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This article is about the independent country in the Caucasus. Azerbaijan_sentence_0

For other uses, see Azerbaijan (disambiguation). Azerbaijan_sentence_1


Republic of Azerbaijan

Azərbaycan Respublikası  (Azerbaijani)Azerbaijan_header_cell_0_0_0


and largest cityAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_1_0

Official languagesAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_2_0 AzerbaijaniAzerbaijan_cell_0_2_1
Ethnic minority languagesAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_3_0 Armenian
Ethnic groups (2009)Azerbaijan_header_cell_0_4_0 Azerbaijan_cell_0_4_1
ReligionAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_5_0 Azerbaijan_cell_0_5_1
Demonym(s)Azerbaijan_header_cell_0_6_0 AzerbaijaniAzerbaijan_cell_0_6_1
GovernmentAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_7_0 Unitary semi-presidential republicAzerbaijan_cell_0_7_1
PresidentAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_8_0 Ilham AliyevAzerbaijan_cell_0_8_1
Vice PresidentAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_9_0 Mehriban AliyevaAzerbaijan_cell_0_9_1
Prime MinisterAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_10_0 Ali AsadovAzerbaijan_cell_0_10_1
National Assembly SpeakerAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_11_0 Sahiba GafarovaAzerbaijan_cell_0_11_1
LegislatureAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_12_0 National AssemblyAzerbaijan_cell_0_12_1
Democratic RepublicAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_14_0 28 May 1918Azerbaijan_cell_0_14_1
Soviet Socialist RepublicAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_15_0 28 April 1920Azerbaijan_cell_0_15_1
Independence from Soviet UnionAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_16_0 Azerbaijan_cell_0_16_1
Full membership into the CISAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_17_0 21 December 1991Azerbaijan_cell_0_17_1
Admitted to the United NationsAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_18_0 2 March 1992Azerbaijan_cell_0_18_1
Constitution adoptedAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_19_0 12 November 1995Azerbaijan_cell_0_19_1
Area Azerbaijan_header_cell_0_20_0
TotalAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_21_0 86,600 km (33,400 sq mi) (112th)Azerbaijan_cell_0_21_1
Water (%)Azerbaijan_header_cell_0_22_0 1.6Azerbaijan_cell_0_22_1
2019 estimateAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_24_0 10,127,874 (91st)Azerbaijan_cell_0_24_1
DensityAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_25_0 115/km (297.8/sq mi) (99th)Azerbaijan_cell_0_25_1
GDP (PPP)Azerbaijan_header_cell_0_26_0 2019 estimateAzerbaijan_cell_0_26_1
TotalAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_27_0 $189.050 billionAzerbaijan_cell_0_27_1
Per capitaAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_28_0 $18,793Azerbaijan_cell_0_28_1
GDP (nominal)Azerbaijan_header_cell_0_29_0 2019 estimateAzerbaijan_cell_0_29_1
TotalAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_30_0 $45.284 billionAzerbaijan_cell_0_30_1
Per capitaAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_31_0 $4,498Azerbaijan_cell_0_31_1
Gini (2005)Azerbaijan_header_cell_0_32_0 26.6


HDI (2018)Azerbaijan_header_cell_0_33_0 0.754

high · 87thAzerbaijan_cell_0_33_1

CurrencyAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_34_0 Manat (₼) (AZN)Azerbaijan_cell_0_34_1
Time zoneAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_35_0 UTC+4 (AZT)Azerbaijan_cell_0_35_1
Driving sideAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_36_0 rightAzerbaijan_cell_0_36_1
Calling codeAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_37_0 +994Azerbaijan_cell_0_37_1
ISO 3166 codeAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_38_0 AZAzerbaijan_cell_0_38_1
Internet TLDAzerbaijan_header_cell_0_39_0 .azAzerbaijan_cell_0_39_1

Azerbaijan (UK: /ˌæzərbaɪˈdʒɑːn, -ˈʒɑːn/ (listen), US: /ˌɑːzərbaɪˈdʒɑːn, ˌæz-/; Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan [ɑːzæɾbɑjˈd͡ʒɑn), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Respublikası [ɑːzæɾbɑjˈd͡ʒɑn ɾespublikɑˈsɯ), is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Azerbaijan_sentence_2

Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, the Russian republic of Dagestan to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia and Turkey to the west, and Iran to the south. Azerbaijan_sentence_3

The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic proclaimed its independence from the Russian Empire in 1918 and became the first secular democratic Muslim-majority state. Azerbaijan_sentence_4

In 1920, the country was incorporated into the Soviet Union as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. Azerbaijan_sentence_5

The modern Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence on 30 August 1991, shortly before the dissolution of the USSR in the same year. Azerbaijan_sentence_6

In September 1991, the Armenian majority of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region seceded to form the Republic of Artsakh. Azerbaijan_sentence_7

The region and seven surrounding districts, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan pending a solution to the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh through negotiations facilitated by the OSCE, became de facto independent with the end of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994. Azerbaijan_sentence_8

Following the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, the seven districts and parts of Nagorno-Karabakh were returned to Azerbaijani rule. Azerbaijan_sentence_9

Azerbaijan is a unitary semi-presidential republic. Azerbaijan_sentence_10

It is one of six independent Turkic states and an active member of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. Azerbaijan_sentence_11

Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 182 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations, including the United Nations (since 1992), the Council of Europe, the Non-Aligned Movement, the OSCE, and the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. Azerbaijan_sentence_12

It is one of the founding members of GUAM, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Azerbaijan_sentence_13

Azerbaijan also holds observer status in the World Trade Organization. Azerbaijan_sentence_14

While around 97% of the population is Muslim, the Constitution of Azerbaijan does not declare an official religion and all major political forces in the country are secularist. Azerbaijan_sentence_15

Azerbaijan is a developing country and ranks 87th on the Human Development Index. Azerbaijan_sentence_16

It has a high rate of economic development and literacy, as well as a low rate of unemployment. Azerbaijan_sentence_17

However, the ruling party, the New Azerbaijan Party, in power since 1993, has been accused of authoritarian leadership and the deterioration of the country's human rights record, including increasing restrictions on civil liberties, particularly on press freedom and political repression. Azerbaijan_sentence_18

Etymology Azerbaijan_section_0

Further information: Atropatene, Caucasian Albania, and Azerbaijan (toponym) Azerbaijan_sentence_19

According to a modern etymology, the term Azerbaijan derives from that of Atropates, a Persian satrap under the Achaemenid Empire, who was later reinstated as the satrap of Media under Alexander the Great. Azerbaijan_sentence_20

The original etymology of this name is thought to have its roots in the once-dominant Zoroastrianism. Azerbaijan_sentence_21

In the Avesta's Frawardin Yasht ("Hymn to the Guardian Angels"), there is a mention of âterepâtahe ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide, which literally translates from Avestan as "we worship the fravashi of the holy Atropatene." Azerbaijan_sentence_22

The name "Atropates" itself is the Greek transliteration of an Old Iranian, probably Median, compounded name with the meaning "Protected by the (Holy) Fire" or "The Land of the (Holy) Fire". Azerbaijan_sentence_23

The Greek name was mentioned by Diodorus Siculus and Strabo. Azerbaijan_sentence_24

Over the span of millennia, the name evolved to Āturpātākān (Middle Persian), then to Ādharbādhagān, Ādharbāyagān, Āzarbāydjān (New Persian) and present-day Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_25

The name Azerbaijan was first adopted for the area of the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan by the government of Musavat in 1918, after the collapse of the Russian Empire, when the independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established. Azerbaijan_sentence_26

Until then, the designation had been used exclusively to identify the adjacent region of contemporary northwestern Iran, while the area of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was formerly referred to as Arran and Shirvan. Azerbaijan_sentence_27

