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Following the politics of glasnost , initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev , civil unrest and ethnic strife grew in various regions of the Soviet Union, including Nagorno-Karabakh ,  an autonomous region of the Azerbaijan SSR.
The disturbances in Azerbaijan, in response to Moscow's indifference to an already heated conflict, resulted in calls for independence and secession, which culminated in the Black January events in Baku.
The early years of independence were overshadowed by the Nagorno-Karabakh war with the ethnic Armenian majority of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by Armenia.
In , democratically elected president Abulfaz Elchibey was overthrown by a military insurrection led by Colonel Surat Huseynov , which resulted in the rise to power of the former leader of Soviet Azerbaijan , Heydar Aliyev.
The coup was averted, resulting in the killing of the latter and disbanding of Azerbaijan's OMON units. Despite the much improved economy, particularly with the exploitation of the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field and Shah Deniz gas field , Aliyev's presidency was criticized due to suspected election frauds, high levels of economic inequality and domestic corruption.
He was reelected to a third term as president in October Three physical features dominate Azerbaijan: the Caspian Sea, whose shoreline forms a natural boundary to the east; the Greater Caucasus mountain range to the north; and the extensive flatlands at the country's center.
Nearly half of all the mud volcanoes on Earth are concentrated in Azerbaijan, these volcanoes were also among nominees for the New7Wonders of Nature.
The main water sources are surface waters. Azerbaijan's four main islands in the Caspian Sea have a combined area of over thirty square kilometers.
Since the independence of Azerbaijan in , the Azerbaijani government has taken measures to preserve the environment of Azerbaijan.
National protection of the environment accelerated after when the state budget increased due to new revenues provided by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
Within four years protected areas doubled and now makeup eight percent of the country's territory. Since the government has set up seven large reserves and almost doubled the sector of the budget earmarked for environmental protection.
Azerbaijan is home to a vast variety of landscapes. The rest of Azerbaijan's terrain consists of plains and lowlands.
The formation of climate in Azerbaijan is influenced particularly by cold arctic air masses of Scandinavian anticyclone , temperate air masses of Siberian anticyclone, and Central Asian anticyclone.
That leads to the formation of subtropical climate on most foothills and plains of the country. Meanwhile, plains and foothills are characterized by high solar radiation rates.
Rivers and lakes form the principal part of the water systems of Azerbaijan, they were formed over a long geological timeframe and changed significantly throughout that period.
This is particularly evidenced by remnants of ancient rivers found throughout the country. The country's water systems are continually changing under the influence of natural forces and human introduced industrial activities.
Artificial rivers canals and ponds are a part of Azerbaijan's water systems. In terms of water supply, Azerbaijan is below the average in the world with approximately , cubic metres 3,, cubic feet per year of water per square kilometer.
The hydrography of Azerbaijan basically belongs to the Caspian Sea basin. The rivers that directly flow into the Caspian Sea, originate mainly from the north-eastern slope of the Major Caucasus and Talysh Mountains and run along the Samur—Devechi and Lankaran lowlands.
Yanar Dag , translated as "burning mountain", is a natural gas fire which blazes continuously on a hillside on the Absheron Peninsula on the Caspian Sea near Baku , which itself is known as the "land of fire.
It is a tourist attraction to visitors to the Baku area. The first reports on the richness and diversity of animal life in Azerbaijan can be found in travel notes of Eastern travelers.
Animal carvings on architectural monuments, ancient rocks, and stones survived up to the present times.
The first information on the flora and fauna of Azerbaijan was collected during the visits of naturalists to Azerbaijan in the 17th century.
There are species of mammals, 97 species of fish, species of birds, 10 species of amphibians and 52 species of reptiles which have been recorded and classified in Azerbaijan.
The Karabakh horse has a reputation for its good temper, speed, elegance and intelligence. It is one of the oldest breeds, with ancestry dating to the ancient world.
However, today the horse is an endangered species. Azerbaijan's flora consists of more than 4, species of higher plants. Due to the unique climate in Azerbaijan, the flora is much richer in the number of species than the flora of the other republics of the South Caucasus.
The structural formation of Azerbaijan's political system was completed by the adoption of the new Constitution on 12 November According to Article 23 of the Constitution, the state symbols of the Azerbaijan Republic are the flag , the coat of arms , and the national anthem.
The state power in Azerbaijan is limited only by law for internal issues, but for international affairs is additionally limited by the provisions of international agreements.
The Constitution of Azerbaijan states that it is a presidential republic with three branches of power — Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.
The Parliament of Azerbaijan, called Milli Majlis, consists of deputies elected based on majority vote , with a term of 5 years for each elected member.
The elections are held every five years, on the first Sunday of November. The Parliament is not responsible for the formation of the government, but the Constitution requires the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers by Milli Majlis.
During the Parliamentary election , the opposition parties, Musavat and Azerbaijani Popular Front Party , failed to win a single seat.
European observers found numerous irregularities in the run-up to the election and on election day.
The executive power is held by the President , who is elected for a seven-year term by direct elections, and the Prime Minister.
The president is authorized to form the Cabinet, a collective executive body, accountable to both the President and the National Assembly.
The president does not have the right to dissolve the National Assembly but has the right to veto its decisions. To override the presidential veto, the parliament must have a majority of 95 votes.
