan International.

Folk art


Azerbaijanis have a rich and distinctive culture, a major part of which is decorative
Decorative art
The decorative arts is traditionally a term for the design and manufacture of functional objects. It includes interior design, but not usually architecture. The decorative arts are often categorized in opposition to the "fine arts", namely, painting, drawing, photography, and large-scale...

 and applied art
Applied art
Applied art is the application of design and aesthetics to objects of function and everyday use. Whereas fine arts serve as intellectual stimulation to the viewer or academic sensibilities, the applied arts incorporate design and creative ideals to objects of utility, such as a cup, magazine or...

. This form of art is represented by a wide range of handicrafts, such as chasing, jeweler, engraving in metal, carving in wood, stone and bone, carpet-making, lasing, pattern weaving and printing, knitting and embroidery. Each of these types of decorative art, evidence of the and endowments of the Azerbaijan nation, is very much in favor here. Many interesting facts pertaining to the development of arts and crafts in Azerbaijan were reported by numerous merchants, travelers and diplomats who had visited these places at different times.

The Azerbaijani carpet
Azerbaijani rug
Azerbaijani rugs are a product of Azerbaijan, an ancient center of carpet weaving.In November 2010 the Azerbaijani carpet was proclaimed a Masterpiece of Intangible Heritage by UNESCO.-History:...

 is a traditional handmade textile of various sizes, with dense texture and a pile or pile-less surface, whose patterns are characteristic of Azerbaijan’s many carpet-making regions. In November 2010 the Azerbaijani carpet was proclaimed a Masterpiece of Intangible Heritage
Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
The Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity was made by the Director-General of UNESCO starting in 2001 to raise awareness on intangible cultural heritage and encourage local communities to protect them and the local people who sustain these forms of cultural...

 by UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

. Azerbaijan has been since the ancient times known as a center of a large variety of crafts. The archeological dig on the territory of Azerbaijan testifies to the well developed agriculture, stock raising, metal working, pottery and ceramics, and last but not least carpet-weaving that date as far back as to the 2nd millennium BC. Azerbaijani carpets can be categorized under several large groups and a multitude of subgroups. The true scientific research of the Azerbaijani carpet is connected with the name of Latif Kerimov, a prominent scientist and artist. It was his classification that related the four large groups of carpets with the four geographical zones of Azerbaijan, Guba-Shirvan, Ganja-Kazakh, Karabakh and Tabriz.

Cuisine



The traditional cuisine is famous for an abundance of vegetables and greens used seasonally in the dishes. Fresh herbs, including mint, cilantro (coriander), dill, basil, parsley, tarragon, leeks, chives, thyme, marjoram, green onion, and watercress, are very popular and often accompany main dishes on the table. Climatic diversity and fertility of the land are reflected in the national dishes, which are based on fish from the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

, local meat (mainly mutton and beef), and an abundance of seasonal vegetables and greens. Saffron-rice plov is the flagship food in Azerbaijan and black tea
Black tea
Black tea is a variety of tea that is more oxidized than the oolong, green, and white varieties.All four varieties are made from leaves of the shrub Camellia sinensis. Black tea is generally stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than the less oxidized teas. Two principal varieties of the...

 is the national beverage.

Literature


The earliest known figure in Azerbaijani literature was Hasanoghlu or Pur Hasan Asfaraini, who composed a divan
Diwan (poetry)
-Etymology:The English usage of the phrase Diwan Poetry comes from the Arabic word diwan , which is loaned from Persian means designated a list or register. The Persian word derived from the Persian dibir meaning writer or scribe...

 consisting of Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 and Turkic ghazal
Ghazal
The ghazal is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain, with each line sharing the same meter. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in 6th century...

s. In Persian ghazals he used his pen-name, while his Turkic ghazals were composed under his own name of Hasanoghlu.

Classical literature in Azerbaijani was formed in 14th century based on the various dialect Early Middle Ages dialects of Tabriz
Tabriz
Tabriz is the fourth largest city and one of the historical capitals of Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters at the junction of the Quri River and Aji River, it was the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s, one of its former...

 and Shirvan
Shirvan
Shirvan , also spelled as Shirwan, Shervan, Sherwan and Šervān, is a historical region in the eastern Caucasus, known by this name in both Islamic and modern times...