On that basis Iran protested the newly adopted country name. Azerbaijan_sentence_28

During the Soviet rule, the country was also spelled in Latin from the Russian transliteration as Azerbaydzhan (Russian: Азербайджа́н). Azerbaijan_sentence_29

The country's name was also spelled in Cyrillic script from 1940 to 1991 as "Азәрбајҹан". Azerbaijan_sentence_30

History Azerbaijan_section_1

Main article: History of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_31

Antiquity Azerbaijan_section_2

Further information: Caucasian Albania Azerbaijan_sentence_32

The earliest evidence of human settlement in the territory of Azerbaijan dates back to the late Stone Age and is related to the Guruchay culture of Azokh Cave. Azerbaijan_sentence_33

Early settlements included the Scythians during the 9th century BC. Azerbaijan_sentence_34

Following the Scythians, Iranian Medes came to dominate the area to the south of the Aras river. Azerbaijan_sentence_35

The Medes forged a vast empire between 900 and 700 BC, which was integrated into the Achaemenid Empire around 550 BC. Azerbaijan_sentence_36

The area was conquered by the Achaemenids leading to the spread of Zoroastrianism. Azerbaijan_sentence_37

From the Sasanid period to the Safavid period Azerbaijan_section_3

The Sasanian Empire turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state in 252, while King Urnayr officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century. Azerbaijan_sentence_38

Despite Sassanid rule, Albania remained an entity in the region until the 9th century, while fully subordinate to Sassanid Iran, and retained its monarchy. Azerbaijan_sentence_39

Despite being one of the chief vassals of the Sasanian emperor, the Albanian king had only a semblance of authority, and the Sasanian marzban (military governor) held most civil, religious, and military authority. Azerbaijan_sentence_40

In the first half of the 7th century, Caucasian Albania, as a vassal of the Sasanians, came under nominal Muslim rule due to the Muslim conquest of Persia. Azerbaijan_sentence_41

The Umayyad Caliphate repulsed both the Sasanians and Byzantines from Transcaucasia and turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state after Christian resistance led by King Javanshir, was suppressed in 667. Azerbaijan_sentence_42

The power vacuum left by the decline of the Abbasid Caliphate was filled by numerous local dynasties such as the Sallarids, Sajids, and Shaddadids. Azerbaijan_sentence_43

At the beginning of the 11th century, the territory was gradually seized by the waves of Oghuz Turks from Central Asia, who adopted a Turkoman ethnonym at the time. Azerbaijan_sentence_44

The first of these Turkic dynasties established was the Seljuk Empire, who entered the area now known as Azerbaijan by 1067. Azerbaijan_sentence_45

The pre-Turkic population that lived on the territory of modern Azerbaijan spoke several Indo-European and Caucasian languages, among them Armenian and an Iranian language, Old Azeri, which was gradually replaced by a Turkic language, the early precursor of the Azerbaijani language of today. Azerbaijan_sentence_46

Some linguists have also stated that the Tati dialects of Iranian Azerbaijan and the Republic of Azerbaijan, like those spoken by the Tats, are descended from Old Azeri. Azerbaijan_sentence_47

Locally, the possessions of the subsequent Seljuk Empire were ruled by Eldiguzids, technically vassals of the Seljuk sultans, but sometimes de facto rulers themselves. Azerbaijan_sentence_48

Under the Seljuks, local poets such as Nizami Ganjavi and Khaqani gave rise to a blossoming of Persian literature on the territory of present-day Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_49

The local dynasty of the Shirvanshahs became a vassal state of Timur's Empire, and assisted him in his war with the ruler of the Golden Horde Tokhtamysh. Azerbaijan_sentence_50

Following Timur's death, two independent and rival states emerged: Kara Koyunlu and Aq Qoyunlu. Azerbaijan_sentence_51

The Shirvanshahs returned, maintaining for numerous centuries to come a high degree of autonomy as local rulers and vassals as they had done since 861. Azerbaijan_sentence_52

In 1501, the Safavid dynasty of Iran subdued the Shirvanshahs and gained its possessions. Azerbaijan_sentence_53

In the course of the next century, the Safavids converted the formerly Sunni population to Shia Islam, as they did with the population in what is modern-day Iran. Azerbaijan_sentence_54

The Safavids allowed the Shirvanshahs to remain in power, under Safavid suzerainty, until 1538, when Safavid king Tahmasp I (r. 1524–1576) completely deposed them, and made the area into the Safavid province of Shirvan. Azerbaijan_sentence_55

The Sunni Ottomans briefly managed to occupy parts of present-day Azerbaijan as a result of the Ottoman-Safavid War of 1578–1590; by the early 17th century, they were ousted by Safavid Iranian ruler Abbas I (r. 1588–1629). Azerbaijan_sentence_56

In the wake of the demise of the Safavid Empire, Baku and its environs were briefly occupied by the Russians as a consequence of the Russo-Persian War of 1722–1723. Azerbaijan_sentence_57

Despite brief intermissions such as these by Safavid Iran's neighboring rivals, the land of what is today Azerbaijan remained under Iranian rule from the earliest advent of the Safavids up to the course of the 19th century. Azerbaijan_sentence_58

Contemporary history Azerbaijan_section_4

Main articles: Russo-Persian Wars, Treaty of Gulistan, and Treaty of Turkmenchay Azerbaijan_sentence_59

See also: Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, Azerbaijan SSR, and Operation Edelweiss Azerbaijan_sentence_60

After the Safavids, the area was ruled by the Iranian Afsharid dynasty. Azerbaijan_sentence_61

After the death of Nader Shah (r. 1736–1747), many of his former subjects capitalized on the eruption of instability. Azerbaijan_sentence_62

Numerous self-ruling khanates with various forms of autonomy emerged in the area. Azerbaijan_sentence_63

The rulers of these khanates were directly related to the ruling dynasties of Iran, and were vassals and subjects of the Iranian shah. Azerbaijan_sentence_64

The khanates exercised control over their affairs via international trade routes between Central Asia and the West. Azerbaijan_sentence_65

Thereafter, the area was under the successive rule of the Iranian Zands and Qajars. Azerbaijan_sentence_66

From the late 18th century, Imperial Russia switched to a more aggressive geo-political stance towards its two neighbors and rivals to the south, namely Iran and the Ottoman Empire. Azerbaijan_sentence_67

Russia now actively tried to gain possession of the Caucasus region which was, for the most part, in the hands of Iran. Azerbaijan_sentence_68

In 1804, the Russians invaded and sacked the Iranian town of Ganja, sparking the Russo-Persian War of 1804–1813. Azerbaijan_sentence_69

The militarily superior Russians ended the Russo-Persian War of 1804–1813 with a victory. Azerbaijan_sentence_70

Following Qajar Iran's loss in the 1804–1813 war, it was forced to concede suzerainty over most of the khanates, along with Georgia and Dagestan to the Russian Empire, per the Treaty of Gulistan. Azerbaijan_sentence_71

The area to the north of the river Aras, amongst which territory lies the contemporary Republic of Azerbaijan, was Iranian territory until it was occupied by Russia in the 19th century. Azerbaijan_sentence_72

About a decade later, in violation of the Gulistan treaty, the Russians invaded Iran's Erivan Khanate. Azerbaijan_sentence_73

This sparked the final bout of hostilities between the two, the Russo-Persian War of 1826–1828. Azerbaijan_sentence_74

The resulting Treaty of Turkmenchay, forced Qajar Iran to cede sovereignty over the Erivan Khanate, the Nakhchivan Khanate and the remainder of the Lankaran Khanate, comprising the last parts of the soil of the contemporary Azerbaijani Republic that were still in Iranian hands. Azerbaijan_sentence_75