The president nominates the judges in these courts. The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice CEPEJ report refers to the Azerbaijani justice model on the selection of new judges as best practice, reflecting the particular features and the course of development towards ensuring the independence and quality of the judiciary in a new democracy.
Azerbaijan's system of governance nominally can be called two-tiered. The top or highest tier of the government is the Executive Power headed by President.
The President appoints the Cabinet of Ministers and other high-ranking officials. In June , the President approved the new Regulation, which granted additional powers to Local Executive Authorities, strengthening their dominant position in Azerbaijan's local affairs  Chapter 9 of the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic addresses major issues of local self-government, such as the legal status of municipalities, types of local self-government bodies, their basic powers and relationships to other official entities.
Currently, there are 1, municipalities across the country. The Law on Municipal Elections and the Law on the Status of Municipalities were the first to be adopted in the field of local government 2 July The Law on Municipal Service regulates the activities of municipal employees, their rights, duties, labor conditions and social benefits, and outlines the structure of the executive apparatus and the organization of municipal service.
The Law on the Status of Municipalities regulates the role and structure of municipal bodies and outlines state guarantees of legal and financial autonomy.
The law pays special attention to the adoption and execution of municipal programs concerning social protection, social and economic development, and the local environment.
The Security Council is the deliberative body under the president, and he organizes it according to the Constitution.
It was established on 10 April The administrative department is not a part of the president's office but manages the financial, technical and pecuniary activities of both the president and his office.
Although Azerbaijan has held several elections since regaining its independence and it has many of the formal institutions of democracy, it remains classified as "not free" on border with "partly free" by Freedom House.
Azerbaijan has been harshly criticized for bribing foreign officials and diplomats in order to promote its causes abroad and legitimize its elections at home, a practice which has been termed as Caviar diplomacy.
The short-lived Azerbaijan Democratic Republic succeeded in establishing diplomatic relations with six countries, sending diplomatic representatives to Germany and Finland.
The most recent country to recognize Azerbaijan was Bahrain, on 6 November Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with countries so far and holds membership in 38 international organizations.
The term of office began on 19 June Foreign policy priorities of Azerbaijan include, first of all, the restoration of its territorial integrity; elimination of the consequences of occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other regions of Azerbaijan surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh;   integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structure; contribution to international security; cooperation with international organizations; regional cooperation and bilateral relations; strengthening of defense capability; promotion of security by domestic policy means; strengthening of democracy; preservation of ethnic and religious tolerance; scientific, educational, and cultural policy and preservation of moral values; economic and social development; enhancing internal and border security; and migration, energy, and transportation security policy.
Azerbaijan is an active member of international coalitions fighting international terrorism. Azerbaijan was one of the first countries to offer support after the September 11 attacks.
It also maintains good relations with the European Union and could potentially one day apply for membership. The history of the modern Azerbaijan army dates back to Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in , when the National Army of the newly formed Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was created on 26 June There are also 17, paramilitary troops.
Additionally the armed forces embrace several military sub-groups that can be involved in state defense when needed.
It operates as a semi-independent entity of the Special State Protection Service, an agency subordinate to the President. Azerbaijan adheres to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and has signed all major international arms and weapons treaties.
Azerbaijan has deployed of its Peacekeeping Forces in Iraq and another in Afghanistan. Azerbaijani defense industry manufactures small arms, artillery systems, tanks, armors and noctovision devices , aviation bombs, pilotless vehicles, various military vehicles and military planes and helicopters.
The Central Bank serves as Azerbaijan's central bank, empowered to issue the national currency, the Azerbaijani manat , and to supervise all commercial banks.
Jahangir Hajiyev. Pushed up by spending and demand growth, the Q1 inflation rate reached In the early s the chronically high inflation was brought under control.
This led to the launch of a new currency, the new Azerbaijani manat, on 1 January , to cement the economic reforms and erase the vestiges of an unstable economy.
Azerbaijan started operating a one-stop shop in January that halved the time, cost and number of procedures to start a business.
Also, taxpayers can now file forms and pay their taxes online. Azerbaijan's extensive reforms moved it far up the ranks, from 97 to 33 in the overall ease of doing business.
According to World Bank 's Doing Business report , Azerbaijan improved its position in the Ease of doing business rank from 57 to Two-thirds of Azerbaijan is rich in oil and natural gas.
The history of the oil industry of Azerbaijan dates back to the ancient period. Arabian historian and traveler Ahmed Al-Belaruri discussed the economy of the Absheron peninsula in antiquity, mentioning its oil in particular.
The region of the Lesser Caucasus accounts for most of the country's gold, silver, iron, copper, titanium , chromium , manganese , cobalt , molybdenum , complex ore and antimony.
Access to biocapacity in Azerbaijan is less than world average. In , Azerbaijan had 0. This means they use more biocapacity than Azerbaijan contains.
As a result, Azerbaijan is running a biocapacity deficit. Baku—Tbilisi—Kars railway line will connect the Caspian region with Turkey, is expected to be completed in July Azerbaijan has the largest agricultural basin in the region.
About Livestock, dairy products, and wine and spirits are also important farm products. The Caspian fishing industry concentrates on the dwindling stocks of sturgeon and beluga.
In the Azerbaijani merchant marine had 54 ships. Some products previously imported from abroad have begun to be produced locally.
