• Counter :
  • 2871
  • Date :
  • 7/9/2003



Azerbaijan - a nation of Turkic Muslims - has been an independent republic since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Despite a 1`994 cease-fire, Azerbaijan has yet to resolve its conflict withArmenia over the Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh enclave (largely Armenian populated). Azerbaijan has lost almost 20% of its territory and must support some 750,000 refugees and internally displaced persons as a result of the conflict. Corruption is ubiquitous and the promise of widespread wealth from Azerbaijan's undeveloped petroleum resources remains largely unfulfilled.

r="#7779a8"> Geography
Location:Southwestern Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Russia

t face="tahoma" size="2">
Geographic coordinates:40 30 N, 47 30 E

Map references:




total: 86,600 sq km
note: includes the exclave of Naxcivan Autonomous Republic and the Nagorno-Karabakh region; the region's autonomy was abolished by Azerbaijani Supreme Soviet on 26 November 1991
water: 500 sq km
land: 86,100 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 2,013 km
border countries: Armenia (with Azerbaijan-proper) 566 km, Armenia (with Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave) 221 km, Georgia 322 km, Iran (with Azerbaijan-proper) 432 km, Iran (with Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave) 179 km, Russia 284 km, Turkey 9 km


0 km (landlocked); note - Azerbaijan borders the Caspian Sea (800 km, est.)


dry, semiarid steppe

Natural resources:

petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nonferrous metals, and alumina.

Land use:

arable land: 19%
permanent crops: 3%
other: 78% (1998 est.)

Population: 7,798,497 (July 2002 est.)

n xstyle="color: black">
Population growth rate: 0.38% (2002 est.)

n xstyle="color: black">
Nationality: noun: Azerbaijani(s); adjective: Azerbaijani

n xstyle="color: black">
Ethnic groups:Azeri 90%, Dagestani 3.2%, Russian 2.5%, Armenian 2%, other 2.3% (1998 est.)
note: almost all Armenians live in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region

Muslim 93.4%, Russian Orthodox 2.5%, Armenian Orthodox 2.3%, other 1.8% (1995 est.)
note: religious affiliation is still nominal in Azerbaijan; percentages for actual practicing adherents are much lower

n xstyle="color: black">
Languages:Azerbaijani (Azeri) 89%, Russian 3%, Armenian 2%, other 6% (1995 est.)

n xstyle="color: black">
Literacy:definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 99%
female: 96% (1989 est.)

n xstyle="color: black">


n xstyle="color: black">Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Azerbaijan
conventional short form: Azerbaijan
local short form: none
former: Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic
local long form: Azarbaycan Respublikasi

n xstyle="color: black">
Government type: Republic




30 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)

n xstyle="color: black">
Constitution: adopted 12 November 1995

n xstyle="color: black">
Executive branch:chief of state: President Heydar ALIYEV (since 18 June 1993)
head of government: Prime Minister Artur RASIZADE (since 26 November 1996)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly
elections: president elected by popular vote to a five-year term; election last held 11 October 1998 (next to be held NA October 2003); prime minister and first deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly
election results: Heydar ALIYEV reelected president; percent of vote - Heydar ALIYEV 77.6%, Etibar MAMEDOV 11.8%, Nizami SULEYMANOV 8.2%

Legislative branch:

unicameral National Assembly or Milli Mejlis (125 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 4 November 2000 (next to be held NA November 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NAP and allies 108, APF 6, CSP 3, PNIA 2, Musavat Party 2, CPA 2, APF "traditionalist" 1, Compatriot Party 1

