Azerbaijan is the country of fires
On 12 November, 1995 the nationwide referendum adopted and confirmed the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan. On 18 October, 1991 the Republic announced its independence. The system of the governmental organization of Azerbaijan bases on the principles of separation of powers: legislative, executive and judicial one. Head of state is President. Executive power belongs to President as well. President is elected for 5 years by means of general election.
Incumbent president of Azerbaijan is Ilham Aliyev.
State’s legislative power belongs to Milli Majlis. Milli Majlis is one-chamber parliament consisting 125 members elected for 5 years on the base of general election. Supreme body of President’s executive power is the Cabinet of the Republic of Azerbaijan leading by Prime Minister. Azerbaijan’s judicial power belongs to independent courts: Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and Supreme Economic Court.
Official language of the Republic of Azerbaijan is Azerbaijani; about 95 per cent of population speaks this language. Religion of a majority of the population is Islam.
Maps of modern Azerbaijan
The Republic of Azerbaijan includes Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic which consists such cities of central subordination as Nakhchivan, Julfa, Ordubad (regions with analogous names) as well as Babak, Sadarak, Shahbuz and Sharur regions. The Republic divides into 65 administrative and territorial regions. At the moment 6 regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan, including Upper Garabagh are under complete or partial occupation by Armenia.
The capital of Azerbaijan is Baku.
Territory of Baku is 192 thousand hectares. Population is about 3 million. The city divides into 11 districts: Azizbayov, Binagadi, Garadagh, Khatai, Narimanov, Nasimi, Nizami, Sabail, Sabunchu, Surakhani and Yasamal.
Maps of modern Baku
General number of the cities of the Republic of Azerbaijan is 69, where 11 are cities of republican subordination. Besides, there are 132 urban-type communities within the Republic. National currency of the Republic of Azerbaijan is manat.
||86,6 thousand square kilometers
|Length of borders
|Length of coastline
|Average attitude above sea level
|The highest attitude above sea level
||4. 466 meters (Bazarduzu mountain)
|The lowest attitude above sea level
|Average temperature for January
||0 - +4 С
|Average temperature for July
||+28 - +28 С
||1000 - 1800 millimeters
|Population (for 27 January, 1999)
||7.953 thousand people
||4.119 thousand people
||3.834 thousand people
||3.905 thousand people
||4,048 thousand people
|Number of inhabitants per square kilometer
||220 Volt, 50 Hertz
|Time lag on Greenwich
||+4 hours GMT
The Republic of Azerbaijan locates in Eastern Transcaucasia. It stretches from north to south, from Main Caucasus mountain range to mountains of Small Caucasus and Talish. Azerbaijan is washed by Caspian Sea. The Republic borders upon Georgia and Armenia in the west and northwest, and upon Turkey and Iran in the south. Area of Azerbaijan is 86.6 thousand square kilometers; besides continent it includes numerous small islands of Caspian Sea (Baku and Absheron archipelagos).
In administrative relation the Republic of Azerbaijan includes Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and 9 economic and geographic areas.
Azerbaijan – space view
Azerbaijan differs with a big variety of nature. Its territory combines spacious flat lowlands lying below the level of World Sea, mountain peaks with the height of more than 4 thousand meters, hot deserts and fresh alpine meadows, lifeless alkaline lands and subtropical forests. Great Caucasus, Head (Dividing) and Side Ranges rise in Republic’s north. Small Caucasus with quite high Shahdagh, Garabagh, Zangazur, Daralagoz and Murovdagh ranges locates in Republic’s southwest. Garabagh volcanic plateau with cones of extinct volcanoes locates between these ranges and their spurs. Talish mountains going down to Lankaran lowland locate in Republic’s southeast. More than a half of the territory is occupied by lowlands. The biggest lowland among them is Kur-Araz one bordering with inclined plains and lowlands. Besides, Gusar and Sharur-Ordubad pitched inclined plains and Samur-Davachi lowland are available within Republic’s territory. All rivers of Azerbaijan relate to the Caspian basin. Some of them fall directly into Kur, others fall into its big tributary Araz, and some – directly in Caspian Sea. River network spreads unevenly within Republic’s territory. It is very thin in dry lowlands with watertight loose earths and denser in forests, what is furthered by plenty of rainfall and relief. River network obtains the most development at a height of 1,000-2,500 meters, that is in average mountain zone and get thiner above. The number of rivers is considerably less in plains and some of them have no flow. A lower course of the biggest river of Kur is used for local navigation. Irrigation system regulated by the reservoirs acts in the Republic. The biggest of them is Mingachevir reservoir in middle course of Kur. Main irrigation canals – Upper Garabagh and Upper Shirvan originate from it. Azerbaijan’s vegetation differs with variety of types (more than 4,100), among which there are rare and endangered ones. Such deciduous species as oak, beech, hornbeam and other are the most widespread. Some relict areas of age-long trees are found. Wormwood, wormwood and halophytic, suffrutescent vegetation prevail in deserts and semideserts. Several zoogeographic provinces with characteristic fauna complexes are contiguous within Azerbaijan. Extreme abundance of rodents, reptiles and creepers is available in plains; there is goitred gazelle among bulls. Representatives of European forests – wolf, bear, wild boar and deer are common in slopes of Great Caucasus; Daghistan goat and bezoar are found as well. Birds’ world is abundant and different in shallow bays of Caspian Sea. Nature reserves and wildlife preserves established in the Republic have a great importance for preservation and restoration of Azerbaijan’s natural complexes.