After incorporation of all Caucasian territories from Iran into Russia, the new border between the two was set at the Aras River, which, upon the Soviet Union's disintegration, subsequently became part of the border between Iran and the Azerbaijan Republic. Azerbaijan_sentence_76

Qajar Iran was forced to cede its Caucasian territories to Russia in the 19th century, which thus included the territory of the modern-day Azerbaijan Republic, while as a result of that cession, the Azerbaijani ethnic group is nowadays parted between two nations: Iran and Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_77

Nevertheless, the number of ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran far outnumber those in neighboring Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_78

After the collapse of the Russian Empire during World War I, the short-lived Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic was declared, constituting the present-day republics of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia. Azerbaijan_sentence_79

It was followed by the March Days massacres that took place between 30 March and 2 April 1918 in the city of Baku and adjacent areas of the Baku Governorate of the Russian Empire. Azerbaijan_sentence_80

When the republic dissolved in May 1918, the leading Musavat party declared independence as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR), adopting the name of "Azerbaijan" for the new republic; a name that prior to the proclamation of the ADR was solely used to refer to the adjacent northwestern region of contemporary Iran. Azerbaijan_sentence_81

The ADR was the first modern parliamentary republic in the Muslim world. Azerbaijan_sentence_82

Among the important accomplishments of the Parliament was the extension of suffrage to women, making Azerbaijan the first Muslim nation to grant women equal political rights with men. Azerbaijan_sentence_83

Another important accomplishment of ADR was the establishment of Baku State University, which was the first modern-type university founded in the Muslim East. Azerbaijan_sentence_84

By March 1920, it was obvious that Soviet Russia would attack Baku. Azerbaijan_sentence_85

Vladimir Lenin said that the invasion was justified as Soviet Russia could not survive without Baku's oil. Azerbaijan_sentence_86

Independent Azerbaijan lasted only 23 months until the Bolshevik 11th Soviet Red Army invaded it, establishing the Azerbaijan SSR on 28 April 1920. Azerbaijan_sentence_87

Although the bulk of the newly formed Azerbaijani army was engaged in putting down an Armenian revolt that had just broken out in Karabakh, Azerbaijanis did not surrender their brief independence of 1918–20 quickly or easily. Azerbaijan_sentence_88

As many as 20,000 Azerbaijani soldiers died resisting what was effectively a Russian reconquest. Azerbaijan_sentence_89

On 13 October 1921, the Soviet republics of Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia signed an agreement with Turkey known as the Treaty of Kars. Azerbaijan_sentence_90

The previously independent Republic of Aras would also become the Nakhichevan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic within the Azerbaijan SSR by the treaty of Kars. Azerbaijan_sentence_91

On the other hand, Armenia was awarded the region of Zangezur and Turkey agreed to return Gyumri (then known as Alexandropol). Azerbaijan_sentence_92

During World War II, Azerbaijan played a crucial role in the strategic energy policy of the Soviet Union, with 80 percent of the Soviet Union's oil on the Eastern Front being supplied by Baku. Azerbaijan_sentence_93

By the Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in February 1942, the commitment of more than 500 workers and employees of the oil industry of Azerbaijan were awarded orders and medals. Azerbaijan_sentence_94

Operation Edelweiss carried out by the German Wehrmacht targeted Baku because of its importance as the energy (petroleum) dynamo of the USSR. Azerbaijan_sentence_95

A fifth of all Azerbaijanis fought in the Second World War from 1941 to 1945. Azerbaijan_sentence_96

Approximately 681,000 people with over 100,000 of them women went to the front, while the total population of Azerbaijan was 3.4 million at the time. Azerbaijan_sentence_97

Some 250,000 people from Azerbaijan were killed on the front. Azerbaijan_sentence_98

More than 130 Azerbaijanis were named Heroes of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan_sentence_99

Azerbaijani Major-General Azi Aslanov was twice awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan_sentence_100

Independence Azerbaijan_section_5

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_101

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_102

Later in 1990, the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan SSR dropped the words "Soviet Socialist" from the title, adopted the "Declaration of Sovereignty of the Azerbaijan Republic" and restored the flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic as the state flag. Azerbaijan_sentence_103

As a consequence of the failed coup which occurred in August in Moscow, on 18 October 1991, the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan adopted a Declaration of Independence which was affirmed by a nationwide referendum in December 1991, while the Soviet Union officially ceased to exist on 26 December 1991. Azerbaijan_sentence_104

The country now celebrates its Independence Day on 18 October. Azerbaijan_sentence_105

The early years of independence were overshadowed by the First Nagorno-Karabakh war with the ethnic Armenian majority of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by Armenia. Azerbaijan_sentence_106

By the end of the hostilities in 1994, Armenians controlled up to 14–16 percent of Azerbaijani territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh itself. Azerbaijan_sentence_107

During the war many atrocities were committed including the massacres at Malibeyli and Gushchular, the Garadaghly massacre, the and the Khojaly massacres. Azerbaijan_sentence_108

Furthermore, an estimated 30,000 people have been killed and more than a million people have been displaced. Azerbaijan_sentence_109

Four United Nations Security Council Resolutions (822, 853, 874, and 884) demand for "the immediate withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan." Azerbaijan_sentence_110

Many Russians and Armenians left and fled Azerbaijan as refugees during the 1990s. Azerbaijan_sentence_111

According to the 1970 census, there were 510,000 ethnic Russians and 484,000 Armenians in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_112

In 1993, 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. Azerbaijan_sentence_113

In 1994, Surat Huseynov, by that time the prime minister, attempted another military coup against Heydar Aliyev, but he was arrested and charged with treason. Azerbaijan_sentence_114

A year later, in 1995, another coup was attempted against Aliyev, this time by the commander of the OMON special unit, Rovshan Javadov. Azerbaijan_sentence_115

The coup was averted, resulting in the killing of the latter and disbanding of Azerbaijan's OMON units. Azerbaijan_sentence_116

At the same time, the country was tainted by rampant corruption in the governing bureaucracy. Azerbaijan_sentence_117

In October 1998, Aliyev was reelected for a second term. Azerbaijan_sentence_118

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_119

Ilham Aliyev, Heydar Aliyev's son, became chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party as well as President of Azerbaijan when his father died in 2003. Azerbaijan_sentence_120

He was reelected to a third term as president in October 2013. Azerbaijan_sentence_121

On 27 September 2020, new clashes in the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resumed along the Nagorno-Karabakh Line of Contact. Azerbaijan_sentence_122

Both the armed forces of Azerbaijan and Armenia reported military and civilian casualties. Azerbaijan_sentence_123

The Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire agreement and the end of the six-week war between Azerbaijan and Armenia was seen as a victory and was widely celebrated in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_124

Geography Azerbaijan_section_6

Main articles: Geography of Azerbaijan, Environment of Azerbaijan, State reserves of Azerbaijan, and National parks of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_125

See also: Extreme points of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_126

Geographically, Azerbaijan is located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia, straddling Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Azerbaijan_sentence_127

It lies between latitudes 38° and 42° N, and longitudes 44° and 51° E. Azerbaijan_sentence_128

The total length of Azerbaijan's land borders is 2,648 km (1,645 mi), of which 1,007 kilometers are with Armenia, 756 kilometers with Iran, 480 kilometers with Georgia, 390 kilometers with Russia and 15 kilometers with Turkey. Azerbaijan_sentence_129

The coastline stretches for 800 km (497 mi), and the length of the widest area of the Azerbaijani section of the Caspian Sea is 456 km (283 mi). Azerbaijan_sentence_130

The territory of Azerbaijan extends 400 km (249 mi) from north to south, and 500 km (311 mi) from west to east. Azerbaijan_sentence_131