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders

:Azerbaijan Popular Front or APF [Ali KARIMLI, leader of "reform faction"; Mirmahmud FATTAYEV, leader of "traditionalist" faction]; Civic Solidarity Party or CSP [Sabir RUSTAMKHANLY]; Civic Union Party [Ayaz MUTALIBOV]; Communist Party of Azerbaijan or CPA [Ramiz AHMADOV]; Compatriot Party [Mais SAFARLI]; Democratic Party for Azerbaijan or DPA [Rasul QULIYEV, chairman]; Justice Party [Ilyas ISMAILOV]; Liberal Party of Azerbaijan [Lala Shvkat HACIYEVA]; Musavat [Isa GAMBAR, chairman]; New Azerbaijan Party or NAP [Heydar ALIYEV, chairman]; Party for National Independence of Azerbaijan or PNIA [Etibar MAMMADOV, chairman]; Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan or SDP [Zardust ALIZADE and Araz ALIZADE]
note: opposition parties regularly factionalize and form new parties

Econome-overview: Azerbaijan's number one export is oil. Azerbaijan's oil production declined through 1997 but has registered an increase every year since. Negotiation of production-sharing arrangements (PSAs) with foreign firms, which have thus far committed $60 billion to oilfield development, should generate the funds needed to spur future industrial development. Oil production under the first of these PSAs, with the Azerbaijan International Operating Company, began in November 1997.Azerbaijan shares all the formidable problems of the former Soviet republics in making the transition from a command to a market economy, but its considerable energy resources brighten its long-term prospects.Baku has only recently begun making progress on economic reform, and old economic ties and structures are slowly being replaced. An obstacle to economic progress, including stepped up foreign investment in the non-energy sector, is the continuing conflict withArmenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Trade withRussia and the other former Soviet republics is declining in importance while trade is building with Turkey and the nations of Europe. Long-term prospects will depend on world oil prices, the location of new pipelines in the region, and Azerbaijan's ability to manage its oil wealth.


petroleum and natural gas, petroleum products, oilfield equipment; steel, iron ore, cement; chemicals and petrochemicals; textiles

Agriculture – products:

cotton, grain, rice, grapes, fruit, vegetables, tea, tobacco; cattle, pigs, sheep, goats


:Azerbaijani manat (AZM)


n xstyle="font-family: tahoma">
Telephones - main lines in use:663,000 (1997)

Radio broadcast stations :AM 10, FM 17, shortwave 1 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

:2 (1997)



: total: 2,125 km in common carrier service; does not include industrial lines
broad gauge: 2,125 km 1.520-m gauge (1,278 km electrified) (1993 est.)


: total: 36,700 km paved: 31,800 km (includes some all-weather gravel-surfaced roads) unpaved: 4,900 km (these roads are made of unstabilized earth and are difficult to negotiate in wet weather) (1990)


52 (2001)


Azerbaijan is one of the most ancient cradles of global civilization. Its historic boundaries encompassed the eastern part of theSouth Caucasus and the northwestern regions ofIran. The surveys of the Guruchay archaeological culture, which was the most ancient in the whole expanse of the formerSoviet Union territory and is analogous to the Olduwai culture inAfrica, confirm that the territory of Azerbaijan was within the zone where the humanity emerged. In the Azikh cavern located on the left bank of River Guruchay the fragment of the jaw of the ancient human being - azikhantropos - was found; that population inhabited the locality 350-400 thousand years ago. Tribal associations were forming in the territory of Azerbaijan and attempted to establish political unions in the 23rd century.

The written witness and a vast archaeological material basis show that the territorial division, one of the primary signs of statehood, replaced tribalism in Azerbaijan beginning from the end of the First millennium. According to the ancient texts of that era, several 'principalities' were joined in order to withstand the external aggression together. Archaeological research conducted to date indicates the very early formation of states in the South of Azerbaijan, in the cis-Urmian zone. Those were the states that laid the foundation of the first major political formation that was known as the Manna Kingdom. According to the historical sources, the territory of Manna was roughly the same as that of the later Mydia and Atropatena (that is to say, the territory of the modern Southern Azerbaijan). Manna's submission to the Mada state (Mydia) at the end of the 7th to the beginning of the 6th centuries extinguished local statehood in Azerbaijan for a number of centuries. It was only in the 30s of 4th century after the Macedonian troops had defeated the state of Mada that a new-stage of Azeri statehood development began in the region.

