Azerbaijan, the nation and former Soviet republic, is bounded by the Caspian Sea and Caucasus Mountains, which span Asia and Europe.
The official name of the country is the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The official language is Azerbaijani.
As of 1 January 2016, the population of Azerbaijan was estimated to be 9,826,397 people.
About the size of Portugal or the state of Maine, Azerbaijan has a total land area of approximately 86,600 square kilometers (33,436 square miles), less than 1% of the land area of the former Soviet Union.
Baku is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. Baku is located 28 metres (92 feet) below sea level, which makes it the lowest lying national capital in the world and also the largest city in the world located below sea level.
Three physical features dominate Azerbaijan: the Caspian Sea, whose shoreline forms a natural boundary to the east; the Greater Caucasus mountain range to the north; and the extensive flatlands at the country’s center.
Mount Bazardüzü is a mountain peak in the Greater Caucasus range on the border between Russia and Azerbaijan. At 4,466 meters (14,652 feet) above sea level, it is the highest peak in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has an 800-kilometer-long (500-mile-long) shoreline along the Caspian Sea. The Caspian Sea is a saltwater lake and the largest inland body of water in the world.
Azerbaijan has 9 national parks.
Gobustan National Park is a hill and mountain site occupying the southeast end of the Greater Caucasus mountain ridge in Azerbaijan. In 2007 Gobustan was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered to be of “outstanding universal value” for the quality and density of its rock art engravings, for the substantial evidence the collection of rock art images presents for hunting, fauna, flora and lifestyles in pre-historic times and for the cultural continuity between prehistoric and medieval times that the site reflects.
Azerbaijan has 2 UNESCO world heritage sites.
Old City or Inner City is the historical core of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. In December 2000, the Old City of Baku, including the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower, became the first location in Azerbaijan to be classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Maiden Tower, also known locally as Giz Galasi, located in the Old City, Baku was built in the 12th century as part of the walled city.
The Palace of the Shirvanshahs is a 15th-century palace built by the Shirvanshahs. It is located in the Old City, Baku. The complex contains the main building of the palace, Divanhane, the burial-vaults, the shah’s mosque with a minaret, Seyid Yahya Bakuvi’s mausoleum, a portal in the east, Murad’s gate, a reservoir and the remnants of a bath house.
The Bibi-Heybat Mosque is a historical mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan. The existing structure, built in the 1990s, is a recreation of the mosque with the same name built in the 13th century by Shirvanshah Farrukhzad II Ibn Ahsitan II, which was completely destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1936.
Azerbaijan Carpet Museum displays Azerbaijani carpets and rug items of various weaving techniques and materials from various periods. It has the largest collection of Azerbaijani carpets in the world.
The Heydar Aliyev Center is a 57,500 square meters (619,000 square feet) building complex in Baku, Azerbaijan designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and noted for its distinctive architecture and flowing, curved style that eschews sharp angles.
Azerbaijan has more mud volcanoes than any other country on earth – more than 400. When its volcanoes erupt, the flames shoot up to a kilometre in the air, and when dormant they bubble and pop with noxious gases.
One of Azerbaijan’s most famous sites is Yanar Dağ (or ‘Burning Mountain’), a natural glowing fire burning on a hillside along the Caspian Sea. True to its name, the mountain has been blazing for at least 65 years! Natural gases seeping through the ground underneath continuously feed the flames, so the fire never goes out. Whilst no one knows for sure where Azerbaijan gets its name from, it’s only fitting that Yanar Dağ sits in a country also known as ‘The Land of Fire’.
Azerbaijani cuisine has a lot in common with Iranian and Turkish cuisine. The national dish of Azerbaijan is plov, a rice-based pilaf seasoned with broth.
Black tea is the national drink, and is drunk after food is eaten. It is also popular on its own or with dried fruits.
The national animal of Azerbaijan is the Karabakh horse, a mountain-steppe racing and riding horse endemic to Azerbaijan.
Novruz is the oldest national holiday of Azerbaijan, which celebrates the New Year and the coming of spring.
Azerbaijan is the first Muslim country to have operas and theater plays.
Although it makes most money from oil and gas, Azerbaijan also exploits grains, grapes, cotton and livestock.