Capital City: Baku
Total Area: 86,600km2
Azerbaijan, also known as the Land of Fire, is a country with a fascinating history and unique cultural heritage. The country regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and modern Azerbaijan has emerged as an independent, secular state with a vibrant and diverse culture.
Azerbaijan has a total land area of 86,600km2. The climate, geography and topography of Azerbaijan are as diverse as its cultural heritage. The country has snowy mountainous regions (the Greater Caucasus mountain range runs through the north of Azerbaijan), flat wetlands, desert-like plains, mud volcanoes (the largest number of mud volcanoes in the world), woods and forests, nature and beaches. Azerbaijan is a country of ancient culture.
The Oguz tribes which moved here and stayed for ages, have found a deeply rooted culture and in their turn enriched it with Turkic national traditions.
Azerbaijan is currently involved into the implementation of huge energy projects. Oil and gas projects are successfully implemented in the Azeri Caspian sector. Azerbaijan is a country, which plays an extremely important role in the Caspian and Caucasian regions, particularly in the development of transport infrastructure in the Caucasus and the implementation of energy projects. It was the region's first country to explore the huge energy potential, to form an absolutely new economic model in the regional development, and to expand political and economic relations between Europe and Asia.
The country is the gateway between East and West, sitting on the edge of Europe and Western Asia. Azerbaijan played an important role as part of the Silk Road (the great 4,000 mile trade route that linked the East and the West, taking its name from the Chinese silk that was exchanged between merchants along the route), and is now equally important as part of the Transport Corridor Europe–Caucasus–Asia (TRACECA) Project.
Azerbaijan has a population of 9.7 million people (in 2016); capital city is Baku. Azerbaijani (or Azeri) is the official language of the country.
Tolerance and multiculturalism in secular Azerbaijan is a style of life for over 9.6 million people living at the crossroad of the East and West, and combining traditions and cultures. Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the population (about 96 percent) of the country is Muslims, worshippers of other religions enjoy freedom here, and one can often witness Jewish synagogues and Orthodox and Christian churches and other religious centers functioning freely.
Ancient fire-worshipping civilization the Zoroastrians erected temples in the vicinity of burning gas vents at various sites across the country as far back as the third century, according to the Azerbaijan tourist board.
These temples are now popular tourist attractions, with one of the most well preserved situated in Surakhani on the outskirts of Baku.
Nowadays, Azerbaijan has a major role in oil exporting and is a major shareholder in an oil pipeline that runs from the Caspian Sea to Ceyhan in Turkey. In recent years, Azerbaijan has attempted to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on its natural resources.