viernes, 16 de mayo de 2008


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This article is about the country in Eurasia. For other uses, see Azerbaijan

Azərbaycan Respublikası
Republic of Azerbaijan

Flag Coat of arms

Motto: none
Anthem: Azərbaycan Respublikasının Dövlət Himni
(March of Azerbaijan)

(and largest city) Baku
40°22′N, 49°53′E
Official languages Azerbaijani
Demonym Azerbaijani
Government Presidential republic
- President Ilham Aliyev
- Prime Minister Artur Rasizade
Independence from the Soviet Union
- Declared August 30, 1991
- Completed October 18, 1991
- Total 86,600 km² (113th)
33,436 sq mi
- Water (%) 1.6%
- April 2008 estimate 8,653,000 [2] (91st)
- 2002 census 8,265,000
- Density 97/km² (100th)
251/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2007 estimate
- Total $52.35 billion (77th)
- Per capita $6.476 (96th)
GDP (nominal) 2006 estimate
- Total $19.81 billion (85th)
- Per capita $3,633 (88th)
Gini (2006) 36.5 (58th)
HDI (2007) ▲ 0.746 (medium) (98th)
Currency Manat (AZN)
Time zone (UTC+4)
- Summer (DST) (UTC+5)
Internet TLD .az
Calling code +994

The Maiden Tower in old BakuAzerbaijan (IPA: /ˌæzəbaɪˈʤɑːn/ (UK), /ˌɑzɚbaɪˈʤɑːn/ (US); Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Respublikası), is the largest and most populous country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, 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 Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan is bordered by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, and Turkey to the northwest. Nagorno-Karabakh, along with 7 other districts in Azerbaijan's southwest, have been controlled by Armenia since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994.[1] Four United Nations Security Council Resolutions (822, 853, 874, and 884) called for "the withdrawal of occupying forces from occupied areas of the Azerbaijani Republic"[2] The country's territory also encompasses several islands in the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan, a nation with an ethnic Azeri and Shi‘ite Muslim majority population,[3][4] is a secular and unitary republic. The country has been a co-founder of GUAM and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and has been a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States since September 1993.[5] The country has a Permanent Mission to the European Union, hosts a Special Envoy of the European Commission and is a member of the United Nations, OSCE, Council of Europe, and the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program.


1 Etymology of the name
2 History
2.1 Ancient History
2.2 Medieval History
2.3 First Independence and Soviet Azerbaijan
2.4 Newly Independent Azerbaijan
3 Geography
3.1 Climate
3.2 Nature and ecology
4 Administrative divisions
5 Government and politics
6 Foreign relations
7 Military
8 Economy
9 Transportation and communications
10 Demographics
11 Language
12 Religion
13 Culture
14 References
15 External links
15.1 General references
15.2 Portals
15.3 Miscellaneous

Etymology of the name
Main article: History of the name Azerbaijan
Main article: Atropates
The name of Azerbaijan derives from Atropates[6][7], a satrap of Persia under the Achaemenid empire, who was later reinstated as the satrap of Media under Alexander of Macedonia.[8][9] The original etymology of this name is thought to have its roots in the ancient Zoroastrianism, namely, in Avestan Frawardin Yasht ("Hymn to the Guardian Angels"), there is a mentioning of: âterepâtahe ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide, which literally translates from Old Persian as "we worship the Fravashi of the holy Atare-pata" . Atropates ruled over the region of present-day Iranian Azerbaijan. The name "Atropates" itself is derived from Old Persian roots meaning "protected by fire."

Main article: History of Azerbaijan

Ancient History
The earliest evidence of human settlement in the territory of Azerbaijan dates to the late Stone Age and is related to the Quruçay culture of Azykh Cave. The Upper Paleolithic and particularly Mousterian cultures are attested to in the caves of Tağlar, Damcili, Zar, Yataq-yeri, etc. Jugs with the remnants of dry wine, revealed in the necropolises of Leylatepe and Sarytepe, testify to wine-making activity during the Late Bronze Age.

