A former Soviet republic found at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan is a unique country. In this post, we’ll learn about the country’s geography, people, and more while answering the question: Where is Azerbaijan?
Azerbaijan is located in the South Caucasus region and is part of Eastern Europe as well as Western Asia.
Azerbaijan Interesting Facts
- Azerbaijan has earned the name, “The Land of Fire” for the natural fires caused by its stores of natural gas.
- Azerbaijan is the home of Chovqan, a traditional horse-riding game.
- Many world-class chess players have come from Azerbaijan, including Grandmaster Garry Kasparov.
Precise Location Coordinates of Azerbaijan
The DMS (Degrees, Minutes, Seconds) coordinates for the center of Azerbaijan are:
- 40° 8′ 35.18” N
- 47° 34′ 36.94” E
The latitude and longitude of Azerbaijan are:
- Latitude: 40.143105
- Longitude: 47.576927
You can see the location of Azerbaijan on the world map below:+-
Azerbaijan Neighboring Countries
There are five countries that share land borders with Azerbaijan. The longest shared land border is between Azerbaijan and neighboring Armenia, and the shortest is with Turkey, which borders the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan.
The neighboring countries of Azerbaijan (AZ) are:
As a landlocked country, Azerbaijan does not have direct access to an open ocean. It does have a long coastline on the Caspian Sea, which it shares with Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Georgia.
Administrative Divisions of Azerbaijan
For administrative purposes, Azerbaijan is divided into 66 districts and 11 cities. These are further divided into municipalities. The largest of these by population is Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, with a population of more than two million.
The President of Azerbaijan is responsible for appointing the governors of the districts and cities in contiguous Azerbaijan, and the government of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is elected and approved by the republic’s Parliament.
The country can also be split up into 14 economic regions, but these are not used for administrative purposes.
Geography of Azerbaijan
The diverse landscapes of Azerbaijan generally fit into three distinct categories: the Caspian Coastal Plain, the Caucasus Mountains, and the Central and Eastern Plains. It’s also worth noting that the country includes the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, a landlocked exclave that is bordered by Armenia, Turkey, and Iran.
Azerbaijan’s shoreline on the Caspian Sea forms a natural boundary to the east and forms a narrow strip of low-lying, fertile land. Cotton, citrus fruits, and rice are grown here. Baku is located in this region on the Absheron Peninsula.
Mountains in Azerbaijan include the Greater and Lesser Caucasus ranges as well as the Talysh Mountains, which together account for about 40% of the country’s territory. The highest peak in the country is Mount Bazardüzü with an elevation of 4,466 m (14,652 ft).
The plains of Azerbaijan in the country’s central and eastern regions consist of vast plateaus and are important agricultural centers, producing wheat, barley, and vegetables.
Azerbaijan is also famous for its mud volcanoes, of which there are hundreds, accounting for nearly half of all mud volcanoes on the planet.
History of Azerbaijan
Humans have lived in the area of Azerbaijan for more than one million years. The Azykh and Taghlar Caves are prehistoric sites in the country where evidence of hominins can be traced back to 1.2 million years ago.
Early settlements of ancient civilizations in Azerbaijan were established by the Scythians, Sumerians, Akkadians, and Babylonians, but a significant and large empire was formed by the Iranian Medes between 900 and 700 BCE. The Medes merged with the Achaemenids in 500 BCE, which led to the spread of Zoroastrianism in what is now Azerbaijan.
The next millennium would see the emergence of the kingdom of Caucasian Albania, which became a vassal state of the Sasanian Empire and was under Muslim rule by the beginning of the seventh century. The Seljuk Empire was a Turkic dynasty that had established control over the area of present-day Azerbaijan by 1067.
For several centuries, the area was under Iranian rule, and the treaties of Golestān in the early 19th century established a new border with the Imperial Russian Empire after a series of wars. This gave Russia the control of Baku and the northern part of Azerbaijan.
Following World War I, Azerbaijan was briefly independent as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR), which became the first modern parliamentary republic in the Muslim world and the first Muslim nation to grant women the right to vote in 1919.
In 1920, Azerbaijan became part of the Soviet Union as a Specialist Soviet Republic. Baku was an important source of oil for the Soviet Union and supplied 80% of its oil on the Eastern Front during World War II.
Azerbaijan regained independence with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Significant fighting has persisted between Azerbaijanis and Armenians in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh to this day.
Culture and People of Azerbaijan
There are an estimated 10,420,515 people living in Azerbaijan in 2023 according to the CIA World Factbook. Of the country’s population, 52.9% reportedly live in urban areas, the remainder living in rural areas.