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_132

There are also three mountain ranges, the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, and the Talysh Mountains, together covering approximately 40% of the country. Azerbaijan_sentence_133

The highest peak of Azerbaijan is Mount Bazardüzü (4,466 m), while the lowest point lies in the Caspian Sea (−28 m). Azerbaijan_sentence_134

Nearly half of all the mud volcanoes on Earth are concentrated in Azerbaijan, these volcanoes were also among nominees for the New7Wonders of Nature. Azerbaijan_sentence_135

The main water sources are surface waters. Azerbaijan_sentence_136

However, only 24 of the 8,350 rivers are greater than 100 km (62 mi) in length. Azerbaijan_sentence_137

All the rivers drain into the Caspian Sea in the east of the country. Azerbaijan_sentence_138

The largest lake is Sarysu (67 km), and the longest river is Kur (1,515 km), which is transboundary with Armenia. Azerbaijan_sentence_139

Azerbaijan has several islands along the Caspian sea, mostly located in the Baku Archipelago. Azerbaijan_sentence_140

Since the independence of Azerbaijan in 1991, the Azerbaijani government has taken measures to preserve the environment of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_141

National protection of the environment accelerated after 2001 when the state budget increased due to new revenues provided by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Azerbaijan_sentence_142

Within four years protected areas doubled and now makeup eight percent of the country's territory. Azerbaijan_sentence_143

Since 2001 the government has set up seven large reserves and almost doubled the sector of the budget earmarked for environmental protection. Azerbaijan_sentence_144

Landscape Azerbaijan_section_7

Main articles: Orography of Azerbaijan, Climate of Azerbaijan, and Water bodies of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_145

Azerbaijan is home to a vast variety of landscapes. Azerbaijan_sentence_146

Over half of Azerbaijan's landmass consists of mountain ridges, crests, highlands, and plateaus which rise up to hypsometric levels of 400–1000 meters (including the Middle and Lower lowlands), in some places (Talis, Jeyranchol-Ajinohur and Langabiz-Alat foreranges) up to 100–120 meters, and others from 0–50 meters and up (Qobustan, Absheron). Azerbaijan_sentence_147

The rest of Azerbaijan's terrain consists of plains and lowlands. Azerbaijan_sentence_148

Hypsometric marks within the Caucasus region vary from about −28 meters at the Caspian Sea shoreline up to 4,466 meters (Bazardüzü peak). Azerbaijan_sentence_149

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_150

Azerbaijan's diverse landscape affects the ways air masses enter the country. Azerbaijan_sentence_151

The Greater Caucasus protects the country from direct influences of cold air masses coming from the north. Azerbaijan_sentence_152

That leads to the formation of subtropical climate on most foothills and plains of the country. Azerbaijan_sentence_153

Meanwhile, plains and foothills are characterized by high solar radiation rates. Azerbaijan_sentence_154

9 out of 11 existing climate zones are present in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_155

Both the absolute minimum temperature ( −33 °C or −27.4 °F ) and the absolute maximum temperature ( 46 °C or 114.8 °F ) were observed in Julfa and Ordubad – regions of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Azerbaijan_sentence_156

The maximum annual precipitation falls in Lankaran (1,600 to 1,800 mm or 63 to 71 in) and the minimum in Absheron (200 to 350 mm or 7.9 to 13.8 in). Azerbaijan_sentence_157

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_158

This is particularly evidenced by remnants of ancient rivers found throughout the country. Azerbaijan_sentence_159

The country's water systems are continually changing under the influence of natural forces and human introduced industrial activities. Azerbaijan_sentence_160

Artificial rivers (canals) and ponds are a part of Azerbaijan's water systems. Azerbaijan_sentence_161

In terms of water supply, Azerbaijan is below the average in the world with approximately 100,000 cubic metres (3,531,467 cubic feet) per year of water per square kilometer. Azerbaijan_sentence_162

All big water reservoirs are built on Kur. Azerbaijan_sentence_163

The hydrography of Azerbaijan basically belongs to the Caspian Sea basin. Azerbaijan_sentence_164

The Kura and Aras are the major rivers in Azerbaijan, they run through the Kura-Aras Lowland. Azerbaijan_sentence_165

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_166

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." Azerbaijan_sentence_167

Flames jet out into the air from a thin, porous sandstone layer. Azerbaijan_sentence_168

It is a tourist attraction to visitors to the Baku area. Azerbaijan_sentence_169

Biodiversity Azerbaijan_section_8

Main article: Wildlife of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_170

Further information: Fauna of Azerbaijan and Flora of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_171

The first reports on the richness and diversity of animal life in Azerbaijan can be found in travel notes of Eastern travelers. Azerbaijan_sentence_172

Animal carvings on architectural monuments, ancient rocks, and stones survived up to the present times. Azerbaijan_sentence_173

The first information on the flora and fauna of Azerbaijan was collected during the visits of naturalists to Azerbaijan in the 17th century. Azerbaijan_sentence_174

There are 106 species of mammals, 97 species of fish, 363 species of birds, 10 species of amphibians and 52 species of reptiles which have been recorded and classified in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_175

The national animal of Azerbaijan is the Karabakh horse, a mountain-steppe racing and riding horse endemic to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_176

The Karabakh horse has a reputation for its good temper, speed, elegance and intelligence. Azerbaijan_sentence_177

It is one of the oldest breeds, with ancestry dating to the ancient world. Azerbaijan_sentence_178

However, today the horse is an endangered species. Azerbaijan_sentence_179

Azerbaijan's flora consists of more than 4,500 species of higher plants. Azerbaijan_sentence_180

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_181

66 percent of the species growing in the whole Caucasus can be found in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_182

Politics Azerbaijan_section_9

Main article: Politics of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_183

See also: Elections in Azerbaijan and Human rights in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_184

The structural formation of Azerbaijan's political system was completed by the adoption of the new Constitution on 12 November 1995. Azerbaijan_sentence_185

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_186

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_187

The Constitution of Azerbaijan states that it is a presidential republic with three branches of power – Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. Azerbaijan_sentence_188

The legislative power is held by the unicameral National Assembly and the Supreme National Assembly in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Azerbaijan_sentence_189

The Parliament of Azerbaijan, called Milli Majlis, consists of 125 deputies elected based on majority vote, with a term of 5 years for each elected member. Azerbaijan_sentence_190

The elections are held every five years, on the first Sunday of November. Azerbaijan_sentence_191

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_192

The New Azerbaijan Party, and independents loyal to the ruling government, currently hold almost all of the Parliament's 125 seats. Azerbaijan_sentence_193

During the 2010 Parliamentary election, the opposition parties, Musavat and Azerbaijani Popular Front Party, failed to win a single seat. Azerbaijan_sentence_194

European observers found numerous irregularities in the run-up to the election and on election day. Azerbaijan_sentence_195

The executive power is held by the President, who is elected for a seven-year term by direct elections, and the Prime Minister. Azerbaijan_sentence_196

The president is authorized to form the Cabinet, a collective executive body, accountable to both the President and the National Assembly. Azerbaijan_sentence_197

The Cabinet of Azerbaijan consists primarily of the prime minister, his deputies, and ministers. Azerbaijan_sentence_198

The president does not have the right to dissolve the National Assembly but has the right to veto its decisions. Azerbaijan_sentence_199

To override the presidential veto, the parliament must have a majority of 95 votes. Azerbaijan_sentence_200

The judicial power is vested in the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, and the Economic Court. Azerbaijan_sentence_201

The president nominates the judges in these courts. Azerbaijan_sentence_202

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_sentence_203

Azerbaijan's system of governance nominally can be called two-tiered. Azerbaijan_sentence_204

The top or highest tier of the government is the Executive Power headed by President. Azerbaijan_sentence_205

