INFORMATION ABOUT AZERBAIJAN
History of the country
Already 1.5 million years ago first groups appeared in Azerbaijan. First arch-state in the territory of Azerbaijan was Manna kingdom that established in 9 century B.C. At the beginning of 6 century B.C. one of the strongest states o antiquity - Media - replaced Manna.
After destroying the Persian Empire, the southern part of Media stood for the independent state of Atropatena. The Arabs renamed "Atropatena" in the middle centuries to "Azerbaijan", so the current name of the country had appeared. Religion in Atropatena was Zoroastrianism with the head temple in the city Gazaka. The state of Caucasian Albania appeared in the north, the official religion of which had become Christianity in 5 century. To all appearances, the common language was the one which had become known as Azeri. Then, Alban tribes and other ethnic groups entered the forming nationality in Azerbaijan.
In the middle of 7 century, Azerbaijan was exposed to the invasion of the Arabic caliphate. The province of Aran was founded in the territory of Azerbaijan. Islam had become the leading religion in Azerbaijan creating new traditions and culture. The same as other nations, the Azerbaijanis adopted Islam and took part in the development of Muslim culture under the common name of "Muslims". Azerbaijan enriched the world culture, having given a brilliant gallery of scientists, poets and architects.
As in other Caucasian countries, Azerbaijan had become free from the caliphate ruling by late IX and early X century and was living through the period of the economic prosperity. Agriculture, handcrafts and trade were developing and the cities were growing. A number of local states had formed. The most considerable was the state of Shirvanshahs with the capital in the city of Shamakhi. In XI-XII centuries with the process of the establishment of Turkic language in Azerbaijani the formation of an Azeri nationality started. At the same time, grand material and spiritual treasures were being established by the creative genius of the nation. Eminent scientists Makki ibn Ahmad, Bahmanyar, poets - thinkers Khatib Tabrizi, Khagani, Nizami Ganjavi, poetess Mahsati Ganjavi etc contributed largely to development of Azeri and world culture.
This period of economic and cultural development of Azerbaijan was terminated in the early part of the XIII century by Mongolian invasion. Prosperous cities were turned into ruins. Azerbaijan had become an object of the seizing campaigns of Timur since late in the XIV century. In early XVI century the state of the Sefevids made its capital in the city of Tabriz. This united all Azeri lands in one state for the first time in the history of Azerbaijan, which by then had become a powerful empire founded on huge territory from Syr-Darya to Euphrates. Its founder was shah Ismayil I (reigned in the years of 1502-24). Unification of the country promoted the development of agricultural and cultural life and ignited up the fight of the nation against foreign seizures.
In the middle of XVIII century, independent states - khanates were established in the territory of Azerbaijan. Baku, Sheki, Nakhchivan, Garabag, Ganja, Shamakhi, Guba, Urmiya, Irevan, Tabriz, Maraga and other khanates were established. Historical conditions of XVII-XVIII century found their reflection in the culture of Azerbaijan as well. An eminent monument to the national artwork is the heroic epos "Kor-oglu". After seizure of the northern part of Azerbaijan by Russia and conclusion of the Gulustan (the year of 1813) and Turkmenchay (the year of 1828) agreements between Russia and Iran, Azerbaijan was divided: Northern Azerbaijan was adjoined to the tsarist Russia and Southern Azerbaijan - to Iran. After the dethronement of the tsarist regime in 1917, the political situation in Azerbaijan changed. Northern Azerbaijan reestablished its sovereignty on May 28, 1918. Soviet Russia breached state sovereignty of Azerbaijan in April 1920 and sent the 11th Red Army to Azerbaijan. On April 28, 1920, Soviet power was announced in Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan became part of the Soviet Union.
The independence of Azerbaijan was reestablished in 1991. A new stage in the history of Azerbaijan started after national leader Heydar Aliyev returned to the republic government. The domestic situation in the country stabilized; growth in all fields of the national life started.
The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. llham Aliyev, who was elected in 2003, continues purposeful policy on the way of construction of the democratic state and market economy. Azerbaijan continues to develop stably and has potential to become one of the most interesting centers of tourism for foreign guests and travelers in near future, keeping the best traditions of Caucasian hospitality and good-nature. Azerbaijan has all opportunities for it: historical traditions, architectural-art legacy of various epochs, soft climate, and magnificent nature.
The country today
Being a country with the transitional economics, modern Azerbaijan is at the stage of the intensive development, confirmed by statistical indexes of the republican economic growth rates. The government constantly realizes the programs aimed at the establishment of the favorable legal and economic conditions for the Development of the small, medium and large business, attraction of the investments, contribution of the modern technologies in the production, development and strengthening financial and banking system as basis of the stable and forward development of the country. Azerbaijan was and remains an oil-producing country.