The Republic of Azerbaijan is the country of ancient culture
The Republic of Azerbaijan is the treasury of the monuments of history and culture. Over a period of several millenniums bright and many-sided history of Azerbaijan has been implemented by people’s talent in numerous priceless relics.
Implements and other monuments of material culture discovered in Azikh cave which was the site of Paleolithic man have the history of more than million years. In 1968 archaeological expedition of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Azerbaijan revealed in top slices of this cave petrified lower jaw of ancient man Azikhantrop who was living about 250 thousand years ago.
Monuments of Gobustan which is a state historical and artistic reserve at the moment, occupies merited place in the treasury of world culture for originality and wealth of its archaeological materials. Under-rock habitations of humans from Middle Stone Age to Bronze Age and later, cup-shaped pricks hollowed out in rocks for preservation of potable water, original ‘musical instruments’ as gaval-dash (tambourine stone) which were skillfully put together from niggerheads which utter expressive metallic sound upon a blow, more than four thousand rock images of animals, beasts, scenes of labour, collective hunt and dance performed with skill great for due time are just some of the exhibits from Gobustan reserve to name. The rock with Latin inscription relating the stay of centurion (sub-unit) of Roman legion in Gobustan in I century AD locates here as well. Ruins of ancient and medieval towns which were capitals and centers of trade and culture of the states locating in Azerbaijan in certain periods remain within Republic. Those are Gabala (Kabala, Kabalaka), Barda (Partav), Ganja, Shabran, Oren Gala (Beylagan), Shamakha, Khalkhal and others.
Such defensive installations as towers and fortresses of Chirakhgala, Didvan and many others constructed at the beginning of AD and later for defense against invasion of nomadic tribes and foreign oppressors attract a great interest. The complex of defensive installations in Absheron – Mardakan, Nardaran, Bilgah, Ramani, Mashtagha and other towers is of special interest. Maiden Tower (Giz Galasi that is unsubdued) erected in Baku in XII century is a unique defensive installation and it represents eight-tier monumental construction with height of 28 meters and thickness of walls of 5 meters at the bottom. Such perfect architectural monuments from the period of existence of Caucasusian Albania state (I millennium BC – VII century AD) as temple complexes in the villages of Lekit, Kum of Gakh region, villages of Kish and Orta Zeyzit of Shaki region, near village of Yukhari Askipara of Gazakh region and etc. reserved in Azerbaijan. One of the interest constructions is Amaras cloister in the village of Sos in Khojavand region erected at the beginning of IV century AD. Over several centuries it was the cathedral council of Caucasusian Albania. A school was opened in the cloister in V century.
In VII century territory of Azerbaijan was occupied by Arabs. New types of cult constructions – mosques, khanegs and other appeared at the same time. Strengthening of statehood and development of cities where architectural schools which organically combined local traditions and high professional skill were forming in happened since XII century. Father and prominent representative of one of these schools – Nakhchivan School was famous in whole East Abubakr Nakhchevani’s son architecture Ajami. Real architectural masterpiece built by him is majestic eight-edged mausoleum Momine Khatun with general height of 34 meters. The mausoleum was skillfully decorated by complex geometric ornament and letters from ceramics with addition of Turquoise glaze. Besides Nakhchivan architectural school, Shirvan and Apsheron, Aran and other schools formed in Azerbaijan. Architectural monuments created by masters of mentioned schools are available in certain regions of Republic. There are towers, richly decorated palatial constructions, mausoleums, temples, mosques, bridges, caravansaries, bathhouses and other objects of cultural and everyday destination among them. For instance, architecture of Shirvan is notable for competent use of limestone opportunities both in constructions and décor.
Strong defensive towers, castles, architecturally expressive palatial, cult, memorial and other constructions of XII-XV centuries are beautiful examples of architecture and they entered a gold fund of the monuments of world architecture. At the same time these monuments immortalized the names of such prominent architectures from Shirvan as Davud’s son Masud, Masud’s son Abdul Majid, Aburashid Shirvani’s son ustad Zeynaddin, Mahammad Ali, Murad Ali, Abdul Azim and a lot of others created beautiful examples of the architecture of Azerbaijan.Bayil castle erected in XIII century under order of Shirvanshah Feriburz III as its early residency in Baku is a unique architectural monument as well. It was enclosed by a stone wall of about two meters thickness with four round corner towers and eleven semicircular bastions in rocky island in Baku bay. On the outside the castle was surrounded by stone plates with inscriptions, rich ornament adornments, and images of humans and animals. In XIV century due to increase of the level of Caspian Sea it remained under water and only in XVIII century after shoaling of Caspian Sea it appeared again above sea level but in destroyed state.