The President appoints the Cabinet of Ministers and other high-ranking officials. Azerbaijan_sentence_206

The Local Executive Authority is merely a continuation of Executive Power. Azerbaijan_sentence_207

The legal status of local state administration in Azerbaijan is determined by the Provision on Local Executive Authority (Yerli Icra Hakimiyati), adopted 16 June 1999. Azerbaijan_sentence_208

In June 2012, 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. Azerbaijan_sentence_209

The other nominal tier of governance is municipalities (Bələdiyə) and members of municipalities are elected by a general vote in Municipal elections every five years. Azerbaijan_sentence_210

Currently, there are 1,607 municipalities across the country. Azerbaijan_sentence_211

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 1999). Azerbaijan_sentence_212

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_213

The Law on the Status of Municipalities regulates the role and structure of municipal bodies and outlines state guarantees of legal and financial autonomy. Azerbaijan_sentence_214

The law pays special attention to the adoption and execution of municipal programs concerning social protection, social and economic development, and the local environment. Azerbaijan_sentence_215

The Security Council is the deliberative body under the president, and he organizes it according to the Constitution. Azerbaijan_sentence_216

It was established on 10 April 1997. Azerbaijan_sentence_217

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_218

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_sentence_219

In recent years, large numbers of Azerbaijani journalists, bloggers, lawyers, and human rights activists have been rounded up and jailed for their criticism of President Aliyev and government authorities. Azerbaijan_sentence_220

A resolution adopted by the European Parliament in September 2015 described Azerbaijan as "having suffered the greatest decline in democratic governance in all of Eurasia over the past ten years," noting as well that its dialogue with the country on human rights has "not made any substantial progress." Azerbaijan_sentence_221

On 17 March 2016, the President of Azerbaijan signed a decree pardoning more than a dozen of the persons regarded as political prisoners by some NGOs. Azerbaijan_sentence_222

This decree was welcomed as a positive step by the US State Department. Azerbaijan_sentence_223

On 16 March 2017 another pardon decree was signed, which led to the release of additional persons regarded as political prisoners. Azerbaijan_sentence_224

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_225

However, on 6 March 2017, ESISC (European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center) published a report called "The Armenian Connection", in which it attacked human rights NGOs and research organisations criticising human rights violations and corruption in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_226

ESISC in that report asserted that the "Caviar Diplomacy" report elaborated by ESI aimed to create a climate of suspicion based on slander to form a network of MPs that would engage in a political war against Azerbaijan and that the network, composed of European PMs, Armenian officials, and some NGOs (Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, "Human Rights House Foundation", "Open Dialog, European Stability Initiative, and Helsinki Committee for Human Rights) was financed by the Soros Foundation. Azerbaijan_sentence_227

According to Robert Coalson (Radio Free Europe), ESISC is a part of Baku's lobbying efforts to extend the use of front think tanks to shift public opinion. Azerbaijan_sentence_228

Freedom Files Analytical Centre said that "The report is written in the worst traditions of authoritarian propaganda". Azerbaijan_sentence_229

Foreign relations Azerbaijan_section_10

Main article: Foreign relations of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_230

See also: Azerbaijan and the European Union Azerbaijan_sentence_231

The short-lived Azerbaijan Democratic Republic succeeded in establishing diplomatic relations with six countries, sending diplomatic representatives to Germany and Finland. Azerbaijan_sentence_232

The process of international recognition of Azerbaijan's independence from the collapsing Soviet Union lasted roughly one year. Azerbaijan_sentence_233

The most recent country to recognize Azerbaijan was Bahrain, on 6 November 1996. Azerbaijan_sentence_234

Full diplomatic relations, including mutual exchanges of missions, were first established with Turkey, Pakistan, the United States, Iran and Israel. Azerbaijan_sentence_235

Azerbaijan has placed a particular emphasis on its "special relationship" with Turkey. Azerbaijan_sentence_236

Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries so far and holds membership in 38 international organizations. Azerbaijan_sentence_237

It holds observer status in the Non-Aligned Movement and World Trade Organization and is a correspondent at the International Telecommunication Union. Azerbaijan_sentence_238

On 9 May 2006 Azerbaijan was elected to membership in the newly established Human Rights Council by the United Nations General Assembly. Azerbaijan_sentence_239

The term of office began on 19 June 2006. Azerbaijan_sentence_240

Azerbaijan was first elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2011 with the support of 155 countries. Azerbaijan_sentence_241

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_sentence_242

Azerbaijan is an active member of international coalitions fighting international terrorism. Azerbaijan_sentence_243

Azerbaijan was one of the first countries to offer support after the September 11 attacks. Azerbaijan_sentence_244

The country is contributing to peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Azerbaijan_sentence_245

Azerbaijan is an active member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Azerbaijan_sentence_246

It also maintains good relations with the European Union and could potentially one day apply for membership. Azerbaijan_sentence_247

Administrative divisions Azerbaijan_section_11

Main article: Administrative divisions of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_248

Azerbaijan is divided into 10 economic regions; 66 rayons (rayonlar, singular rayon) and 77 cities (şəhərlər, singular şəhər) of which 12 are under the direct authority of the republic. Azerbaijan_sentence_249

Moreover, Azerbaijan includes the Autonomous Republic (muxtar respublika) of Nakhchivan. Azerbaijan_sentence_250

The President of Azerbaijan appoints the governors of these units, while the government of Nakhchivan is elected and approved by the parliament of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Azerbaijan_sentence_251

Note: The cities under the direct authority of the republic in italics. Azerbaijan_sentence_252

Largest cities Azerbaijan_section_12

Military Azerbaijan_section_13

Main article: Azerbaijani Armed Forces Azerbaijan_sentence_253

The history of the modern Azerbaijan army dates back to Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918, when the National Army of the newly formed Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was created on 26 June 1918. Azerbaijan_sentence_254

When Azerbaijan gained independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan were created according to the Law on the Armed Forces of 9 October 1991. Azerbaijan_sentence_255

The original date of the establishment of the short-lived National Army is celebrated as Army Day (26 June) in today's Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_256

As of 2002, Azerbaijan had 95,000 active personnel in its armed forces. Azerbaijan_sentence_257

There are also 17,000 paramilitary troops. Azerbaijan_sentence_258

The armed forces have three branches: the Land Forces, the Air Forces and the Navy. Azerbaijan_sentence_259

Additionally the armed forces embrace several military sub-groups that can be involved in state defense when needed. Azerbaijan_sentence_260

These are the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Border Service, which includes the Coast Guard as well. Azerbaijan_sentence_261

The Azerbaijan National Guard is a further paramilitary force. Azerbaijan_sentence_262

It operates as a semi-independent entity of the Special State Protection Service, an agency subordinate to the President. Azerbaijan_sentence_263

Azerbaijan adheres to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and has signed all major international arms and weapons treaties. Azerbaijan_sentence_264

Azerbaijan closely cooperates with NATO in programs such as Partnership for Peace and Individual Partnership Action Plan. Azerbaijan_sentence_265

Azerbaijan has deployed 151 of its Peacekeeping Forces in Iraq and another 184 in Afghanistan. Azerbaijan_sentence_266

The defense budget of Azerbaijan for 2011 was set at US$3.1 billion. Azerbaijan_sentence_267

In addition to that, $1.36 billion was planned to be used for the needs of the defense industry, which bring up the total military budget to 4.6 billion. Azerbaijan_sentence_268

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on 26 June 2011 that the defence spending reached $3.3 billion that year. Azerbaijan_sentence_269

Azerbaijan's defense budget for 2013 is $3.7 billion. Azerbaijan_sentence_270

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_271

Economy Azerbaijan_section_14

Main article: Economy of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_272