Intensive development of the oil industry, existence of huge oil and gas deposits, oil contract signed in 1994 with leading world companies have given opportunity to start realization of the largest projects on construction of a pipeline for the oil transportation via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan route. Hard work in the oil sector gives impulse to the development of the infrastructure in many other fields.
At present, dozens of authorized companies from USA, Great Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Japan and many other countries realize their business in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan actively cooperates with many international organizations confirming its desire to participate firmly in the implementation of humanitarian tasks, which are key to the social, moral and spiritual development of the nation.
Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan
Baku, which is situated in the western coast of the Caspian Sea is an ancient and modern city.
Baku is a city renowned for its subtropical climate, unique flora and fauna, wonderful historical monuments, magnificent buildings of various architectural styles, green parks, ancient Icharishahar (Inner City) erected among the fortress walls, beautiful boulevard and beaches. The central part of the town is like the amphitheater opening to the bay of Baku. An average monthly temperature is 3-4°C in January, 25-26°C in July. The amount of annual rainfall is 300 mm. Strong northern wind - Khazry (the wind blowing from the Caspian Sea) and southwest wind typically characterize the season in Baku, In this city, the wind blows in most of days of the year.
The representatives of various peoples and nations live in Baku, which has a population of 2 million. According to its history, Baku is one of the ancient cities. The archaeological data pertaining to the 3-1 millennium B.C. was found out in this area. Once the fire formed by kindled natural gas having extracted was burning days and nights and shining brightly around the city. The primitive men considered the fire holy and worshipped it.
It's hardly a coincidence that Baku was one of the centers of fire-worshippers, a good deal of praying-houses and temples of fire were erected here. Fire-worshippers from all around the world pilgrimage this land. But the secret of holy fire lies in rich oil and gas fields, under the ground and at the bottom of the sea. Products of oil and gas strongly glorified Baku. So, Baku became one of the largest cities of the Near and Middle East in the medieval centuries. According to the data of the wanderers, oil product was profitable in Baku in the X century and Baku was known as a harbor city. In the XII century, Baku being covered by the fortress walls in two rows and a trench was defended.
In 1901 oil product gave a way for rapid growth of both the industry and economy in Baku. Starting from the end of the XIX century along the ancient architectural memorials "Maiden Tower" built in the coast of the Caspian Sea, mosques, enormous fortress walls, "Shirvanshahlar" complex, the new buildings of contemporary various styles were constructed. For all this, the city combines the west and east architectural styles and influences as the center of ancient and modern culture. The ancient historical monuments have been surrounded by the fortress walls of the city and situated in the part called "Icharishahar". It's mostly called "Old Baku". There exist a lot of museums, exhibition saloons in Icharishahar. The Azerbaijan State Carpet-Weaving Museum is famous for its interesting and valuable exhibits all over the world.
Baku is a city, which leaves unforgettable impressions in the minds of those who visited it once. Allocated along wonderful sea bay, it reminds Naples and other cities on the seacoast.
One of Baku subway stations is named after architect Ajami. It is the homage of the Azeri nation to one of its talented ancestors. Momina-khatun Mausoleum he raised is considered fairly one of the most outstanding works of Azeri architecture. This twenty-five-meter decahedral stone hipped roof has amazed visitors with its delicate fretwork and magnificence of the ceramic trimmings for over eight hundred years. Having created Momina-khatun Mausoleum, he had created the monument to the epoch.
Splendid majestic monuments of architecture decorate Azeri lands. The most ancient of them have lived through the centuries - these are cyclopean defense constructions of Bronze Epoch. They were rising from huge, almost non-cultivated stone blocks, the spaces between which were filled with small cobbles. They were named "galacha" (fortress) in the folk.
Great interest is attached to the defense constructions - fortress and towers - Chirag - Gala, Didivan and lots of others raised to defend from the invasions of the nomadic tribes and foreign oppressors. Unique Giz Galasi (Maiden Tower) raised in Baku is an eight-circle monumental construction at the height of 29,5 meters. Media tombs and peculiar fire sanctuaries are of great interest as well. After the Arabs came to Azerbaijan in VII century and Islam was spread in its territory, the buildings of new style - mosques, minarets decorated with the ornaments appeared. The mosques were remarkable for the variety and each of them was original and unique. There are a number of monuments of the eminent architecture values, for which they can be included into the number of the world art works (Blue Mosque in Tabriz, Shirvanshah Mosque in Baku etc.). At present, the historical-archeological complex "Shirvanshahs" Palace" is in the golden fund of architectural legacy of the world nations.
