FREN|AZ

Geography, history and culture

Azerbaijan, formally the Republic of Azerbaijan, is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south. The exclave of Nakhichevan is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, while having a short borderline with Turkey to the northwest. The Nagorno-Karabakh region in the southwest of Azerbaijan proper declared itself independent from Azerbaijan in 1991, but it is not recognized by any nation of the world and considered a legal and integral part of Azerbaijan.

   

Azerbaijan, a nation with a majority Turkic and Shi‘ite Muslim population, is a secular and unitary republic. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world. Azerbaijan is one of the founding members of GUAM and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. A Special Envoy of the European Commission is present in the country, which is also a member of the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program as well as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and many other international and regional entities.

History

The people of Azerbaijan, who gained their independence at the end of the 20th century, have a rich and ancient history.

Bordering the Major Caucasus in the north, the Alagoz Mountains and East Anadolu, including the Goycha Lake in the west, the Caspian Sea in the east and the borders of Sultaniyye-Zendjan-Hemedan in the south, the historical lands of Azerbaijan are some of the most ancient cultural sites of modern civilization.

Azerbaijani people, the second largest Turkic nation after the Anadolu Turks, have maintained a rich culture and traditions in their lands.

Archeological excavations in the territory of Azerbaijan Republic revealed patterns of rich material culture related to the first human settlement. Based on the abovementioned the territory of Azerbaijan has been referred to the areas of first human formation. Most ancient archeological and paleontological materials recently found in the territory of Azerbaijan prove that first primitive men settled here 1.7-1.8 million tears ago.

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Geography

Azerbaijan is in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia, straddling Western Asia and Eastern Europe. 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. The total length of Azerbaijan's land borders is 2,648 km, of which 1007 are with Armenia, 756 with Iran, 480 with Georgia, 390 with Russia and 15 with Turkey. The coastline stretches for 800 km, and the length of the widest area of the Azerbaijani section of the Caspian Sea is 456 km. The territory of Azerbaijan extends 400 km from north to south, and 500 km from west to east. The three mountain ranges are the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, and the Talysh Mountains, together covering approximately 40% 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 volcanoes on Earth are concentrated in Azerbaijan.

The main water sources are the surface waters. However, only 24 of the 8,350 rivers are greater than 100 km in length. All the rivers drain into the Caspian Sea in the east of the country. The largest lake is Sarysu (67 km²), and the longest river is Kur (1,515 km), which is transboundary. Azerbaijan's four main islands in the Caspian Sea have a combined area of over thirty square kilometres.

Climate

The formation of climate in Azerbaijan is influenced particularly by cold arctic air masses of Scandinavian anticyclone, temperate of Siberian anticyclone, and Central Asian 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 on most foothills and plains of the country. Meanwhile, plains and foothills are characterized by high solar radiation rates.

9 out of 11 existing climate zones are present in Azerbaijan. Both the absolute minimum temperature (−33 °C ) and the absolute maximum temperature (46 °C) were observed in Julfa and Ordubad. The maximum annual precipitation falls in Lankaran (1,600 to 1,800 mm) and the minimum in Absheron (200 to 350 mm).

Administrative divisions

Azerbaijan is divided into 59 areas, 11 city districts, and one autonomous republic of Nakhchivan, which subdivides into 7 areas and a city. The President of Azerbaijan appoints the governors of these units, while the government of Nakhchivan is elected and approved by the parliament of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.