Mausoleum of Shirvanshahs in old Baku.The entire South Caucasus was conquered by the Achaemenids around 550 B.C., which led to the spread of Zoroastrianism in this part of the Persian Empire. After its overthrow by Alexander the Great, the Seleucid Greeks, who inherited the Caucasus, were ultimately beset by pressures from Rome, secessionist Greeks in Bactria and most adversely the Parthians. Caucasian Albanians, the original inhabitants of the area established a kingdom in the 4th century B.C. In 95-67 B.C. parts of Caucasian Albania may have been under the subjugation of neighboring Armenia, as a part of Tigranes the Great's empire. According to Strabo, as the Romans and Parthians began to expand their domains, Albania, unlike Iberia and Armenia, remained independent of Roman domination, signing a peace treaty (Strabo XI, 4, 5). The Roman inscription found in Gobustan testifies to the presence of Legio XII Fulminata in the time of Domitian.

Caucasian Albania remained largely independent until the Sassanids turned it into a vassal state in 252 A.D. King Urnayr of Caucasian Albania officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century A.D., and Albania remained a predominantly Christian state until the Islamic conquest of the 8th century A.D. Despite numerous conquests by the Sassanids and Byzantines, Caucasian Albania remained an entity in the region until the 9th century A.D. The territory of modern Azerbaijan roughly corresponds to the ancient state of Caucasian Albania.[12]

Medieval History
The Islamic Umayyad Caliphate defeated both the Sassanids and the Byzantines, making Caucasian Albania a vassal state after the Christian resistance, led by Prince Javanshir, was suppressed in 667 A.D. After the decline of Abbasid Caliphate, the territory of present-day Azerbaijan was under the sway of numerous dynasties such as the Salarids, Sajids, Shaddadids, Rawadids and Buyids. At the beginning of the 11th century, the territory was gradually seized by waves of Turkic Oghuz tribes from Central Asia. The first of these dynasties were the Ghaznavids, who took over part of the area now known as Azerbaijan by 1030.

Locally, the possessions of the subsequent Seljuk Empire were ruled by atabegs, who were technically vassals of the Seljuk sultans, being sometimes de facto rulers themselves. Under the Seljuk Turks, local poets such as Nizami Ganjavi and Khagani Shirvani gave rise to a blossoming of Persian literature on the territory of present-day Azerbaijan. The next ruling state of the Jalayirids was short-lived and fell under the conquests of Tamerlan. The local dynasty of Shirvanshahs became a vassal state of Tamerlan's empire and assisted Tamerlan in his war with the ruler of the Golden Horde Tokhtamysh. Following Tamerlan's death two independent and rival states emerged: Kara Koyunlu and Ak Koyunlu. Until his death the Ak Koyunlu sultan Uzun Hasan ruled the whole territory now known as Azerbaijan. Thereafter the Shirvanshahs maintained a high degree of autonomy as local rulers and vassals from 861 until 1539. As the Shirvanshahs were persecuted by the Safavids, the last dynasty imposed Shia Islam upon the formerly Sunni population, battling against the Sunni Ottoman Empire. The area was ruled under Iranian dynasties of Afshar and Zand following the collapse of the Safavids and briefly under Qajars. In the meanwhile, however, Persian ruled [13] but de facto independent khanates[14][15][16][17][18] emerged in the area, especially following collapse of Zand dynasty and in early Qajar era. Engaged in constant warfare, these khanates were eventually incorporated to the Russian Empire, following two Russo-Persian Wars. Under the Treaty of Turkmenchay the Persian Empire recognized Russian sovereignty over the Erivan khanate, the Nakhchivan khanate and the remainder of the Talysh khanate.

First Independence and Soviet Azerbaijan
After the collapse of the Russian Empire during World War I, Azerbaijan, together with Armenia and Georgia became part of the short-lived Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. When the republic dissolved in May 1918, Azerbaijan declared independence as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR). The ADR was the first democratic parliamentary republic in the Muslim world, but lasted only 23 months until the Bolshevik XIth Red Army invaded in April 1920. Overthrowing the ADR government, Bolsheviks established Azerbaijan SSR in Baku on April 28, 1920.

In 1922, Azerbaijan, along with Armenia and Georgia, became part of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic {TSFSR), which itself became a constituent member of the newly-established Soviet Union. In 1936, TSFSR was dissolved and Azerbaijan SSR became one of the 12 (by 1940 - 15) constituent member states of the Soviet Union.