In the early XX century Baku is appearance becomes of delicious-magnificent coloring. The modern style of which the constructions of early XX century were built in the period of the oil boom, was prevailing in the architecture and extended with the Mauritanian, Romanian, Gothic elements.
The unique rock pictures of Gobustan can be related to the first ancient monuments of the fine art of Azerbaijan. The character of implementation of numerous pictures with the image of people, wild and domestic animals, hunting and ritual scenes and boat flotilla on the rock is evidence of the original culture of the ancient nation.
Ancestors of the modern Azerbaijanis were abundantly decorating the objects of their work and other living goods with various ornaments and images close to the forms of real life. Later, in the period of the middle ages, when Islamic dogma were confining the development of the fine forms, carpet weaving, fancy materials, articles from stone, wood, metal, jeweler's art and ceramics reached a high level of development.
The rich, many-sided and distinctive culture covering the highest achievements of the eastern literature and art of various epochs had been created by Azeri nation for many centuries. As an oral folk art genre, epos is defined as the oldest work of Azeri literature that reached these days. "Kitabi Dede Gorgud" (Book of my grandfather Gorgud) created over 1300 years ago retells about the heroic past of the nation, its tempers, traditions and dreams.
Lyrics of the eminent Azeri poets of the Middle Ages - Nizami, Nasimi, Fizuli glorifying Love, Faithfulness. Honor in their poems are popular all over the world. Mahsati Ganjavi living in that period was the sole woman - a poetess allowed to the king's palace. A satiric spirit increased in Azeri poetry in the first half of the XIX century: Baba bay Shakir, Mirza Bakhish Nadim and Gasim bey Zakir. Along with the realistic-satiric spirits, a romantic one was developing as well. Poets Hussein Javid, Sahhat, Hadi and others were connecting their works with the dreams of future of the native land. Works of Mirza Shafi Vazeh, Abbasguli Aga Bakikhanov, Abdulla Shaig, Hasanbay Zardabi, Jalil Mammadgulizadeh, Jafar Jabbarli take honorable places in the golden fund of Azeri poetry and prose. The modern prose of Azeri masters of pen is many-sided. Readers of many countries of the world know the works of Anar, brothers Rustam and Magsud Ibrahimbayovs, Chingiz Abdullayev.
The History Museum of Azerbaijan - the first and the most important museum of Azerbaijan. It was established based on the palace of the eminent Azeri entrepreneur and patron of art Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev. The museum richness is considered by the value and quantity of its exhibits. A few hundred thousand exhibits - jewelry and coins, books and inscriptions, carpets, national suits and embroidery, ceramics, bronze and weapons etc. are saved in the museum treasure-houses.
There are a number of museums in Azerbaijan where you can find very interesting historical findings: Shirvanshs' Palace (included into the list of monuments of UNESCO world legacy), Maiden Tower (included into the list of monuments of UNESCO world legacy), Museum of the Azeri Carpet, Folk & Applied Art, Geology Museum, Zardabi Natural-Historical Museum, Azerbaijan's Fauna Museum, Jafar Jabbarli Theatre Museum of Azerbaijan, The State Museum of Azerbaijani Musical Culture, The Public Arts Museum of Azerbaijan and many other museums.
There are a number of theatres in Azerbaijan: Opera and Ballet Theatre, Azerbaijan Drama Theatre, Puppet Theatre, Theatre of Youngsters, Theatre of Musical Comedy, Mugham Theatre, Russian Drama Theatre, Rashid Behbudov Song Theatre, Muslim Magomayev State Philarmonic Society.
Nature and climate
The modern appearance of the territory of Azerbaijan with its high mountains, volcanic plateaus, deep mountain canyons and river valleys, plains and coasts, complex of various minerals was formed over several hundred millions of years of geologic history.
Azerbaijan is called mountain country. Geo-morphological units are formed by the peaks of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, and the Talish Mountains, which surround the Kura-Araz lowland.
There is no place over the world like Azerbaijan for the number of its volcanoes, their diversity and their activities. The mud volcanoes are geological forms that developed as a result of centuries-old and frequent convulsions of nature. Almost half of the mud volcanoes on our planet are in Azerbaijan. Therefore it isn't by chance that Azerbaijan is considered as a homeland of mud volcanoes. Some of volcanoes are in the list of UNESCO sites as specially kept monuments o nature. Most of them are on Absheron, Gobustan, South-East Shirvan. There are all forms of mud volcanoes: active, extinct, buried, underwater, insular, oil. Volcanic mud is rich in macro- and microelements, has highly therapeutic effect for disease of central nervous system, venereal, gynaecological and other diseases. Volcanic mud is widely used for the production of cosmetology medicine.