After gaining independence in 1991, Azerbaijan became a member of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Islamic Development Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. Azerbaijan_sentence_273

The banking system of Azerbaijan consists of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, commercial banks and non-banking credit organizations. Azerbaijan_sentence_274

The National (now Central) Bank was created in 1992 based on the Azerbaijan State Savings Bank, an affiliate of the former State Savings Bank of the USSR. Azerbaijan_sentence_275

The Central Bank serves as Azerbaijan's central bank, empowered to issue the national currency, the Azerbaijani manat, and to supervise all commercial banks. Azerbaijan_sentence_276

Two major commercial banks are UniBank and the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan, run by Abbas Ibrahimov. Azerbaijan_sentence_277

Pushed up by spending and demand growth, the 2007 Q1 inflation rate reached 16.6%. Azerbaijan_sentence_278

Nominal incomes and monthly wages climbed 29% and 25% respectively against this figure, but price increases in the non-oil industry encouraged inflation. Azerbaijan_sentence_279

Azerbaijan shows some signs of the so-called "Dutch disease" because of its fast-growing energy sector, which causes inflation and makes non-energy exports more expensive. Azerbaijan_sentence_280

In the early 2000s the chronically high inflation was brought under control. Azerbaijan_sentence_281

This led to the launch of a new currency, the new Azerbaijani manat, on 1 January 2006, to cement the economic reforms and erase the vestiges of an unstable economy. Azerbaijan_sentence_282

In 2008, Azerbaijan was cited as one of the top 10 reformers by the World Bank's Doing Business Report. Azerbaijan_sentence_283

Azerbaijan is also ranked 57th in the Global Competitiveness Report for 2010–2011, above other CIS countries. Azerbaijan_sentence_284

By 2012 the GDP of Azerbaijan had increased 20-fold from its 1995 level. Azerbaijan_sentence_285

According to World Bank's Doing Business report 2019, Azerbaijan improved its position in the Ease of doing business rank from 57 to 25. Azerbaijan_sentence_286

As a result of implementing a record number of reforms mainly involving institutional changes among the 10 top improvers, to do business in Azerbaijan became easier, such as time and cost to get construction permit reduced significantly (time by 80 days and cost by 12.563 AZN), process of connecting electricity grid rationalized, as well as getting credit simplified. Azerbaijan_sentence_287

Energy and natural resources Azerbaijan_section_15

Main article: Energy in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_288

Further information: Petroleum industry in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_289

Two-thirds of Azerbaijan is rich in oil and natural gas. Azerbaijan_sentence_290

The history of the oil industry of Azerbaijan dates back to the ancient period. Azerbaijan_sentence_291

Arabian historian and traveler Ahmed Al-Belaruri discussed the economy of the Absheron peninsula in antiquity, mentioning its oil in particular. Azerbaijan_sentence_292

There are many pipelines in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_293

The goal of the Southern Gas Corridor, which connects the giant Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe, is to reduce European Union's dependency on Russian gas. Azerbaijan_sentence_294

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_295

In September 1994, a 30-year contract was signed between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and 13 oil companies, among them Amoco, BP, ExxonMobil, Lukoil and Equinor. Azerbaijan_sentence_296

As Western oil companies are able to tap deepwater oilfields untouched by the Soviet exploitation, Azerbaijan is considered one of the most important spots in the world for oil exploration and development. Azerbaijan_sentence_297

Meanwhile, the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan was established as an extra-budgetary fund to ensure macroeconomic stability, transparency in the management of oil revenue, and safeguarding of resources for future generations. Azerbaijan_sentence_298

Access to biocapacity in Azerbaijan is less than world average. Azerbaijan_sentence_299

In 2016, Azerbaijan had 0.8 global hectares of biocapacity per person within its territory, half the world average of 1.6 global hectares per person. Azerbaijan_sentence_300

In 2016 Azerbaijan used 2.1 global hectares of biocapacity per person – their ecological footprint of consumption. Azerbaijan_sentence_301

This means they use more biocapacity than Azerbaijan contains. Azerbaijan_sentence_302

As a result, Azerbaijan is running a biocapacity deficit. Azerbaijan_sentence_303

Azeriqaz, a sub-company of SOCAR, intends to ensure full gasification of the country by 2021. Azerbaijan_sentence_304

Azerbaijan is one of the sponsors of the east–west and north–south energy transport corridors. Azerbaijan_sentence_305

Baku–Tbilisi–Kars railway line will connect the Caspian region with Turkey, is expected to be completed in July 2017. Azerbaijan_sentence_306

The Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will deliver natural gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas to Turkey and Europe. Azerbaijan_sentence_307

Azerbaijan extended the agreement on development of ACG until 2050 according to the amended PSA signed on 14 September 2017 by SOCAR and co-ventures (BP, Chevron, Inpex, Equinor, ExxonMobil, TP, ITOCHU and ONGC Videsh). Azerbaijan_sentence_308

Agriculture Azerbaijan_section_16

Main article: Agriculture in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_309

Azerbaijan has the largest agricultural basin in the region. Azerbaijan_sentence_310

About 54.9 percent of Azerbaijan is agricultural land. Azerbaijan_sentence_311

At the beginning of 2007 there were 4,755,100 hectares of utilized agricultural area. Azerbaijan_sentence_312

In the same year the total wood resources counted 136 million m³. Azerbaijan_sentence_313

Azerbaijan's agricultural scientific research institutes are focused on meadows and pastures, horticulture and subtropical crops, green vegetables, viticulture and wine-making, cotton growing and medicinal plants. Azerbaijan_sentence_314

In some areas it is profitable to grow grain, potatoes, sugar beets, cotton and tobacco. Azerbaijan_sentence_315

Livestock, dairy products, and wine and spirits are also important farm products. Azerbaijan_sentence_316

The Caspian fishing industry concentrates on the dwindling stocks of sturgeon and beluga. Azerbaijan_sentence_317

In 2002 the Azerbaijani merchant marine had 54 ships. Azerbaijan_sentence_318

Some products previously imported from abroad have begun to be produced locally. Azerbaijan_sentence_319

Among them are Coca-Cola by Coca-Cola Bottlers LTD., beer by Baki-Kastel, parquet by Nehir and oil pipes by EUPEC Pipe Coating Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_320

Tourism Azerbaijan_section_17

Main article: Tourism in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_321

Tourism is an important part of the economy of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_322

The country was a well-known tourist spot in the 1980s. Azerbaijan_sentence_323

However, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the First Nagorno-Karabakh War during the 1990s, damaged the tourist industry and the image of Azerbaijan as a tourist destination. Azerbaijan_sentence_324

It was not until the 2000s 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. Azerbaijan_sentence_325

In the recent years, Azerbaijan has also become a popular destination for religious, spa, and health care tourism. Azerbaijan_sentence_326

During winter, the Shahdag Mountain Resort offers skiing with state of the art facilities. Azerbaijan_sentence_327

The government of Azerbaijan has set the development of Azerbaijan as an elite tourist destination as a top priority. Azerbaijan_sentence_328

It is a national strategy to make tourism a major, if not the single largest, contributor to the Azerbaijani economy. Azerbaijan_sentence_329

These activities are regulated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_330

There are 63 countries which have visa-free score. Azerbaijan_sentence_331

E-visa – for a visit of foreigners of visa-required countries to the Republic of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_332

According to Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 of the World Economic Forum, Azerbaijan holds 84th place. Azerbaijan_sentence_333

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 2010 and 2016, In addition, Azerbaijan placed first (46.1%) among countries with the fastest-developing travel and tourism economies, with strong indicators for inbound international visitor spending last year. Azerbaijan_sentence_334

Transportation Azerbaijan_section_18

Main articles: Transportation in Azerbaijan and Rail transport in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_335