Tourism is an important part of the economy of Azerbaijan. The country was a well-known tourist spot in the s.
However, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the Nagorno-Karabakh War during the s, damaged the tourist industry and the image of Azerbaijan as a tourist destination.
It was not until the s that the tourism industry began to recover, and the country has since experienced a high rate of growth in the number of tourist visits and overnight stays.
The government of Azerbaijan has set the development of Azerbaijan as an elite tourist destination as a top priority. It is a national strategy to make tourism a major, if not the single largest, contributor to the Azerbaijani economy.
There are 63 countries which have visa-free score. According to a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council, Azerbaijan was among the top ten countries showing the strongest growth in visitor exports between and ,  In addition, Azerbaijan placed first The convenient location of Azerbaijan on the crossroad of major international traffic arteries, such as the Silk Road and the south—north corridor, highlights the strategic importance of transportation sector for the country's economy.
Azerbaijan is also an important economic hub in the transportation of raw materials. In , the Azerbaijani government established the Ministry of Transport with a broad range of policy and regulatory functions.
In the same year, the country became a member of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. The construction of Kars—Tbilisi—Baku railway was meant to improve transportation between Asia and Europe by connecting the railways of China and Kazakhstan in the east to the European railway system in the west via Turkey.
By , there were 35 airports and one heliport. In the 21st century, a new oil and gas boom helped to improve the situation in Azerbaijan's science and technology sectors, and the government launched a campaign aimed at modernization and innovation.
The government estimates that profits from the information technology and communication industry will grow and become comparable to those from oil production.
Azerbaijan has a large and steadily growing Internet sector, mostly uninfluenced by the financial crisis of — ; rapid growth is forecast for at least five more years.
The country has also been making progress in developing its telecoms sector. Public payphones are available for local calls and require the purchase of a token from the telephone exchange or some shops and kiosks.
Tokens allow a call of indefinite duration. As of [update] , there were 1,, main telephone lines  and 1,, internet users.
In the 21st century a number of prominent Azerbaijani geodynamics and geotectonics scientists, inspired by the fundamental works of Elchin Khalilov and others, designed hundreds of earthquake prediction stations and earthquake-resistant buildings that now constitute the bulk of The Republican Center of Seismic Service.
The sex ratio in the same year was 0. The population growth-rate was 0. The Azerbaijani diaspora is found in 42 countries  and in turn there are many centers for ethnic minorities inside Azerbaijan, including the German cultural society "Karelhaus", Slavic cultural center, Azerbaijani-Israeli community, Kurdish cultural center, International Talysh Association, Lezgin national center "Samur", Azerbaijani- Tatar community, Crimean Tatars society, etc.
The ethnic composition of the population according to the population census: In total, Azerbaijan has 78 cities, 63 city districts, and one special legal status city.
These are followed by urban-type settlements and villages. The official language is Azerbaijani , which is a Turkic language.
Some of these language communities are very small and their numbers are decreasing. Under article 48 of its Constitution , Azerbaijan is a secular state and ensures religious freedom.
Of the nation's religious minorities, the estimated , Christians 3. State Department report on the matter mentions detention of members of certain Muslim and Christian groups, and many groups have difficulty registering with the SCWRA.
A relatively high percentage of Azerbaijanis have obtained some form of higher education, most notably in scientific and technical subjects.
According to Soviet data, percent of males and females ages nine to forty-nine were literate in Since independence, one of the first laws that Azerbaijan's Parliament passed to disassociate itself from the Soviet Union was to adopt a modified-Latin alphabet to replace Cyrillic.
Initial alterations have included the reestablishment of religious education banned during the Soviet period and curriculum changes that have reemphasized the use of the Azerbaijani language and have eliminated ideological content.
In addition to elementary schools, the education institutions include thousands of preschools, general secondary schools, and vocational schools , including specialized secondary schools and technical schools.
Education through the eighth grade is compulsory. The culture of Azerbaijan has developed as a result of many influences. Today, national traditions are well preserved in the country despite Western influences, including globalized consumer culture.
Some of the main elements of the Azerbaijani culture are: music, literature, folk dances and art, cuisine, architecture, cinematography and Novruz Bayram.
The latter is derived from the traditional celebration of the New Year in the ancient Iranian religion of Zoroastrianism. Novruz is a family holiday.
The profile of Azerbaijan's population consists, as stated above, of Azerbaijanis, as well as other nationalities or ethnic groups, compactly living in various areas of the country.
Azerbaijani national and traditional dresses are the Chokha and Papakhi. There are radio broadcasts in Russian, Georgian , Kurdish , Lezgian and Talysh languages, which are financed from the state budget.
Music of Azerbaijan builds on folk traditions that reach back nearly a thousand years. Mugham , meykhana and ashiq art are among the many musical traditions of Azerbaijan.
Mugham is usually a suite with poetry and instrumental interludes. When performing mugham, the singers have to transform their emotions into singing and music.
In contrast to the mugham traditions of Central Asian countries, Azerbaijani mugham is more free-form and less rigid; it is often compared to the improvised field of jazz.
Meykhana is a kind of traditional Azerbaijani distinctive folk unaccompanied song, usually performed by several people improvising on a particular subject.
Ashiq combines poetry, storytelling, dance, and vocal and instrumental music into a traditional performance art that stands as a symbol of Azerbaijani culture.