The Caspian Sea-Lake is unique reservoir of the planet, the remains of the ancient ocean "Tesis" covering the whole Caucasus in the old ages. It is called a sea due to its territory area and number of the hydrologic specifications. It washes coasts of 5 states - the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan. Caspian Sea is of great importance for Azerbaijan. It softens climate, serves as the important transport mean, is rich with oil and fish, and supports sanatoriums, health resorts that are built on the coasts. The territory of the Republic is rich with underwater, thermal and mineral springs. Herbal features of "Sirab", "Istisu", "Badamli" are popular far from Azerbaijan.
Occupying a considerably small territory, Azerbaijan has unique natural-climate features. Nine of 11 climatic zones of our planet are in the territory of Azerbaijan: from subtropics to Alpine mountains. The greater Caucasus and The Lesser Caucasus Mountains, natural barriers on the way of penetration of cold air from the north and hot one from the south, create very favorable conditions for forming original warm and mild climate.
It is not a coincidence that Azerbaijan is named "sunny country", because the amount of sunshine reaches 2900 hours a year. Sunny radiation has an impact on the formation of the diverse climate of the Republic: from dry subtropics to temperate and cold zone. Often winds also have an impact on the climate. The speed of the northern "khazri" winds sometimes reaches forty meters a second, which damages a lot of fields of the economy. However, it brings desired coolness in summer. Southern "gilavar" in winter promotes to the clear weather, in summer - dry and hot weather. Precipitations are divided rather unevenly. Less than 200 mm of precipitations are I the southern coast of Absheron peninsula, in the southeastern Shirvan and southeastern Gobustan (foothills of Greater Caucasus), in Lankaran region - 1200 - 1400 mm (sometimes up to 1700 - 1800 mm). Most rainfall appears in the cold season in Lankaran region, in the remaining regions and foothills - from April to September.
Treasures of the oil
Azerbaijan is a country of oil and Azeri oil is highly valued in the world market by its characteristics. 47 thousand sq. km out of the total area of the country (86,6 thousands sq. km) are oil and gas territories. Advantage of geo-strategy location of Azerbaijan allowed beginning in cooperation with foreign investors construction of grandiose pipeline on transportation of Caspian.
Fauna and flora.
15 preserves and 20 reserves have been established with purpose of defense of planting and animals.
The largest preserve of Azerbaijan is Gizilagai, which united the various reps of the animals of the republic in their territories.
The main surviving inhabitant of Shirvan preserve is the deer like Jeyran.
In order to see the living monuments of history, you should go to one of the most wonderful places of Azerbaijan - Girkan preserve.
Goy-gol preserve is engaged in the defense and study of typical landscapes and fauna of Lesser Caucasus, re-acclimatization of the noble deer, and provision for the cleaning of the waters of one most beautiful lakes of the world - Goy-gol as a source of the drinking water.
31 species of trees among 107 existing in the territory of Azerbaijan are in Ilisu preserve.
In order to simplify the procedure of the customs control for the citizens arriving in the country, they should fill in the customs declaration. Amount of the means of payment brought in the country is not limited. This sum should be noted in declaration.
Official monetary unit is manat. Manat is the only monetary unit in the territory of the Republic. All the payments inside the country should be made in manats. It is possible to exchange any currency in numerous exchange stations all over the city. Currency rate is 1 dollar ~ 4900 manats.
Rate is usually shown on the desk in front of the entry into the exchange station or bank. You may exchange the money through the cash dispensers, which can be found in the banks, large hotels, and some trade centers.
It is very easy in Azerbaijan to find traveler's checks of American Express. The traveler's checks are exchanged for the mantas according to the official currency rate of the national bank for the day of exchange in the local banks.
The most distributed payment systems in Azerbaijan are Visa, EuroCard, MasterCard and American Express. However, you should take into account that the cards are not accepted everywhere.
Working days and hours of the shops and banks
Baku banks are open on the working days from 09-00 to 18-00. On Saturdays and Sundays they do not work. Customer servicing is from 10-00 to 16-00, break is usually from 13-00 to 14-00.
Large department stores usually open at 09-00 and work until 21-00 or 22-00. Shops selling the cloths, shoes and industrial goods open at 09-00 and work until 21-00. Majority of them work without days-off and breaks.
Restaurants, bars, cafes are open daily from 10:00 and work till late at night. There are nightclubs.