During the 1940s, the Azerbaijan SSR supplied much of the Soviet Union's oil on the Eastern Front of World War II. Close to 600,000 Azerbaijanis fought on this front against Nazi Germany. Operation Edelweiss was launched by Adolf Hitler to occupy the Caucasian oilfields and capture Baku, but all the offensives were pushed back. The Germans made largely fruitless efforts to enlist the cooperation of émigré political figures, such as Mammed Amin Rasulzade, who came to Berlin and found opportunities to meet captured Soviet Azerbaijani POWs.

A painting by Enver Aliyev depicting Azerbaijani citizens digging entrenchments and antitank obstacles near Baku to prevent a possible Nazi invasion.

Newly Independent Azerbaijan
Following the politics of glasnost, initiated by the last General Secretary of
the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, civil unrest and ethnic strife grew in various regions of the Soviet Union, including Nagorno-Karabakh, a region of the Azerbaijan SSR. The disturbances in Azerbaijan, in response to Moscow's indifference to already heated conflict, resulted in calls for independence and secession from the USSR, which subsequently culminated in the events of Black January in Baku. At this time, Ayaz Mutallibov was appointed as the First Secretary of the Azerbaijan Communist Party.

Later in 1990, the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan SSR dropped the words "Soviet Socialist" from the title; adopted the Declaration of Sovereignty of the Azerbaijan Republic, a constituent member of Soviet Union; and restored the modified flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic as a state flag. In early 1991, the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan established the office of the presidency. Ayaz Mutallibov was subsequently elected as the first president by the Council. On September 8, 1991, Ayaz Mutallibov was elected as president in nationwide elections in which he was the only candidate running.

On October 18, 1991, Supreme Council of Azerbaijan adopted a Declaration of Independence which was affirmed by a nationwide referendum in December, 1991, when the Soviet Union was officially dissolved. The early years of independence were overshadowed by the Nagorno-Karabakh War with neighboring Armenia. By the end of hostilities in 1994, Azerbaijan lost control of up to 16% of its internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh itself.[20][21] In 1993, democratically elected president Abulfaz Elchibey was overthrown by a military insurrection led by Colonel Suret Huseynov, which resulted in the rise to power of the former leader of Soviet Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev. In 1994, Suret Huseynov, by that time a prime minister, attempted another military coup against Heydar Aliyev but failed, was arrested and was charged with treason. In 1995, another coup attempt against Aliyev, by the commander of the military police, Rovshan Javadov, was averted, resulting in the killing of the latter and disbanding of Azerbaijan's military police.

Although during his presidency, Aliyev managed to reduce the country's unemployment, reined in criminal groups, established the fundamental institutions of independent statehood, and brought stability, peace and major foreign investment, the country was tainted by rampant corruption in the governing bureaucracy. In October 1998, Aliyev was reelected for a second term. Despite the much improved economy, particularly with the exploitations of Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field and Shah Deniz gas field, Aliyev's presidency became unpopular due to vote fraud, wide-spread corruption and objection to his autocratic regime. The same harsh criticism followed the elections of former Prime Minister Ilham Aliyev, the second leader of New Azerbaijan Party after the death of his father Heydar.

Geography of Azerbaijan

Extreme points of Azerbaijan
The total length of Azerbaijani land borders is 2,648 km, of which Armenia constitutes 1007, Iran 756, Georgia 480, Russia - 390 and Turkey - 15.[22] The coastline stretches for 800 km and the length of the widest area of the Azerbaijani section of Caspian Sea is 456 km.[22] 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.[23] 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.

NASA satellite image of Azerbaijan, as of March, 2003.The main water sources are the surface waters. However, only 24 of the 8,350 rivers are greater than 100 km in length.[23] All the rivers drain into the Caspian Sea in the east of the country.[23] The largest lake is Sarısu (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 kilometers.

Main article: Climate of Azerbaijan
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.[24] Regarding landscape diversity, air masses have different ways to enter the country.[24] 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.

Nine out of eleven existing climate zones are present in Azerbaijan.[25] Both the absolute minimum temperature (-33 °C (-27.4 °F)) and the absolute maximum temperature (+46 °C (114.8 °F)) were observed in Julfa and Ordubad.[25] The maximum annual precipitation falls in Lankaran (1,600 to 1,800 mm) and the minimum in Absheron (200 to 350 mm).[25]

Nature and ecology
Main article: Nature of Azerbaijan
Further information: Fauna of Azerbaijan, Flora of Azerbaijan, and State Reserves of Azerbaijan
From the water supply point, Azerbaijan is below the average in the world with approximately 100,000 m³/year of water per km².[25] All big water reservoirs are built on Kur.