The largest ethnic group in the country is Azerbaijani, which makes up more than 90% of the population, followed by Lezghin, Russian, Armenian, and Talysh.
Azerbaijani is the official language of Azerbaijan, though Russian and Armenian are also spoken by a portion of the population. Several other minority languages such as Avar, Budhuk, and Georgian are spoken by small groups of people.
Seasonal greens and vegetables used in combination with fish from the Caspian Sea, mutton, and beef are the characteristic elements of Azerbaijani cuisine. Black tea is the national beverage, and plov, a rice pilaf dish, is one of the most famous traditional dishes.
Tandir bread is a type of tandoor bread that is traditional in Azerbaijan.
Decorative art has a central place in Azerbaijani culture and is practiced in handicrafts such as jewelry, metal engraving, wood carving, carpet-making, and more.
Folk music has a long history in Azerbaijan, one example of which is the Azerbaijani Mugham, which is highly improvisational. Azerbaijani pop music has been growing in popularity in the country since the 1960s, and the country’s Ell and Nikki were the winners of the Eurovision Song Contest 2011.
Biggest Cities in Azerbaijan
Here are the largest cities in Azerbaijan based on 2021 data:
Map of Azerbaijan with the Largest Cities
Azerbaijan Economy Facts
|World Bank Income Group
|Upper middle income
|World Bank Region
|Europe & Central Asia
|GDP in 2020
|$42.7 (billions of USD)
World Rank: 88
|GDP per capita in 2020
World Rank: 111
|Major Industries / Economic Sectors
|Oil and gas, manufacturing, agriculture, construction
|Top 5 Import Countries
|Russia, China, Germany, Turkey, Italy
|Top 5 Export Countries
|Italy, Turkey, China, Russia, Georgia
Government and Politics in Azerbaijan
As stated in the Constitution of Azerbaijan, the country is a presidential republic with three branches of power: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The country’s Parliament consists of 125 deputies who are elected by majority vote, and executive power is held by the President and Prime Minister of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has struggled with government corruption, making the list of most corrupt countries in 2022.
Tourist Attractions of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan may be off the most well-worn tourist paths, but it’s got a lot to offer the adventurous traveler in terms of unique culture and natural beauty. Read on to learn about a few of the top attractions in the country.
The capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, Baku is a must-visit. The city features the iconic Flame Towers and represents a compelling mix of old and new between the contrasting Icheri Seher old city and modern skyscrapers. It’s also possible to take a number of day tours from Baku to other sights in Azerbaijan.
The mud volcanoes of Azerbaijan are downright otherworldly. There are more of these bubbling geological phenomena here than anywhere else in the world, making for an opportunity not to be missed.
Garasu Volcano is one of the most-visited mud volcanoes as it can shoot mud up to 1,000 meters in the air.
Sheki is a town at the foot of the Southern Greater Caucasus Mountains that was an important trading center along the Silk Road. Its historical importance and unique architecture are responsible for its inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019.
Castles, mosques, ancient bathhouses, and a variety of traditional handicrafts are some of the main attractions for visitors in Sheki, Azerbaijan.
Transportation and Infrastructure of Azerbaijan
Most international travelers to Azerbaijan arrive by plane in Baku, though there are also international airports in Ganja, Nakhchivan, Lankaran, and Zaqatala.
It’s possible to arrive in Azerbaijan by road from Georgia or Iran, though the border with Armenia is closed due to international tensions and foreigners are unable to cross to and from Russia.
Getting around most cities can be done with public transportation such as buses or Baku’s subway system. Taxis are also available but are more expensive.
There is a rail system in Azerbaijan, but it is slower than buses for intercity travel. Buses are the most common option for traveling between cities, but the train is worth considering if you aren’t in a rush.
Climate and Weather of Azerbaijan
The diversity of landscapes found in Azerbaijan contributes to a wide variety of climates as well. The coastal areas near the Caspian Sea experience a humid, subtropical climate with mild winters and hot summers.
Inland regions have more of a continental climate consisting of cold winters and hot summers. The mountainous regions of Azerbaijan are colder and experience cooler, drier summers.
Spring and Autumn are considered the best times to travel to Azerbaijan in order to avoid extreme weather.
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Azerbaijan Key Facts
|Alpha 2: AZ
Alpha 3: AZE
|Country Flag Emoji
|Int. Phone Prefix
Central & South Asia
|86,600 sq km
World Rank: 90
|Azerbaijani (Azeri) (official) 92.5%, Russian 1.4%, Armenian 1.4%, other 4.7% (2009 est.)
|Number of time zones: 1
|Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport (GYD)
|1 autonomous republic 11 municipalities 66 rayons