It is a mystic troubadour or traveling bard who sings and plays the saz. This tradition has its origin in the Shamanistic beliefs of ancient Turkic peoples.
Since the mids, Western-influenced Azerbaijani pop music , in its various forms, that has been growing in popularity in Azerbaijan, while genres such as rock and hip hop are widely produced and enjoyed.
Azerbaijan made its debut appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest. The country's entry gained third place in and fifth the following year.
There are dozens of Azerbaijani folk dances. They are performed at formal celebrations and the dancers wear national clothes like the Chokha , which is well-preserved within the national dances.
Most dances have a very fast rhythm. The national dance shows the characteristics of the Azerbaijani nation. The earliest known figure in Azerbaijani literature was Izzeddin Hasanoglu , who composed a divan consisting of Persian and Turkic ghazals.
Classical literature in Azerbaijani was formed in the 14th century based on the various Early Middle Ages dialects of Tabriz and Shirvan.
The Book of Dede Korkut consists of two manuscripts copied in the 16th century,  was not written earlier than the 15th century.
Benefiting immensely from the fine literary traditions of his environment, and building upon the legacy of his predecessors, Fizuli was destined to become the leading literary figure of his society.
Modern literature in Azerbaijan is based on the Shirvani dialect mainly, while in Iran it is based on the Tabrizi one.
The first newspaper in Azerbaijani, Akinchi was published in In the midth century, it was taught in the schools of Baku , Ganja , Shaki , Tbilisi , and Yerevan.
Since , it has also been taught in the University of Saint Petersburg in Russia. Azerbaijanis have a rich and distinctive culture, a major part of which is decorative and applied art.
This form of art is represented by a wide range of handicrafts, such as chasing, jeweler, engraving in metal, carving in wood, stone, and bone, carpet-making, lasing, pattern weaving and printing, knitting and embroidery.
Each of these types of decorative art, evidence of the endowments of the Azerbaijan nation, is very much in favor here.
Many interesting facts pertaining to the development of arts and crafts in Azerbaijan were reported by numerous merchants, travelers, and diplomats who had visited these places at different times.
The Azerbaijani carpet is a traditional handmade textile of various sizes, with a dense texture and a pile or pile-less surface, whose patterns are characteristic of Azerbaijan's many carpet-making regions.
Azerbaijan has been since ancient times known as a center of a large variety of crafts. The archeological dig on the territory of Azerbaijan testifies to the well-developed agriculture, stock raising, metalworking, pottery, ceramics, and carpet-weaving that date as far back as to the 2nd millennium BC.
Azerbaijani carpets can be categorized under several large groups and a multitude of subgroups. Scientific research of the Azerbaijani carpet is connected with the name of Latif Kerimov , a prominent scientist and artist.
It was his classification that related the four large groups of carpets with the four geographical zones of Azerbaijan, Guba-Shirvan, Ganja-Kazakh, Karabakh and Tabriz.
The traditional cuisine is famous for an abundance of vegetables and greens used seasonally in the dishes.
Fresh herbs, including mint, cilantro coriander , dill, basil, parsley, tarragon, leeks, chives, thyme, marjoram, green onion, and watercress, are very popular and often accompany main dishes on the table.
Climatic diversity and fertility of the land are reflected in the national dishes, which are based on fish from the Caspian Sea , local meat mainly mutton and beef , and an abundance of seasonal vegetables and greens.
Saffron-rice plov is the flagship food in Azerbaijan and black tea is the national beverage. Azerbaijani architecture typically combines elements of East and West.
Among other architectural treasures are Quadrangular Castle in Mardakan , Parigala in Yukhary Chardaglar , a number of bridges spanning the Aras River, and several mausoleums.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, little monumental architecture was created, but distinctive residences were built in Baku and elsewhere.
Among the most recent architectural monuments, the Baku subways are noted for their lavish decor. The task for modern Azerbaijani architecture is diverse application of modern aesthetics, the search for an architect's own artistic style and inclusion of the existing historico-cultural environment.
Azerbaijani art includes one of the oldest art objects in the world, which were discovered as Gamigaya Petroglyphs in the territory of Ordubad Rayon are dated back to the 1st to 4th centuries BC.
About dislodged and carved rock paintings with images of deer, goats, bulls, dogs, snakes, birds, fantastic beings and also people, carriages and various symbols had been found out on basalt rocks.
Over the centuries, Azerbaijani art has gone through many stylistic changes. Azerbaijani painting is traditionally characterized by a warmth of colour and light, as exemplified in the works of Azim Azimzade and Bahruz Kangarli , and a preoccupation with religious figures and cultural motifs.
The film industry in Azerbaijan dates back to In fact, Azerbaijan was among the first countries involved in cinematography.
Just like today, the oil industry attracted foreigners eager to invest and to work. This also influenced the creation of Azerbaijani animation.
In December , the former President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, signed a decree proclaiming 2 August to be the professional holiday of filmmakers of Azerbaijan.
Today Azerbaijani filmmakers are again dealing with issues similar to those faced by cinematographers prior to the establishment of the Soviet Union in Once again, both choices of content and sponsorship of films are largely left up to the initiative of the filmmaker.