Wreath of medieval palatial constructions of Azerbaijan is ensemble of Shirvanshahs’ palate erected in Baku in the middle of XV century. At the moment it is a state museum and a reserve which thousands of tourists visit every year. Two-storeyed palate and burial vault, mosque with minaret, divankhana in the form of gala audience hall, Seyid Yahya Bakuvi’s mausoleum, bath as well as Murad’s gate (XVI century) form a part of the ensemble. Grand portals of the buildings adorned with the thinnest stone carving add a special grandeur to the whole complex. Architectural monuments and memorial constructions are presented by mausoleums in the villages of Juga (XIII century) and Garabaghlar (XIV century) in Nakhchivan Republic, in Barda town of Barda region, in the villages of Kangarli and Khachindorbatli (XIV century) of Aghdam region, Diri Baba (XV century) near the settlement of Maraza of Shamakha region and others. There were erected khan palates and citadels during feudal division in Azerbaijan. One of the most prominent extant monuments of mentioned period is sublime palate of Shaki khans (XVIII century). Main façade of the palate was adorned by a beautiful vitrage and wood shabaka. Palate’s interior was richly painted by images representing vegetation, animals and birds, different geometric ornaments, battle scenes and scene of hunt. There are a big number of constructions of social, trade and everyday destination among architectural monuments in Azerbaijan as well. According to its geographic position Azerbaijan locates on the crossing of important trade ways. Therefore a big number of caravansaries (victualling-houses) were constructed along roads and in towns. Such caravansaries preserved in Baku, communities of Absheron, Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Upper Garabagh, Ganja and Shaki towns, in Fuzuli, Shamakhi and other regions. Bridges occupy important place among monuments of the architecture of Azerbaijan. Besides construction skills and special engineering knowledge, solution of problems on construction of big bridges on big and fleeting rivers required ability to select natural rocky withdrawal in runways for piers of bridge spans and to connect architectural composition of a bridge with the environment. Longevity of constructions preserved so far is evidence of Azerbaijani architects’ high mastery.
History of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is one of the most ancient states of the civilization, the country with rich and ancient history where heritage for the treasury of world culture were accumulated for centuries. Discovery of Azikh cave, one of the first places of human habitation, as well as objects of lithic age proves that Azerbaijan was a part of anthropoids’ habitation zone. Process of tribes’ settling down continued here since III millennium to I century AD. In IX BC within the territory of Azerbaijan appeared first political formations - state of Manna with high economic and cultural level which residents believed in natural phenomena, Sun and Moon.
At the beginning of VI century BC Manna was conquered by Midiya and Zoroastrism which spreading was connected with a big quality of oil and gas deposits i.e. natural sources of fire became official religion. States of Atropatena and Caucasian Albania acted a great part in ancient history of Azerbaijan. Name of Atropatena connected with the name of its ruler Atropat was transformed in Azerbaijan in the sequel. Just in Atropatena began the process of formation of Azerbaijani nation. In III-V centuries Christianity spread in Azerbaijan. Secular and spiritual lives got new impulse for development with appearance of Christian churches in Transcaucasia.
At the beginning of V century Albanian alphabet was made what gave impetus to development of education. Certain unique monuments of culture, literature and architecture of mentioned period preserved till today. At the beginning of VIII century Azerbaijan was occupied by Arabs and became a part of Arab caliphate under the name of Arran vilayat (region). In this period Islam became a chief religion in Azerbaijan and formed new traditions and culture. Azerbaijanis as other nations adopted Islam were named Muslims and participated in the development of Muslim culture. In this period Azerbaijan enriched the treasury of world culture granted to the world many brilliant scientists, poets and architects. Such states as Garagoyunlu, Aghgoyunlu and Safavis’ state were distinguished within Azerbaijan in different periods in Middle Ages. Trade ways between states of Europe and Asia involved Azerbaijan which was locating on them crossing in the demesnes of other states. Though, in XVIII century new independent states – khanates appeared in Azerbaijan. But differences between Russia, Turkey and Iran which deepened in XVIII-XIX centuries turned Azerbaijan into the arena of wars. Under Turkmanchay Agreement of 1828 Russia and Iran divided Azerbaijan between them: northern Azerbaijan went to Russia, southern part – to Iran. XX century went down in history as a period of radical changes in social, economic, political and cultural life. A number of industrial branches quickly developed in Azerbaijan. Baku turned into a world center of oil production and brought more than a half of world oil extraction and 95 per cent of Russian one. Cultural and spiritual life changed – different spheres of science were developing, newspapers and magazines were publishing in a big numbers of copies, political parties and social organizations were establishing, democratic ideas directed towards development of national awareness and growth of liberal mood were increasing in society. In February 1917, after downfall of tsarist Russia, conditions for development of national transformations created. On 28 May, 1918 Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established and after acting during 23 months it ended its existence in April 1920 with arrival of XI Red Army of Soviet Russia in Baku. Azerbaijan became a part of USSR, socialist republic with state attributes: Constitution, flag and coat of arms.
In 1991 after collapse of USSR Azerbaijan repeatedly restored its independence. Constitution of Independent Republic of Azerbaijan was adopted on 12 November, 1995. New epoch of development of Azerbaijani people and statehood – epoch of democracy and progress began by this event.