Atropatena that arose at the historical scene two centuries and a half after the fall of Manna (otherwise called Atrapatakan. Aderbadagan, and hence the derivation 'Azerbaijan') was the first Oriental state ever to become politically independent from the Greek-Macedonian conquerors.
Various studies witness that Albania located in the northern lands of Azerbaijan also had statehood organization in the Hellenic period. The earliest coins minted locally that are discovered in the former territories of both Albania and Atropatena date back to the first half of 3rd century In the feudal era, unlike the territory of Atropatena that had come to be one of the provinces of the Sasanis Empire, Albania managed to preserve relative sovereignty up till the Arabian conquest.

In the second half of 9th century AD the internal friction in the Arabian Khalifat provided an important factor pre-conditioning appearance of new feudal formations in the historic territories of Azerbaijan. Among them stand out the State of the Shirvanshahs, the rulers of which fought for independence by themselves for ten centuries and were only suppressed by the Sefevi State in 1538. That newly-formed state's structure followed the established tradition of local Turkic states of the Garagoyunlu and Aggoyunlu (the formations of the 15th century).
In the middle of the 17th century the process of emergence of independent states commenced in the territory of Azerbaijan. Those were the khanats of Baku, Sheki, Nakhchivan, Garabag, Ganja, Shamaha, Guba, Urmiya, Irevan, Tabriz, Maraga and etc. As Russia conquered the northern territories of Azerbaijan in the beginning of the 19th century, the Azeri khanats lost their independence. Pursuant to the Turkmenchay Treaty of 1828 between Russia and Iran the territories of the southern khanats transfered to Iran. Thus the nation was separated.
Since the Tsarist regime was overthrown in 1917, the political situation in Azerbaijan was changing. The independence of the Northern Azerbaijan was restored after the more than a century-long intermission on 28 May 1918, and that was the emergence of the first ever Muslim republic. The Republic of Azerbaijan existed only for 23 months. Ignoring the state sovereignty of Azerbaijan, the Soviet Russia sent down the 11 Red Army corps to Azerbaijan in late April 1920. The Soviet power was declared in Azerbaijan on 28 April 1920. Despite the formal political independence, Azerbaijan had become a part of the Soviet Empire ruled by the Communist Party. Internal decay and collapse of the Soviet regime began in the 80s, and the presidential post was instituted at the historic session of the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan on 18 May 1990.
At the session of the Supreme Council of the Republic on 5 February 1991 the country was renamed as the Azerbaijan Republic; the three-colored flag and the state emblem of 1918-1920 were restored as the official symbols of the State. It was resolved that the orders and medals of Azerbaijan would be introduced and the national currency printed and minted. The Azerbaijan Republic is party to the European Union for security and co-operation and the United Nations Organization. Despite the fact that our independent state is passing through the most difficult period of its history, it is in a position to revive its economy and develop the national culture. There is the powerful patriotic potential and the ancient and rich history of statehood which have supported this drive to development.


Culture, Education, Science

The original national culture of Azerbaijan goes back into centuries and has absorbed the best traditions of East and West. Azerbaijan literature is represented by such luminaries as Afzalladin Khagani, Mehseti Ganjavi, Mohammed Fizuli, Molla Panah Vagif, Khur-shud-banu Natavan - their lyrics have acquired world acknowledgment, the dramatist and thinker Mirza Fatali Akhundov, and the satirists Sabir, Jalil Mammadkuluzade.

Azerbaijan gave the world a great theorist of music, Safiatdin Urmovi, who created a new note system. His world famous "Treatise on Music" written in the 13th century has become a handbook of musicologists of many generations. Azerbaijan has always taken pride in its masters of fine and applied arts. The works of Bakhrus Kenderli, the master of the miniature, the colorful canvases of Sattar Baklulzade, and the paintings of Tahir Salakhov decorate museums and art galleries of the world. The Azerbaijan art of carpetry, being universally recognized, has the deep roots.

