Currency: Azerbaijani manat
President: Ilham Aliyev
National anthem: Azərbaycan marşı
Population: 9.298 million (2012)
- Conventional long form: Republic of Azerbaijan
- Conventional short form: Azerbaijan
- Local long form: Azarbaycan Respublikasi
- Local short form: Azarbaycan
- Former: Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic
- Azerbaijan derives its name from “Atropates” a satrap of Persia under the Achaemenid Empire.
- The word is believed to have Zoroastrian origins.
- The “Hymn to the Guardian Angles” has a mention of a phrase “"we worship the Fravashi of the holy Atare-pata"
- Atropates reigned over the Iranian Azerbaijan.
- The name "Atropates" translates to "protected by fire”.
- In ancient times, parts of Azerbaijan were referred to as “Caucasian Albania”.
- The region was disputed by Arabs, Kazars and Turks at different points in history.
- After the 11th century, Turks took over the region and propagated the Shiite Muslim culture.
- In the early 1800s, Soviet gained control over Azerbaijan through the Treaty of Gulistan and the Treaty of Turkmanchai.
- Azerbaijan gained independence from Russia in May 1918 after the Bolshevik Revolution.
- The country was re-conquered in 1920 by the Red Army.
- It was annexed into the Transcaucasian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1922.
- Azerbaijan was later reestablished as a separate Soviet Republic on Dec. 5, 1936.
- Azerbaijan declared independence from the Soviet Union on Aug. 30, 1991.
- The enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh has been a constant cause of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 1988.
- War broke out in 1988 when Nagorno-Karabakh tried to annex itself to Armenia.
- The war resulted in large number of causalities before it ended in 1994.
- The territorial dispute remains unresolved till date.
- Since 1994, the government of Azerbaijan has been working towards generating revenues through the country’s rich oil resources.
The ethnic groups in Azerbaijan are distributed as follows:
- Azeri: 90.6%
- Dagestani: 2.2%
- Russian: 1.8%
- Armenian: 1.5%
- Other: 3.9%
- Almost all Armenians live in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region.
- Religious affiliation is nominal in Azerbaijan.
Government and Politics:
- Azerbaijan is run by a republic government.
- Administrative divisions comprise of 59 rayons, 11 cities and 1 autonomous republic.
- Founding of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, 28 May (1918) is observed as a national holiday.
- The Constitution was adopted on 12 November 1995.
- The legal system is based on civil law system.
- The country has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
- The president is the chief of state.
- The prime minister is the head of government.
- The Council of Ministers is appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly.
- The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term.
- The prime minister and first deputy prime minister are appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly.
- The Legislative branch is a unicameral National Assembly or Milli Mejlis comprising of 125 seats.
- The Judicial branch is represented by the Supreme Court.
- Azerbaijani belongs to the Altaic family of languages and is very similar to Turkish.
- Majority of the population is Muslim (around 95%).
- Shia Muslims are the dominant sect (75%) as compared to Sunni Muslims (25%).
- Around 5% of the population is Christian out of which most are Russian and Armenian Orthodox Christians.
- Other religions include Jewish and Bahai.
- Historical sites suggest the existence of Hinduism and Zoroastrianism in the region in the past.
- Azerbaijan has a rich tradition of Azeri music.
- Among national musical instruments there are fourteen string instruments, eight percussion instruments and six wind instruments.
- The Chokha and Papakhi are Azerbaijan’s national dresses.
- Azerbaijan owes most of its economy to oil exports.
- The country has increased its oil trade multifold in the past few years.
- Azerbaijan faced initial problems in making a shift from a command to a market economy.
- Limited foreign investments in the non-energy sector and conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region have adversely affected the economy.
- Corruption and inflation are other factors that impede economic growth.
- GDP (purchasing power parity) as calculated in 2007 was $65.47 billion.
- 4.3% of the population is unemployed.
- 24% of the population is below poverty line.
- Agricultural produce includes cotton, grain, rice, grapes, fruit, vegetables, tea, tobacco, cattle, pigs, sheep and goats.
- The major industries are petroleum and natural gas, petroleum products, oilfield equipment; steel, iron ore; cement; chemicals and petrochemicals and textiles.
- As per 2007 estimate, the industrial production growth rate was 25%.
- Exported commodities include oil and gas, machinery, cotton and foodstuffs.
- Imported commodities include machinery and equipment, oil products, foodstuffs, metals and chemicals.
- Telephone services in Azerbaijan are inadequate and limited.
- Since the only services available are owned by the state, there is little development and modernization.
- Cellular services are gradually expanding in network and quality due to increasing competition.
- There are a total of 27 radio broadcast stations.
- There are 2 television broadcast stations.
- Internet services are limited to major towns and cities.
- Azerbaijan has 35 airports in all out of which 27 have paved runways.
- The country’s railway network is 2,122 km long.
- Roadways span over 59,141 km.
- Azerbaijan’s merchant marine comprises of 86 ships.
- The main ports and terminals are located at Baku.
- 98.8% of the total population is literate.
- Male: 99.5%
- Female: 98.2%
Azerbaijan is surrounded by:
- Caspian Sea (east)
- Russia (north)
- Georgia (west and northwest)
- Armenia (southwest)
- Iran (south)
The Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan is bordered by:
- Armenia (north and east)
- Iran (south) and
- Turkey (west and southwest)
- Azerbaijan is located in southwestern Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea.
- Its geographic coordinates are 40 30 N, 47 30 E.
- The country spans a total area of 86,600 sq km
- The climate is dry in almost all seasons with a semiarid steppe.
- The terrain comprises of large, flat Kur-Araz Ovaligi (Kura-Araks Lowland with Great Caucasus Mountains to the north and Qarabag Yaylasi (Karabakh Upland) in west.
- Baku lies on Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) that juts into Caspian Sea.
- The highest peak is Bazarduzu Dagi standing at 4,485 m.
- Natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nonferrous metals and bauxite.
- 20.62% of the land is arable.
- Droughts are common in the region.
- Pollution and toxic wastes in the Caspian Sea is a major environmental concern.
- Both the main area of the country and the Naxcivan exclave are landlocked.
Azerbaijan gained freedom form the Soviet Union on 30 August 1991.
Notable People in the Country:
- Mstislav Rostropovich: (1927- ) - cellist
- Garry Kimovich Kasparov: (1963- ) - chess player
- Lev Davidovich Landau: (1908-1968) - theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate
- Kara Karayev: (1918-1982) – musician
- Arif Melikov: (1933- ) – composer and musician
- Samad Vurgun: (1906-1956) - Poet, playwriter, academician
- Fikrat Amirov: (1922-1985) – vocalist
- Bul-Bul: (1897-1971)- classical musician and singer
- Historical sites like Gobustan State Reserve, the Fire Temple of Baku, the Momine Khatun Mausoleum and the Khan Palace in Sheki are recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage.
- According to a 2008 estimate, the total population of Azerbaijan was 8,177,717.
- The population growth rate is 0.723% (2008 est.)
- Birth rate: 17.52 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
- Death rate: 8.32 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Azerbaijani Related Topics:
Azerbaijani Tourist Attractions:
- Heydar Aliyev Center
- We Are Our Mountains
- Bay of Baku
- Azerbaijan Carpet Museum
- Palace of the Shirvanshahs
- Baku TV Tower
- Gobustan National Park
- Peace Dove