. Among the poets of this period were Gazi Burhanaddin, Haqiqi
Jahan Shah
Muzaffar al-Din Jahan Shah ibn Yusuf ‎ was the leader of the Kara Koyunlu Turkmen tribal federation in Azerbaijan and Arran who reigned c.1438-1467. During his reign he managed to expand the Kara Koyunlu’s territory to its largest extent, including Western Anatolia, most of present day Iraq,...

 (pen-name of Jahan-shah Qara Qoyunlu
Jahan Shah
Muzaffar al-Din Jahan Shah ibn Yusuf ‎ was the leader of the Kara Koyunlu Turkmen tribal federation in Azerbaijan and Arran who reigned c.1438-1467. During his reign he managed to expand the Kara Koyunlu’s territory to its largest extent, including Western Anatolia, most of present day Iraq,...

), and Habibi. The end of 14th century was also the period of starting literary activity of Imadaddin Nesimi
Nesîmî
‘Alī ‘Imādu d-Dīn Nasīmī , often known as Nesimi, –1417 skinned alive in Aleppo) was a 14th-century Azerbaijani or Turkmen Ḥurūfī poet. Known mostly by his pen name of Nesîmî, he composed one divan in Azerbaijani, one in Persian, and a number of poems in Arabic...

, one of the greatest Turkic Hurufi mystical poets of the late 14th and early 15th centuries and one of the most prominent early Divan
Diwan (poetry)
-Etymology:The English usage of the phrase Diwan Poetry comes from the Arabic word diwan , which is loaned from Persian means designated a list or register. The Persian word derived from the Persian dibir meaning writer or scribe...

 masters in Turkic literary history, who also composed poetry in Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 and Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

. The Divan
Diwan (poetry)
-Etymology:The English usage of the phrase Diwan Poetry comes from the Arabic word diwan , which is loaned from Persian means designated a list or register. The Persian word derived from the Persian dibir meaning writer or scribe...

 and Ghazal
Ghazal
The ghazal is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain, with each line sharing the same meter. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in 6th century...

 styles, introduced by Nesimi in Azeri poetry in 15th century, were further developed by poets Qasim al-Anvar, Fuzuli
Fuzûlî
Fużūlī was the pen name of the Azerbaijani or the Bayat branch of Oghuz Turkish and Ottoman poet, writer and thinker Muhammad bin Suleyman...

 and Khatai (pen-name of Safavid
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 Shah Ismail I). The acclaimed Book of Dede Korkut
Book of Dede Korkut
The Book of Dede Korkut, also spelled as Dada Gorgud, Dede Qorqut or Korkut-ata , is the most famous epic stories of the Oghuz Turks The stories carry morals and values significant to the social lifestyle of the nomadic Turks and their pre-Islamic beliefs...

 consists of two manuscripts copied in the 16th century, was not written earlier than the 15th century. It is a collection of 12 stories reflecting the oral tradition of Oghuz nomads. Since the author is buttering up both the Akkoyunlu and Ottoman rulers, it has been suggested that the composition belongs to someone living between the Akkoyunlu and Ottoman empires. The 16th century poet, Muhammed Fuzuli produced his timeless philosophical and lyrical Qazals in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, and Azeri. Benefiting immensely from the fine literary traditions of his environment, and building upon the legacy of his predecessors, Fizuli was destined to become the leading literary figure of his society. His major works include The Divan of Ghazals and The Qasidas. In the same century, Azerbaijani literature further flourished with the development of Ashik
Ashik
An Ashik is a mystic troubadour or traveling bard, in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, and Iran who sings and plays the saz, a form of lute. Ashiks' songs are semi-improvised around common bases....

  poetic genre of bards. During the same period, under the pen-name of Khatāī ( for sinner) Shah Ismail I wrote about 1400 verses in Azeri, which were later published as his Divan. A unique literary style known as qoshma ( for improvization) was introduced in this period, and developed by Shah Ismail and later by his son and successor, Shah Tahmasp I
Tahmasp I
Tahmasp or Tahmasb I was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty...