The Constitution of Azerbaijan claims to guarantee freedom of speech, but this is denied in practice. After several years of decline in press and media freedom, in , the media environment in Azerbaijan deteriorated rapidly under a governmental campaign to silence any opposition and criticism, even while the country led the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe May—November Spurious legal charges and impunity in violence against journalists have remained the norm.
According to the Freedom House Freedom of the Press report , Azerbaijan's press freedom status is "not free," and Azerbaijan ranks th out of countries.
Christianity is officially recognized, but in practice it is often oppressed. All religious communities are required to register to be allowed to meet, under the risk of imprisonment.
This registration is often denied. During the last few years, [ when? Azerbaijan had the biggest number of journalists imprisoned in Europe in , according to the Committee to Protect Journalists , and is the 5th most censored country in the world, ahead of Iran and China.
A report by an Amnesty International researcher in October points to ' Sadly Azerbaijan has been allowed to get away with unprecedented levels of repression and in the process almost wipe out its civil society'.
Human rights organizations remained unable to resume their work. At least 18 prisoners of conscience remained in detention at the end of the year.
Reprisals against independent journalists and activists persisted both in the country and abroad, while their family members also faced harassment and arrests.
International human rights monitors were barred and expelled from the country. Reports of torture and other ill-treatment persisted.
Leaked data shows that the Azerbaijani leadership, accused of serial human rights abuses, systemic corruption and rigging elections, made more than 16, covert payments from to Some of this money went to politicians and journalists, as part of an international lobbying operation to deflect criticism of Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev, and to promote a positive image of his oil-rich country.
Freestyle wrestling has been traditionally regarded as Azerbaijan's national sport , in which Azerbaijan won up to fourteen medals , including four golds since joining the International Olympic Committee.
Currently, the most popular sports include football and wrestling. Football is the most popular sport in Azerbaijan, and the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan with 9, registered players, is the largest sporting association in the country.
Azerbaijan is one of the traditional powerhouses of world chess,  having hosted many international chess tournaments and competitions and became European Team Chess Championship winners in , and As of [update] , country's home of Shamkir Chess a category 22 event and one of the highest rated tournaments of all time.
Azerbaijan Women's Volleyball Super League is one of strongest women leagues in world. Its women's national team came fourth at the European Championship.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the independent country in the Caucasus. For other uses, see Azerbaijan disambiguation.
Country in the Caucasus. National emblem. Location of Azerbaijan green with Nagorno-Karabakh [a] light green. Further information: Atropatene , Caucasian Albania , and Azerbaijan toponym.
Main article: History of Azerbaijan. Further information: Caucasian Albania. See also: Extreme points of Azerbaijan. Main article: Wildlife of Azerbaijan.
Further information: Fauna of Azerbaijan and Flora of Azerbaijan. Main article: Politics of Azerbaijan. See also: Elections in Azerbaijan and Human rights in Azerbaijan.
Main article: Foreign relations of Azerbaijan. See also: Azerbaijan and the European Union. Main article: Administrative divisions of Azerbaijan.
Largest cities or towns in Azerbaijan Demographic statistics according to the administrative divisions , Azerbaijan State Statistics Committee.
Main article: Azerbaijani Armed Forces. Main article: Economy of Azerbaijan. Main article: Energy in Azerbaijan. Further information: Petroleum industry in Azerbaijan.
Main article: Agriculture in Azerbaijan. Main article: Tourism in Azerbaijan. Main articles: Transportation in Azerbaijan and Rail transport in Azerbaijan.
Main article: Demographics of Azerbaijan. Further information: Ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan. Main article: List of cities in Azerbaijan.
Main article: Languages of Azerbaijan. Main articles: Religion in Azerbaijan and Freedom of religion in Azerbaijan.
Main article: Education in Azerbaijan. Main articles: Culture of Azerbaijan and Literature of Azerbaijan. Main articles: Music of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani dances.
Main article: Azerbaijani literature. Main article: Azerbaijani folk art. Main article: Azerbaijani cuisine. Main article: Architecture of Azerbaijan.
Main article: Visual arts of Azerbaijan. Main articles: Media of Azerbaijan and Media freedom in Azerbaijan. Main article: Human rights in Azerbaijan.
Main article: Sport in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan portal Europe portal Asia portal. The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
Retrieved 23 February In Elgie, Robert ; Moestrup, Sophia eds. Semi-Presidentialism in the Caucasus and Central Asia. London: Palgrave Macmillan published 15 May LaPorte examines the dynamics of semi-presidentialism in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan's regime is a curious hybrid, in which semi-presidential institutions operate in the larger context of authoritarianism.
The author compares formal Constitutional provisions with the practice of politics in the country, suggesting that formal and informal sources of authority come together to enhance the effective powers of the presidency.
In addition to the considerable formal powers laid out in the Constitution, Azerbaijan's president also benefits from the support of the ruling party and informal family and patronage networks.
LaPorte concludes by discussing the theoretical implications of this symbiosis between formal and informal institutions in Azerbaijan's semi-presidential regime.
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Tauris and Company. In the post Islamic sense, Arran and Shirvan are often distinguished, while in the pre-Islamic era, Arran or the western Caucasian Albania roughly corresponds to the modern territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
In the Soviet era, in a breathtaking manipulation, historical Azerbaijan northwestern Iran was reinterpreted as "South Azerbaijan" in order for the Soviets to lay territorial claim on historical Azerbaijan proper which is located in modern-day northwestern Iran.