The main areas of plant diversity in Azerbaijan are the highlands of Nakhchivan (60% of the species occur here), the Kura-Araz plain (40%), the Davachi-Quba region east of the Greater Caucasus (38%), the centre of the Lesser Caucasus (29%), Gobustan (26.6%), the Lenkoran region in the Talysh Mountains (27%) and the Absheron region (22%).[23] Northern-eastern slopes of the Great Caucasus, the northern, northern-eastern, and eastern slopes of the Lesser Caucasus and Talysh Mountains are deemed to be vast forest areas of Azerbaijan.[26]

Endemics include over 400 species of plants (of which around 16 species of Caspian algae), seven reptiles and perches from fifteen species and six sub-species of Gobiidae. Most of the endemic freshwater fish belongs to Cypriniformes.[23] However there are no strictly endemic mammals.[23] The major cause of biodiversity loss in Azerbaijan is the decrease in natural environments.

Main article: Administrative divisions of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is divided into 59 rayons (rayonlar, singular rayon), 11 city districts (şəhərlər, singular şəhər), and one autonomous republic (muxtar respublika) of Nakhchivan,[4] which subdivides into 7 rayons 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. The local governments of regions and cities under Armenian occupation, such as Khankendi or Shusha, continue to function in exile.[27]

Government and politics

Ilham Aliyev, the current president of Azerbaijan.Main article: Politics of Azerbaijan

Elections in Azerbaijan and Human rights in Azerbaijan
The structural formation of Azerbaijan's political system was completed by the acceptance of the new Constitution on November 12, 1995. The state symbols of the Azerbaijan Republic are, according to the Article 23 of Constitution, the flag, the coat of arms and the national anthem. The state power in Azerbaijan is limited only by law for internal issues, but for international affairs is additionally limited by the provisions of international agreements.

The government of Azerbaijan is based on the separation of powers among the legislative, executive and judicial branches.
The legislative power is held by the unicameral National Assembly and the Supreme National Assembly in the Nakhchevan Autonomous Republic. Parliamentary elections are held every five years, on the first Sunday of November. The accuracy of the election results are checked and confirmed by the Constitutional Court. The laws enacted by the National Assembly, unless specified otherwise come into effect from the day of their publication. The executive power is carried out by the president, who is elected for a 5 year term by direct elections. The president is authorized to form the Cabinet of Ministers, an inferior executive body, subordinated to him. The Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan consists primarily of the Prime Minister, his Deputies and Ministers. The president does not have the right to dissolve the National Assembly, but has the right to veto its decisions. To override the presidential veto, the parliament must have a majority of 95 votes. The judicial power is vested in the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and the Economic Court. The President nominates the judges in these courts.

The Security Council is the deliberative body under the president and he organizes it according to the Constitution. It was established on April 10, 1997. The administrative department is not a part of the president's office, but manages the financial, technical and pecuniary ensuring of activity of both the president and his office.

Main article: Foreign relations of Azerbaijan
The short-lived Azerbaijan Democratic Republic succeeded in establishing diplomatic relations with six countries, sending diplomatic representatives to Germany and Finland.T he process of international recognition of Azerbaijan's independence from the collapsing Soviet Union lasted roughly one year. The last country, Bahrain recognized Azerbaijan on November 6, 1996.[29] Full diplomatic relations, including mutual exchanges of missions, were first established with Turkey, the United States and Iran.

Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries so far and holds membership in 38 international organizations. An observer status is held in the Non-Aligned Movement and World Trade Organization and the correspondent one at the International Telecommunication Union. The Azerbaijani diaspora is represented in 36 countries,dozens of ethnic minorities centers in turn are functioning inside the country (German cultural society "Karelhaus", Slavic cultural center, Azerbaijani-Israeli community, Kurdish cultural center, International Talysh Association, Lezgin national center "Samur", Azerbaijani-Tatar community, Crimean Tatars society etc.). On May 9, 2006 Azerbaijan was elected as one the members of the newly established Human Rights Council by the United Nations General Assembly. The term of office begun on June 19, 2006.