.

In the span of the 17th century and 18th century, Fizuli's unique genres as well Ashik
Ashik
An Ashik is a mystic troubadour or traveling bard, in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, and Iran who sings and plays the saz, a form of lute. Ashiks' songs are semi-improvised around common bases....

  poetry were taken up by prominent poets and writers such as Qovsi of Tabriz, Shah Abbas Sani
Abbas II of Persia
Shah Abbas II was Shah of Iran from 1642 to 1666. He was the seventh Shah of the Safavid Dynasty. He was the son of Shah Safi I and a Circassian, Anna Khanum, and originally bore the name Sultan Muhammed Mirza before his coronation on May 15, 1642...

, Agha Mesih Shirvani, Nishat, Molla Vali Vidadi
Molla Vali Vidadi
Molla Vali Vidadi was an Azerbaijani poet.Little is known about Vidadi. He spent most of his life in his native town of Shamkir where he taught at a religious school he had established himself. According to some sources, Vidadi spent some years in Tiflis, Georgia, where we served as a court poet...

, Molla Panah Vagif
Molla Panah Vagif
Molla Panah Vagif was an 18th-century poet, the founder of the realism genre in the Azerbaijani poetry and also a prominent statesman and diplomat, vizier – the minister of foreign affairs in the Karabakh khanate.- Life :...

, Amani, Zafar and others. Along with Turks
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

, Turkmens and Uzbeks
Uzbeks
The Uzbeks are a Turkic ethnic group in Central Asia. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan, and large populations can also be found in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Pakistan, Mongolia and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China...

, Azeris also celebrate the Epic of Koroglu
Epic of Köroglu
The Epic of Köroğlu is a heroic legend prominent in the oral traditions of the Turkic peoples. The legend typically describes a hero who seeks to avenge a wrong. It was often put to music and played at sporting events as an inspiration to the competing athletes.The legend first began to take shape...

 (from for blind man's son), a legendary folk hero. Several documented versions of Koroglu epic remain at the Institute for Manuscripts of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan.

Modern literature in Azerbaijan is based on the Shirvani dialect mainly, while in Iran it is based on the Tabrizi one. The first newspaper in Azerbaijani, Akinchi
Akinchi
Akinchi , also transliterated as Ekinchi , was an Azeri-language newspaper, published in Baku between 1875 and 1877...

was published in 1875. In mid-19th century it was taught in the schools of Baku
Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

, Ganja, Shaki, Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

, and Yerevan
Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country...

. Since 1845, it has also been taught in the University of Saint Petersburg in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

.

Sports




Sport in Azerbaijan has ancient roots, and even now, both traditional and modern sports are still practiced. Freestyle wrestling
Freestyle wrestling
Freestyle wrestling is a style of amateur wrestling that is practised throughout the world. Along with Greco-Roman, it is one of the two styles of wrestling contested in the Olympic games. It is, along with track and field, one of the oldest organized sports in history...

 has been traditionally regarded as Azerbaijan's national sport
National sport
A national sport or national pastime is a sport or game that is considered to be an intrinsic part of the culture of a nation. Some sports are de facto national sports, as baseball is in the U.S., while others are de jure as lacrosse and ice hockey are in Canada.-De jure national sports:-De facto...

, however today, the most popular sports in Azerbaijan are football and chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

. The national football team
Azerbaijan national football team
The Azerbaijan national football team is the national football team of Azerbaijan and is controlled by Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan...

 of Azerbaijan demonstrates relatively low performance in the international arena compared to the nation football clubs. It is mainly because of the foreign footballers playing in the clubs. However, the newly opened Azerbaijan Football Academy
Azerbaijan Football Academy
Azerbaijan Football Academy is the youth academy of Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan. It provides a stepping stone for youngsters to progress to the highest levels of football at Azerbaijan. The academy was officially opened in 23 February 2009 by UEFA vice president Şenes Erzik...

 in February 2009 is a huge step in the development of the youth football. The most successful Azerbaijani football clubs are Neftchi Baku, FK Baku
FK Baku
Football Club Baku is an Azerbaijani football club in Baku, Azerbaijan. The club sponsored by the Baghlan Group Company and ZQAN Holding.FC Baku plays in the Azerbaijan Premier League and have won two Azerbaijan Premier League championships and two Azerbaijan Cups.-History:FC Baku was founded in...

