Azerbaijan

Capital City: Baku  Region: Europe
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Nearby:  Iran Turkey Russia Kazakhstan Turkmenistan 
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Capital City: Baku
Azerbaijan is a former Soviet republic in the Caucasus and variously considered part of Europe or Asia. The country lies on the Caspian Sea between Russia and Iran and is bordered to the west by Georgia and Armenia. The autonomous exclave of Nakhchivan lies between Armenia and Iran with a short border with Turkey.

Climate

Subtropical forests near Lerik.Azerbaijan is known for having nine of the 11 existing ecological zones. Much of the country is temperate year-round. Nation-wide the average temperature for the year is 14-15C. The Caucasus Mountains protect the country from the Arctic air masses that affect Russia in winter while the Caspian Sea shields it from the hot, dry air of Central Asia in the summer. Temperatures in the winter are mild (0-15C) at lower altitudes and along the coast and drops moderately as you head inland and drastically as you head into the mountains (-20C is possible in the Caucasus Mountains). Summers range from warm to hot(20-40C) throughout most of the country, although breezes off the Caspian make life pleasant along the coast. Nakhchivan is quite different, high and arid, summers here can easily surpass 40C while winter nights often drop below -20C...in fact the country's extreme minimum and maximum (-33C & 46C) were both recorded in southern Nakhchivan!
Snow is rare in Baku and along the coast in general while common inland and copious in the mountains, where many villages may be cut off during the winter. The southern forests are the wettest part of the country, with plenty of rain in late autumn and early spring. The western central coast is fairly dry. Lankaran receives the most annual precipitation (1600-1800mm) while the region around Baku averages 600mm. Baku is very breezy, much like Chicago or Wellington, most of the year.

Terrain

Mud volcanoes in Gobustan.Large, flat Kur-Araz Ovaligi (Kura-Araks Lowland) (much of it below sea level) with Great Caucasus Mountains to the north, Qarabag Yaylasi (Karabakh Upland) in west; Baku lies on Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) that juts into Caspian Sea.
 ▪  Elevation extremes
lowest point
Caspian Sea -27 m
highest point
Bazarduzu Dagi 4,466 m
Environment - current issues
Local scientists consider the Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) (including Baku and Sumqayit) and the Caspian Sea to be the ecologically most devastated area in the world because of severe air, soil, and water pollution; soil pollution results from oil spills, from the use of DDT as a pesticide, and from toxic defoliants used in the production of cotton

Regions

 ▪  Baku Region - The political, economic, and cultural center of Azerbaijan. Oil has been extracted here since 1871.
 ▪  Ganja Region
 ▪  Nagorno-Karabakh - The territory controlled by the unrecognized government of Nagorno-Karabakh, remains under dispute and ceasefire
 ▪  Nakhchivan - An exclave bordering Turkey to the west
 ▪  Northeastern Azerbaijan - An ethnically diverse region in the Greater Caucasus mountains covered with lush green forests
 ▪  Sheki Region - A beautiful green mountainous region bordering Georgia, containing Azerbaijan's loveliest city
 ▪  Southern Azerbaijan
 ▪  Talysh Region

Cities

 ▪  Baku — The capital and largest, most cosmopolitan city of the Caucasus
 ▪  Ganja — Azerbaijan's second largest city has a long history and some important sites
 ▪  Lankaran — Southern city near the Iranian border
 ▪  Mingechivir — A mid-sized city on the large Mingechivir Reservoir
 ▪  Naftalan — A town best known for its special petroleum oil baths (spas)
 ▪  Nakhichevan City — The administrative capital of Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan exclave
 ▪  Sheki — A beautiful city in the forested Caucasus Mountains with lots to see and do
 ▪  Sumqayit — Azerbaijan's third largest city, on the Absheron Peninsula
 ▪  Xachmaz — This is the largest tourist destination in Azerbaijan with great beaches and beautiful forests. Also spelled Khachmaz.

Other destinations

 ▪  Petroglyphs of QobustanThe Petroglyphs at Gobustan
 ▪  Khinalug—scenic, remote mountain village once a center of Zoroastrianism; today the few inhabitants are an ethnic isolate believed to be decendants of the Caucasus Albanians (Not to be confused with modern-day Albanians of Albania in south-eastern Europe who are entirely unrelated to them).
 ▪  Mud volcanoes which spout up in over 300 locations nationwide, constitute more than half the total throughout the world, each site with its own character
 ▪  Caspian Hyrcanian forests found near the Iranian border
 ▪  Tears of Kyapaz a string of seven idyllic mountain lakes near Mount Kyapaz and Nagorno-Karabakh

Do

Visit Maiden Tower
Try to attend an Azerbaijani Wedding

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