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Hoover Press. The Caspian: Politics, Energy and Security. The Azerbaijanis suffered defeat by the united forces of Baku Soviet and were massacred by Dashnak teams in what was called March Days.
An estimated 3,—12, Azerbaijanis were killed in their own capital. Shortly after, Azerbaijani forces, with support of the Ottoman Army of Islam led by Nuru Pasha , started their advance onto Baku, eventually capturing the city from the loose coalition of Bolsheviks , Esers , Dashnaks , Mensheviks and British forces under the command of General Lionel Dunsterville on 15 September After the Battle of Baku , the Azerbaijani irregular troops, with the tacit support of the Turkish command, conducted four days of pillaging and killing of 10, to 30,  of the Armenian residents of Baku.
This pogrom was known as the September Days. Shortly after this, Baku was proclaimed the new capital of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
Turkey lost the war by October , then conducted the Armistice of Mudros with the British, which meant Baku was to be evacuated. Thomson declared himself military governor of Baku and implemented martial law on the capital until "the civil power would be strong enough to release the forces from the responsibility to maintain the public order".
British forces left before the end of The independence of the Azerbaijani republic was significant but a short-lived chapter.
The city underwent many major changes. As a result, Baku played a great role in many branches of Soviet life. Baku was the major oil city of the Soviet Union.
Together with Baku Party Committee known as the Baksovet , it developed the economic significance of the Caspian metropolis. From to , Baku was the venue for one of the major Trade fairs of the Soviet Union, serving as a commercial bridgehead to Iran and the Middle East.
Baku's growing importance as a major energy hub remained in sight of the major powers. In fact, capturing the oil fields of Baku was one of the ultimate goals of Operation Edelweiss , carried out between May and November However, the German Army's closest approach to Baku was no closer than some kilometres miles northwest of Baku in November , falling far short of the city's capture before being driven back during the Soviet Operation Little Saturn in mid-December After the dissolution of the Soviet Union , Baku embarked on a process of restructuring on a scale unseen in its history.
Improvements were made in the general cleaning, maintenance, and garbage collection, and these services are now at Western European standards.
The city is growing dynamically and developing at full speed on an east—west axis along the shores of the Caspian Sea.
Sustainability has become a key factor in future urban development. Baku is situated on the western coast of Caspian Sea.
In the vicinity of the city there are a number of mud volcanoes Keyraki, Bogkh-bogkha, Lokbatan and others and salt lakes Boyukshor , Khodasan and so on.
Baku has a temperate semi-arid climate Köppen climate classification : BSk with hot and humid summers, cool and occasionally wet winters, and strong winds all year long.
However, unlike many other cities with such climate features, Baku does not see extremely hot summers and substantial sunshine hours.
This is largely because of its northerly latitude and the fact that it is located on a peninsula on the shore of the Caspian Sea.
The majority of the light annual precipitation occurs in seasons other than summer, but none of these seasons is particularly wet.
During Soviet times, Baku, with its long hours of sunshine and dry healthy climate, was a vacation destination where citizens could enjoy beaches or relax in now-dilapidated spa complexes overlooking the Caspian Sea.
The city's past as a Soviet industrial centre left it one of the most polluted cities in the world, as of [update].
At the same time Baku is noted as a very windy city throughout the year, hence the city's nickname the " City of Winds ", and gale-force winds, the cold northern wind khazri and the warm southern wind gilavar are typical here in all seasons.
Indeed, the city is renowned for its fierce winter snow storms and harsh winds. The daily mean temperature in July and August averages During summer the khazri sweeps through, bringing desired coolness.
Winter is cool and occasionally wet, with the daily mean temperature in January and February averaging 4. During winter the khazri sweeps through, driven by polar air masses ; temperatures on the coast frequently drop below freezing and make it feel bitterly cold.
Winter snow storms are occasional; snow usually melts within a few days after each snowfall. Today, Baku is divided into 12 rayonlar sub-rayons administrative districts and 5 settlements of city type.
Until , Baku had very large Russian, Armenian, and Jewish populations which contributed to cultural diversity and added in various ways music, literature, architecture and progressive outlook to Baku's history.
With the onset of the Karabakh War and the pogrom against Armenians starting in January , the city's large Armenian population was expelled. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev returned several synagogues and a Jewish college, nationalised by the Soviets, to the Jewish community.
He encouraged the restoration of these buildings and is well liked by the Jews of Azerbaijan. Renovation has begun on seven of the original 11 synagogues, including the Gilah synagogue, built in , and the large Kruei Synagogue.
When Baku was occupied by the Russian troops during the war of —13 , nearly the entire population of some 8, people was ethnic Tat.
The population increased again from about 13, in the s to , in and , in , making Baku the largest city in the Caucasus region. Baku has been a cosmopolitan city at certain times during its history, meaning ethnic Azerbaijanis did not constitute the majority of population.
The urban landscape of Baku is shaped by many communities. The religion with the largest community of followers is Islam. The majority of the Muslims are Shia Muslims , and the Republic of Azerbaijan has the second highest Shia population percentage in the world after Iran.
There are some other faiths practised among the different ethnic groups within the country. By article 48 of its Constitution , Azerbaijan is a secular state and ensures religious freedom.