Azerbaijan is the motherland of a galaxy of architects who created masterpieces of architecture in many countries of Moslem East. In the Republic itself there are monuments of the "Nakhchivan" and "Shirvan" architect school which have been preserved even to the present days - Momina Khatun mausoleum, Maiden Tower, Shirvanshah's Palace. The flight of modern musical culture in Azerbaijan was impetuous and at its root was a great composer Uzeyir Hajibayov, who created the first opera in the East - "Leyli and Madjnun". His followers strengthened and multiplied the success of the Azerbaijan School of composing, and raised the music of the people to the highest achievements of world music art. The music of Gara Garayev, Fikret Amirov, Niyazi, Arif Melikov have fascinated and has admired the world. Mugam is a unique phenomenon, not only in national but also in the world music culture. It is usually performed by a trio (kamancha, tar, daf). Among the records of best music sent to outer civilization on the "Voyager" spaceship in 1977, 2 minutes and 20 seconds, out of 90 total minutes of music, was mugam.

A wide net of cultural educational establishments are active in Azerbaijan: 150 museums and art galleries, about 4650 public libraries including the M.F.Akhundov State Public Library, Republican children and youth library, hundreds Palaces of Culture and Clubs, 25 state theatres, Philharmonic Society, Musical Academy, Children's Philharmonic Society, Arts Gymnasium.

Azerbaijan has a long history and tradition of learning. At present there are 23 higher schools, 74 colleges, 162 technical-vocational schools. At present there are 4.486 schools functioning in Azerbaijan, including 2.328 secondary schools, 969 primary eight-year schools. There are 1.553.000 pupils in the schools of the Republic and they are taught by more than 152.600 teachers. The system of private educational institutions is being developed. Specialized secondary schools play an important role in training more than 70.000 pupils for specific jobs. Today about 86% of the workers in the national economy have an education to the level of higher, secondary, or incomplete secondary education. Many foreign students, particularly from Turkey, Iran, India, Arab countries and others attend special institutes in Azerbaijan. A range of specific subjects are covered, from the earth depths to the cosmic heights, in the 146 research institutes and institutes of higher education in Azerbaijan. Just like in the creative arts, highly qualified specialists are leaving for jobs abroad. The present education system of Azerbaijan is the continuation of the one of the former Soviet system, characterized by total centralization and standardization in approaches to education.


The prophet Zoroaster, who was born in the 7th century B.C. in what is now Azerbaijan, established a religion focused on the cosmic struggle between a supreme god and an evil spirit. Islam arrived in Azerbaijan in the seventh century A.D., gradually supplanting Zoroastrianism and Azerbaijani pagan cults. In the 7th and 8t centuries, many Zoroastrians moved to India, where they became known as Parsis. Until Soviet Bolsheviks ended the practice, Zoroastrian pilgrims from India and Iran traveled to Azerbaijan to worship at sacred sites, including the Surakhany Temple on the Apsheron Peninsula near Baku.
In the sixteenth century, the first shah of the Safavid Dynasty, Esma`il I (r. 1486-1524), established Shi'a Islam as the state religion, although large numbers of Azerbaijanis remained followers of the other branch of Islam, Sunni.
In the nineteenth century, many Sunni Muslims emigrated from Russian-controlled Azerbaijan because of Russia's series of wars with their coreligionists in theOttoman Empire. Thus, by the late nineteenth century, the Shi'a population was in the majority in Russian Azerbaijan. Before Soviet power was established, about 2,000 mosques were active in Azerbaijan. Most mosques were closed in the 1930s, and then some were allowed to reopen during World War II. In the 1980s, however, only two large and five smaller mosques held services inBaku, and only eleven others were operating in the rest of the country. Supplementing the officially sanctioned mosques were thousands of private houses of prayer and many secret Islamic sects.

Taken From:




  • Print

    Send to a friend

    Comment (0)

  • Most Read Articles