, Inter Baku, FK Karabakh and Khazar Lankaran.
On March 19, 2010, Azerbaijan won the bid to host the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup
2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup
The 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup women's football tournament is the third such tournament, and will be held in Azerbaijan from 22 September to 13 October, following a decision by the Executive Committee on the 19th March 2010.-Mascot:...

. Futsal
Futsal
Futsal is a variant of association football that is played on a smaller pitch and mainly played indoors. Its name is a portmanteau of the Portuguese futebol de salão and the Spanish fútbol de salón , which can be translated as "hall football" or "indoor football"...

 is another popular sport in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan national futsal team
Azerbaijan national futsal team
The Azerbaijan national futsal team is the national futsal team of Azerbaijan and is controlled by Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan...

 reached the fourth place in 2010 UEFA Futsal Championship
2010 UEFA Futsal Championship
The 2010 UEFA Futsal Championship was the sixth official edition of the UEFA-governed European Championship for national futsal teams. It was hosted by Hungary, between January 19 and January 30, 2010, in two venues located in Budapest and Debrecen...

, while domestic club Araz Naxçivan
Araz Naxçivan
Araz Naxçivan is a futsal club based in Nakhchivan City, Azerbaijan. The club is very dominant in Azeri futsal, winning Premier League six times in a row.-History:...

 clinched bronze medals at 2009–10 UEFA Futsal Cup
2009–10 UEFA Futsal Cup
-Group B:-Group C:-Group D:-Group E:-Group F:-Group G:-Group 1:-Group 2:-Group 3:-Group 4:-Group 5:-Group 6:-Group 1:-Group 2:-Group 3:-Group 4:-Final four:...

.
Backgammon
Backgammon
Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits...

 plays a major role in Azerbaijani culture. This game is very popular in Azerbaijan and is widely played among the local public. There are also different variations of backgammon developed and analyzed by Azerbaijani experts. Azerbaijan is known as one of the chess superpowers; despite the collapse of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, chess is still extremely popular. Notable Azerbaijani chess players include Teimour Radjabov
Teimour Radjabov
Radjabov's knight sacrifice, 21. ... Ngxe5, was praised by several strong players for its bravery, including English grandmaster Nigel Short. Said Short of the move, "Radjabov plays very imaginatively... he just won't give up, he is extremely tenacious and will always find a way to muddy the...

, Shahriyar Mammadyarov, Vladimir Makogonov
Vladimir Makogonov
Vladimir Andreevich Makogonov was a chess player from Azerbaijan. He was born in Nakhchivan but lived in Baku for most of his life. He became an International Master in 1950 and was awarded an honorary Grandmaster title in 1987. Makogonov never became well known outside the Soviet Union, but was...

, Garry Kasparov
Garry Kasparov
Garry Kimovich Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster, a former World Chess Champion, writer, political activist, and one of the greatest chess players of all time....

, Vugar Gashimov
Vugar Gashimov
Vugar Gashimov , born July 24, 1986 in Baku, is one of the leading chess players from Azerbaijan. He is a noted player of Bullet chess and three times Azerbaijani national chess champion .He won at Athens 2005 ....

 and Zeinab Mamedyarova
Zeinab Mamedyarova
Zeinab Hamid qizi Mamedyarova is an Azerbaijani Woman Grandmaster chess player.-Career:In 2000, she gained the Woman Grandmaster title...

. Azerbaijan has also hosted many international chess tournaments and competitions and became European Team Chess Championship winners in 2009.