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_sentence_336

The transport sector in the country includes roads, railways, aviation, and maritime transport. Azerbaijan_sentence_337

Azerbaijan is also an important economic hub in the transportation of raw materials. Azerbaijan_sentence_338

The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline (BTC) became operational in May 2006 and extends more than 1,774 kilometers through the territories of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey. Azerbaijan_sentence_339

The BTC is designed to transport up to 50 million tons of crude oil annually and carries oil from the Caspian Sea oilfields to global markets. Azerbaijan_sentence_340

The South Caucasus Pipeline, also stretching through the territory of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, became operational at the end of 2006 and offers additional gas supplies to the European market from the Shah Deniz gas field. Azerbaijan_sentence_341

Shah Deniz is expected to produce up to 296 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. Azerbaijan_sentence_342

Azerbaijan also plays a major role in the EU-sponsored Silk Road Project. Azerbaijan_sentence_343

In 2002, the Azerbaijani government established the Ministry of Transport with a broad range of policy and regulatory functions. Azerbaijan_sentence_344

In the same year, the country became a member of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. Azerbaijan_sentence_345

Priorities are upgrading the transport network and improving transportation services in order to better facilitate the development of other sectors of the economy. Azerbaijan_sentence_346

The 2012 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. Azerbaijan_sentence_347

In 2010 Broad-gauge railways and electrified railways stretched for 2,918 km (1,813 mi) and 1,278 km (794 mi) respectively. Azerbaijan_sentence_348

By 2010, there were 35 airports and one heliport. Azerbaijan_sentence_349

Science and technology Azerbaijan_section_19

Main articles: Science and technology in Azerbaijan, Communications in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan National Aerospace Agency, and List of Azerbaijani inventions and discoveries Azerbaijan_sentence_350

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_351

The government estimates that profits from the information technology and communication industry will grow and become comparable to those from oil production. Azerbaijan_sentence_352

Azerbaijan has a large and steadily growing Internet sector, mostly uninfluenced by the financial crisis of 2007–2008; rapid growth is forecast for at least five more years. Azerbaijan_sentence_353

The country has also been making progress in developing its telecoms sector. Azerbaijan_sentence_354

The Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies (MCIT), as well as being an operator through its role in Aztelekom, is both a policy-maker and regulator. Azerbaijan_sentence_355

Public payphones are available for local calls and require the purchase of a token from the telephone exchange or some shops and kiosks. Azerbaijan_sentence_356

Tokens allow a call of indefinite duration. Azerbaijan_sentence_357

As of 2009, there were 1,397,000 main telephone lines and 1,485,000 internet users. Azerbaijan_sentence_358

There are four GSM providers: Azercell, , Azerfon (Nar Mobile), Nakhtel mobile network operators and one CDMA. Azerbaijan_sentence_359

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_360

The Azerbaijan National Aerospace Agency launched its first satellite AzerSat 1 into orbit on 7 February 2013 from Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana at orbital positions 46° East. Azerbaijan_sentence_361

The satellite covers Europe and a significant part of Asia and Africa and serves the transmission of TV and radio broadcasting as well as the Internet. Azerbaijan_sentence_362

The launching of a satellite into orbit is Azerbaijan's first step in realizing its goal of becoming a nation with its own space industry, capable of successfully implementing more projects in the future. Azerbaijan_sentence_363

Demographics Azerbaijan_section_20

Main article: Demographics of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_364

Further information: Ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_365

As of January 2019, 52.8% of Azerbaijan's total population of 9,981,457 is urban, with the remaining 47.2% being rural. Azerbaijan_sentence_366

50.1% of the total population is female. Azerbaijan_sentence_367

The sex ratio in the same year was 0.99 males per female. Azerbaijan_sentence_368

The 2011 population growth-rate was 0.85%, compared to 1.09% worldwide. Azerbaijan_sentence_369

A significant factor restricting population growth is a high level of migration. Azerbaijan_sentence_370

In 2011 Azerbaijan saw a migration of −1.14/1,000 people. Azerbaijan_sentence_371

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_372

Ethnic groups Azerbaijan_section_21


Ethnic composition (2009)Azerbaijan_header_cell_1_0_0
AzerbaijaniAzerbaijan_cell_1_1_0 91.6%Azerbaijan_cell_1_1_1
LezgianAzerbaijan_cell_1_2_0 2.0%Azerbaijan_cell_1_2_1
ArmenianAzerbaijan_cell_1_3_0 1.4%Azerbaijan_cell_1_3_1
RussianAzerbaijan_cell_1_4_0 1.3%Azerbaijan_cell_1_4_1
TalyshAzerbaijan_cell_1_5_0 1.7%Azerbaijan_cell_1_5_1
Other nationsAzerbaijan_cell_1_6_0 2.4%Azerbaijan_cell_1_6_1

The ethnic composition of the population according to the 2009 population census: 91.6% Azerbaijanis, 2.0% Lezgians, 1.4% Armenians (almost all Armenians live in the break-away region of Nagorno-Karabakh), 1.3% Russians, 1.3% Talysh, 0.6% Avars, 0.4% Turks, 0.3% Tatars, 0.3% Tats, 0.2% Ukrainians, 0.1% Tsakhurs, 0.1% Georgians, 0.1% Jews, 0.1% Kurds, other 0.2%. Azerbaijan_sentence_373

Urbanisation Azerbaijan_section_22

Main article: List of cities in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_374

In total, Azerbaijan has 78 cities, 63 city districts, and one special legal status city. Azerbaijan_sentence_375

These are followed by 261 urban-type settlements and 4248 villages. Azerbaijan_sentence_376

Languages Azerbaijan_section_23

Main article: Languages of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_377

The official language is Azerbaijani, which is a Turkic language. Azerbaijan_sentence_378

Azerbaijani is spoken by approximately 92% of the population as a mother tongue. Azerbaijan_sentence_379

Russian and Armenian (only in Nagorno-Karabakh) are also spoken, and each are the mother tongue of around 1.5% of the population respectively. Azerbaijan_sentence_380

There are a dozen other minority languages spoken natively in the country. Azerbaijan_sentence_381

Avar, Budukh, Georgian, Juhuri, Khinalug, Kryts, Lezgian, Rutul, Talysh, Tat, Tsakhur, and Udi are all spoken by small minorities. Azerbaijan_sentence_382

Some of these language communities are very small and their numbers are decreasing. Azerbaijan_sentence_383

Armenian was the majority language in Nagorno-Karabakh with around 76% in 1989. Azerbaijan_sentence_384

After the first Nagorno-Karabakh war, the population is almost exclusively Armenian at around 95%. Azerbaijan_sentence_385

Religion Azerbaijan_section_24

Main articles: Religion in Azerbaijan and Irreligion in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_386

Azerbaijan is considered the most secular Muslim-majority country. Azerbaijan_sentence_387

Around 97% of the population are Muslims. Azerbaijan_sentence_388

85% of the Muslims are Shia and 15% Sunni; the Republic of Azerbaijan has the second highest proportion of Shia Muslims of any country in the world. Azerbaijan_sentence_389

Other faiths are practised by the country's various ethnic groups. Azerbaijan_sentence_390

Under article 48 of its Constitution, Azerbaijan is a secular state and ensures religious freedom. Azerbaijan_sentence_391

In a 2006–2008 Gallup poll, only 21% of respondents from Azerbaijan stated that religion is an important part of their daily lives. Azerbaijan_sentence_392

Of the nation's religious minorities, the estimated 280,000 Christians (3.1%) are mostly Russian and Georgian Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic (almost all Armenians live in the break-away region of Nagorno-Karabakh). Azerbaijan_sentence_393

In 2003, there were 250 Roman Catholics. Azerbaijan_sentence_394

Other Christian denominations as of 2002 include Lutherans, Baptists and Molokans. Azerbaijan_sentence_395