Baky is the seat of the Catholic Apostolic Prefecture of Azerbaijan. Zoroastrianism , although extinct in the city as well as in the rest of the country by the present time, had a long history in Azerbaijan and the Zoroastrian New Year Nowruz continues to be the main holiday in the city as well as in the rest of Azerbaijan.
Baku's largest industry is petroleum, and its petroleum exports make it a large contributor to Azerbaijan's balance of payments.
The existence of petroleum has been known since the 8th century. In the 10th century, the Arabian traveler, Marudee, reported that both white and black oil were being extracted naturally from Baku.
Commercial exploitation began in , and by the beginning of the 20th century the Baku oil fields were the largest in the world.
Towards the end of the 20th century much of the onshore petroleum had been exhausted, and drilling had extended into the sea offshore.
By the end of the 19th century skilled workers and specialists flocked to Baku. By the city had more than 3, oil wells, of which 2, were producing oil at industrial levels.
Baku ranked as one of the largest centres for the production of oil industry equipment before World War II. Fifty years before the battle, Baku produced half of the world's oil supply.
The Baku Stock Exchange is Azerbaijan's largest stock exchange , and largest in the Caucasian region by market capitalization.
A relatively large number of transnational companies are headquartered in Baku. One of the more prominent institutions headquartered in Baku is the International Bank of Azerbaijan , which employs over 1, people.
Baku is one of the most important tourist destinations in the Caucasus, with hotels in the city earning 7 million euros in Baku's vicinities feature Yanar Dag , an ever-blazing spot of natural gas.
On 2 September , with the inauguration of National Flag Square , Baku became home to the world's tallest flagpole , according to the Guinness Book of Records.
The retail areas contain shops from chain stores up to high-end boutiques. The city is listed 48th in the list of the most expensive cities in the world conducted by the Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
The city has many amenities that offer a wide range of cultural activities, drawing both from a rich local dramatic portfolio and an international repertoire.
Many of the city's cultural sites were celebrated in when Baku was designated an Islamic Culture Capital. It has also become the first city hosting the first European Games in The main movie theatre is Azerbaijan Cinema.
As of [update] , the city along with Ganja and Lankaran participates in Earth Hour movement. National Museum of History.
Nizami Museum of Literature. National Art Museum. Baku Museum of Modern Art. Baku has wildly varying architecture, ranging from the Old City core to modern buildings and the spacious layout of Baku port.
Many of the city's most impressive buildings were built during the early 20th century, when architectural elements of the European styles were combined in eclectic style.
The Hamam tradition in Baku is interesting. There are a number of ancient hamams in Baku dating back to the 12th, 14th and 18th centuries.
Hamams play a very important role in the architectural appearance of Baku. Teze Bey is the most popular hamam traditional bath in Baku.
It was built in in the centre of Baku and in it was fully restored and modernised. Along with its modern amenities, Teze Bey features a swimming pool and architectural details inspired by Oriental, Russian and Finnish baths.
Gum Hamam was discovered during archaeological excavations underneath the sand; hence the name: Gum hamam sand bath. It was built sometime during the 12th—14th centuries.
The original structure was built sometime during the 12th—14th centuries and was reconstructed in It is still operating in its ancient setting.
The Hamam is open to women on Mondays and Fridays and to men on the other days of the week. Late modern and postmodern architecture began to appear in the early s.
With economic development, old buildings such as Atlant House were razed to make way for new ones. These projects also caught the attention of international media as notable programmes such as Discovery Channel 's Extreme Engineering did pieces focusing in on changes to the city.
Most of the walls and towers, strengthened after the Russian conquest in , survived. This section is picturesque, with its maze of narrow alleys and ancient buildings: the cobbled streets past the Palace of the Shirvanshahs , two caravansaries , the baths and the Juma Mosque which used to house the Azerbaijan National Carpet and Arts Museum but is now a mosque again.
The old town core also has dozens of small mosques, often without any particular sign to distinguish them as such. The music scene in Baku can be traced back to ancient times and villages of Baku, generally revered as the fountainhead of meykhana and mugham in the Azerbaijan.
In recent years, the success of Azerbaijani performers such as AySel , Farid Mammadov , Sabina Babayeva , Safura and Elnur Hüseynov in the Eurovision Song Contest has significantly boosted the profile of Baku's music scene, prompting international attention.
Baku also has a thriving International Centre of Mugham , which is located in Baku Boulevard , Gulustan Palace and Buta Palace , one of the principal performing arts centres and music venues in the city.
Baku is also featured in the video game Battlefield 4. Baku boasts a vibrant nightlife. Many clubs that are open until dawn can be found throughout the city.
Clubs with an eastern flavour provide special treats from the cuisine of Azerbaijan along with local music. Western-style clubs target younger, more energetic crowds.
Baku is home to restaurants catering to every cuisine and occasion. Restaurants range from luxurious and expensive to ordinary and affordable.
In the Lonely Planet " Ultimate Experiences", Baku placed 8th among the top 10 party cities in the world. Baku has large sections of greenery either preserved by the National Government or designated as green zones.
The city, however, continues to lack a green belt development as economic activity pours into the capital, resulting in massive housing projects along the suburbs.