Other well-known Azerbaijani athletes are Namig Abdullayev
Namig Abdullayev
Namig Yadulla oglu Abdullayev was an Azerbaijani Olympic Champion wrestler, winning a gold medal in freestyle for Azerbaijan at the 2000 Summer Olympics...

, Rovshan Bayramov
Rovshan Bayramov
Rovshan Bayramov is an Azerbaijani athlete.In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bayramov successfully reached the final having beaten Mostafa Mohamed , Yagnier Hernandez , Roman Amoyan but lost to Nazyr Mankiev from Russia. Coach: Hijran Sharifov.-References:*...

, Mariya Stadnik
Mariya Stadnik
Mariya Vasilyevna Stadnik is an Azerbaijani wrestler of Ukrainian descent, who competed in the 48 kg weight class at the 2008 Summer Olympics, she won a bronze medal.-Personal life:...

 and Farid Mansurov
Farid Mansurov
Farid Mansurov is a former Azerbaijani wrestler who competed in the Men's Greco-Roman 66 kg at the 2004 Summer Olympics and won the gold medal....

 in wrestling
Amateur wrestling
Amateur wrestling is the most widespread form of sport wrestling. There are two international wrestling styles performed in the Olympic Games under the supervision of FILA : Greco-Roman and freestyle. Freestyle is possibly derived from the English Lancashire style...

, Ramil Guliyev
Ramil Guliyev
Ramil Guliyev is a Azerbaijani-born Turkish sprint athlete. He competes in the 100 meters and 200 meters events. He competed at the 2009 European Athletics Junior Championships, winning a silver medal in the 100 m and a gold medal in the 200 m.He holds the national and...

 and Hayle Ibrahimov
Hayle Ibrahimov
Hayle Ibrahimov is Ethiopia-born Azerbaijani international middle and long distance track and field athlete, running in the disciplines of 1500 m, 3000 m and 5000 m, but also 10,000 m....

 in athletics, Elnur Mammadli
Elnur Mammadli
Elnur Chingiz oglu Mammadli is an Azerbaijani judoka.He won the gold medal during the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the -73 kg division. In the final he beat the favorite Wang Ki-Chun from Korea in 13 seconds by ippon.-Achievements:-References:...

 and Movlud Miraliyev
Movlud Miraliyev
Movlud Miraliyev is an Azerbaijani judoka.The Azerbaijani finished in joint fifth place in the half-heavyweight division at the 2004 Summer Olympics, having lost the bronze medal match to Michael Jurack of Germany.He won the Bronze Medal match against Przemysław Matyjaszek of Poland at the 2008...

 in judo
Judo
is a modern martial art and combat sport created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is to either throw or takedown one's opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one's opponent with a grappling maneuver, or force an...

, Rafael Aghayev
Rafael Aghayev
Rafael Aghayev is a leading Azeri Karate competitor and is three times World, seven times European champion. -Achievements:2010 results*1st WKF 20th Championships Belgrade, under 75 kg*2nd WKF 20th Championships Belgrade, Team Kumite...

 in karate
Karate
is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now Okinawa, Japan. It was developed from indigenous fighting methods called and Chinese kenpō. Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands. Grappling, locks,...

, Valeriya Korotenko
Valeriya Korotenko
Valeriya Korotenko is an Azerbaijani professional volleyball player. She is currently playing for Fenerbahçe....

 and Natalya Mammadova
Natalya Mammadova
Natalya Aleksandrovna Mammadova-Skazka is a Azerbaijani volleyball player. She is 195 cm and plays as outside hitter...

 in volleyball
Volleyball
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

 and K-1
K-1
K-1 is a defunct world-wide kickboxing promotion based in Tokyo, Japan founded by Kazuyoshi Ishii, a formerKyokushin karate practitioner. K-1 combines stand up techniques from Muay Thai, Karate, Taekwondo, Savate, San Shou, kickboxing, western-style boxing, and other martial arts...

 fighter Zabit Samedov
Zabit Samedov
Zabit "Maugli" Samedov is an Azerbaijani kickboxer fighting out of Chinuk Gym in Minsk, Belarus.-Biography and career:...

.

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