Foreign policy priorities of Azerbaijan include: first of all, the restoration of the territorial integrity, elimination of the consequences of the loss of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other regions of Azerbaijan, development of good-neighbourly and mutually advantageous relations with neighbouring countries; promotion of security and stability in the region; integration into European and Transatlantic security and cooperation structures, promotion of transregional economic, energy and transportation projects. (For more information about Azerbaijan's official foreign policy, The Azeri Government, in late 2007, stated that if a comprehensive peace treaty is signed with Armenia in 2008, then Azerbaijan will adopt military solutions to the conflict involving the Karabakh enclave.[citation needed] The Government is in the process of increasing its military budget as its oil and gas revenues bring a torrent of cash into its coffers. Furthermore, economic sanctions by Turkey along the west, and by Azerbaijan itself along the east, have combined to greatly erode Armenia's economy, leading to steep prices for basic commodities and a great decline in the Armenian state revenues.[citation needed]

Azerbaijan is an active member of international coalitions fighting international terrorism. The country is contributing to peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Azerbaijan is an active member of NATO's “Partnership for Peace” program. It also maintains good relations with the European Union, and could potentially one day apply for membership. see Azerbaijan and the European Union.


Azerbaijani interior guard troops on training.

Main article: Military of Azerbaijan
The Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan were created according to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan of 9 October 1991. Initially, the equipment and facilities were those of the Soviet Fourth Army. The Armed Forces have three branches: Land Forces, Air Force and Air Defence Force (a united branch) and the Navy. Besides the Armed Forces there are some additional militarily organised groups that can be involved in state defence when needed. These are the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and forces of the State Border Service, which includes the Coast Guard as well.

Azerbaijan adheres to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. On January 13, 1993 Azerbaijan signed the Chemical Weapons Convention on the 47th United Nations General Assembly in Paris. In 1999 the country signed particularly the Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons. Azerbaijan has been also a member of the NATO's Partnership for Peace since 1994 and the NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan since 2004.] Azerbaijan is also a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has an additional protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The armed forces supported the American Operation Enduring Freedom by providing one peacekeeping infantry platoon and Operation Iraqi Freedom with one peacekeeping infantry company.2007 military expenditures reached 871 mln USD.


The National Bank.Main article: Economy of Azerbaijan
After gaining independence in 1991, Azerbaijan became a member of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development,
the Islamic Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank.[42] The banking system of Azerbaijan consists of the National Bank of Azerbaijan, commercial banks and non-banking credit organizations. The National Bank was created in 1992 based on the Azerbaijan State Savings Bank, an affiliate of the former State Savings Bank of the USSR. The National Bank serves as Azerbaijan's central bank, empowered to issue the national currency, the Azerbaijani manat, and to supervise all commercial banks. Two major commercial banks are the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan and the United Universal Joint-Stock Bank.

Pushed up by spending and demand growth, the 2007 Q1 inflation rate reached 16.6%.[43] Nominal incomes and monthly wages climbed 29% and 25% respectively against this figure, but price increases in non-oil industry encouraged inflation in the country.[43] Azerbaijan shows some signs of the so-called "Dutch disease" because of the fast growing energy sector, which causes inflation.

Two thirds of Azerbaijan is rich in oil and natural gas.[ The region of the Lesser Caucasus accounts for most of the country's gold, silver, iron, copper, titanium, chromium, manganese, cobalt, molybdenum, complex ore and antimony. In September 1994, a 30-year contract was signed between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and 13 oil companies, among them Amoco, BP, Exxon, LUKoil, and Statoil. As Western oil companies are able to tap deepwater oilfields untouched by the Soviet exploitation, Azerbaijan is considered one of the most important spots in the world for oil exploration and development. Meanwhile the State Oil Fund was established as an extra-budgetary fund to ensure the macroeconomic stability, transparency in the management of oil revenue, and the safeguarding of resources for future generations.

At the beginning of 2007 there were 4755100 hectares of utilized agricultural area. In the same year the total wood resources counted 136 million m³.[46] Azerbaijan's agricultural scientific research institutes are focused on the meadows and pastures, the horticulture and subtropical crops, the green vegetables, the viticulture and wine-making, the cotton growing and the medicinal plants. In some lands it is profitable to grow grain, potatoes, sugar beet, cotton and tobacco. The Caspian fishing industry is concentrated on the dwindling stocks of sturgeon and beluga. In 2002 the Azerbaijani merchant marine had 54 ships.