Baku Boulevard is a pedestrian promenade that runs parallel to Baku's seafront. The boulevard contains an amusement park, yacht club , musical fountain , statues and monuments.
The park is popular with dog-walkers and joggers, and is convenient for tourists. It is adjacent to the newly built International Centre of Mugham and the musical fountain.
The Martyrs' Lane , formerly the Kirov Park, is dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives during the Nagorno-Karabakh War and also to the people killed on Black January.
The first was the European Grand Prix , with the track going around the old city. The track measures 6. Since , Baku has hosted 36 major sporting events and selected to host the European Games.
Baku is also one of world's leading chess centres, having produced famous grandmasters like Teimour Radjabov , Vugar Gashimov , Garry Kasparov , Shahriyar Mammadyarov and Rauf Mammadov , as well as the arbiter Faik Hasanov.
Baku made a bid to host the Summer Olympics and Summer Olympics ,  but failed to become a Candidate City both times.
The largest sport hub in the city is Baku Olympic Stadium with 68, seating capacity whose construction was completed in The city's second largest stadium, Tofiq Bahramov Stadium hosts a number of domestic and international competitions and was the main sport centre of the city for a long period until the construction of Baku Olympic Stadium.
Throughout history the transport system of Baku used the now-defunct horsecars , trams and narrow gauge railways.
As of [update] , 1, black cabs are ordered by Baku Taxi Company, and as part of a programme originally announced by the Transport Ministry of Azerbaijan, there is a plan to introduce London cabs into Baku.
Local rail transport includes the Baku Funicular and the Baku Metro , a rapid-transit system notable for its art, murals, mosaics and ornate chandeliers.
Baku Metro was opened in November and includes 3 lines and 25 stations at present; million people used Baku Metro over the past five years.
These will serve the new bus complex as well as the international airport. BakuCard is a single Smart Card for payment on all types of city transport.
The intercity buses and metro use this type of card-based fare-payment system. Baku Railway Station is the terminus for national and international rail links to the city.
The Kars—Tbilisi—Baku railway , which directly connects Turkey , Georgia and Azerbaijan , began to be constructed in and opened in Sea transport is vital for Baku, as the city is practically surrounded by the Caspian Sea to the east.
Baku Port was founded in and since then has been the largest Caspian Sea port. It has six facilities: the main cargo terminal, the container terminal, the ferry terminal, the oil terminal, the passenger terminal and the port fleet terminal.
The port's throughput capacity reaches 15 million tonness of liquid bulk and up to 10 million tons of dry cargoes. The construction will take place in three stages and will be completed by The motorway network around Baku is well developed and is constantly being extended.
The new Baku Cargo Terminal was officially opened in March It was constructed to be a major cargo hub in the CIS countries and is actually now one of the biggest and most technically advanced in the region.
Baku hosts many universities, junior colleges and vocational schools. Baku State University , the first established university in Azerbaijan was opened in by the government of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
After when Azerbaijan gained independence from the Soviet Union, the fall of communism led to the development of a number of private institutions, including Qafqaz University and Khazar University which are considered the most prestigious academic institutions.
Apart from the private universities, the government established the Academy of Public Administration , the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy and various military academies.
Publicly run kindergartens and elementary schools years 1 through 11 are operated by local wards or municipal offices.
The Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences , the main state research organisation in Azerbaijan is locating in Baku as well.
Moreover, Baku has numerous libraries, many of which contain vast collections of historic documents from the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Soviet periods, as well as from other civilisations of the past.
The city has many public and private hospitals, clinics and laboratories within its bounds and numerous medical research centres. Because of its intermittent periods of great prosperity as well as being the largest city in the Caucasus and one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse in the Soviet Union, Baku prides itself on having produced a disproportionate number of notable figures in the sciences, arts and other fields.
Some of the houses they resided in display commemorative plaques. World-famous cellist Mstislav Rostropovich was born and raised in Baku, as was world-famous chess player Garry Kasparov.
Lotfi A. Zadeh , artificial intelligence researcher, founder of fuzzy mathematics , fuzzy set theory, and fuzzy logic.
Kerim Kerimov , one of the founders of the Soviet space program. Garry Kasparov , chess grandmaster , former World Chess Champion. Mikayil Mushfig , Bakuvian poet and victim of the Stalinist purges.
Tofiq Bahramov , a Soviet footballer and football referee from Azerbaijan. Mstislav Rostropovich , Grammy Award —winning cellist.
Baku is twinned with:   [in chronological order]. Old Baku " Icheri Sheher ". Baku Opera and Ballet Theatre. Ismailiyya building.
Fountain and Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall. View of Baku taken from the International Space Station. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For other uses, see Baku disambiguation. Capital of Azerbaijan. Place in Azerbaijan. Capital city of Azerbaijan. Coat of arms. Main articles: History of Baku and Timeline of Baku.
See also: Shirvanshah. Main article: Petroleum industry in Azerbaijan. Main article: Economy of Baku. Skyscrapers in Baku.
Flame Towers. Villa Petrolea. Main article: Architecture in Baku. See also: List of universities in Baku. Main article: List of people from Baku.
Further information: Category:People from Baku. See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Azerbaijan.
Nizami Street. Maiden Tower. Icheri Sheher. Baku seaside Boulevard. Azerbaijan's Flag. Palace of Happiness. Fountains Square. Rashid Behbudov Street.
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