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Azerbaijan - Land of Fire

Azerbaijan is a mountainous country (60% of the area is covered with mountains) in Asia, on the western coast of Caspian sea, bordering Russian Federation, Georgia, Armenia, Islamic republic of Iran and partially by Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (Azerbaijan’s Exclave) – Turkey.

Territory of Azerbaijan is around 86 000 sq.km. (#113 in the world), with population around 9,3 million people (#93 in the world). Capital city is Baku, biggest city on the coast of Caspian sea – with population of more than 3 million people and metro area of over 4 million. Its nickname is City of Winds , and it is one of the 2 capital cities in the world that lies below sea level at -28m., (the other one is Amsterdam -2m.)!

Territory of modern day Baku has been inhabited since probably more than 5 thousand years – and has very rich culture and history – old town Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah’s Palace and Maiden tower from the 12th century are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage.

Territory of modern-day Azerbaijan has been inhabited by people since 1.5 million years. First Kingdom that was established here is the Manna Kingdom – 9th century B.C. It was followed by the stronger and more famous Media Kingdom, whose official religion – Zoroastrianism – was worshipping the Fire, that was a symbol of purity – pure thoughts, pure mind and actions. Even in the old language, “azer” means fire.

Following the destruction of the Persian Empire, the southern part of Media Kingdom became Atropatena, what later the Arabs renamed to Azerbaijan, while the state of Caucausian Albania appeared in the north. In the 4th century, Christianity started to spread in Caucasian Albania. Exactly between 4th and 7th century is the time when Azerbaijans nation started its ethnical formation . In the next centuries, these lands were territories of conflicts and wars – between Roman Empire and Persia, and later – in the 8th century – they were conquered by the Arabic Caliphate and main religion was changed to Islam.

In the next centuries many small states appeared – Shirvanshahs, Shaddadids, Ravvadids.
11th- 13th centuries count for the peak of Azeris culture, until the invasion of the Mongols, when prosperous cities were destroyed.

Later in the 16th century, state of Sefevids, under the rule of Shah Ismayil, united all the Azeris and the became a powerful empire – stretching all the way between the rivers Syr-Darya and Euphrates.
Next 200 years, the great empire was divided into numerous independent states – Khanates – like Baku, Ganja, Nakhchivan, Sheki.

Wars and conflict followed, Azeri nation was split in 2 – the north was controlled by the Russians, while the south – by Iran. 

19th century was the beginning of the industrialization of Azerbaijan, when the first big oil enterprises started operating.

With the fall of the Tsarist Regime in Russia in 1917, political situation in the region changed – on may 28th , 1918 Northern Azerbaijan proclaimed sovereignity, but it didn’t last long – country was occupied by 11th Red Army , so in 1920 became part of the Soviet Union.

71 years later – country got its independence again – 1991 returned to republic government, by the leader Heydar Aliev. Now, country is developing the modern market economy, is very rich in oil- and gas reserves, and the main issue remains the corruption.

 

Azerbaijan - Land of Fire

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