Some part of most products before imported from abroad has begun to be produced locally (among them are Coca Cola by Coca Cola Bottlers LTD, beer by Baki-Kastel, parquet by Nehir and oil pipes by EUPEC Pipe Coating Azerbaijan).

Azerbaijan is also an important economic hub in terms of the raw materials transportation. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTC) became operational in May 2006 and stretches over 1,774 kilometers through the territory of Azerbaijan (440 km), Georgia (260 km) and Turkey (1114 km). The BTC is designed to transport up to 50 million tons of crude oil annually and carries oil from the Caspian Sea oilfields to global markets. The South Caucasus Pipeline, also stretching through the territory of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, became operational in the end of 2006 and offers additional gas supply to European market from the Shah Deniz gas field. It is expected to produce up to 296 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year. Azerbaijan also plays a major role in the EU-sponsored Silk Road Project.
Transportation and communications
Main articles: Transportation in Azerbaijan and Communications in Azerbaijan
In 2002 Azerbaijan led the way in per capita mobile phone use within the CIS.[50] Public pay phones are available for local calls and require a purchase token from the telephone exchange or some shops and kiosks. Tokens allow a call of indefinite duration. As of 2005, there were 1,091,400 main telephone lines and 408,000 internet users.[51] There are two GSM mobile network operators and four CDMA.

Broad gauge railways in 2005 stretched for 2,957 km and electrified railways numbered 1,278 km.[51] The number of airports in 2006 reached thirty six, there was also one heliport.

Main article: Demographics of Azerbaijan
See also: Ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan

A man and his child from the village of Khinalyg in northeast Azerbaijan.Azerbaijan's population totals approximately 8,621,000, broken out as follows:


Azeris   86.7%
Talysh   4.9%
Lezgins   2%
Russians   1.7%
Armenians   1.5%
Other   0.6%

From the total population as of April, 2006 there were 4,380,000 (nearly 51%) city dwellers and a rural population of 4,060,000 (49%).[52] 51% of the total population were female. The gender ratio for total population in that year was therefore 0.94 males per female.

2006 population growth rate was 0.66%, compared to 1.14% worldwide.[53] A significant factor restricting the population growth is rather a high level of migration. In 2005 for instance 1,342 men and 1,564 women left the country due to labour migration.[52] In 2006 Azerbaijan saw migration of -4.38/1,000 persons.[53] The highest morbidity in 2005 was among respiratory diseases (806.9 diseases per 10,000 of total population).[54] The highest 2005 morbidity for infectious and parasitic diseases was noted among influenza and acute respiratory infections (4168,2 per 100,000 population).[55] 2007 estimate for total life expectancy is 66 years, 70.7 years for women and 61.9 for men.[56]


Azerbaijani   92.5%
Russian   3.5%
Lezgin   1.9%
Talysh   1.8%
Other   0.3%

Further information: Religion in Azerbaijan

Shaykh Abbas Mosque in GanjaAccording to official figures, between 93.4% and 96% of the population is Muslim, of which 85% are Shia and 15% Sunni. Christians compose of 3 to 4% of the population, of which most are Russian and Armenian Orthodox.[57] In 2003 there were 250 Roman Catholics.[58] Other Christian denominations as of 2002 include Lutherans, Baptists and Molokans.[59] There are also Jewish, Bahá'í, Hare Krishna and Jehovah's Witnesses communities, as well as adherents of the Nehemiah Church, Star in the East Church and the Cathedral of Praise Church.[59]

Azerbaijan in 2002

Islam   96%
Orthodox Christianity   3.2%
Judaism   0.24%
Protestantism   0.006%
Catholicism   0.002%
Other   0.55%


Traditional Azeri musiciansMain article: Culture of Azerbaijan
See also: Ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan folk consists of Azerbaijanis, the representative part of society, as well as of nations and ethnic groups, compactly living in various areas of the country. There are radio broadcasts in Kurdish, Lezgin, Talysh, Georgian, Russian and Armenian languages, which are financed from the state budget.[32] The local radio station in Balakan organizes broadcasts in the Avar language and in Khachmaz also in Tat. In Baku several newspapers are published in Russian, Kurdish (Dengi Kurd), Lezgin (Samur) and Talysh languages.Jewish society "Sokhnut" publishes the newspaper Aziz.

Among national musical instruments there are fourteen string instruments, eight percussion instruments and six wind instruments.

Azerbaijan national and traditional dress, are the Chokha and Papakhi.

Azerbaijan will make its debut appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008, an event that has previously been used to showcase other former Soviet and Eastern Bloc states.

Entries, submitted on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list include the Gobustan State Reserve, the Fire Temple of Baku, the Momine Khatun Mausoleum and the Khan Palace in Sheki.

^ CIA World Factbook 2007. Online Edition
^ U.S. Department of State - 1993 UN Security Council Resolutions on Nagorno-Karabakh
^ US State Department profile of Azerbaijan
^ a b CIA World Factbook Azerbaijan 2007
^ US State Department 1993 Country Reports on Economic Practice and Trade Reports: Azerbaijan
^ Minorsky, V.; Minorsky, V. "Ādharbaydjān (Azarbāydjān ) ." Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P.Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2007. Brill Online. ^ Encyclopedia Iranica, "Azerbaijan: Pre-Islamic History", K. Shippmann
^ Chaumont, M. L. (1989), "Atropates", Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. 3.1, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul
^ Historical Dictionary of Azerbaijan by Tadeusz Swietochowski and Brian C. Collins. The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Lanham, Maryland (1999), ISBN 0-8108-3550-9 (retrieved 7 June 2006)
^ Frawardin Yasht ("Hymn to the Guardian Angels") -- translated by James Darmesteter (From Sacred Books of the East, American Edition, 1898)
^ The Azerbaijani Turks: Power and Identity under Russian Rule by Audrey Altstadt. Hoover Institution Press (1992), ISBN 0-8179-9182-4 (retrieved 7 June 2006).
^ Minorsky, V. "Caucasica IV", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 15, No. 3. (1953), p. 504
^ Encyclopaedia Britannica Online: History of Azerbaijan [1]
^ Bertsch, Gary Kenneth (2000). Crossroads and Conflict: Security and Foreign Policy in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Routledge, 297. ISBN 0415922739. “Shusha became the capital of an independent "Azeri" khanate in 1752 (Azeri in the sense of Muslims who spoke a version of the Turkic language we call Azeri today)”
^ Nafziger, E. Wayne, Stewart, Frances and Väyrynen, Raimo (2000). War, Hunger, and Displacement: The Origins of Humanitarian Emergencies. Oxford University press, 406. ISBN 0198297394.
^ Kashani-Sabet, Firoozeh (May 1997). "Fragile Frontiers: The Diminishing Domains of Qajar Iran". International Journal of Middle East Studies 29 (2): 210. “In 1795, Ibrahim Khalil Khan, the wali of Qarabagh, warned Sultan Selim III of Aqa Muhammad Khan's ambitions. Fearing for his independence, he informed the Sultan of Aqa Muhammad Khan's ability to subdue Azerbaijan and later Qarabagh, Erivan, and Georgia.”
^ Baddeley, John Frederick (1908). The Russian Conquest of the Caucasus. Harvard University: Longmans, Green and Co., 71. “Potto sums up Tsitsianoff's achievements and character as follows: "In the short time he passed there (in Transcaucasia) he managed to completely alter the map of the country. He found it composed of minutely divided, independent Muhammadan States leaning upon Persia, namely, the khanates of Baku, Shirvan, Shekeen, Karabagh, Gandja and Erivan..."”
^ Avery, Peter; Hambly, Gavin (1991). The Cambridge History of Iran. Cambridge University Press, 126. ISBN 0521200954. “Agha Muhammad Khan could now turn to the restoration of the outlying provinces of the Safavid kingdom. Returning to Tehran in the spring of 1795, he assembled a force of some 60,000 cavalry and infantry and in Shawwal Dhul-Qa'da/May, set off for Azarbaijan, intending to conquer the country between the rivers Aras and Kura, formerly under Safavid control. This region comprised a number of independent khanates of which the most important was Qarabagh, with its capital at Shusha; Ganja, with its capital of the same name; Shirvan across the Kura, with its capital at Shamakhi; and to the north-west, on both banks of the Kura, Christian Georgia (Gurjistan), with its capital at Tiflis.”
^ Swietochowski, Tadeusz(1995) Russia and Azerbaijan: A Borderland in Transition, Columbia University, p. 133
^ Thomas De Waal. Black Garden: Armenia And Azerbaijan Through Peace and War. New York: New York University Press, p. 286. ISBN 0-8147-1945-7

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