There is also a small Protestant community. Azerbaijan_sentence_396

Azerbaijan also has an ancient Jewish population with a 2,000-year history; Jewish organizations estimate that 12,000 Jews remain in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_397

Azerbaijan also is home to members of the Baháʼí, Hare Krishna and Jehovah's Witnesses communities, as well as adherents of the other religious communities. Azerbaijan_sentence_398

Some religious communities have been unofficially restricted from religious freedom. Azerbaijan_sentence_399

A U.S. Azerbaijan_sentence_400 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. Azerbaijan_sentence_401

Education Azerbaijan_section_25

Main article: Education in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_402

A relatively high percentage of Azerbaijanis have obtained some form of higher education, most notably in scientific and technical subjects. Azerbaijan_sentence_403

In the Soviet era, literacy and average education levels rose dramatically from their very low starting point, despite two changes in the standard alphabet, from Perso-Arabic script to Latin in the 1920s and from Roman to Cyrillic in the 1930s. Azerbaijan_sentence_404

According to Soviet data, 100 percent of males and females (ages nine to forty-nine) were literate in 1970. Azerbaijan_sentence_405

According to the United Nations Development Program Report 2009, the literacy rate in Azerbaijan is 99.5 percent. Azerbaijan_sentence_406

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_407

Other than that the Azerbaijani system has undergone little structural change. Azerbaijan_sentence_408

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_409

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_410

Education through the ninth grade is compulsory. Azerbaijan_sentence_411

Culture Azerbaijan_section_26

Main articles: Culture of Azerbaijan and Literature of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_412

See also: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_413

The culture of Azerbaijan has developed as a result of many influences; that's why Azerbaijanis are, in many ways, bi-cultural. Azerbaijan_sentence_414

Today, national traditions are well preserved in the country despite Western influences, including globalized consumer culture. Azerbaijan_sentence_415

Some of the main elements of the Azerbaijani culture are: music, literature, folk dances and art, cuisine, architecture, cinematography and Novruz Bayram. Azerbaijan_sentence_416

The latter is derived from the traditional celebration of the New Year in the ancient Iranian religion of Zoroastrianism. Azerbaijan_sentence_417

Novruz is a family holiday. Azerbaijan_sentence_418

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_419

Azerbaijani national and traditional dresses are the Chokha and Papakhi. Azerbaijan_sentence_420

There are radio broadcasts in Russian, Georgian, Kurdish, Lezgian and Talysh languages, which are financed from the state budget. Azerbaijan_sentence_421

Some local radio stations in Balakan and Khachmaz organize broadcasts in Avar and Tat. Azerbaijan_sentence_422

In Baku several newspapers are published in Russian, Kurdish (Dengi Kurd), Lezgian (Samur) and Talysh languages. Azerbaijan_sentence_423

Jewish society "Sokhnut" publishes the newspaper Aziz. Azerbaijan_sentence_424

Music and folk dances Azerbaijan_section_27

Main articles: Music of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani dances Azerbaijan_sentence_425

Music of Azerbaijan builds on folk traditions that reach back nearly a thousand years. Azerbaijan_sentence_426

For centuries Azerbaijani music has evolved under the badge of monody, producing rhythmically diverse melodies. Azerbaijan_sentence_427

Azerbaijani music has a branchy mode system, where chromatization of major and minor scales is of great importance. Azerbaijan_sentence_428

Among national musical instruments there are 14 string instruments, eight percussion instruments and six wind instruments. Azerbaijan_sentence_429

According to The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, "in terms of ethnicity, culture and religion the Azerbaijani are musically much closer to Iran than Turkey." Azerbaijan_sentence_430

Mugham, meykhana and ashiq art are among the many musical traditions of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_431

Mugham is usually a suite with poetry and instrumental interludes. Azerbaijan_sentence_432

When performing mugham, the singers have to transform their emotions into singing and music. Azerbaijan_sentence_433

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_434

UNESCO proclaimed the Azerbaijani mugham tradition a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 7 November 2003. Azerbaijan_sentence_435

Meykhana is a kind of traditional Azerbaijani distinctive folk unaccompanied song, usually performed by several people improvising on a particular subject. Azerbaijan_sentence_436

Ashiq combines poetry, storytelling, dance, and vocal and instrumental music into a traditional performance art that stands as a symbol of Azerbaijani culture. Azerbaijan_sentence_437

It is a mystic troubadour or traveling bard who sings and plays the saz. Azerbaijan_sentence_438

This tradition has its origin in the Shamanistic beliefs of ancient Turkic peoples. Azerbaijan_sentence_439

Ashiqs' songs are semi-improvised around common bases. Azerbaijan_sentence_440

Azerbaijan's ashiq art was included in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO on 30 September 2009. Azerbaijan_sentence_441

Since the mid-1960s, 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_sentence_442

Azerbaijani pop and Azerbaijani folk music arose with the international popularity of performers like Alim Qasimov, Rashid Behbudov, Vagif Mustafazadeh, Muslim Magomayev, Shovkat Alakbarova and Rubaba Muradova. Azerbaijan_sentence_443

Azerbaijan is an enthusiastic participant in the Eurovision Song Contest. Azerbaijan_sentence_444

Azerbaijan made its debut appearance at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. Azerbaijan_sentence_445

The country's entry gained third place in 2009 and fifth the following year. Azerbaijan_sentence_446

Ell and Nikki won the first place at the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 with the song "Running Scared", entitling Azerbaijan to host the contest in 2012, in Baku. Azerbaijan_sentence_447

They have qualified for every Grand Final up until the 2018 edition of the contest, entering with X My Heart by singer Aisel. Azerbaijan_sentence_448

There are dozens of Azerbaijani folk dances. Azerbaijan_sentence_449

They are performed at formal celebrations and the dancers wear national clothes like the Chokha, which is well-preserved within the national dances. Azerbaijan_sentence_450

Most dances have a very fast rhythm. Azerbaijan_sentence_451

Literature Azerbaijan_section_28

Main article: Azerbaijani literature Azerbaijan_sentence_452

Among the medieval authors born within the territorial limits of modern Azerbaijani Republic was Persian poet and philosopher Nizami, called Ganjavi after his place of birth, Ganja, who was the author of the Khamseh ("The Quintuplet"), composed of five romantic poems, including "The Treasure of Mysteries," "Khosrow and Shīrīn," and "Leyli and Mejnūn." Azerbaijan_sentence_453

The earliest known figure in Azerbaijani literature was Izzeddin Hasanoglu, who composed a divan consisting of Persian and Turkic ghazals. Azerbaijan_sentence_454

In Persian ghazals he used his pen-name, while his Turkic ghazals were composed under his own name of Hasanoghlu. Azerbaijan_sentence_455

Classical literature in Azerbaijani was formed in the 14th century based on the various Early Middle Ages dialects of Tabriz and Shirvan. Azerbaijan_sentence_456

Among the poets of this period were Gazi Burhanaddin, Haqiqi (pen-name of Jahan-shah Qara Qoyunlu), and Habibi. Azerbaijan_sentence_457

The end of the 14th century was also the period of starting literary activity of Imadaddin Nesimi, one of the greatest Turkic Hurufi mystical poets of the late 14th and early 15th centuries and one of the most prominent early divan masters in Turkic literary history, who also composed poetry in Persian and Arabic. Azerbaijan_sentence_458

The divan and ghazal styles were further developed by poets Qasem-e Anvar, Fuzuli and Khatai (pen-name of Safavid Shah Ismail I). Azerbaijan_sentence_459

The Book of Dede Korkut consists of two manuscripts copied in the 16th century, was not written earlier than the 15th century. Azerbaijan_sentence_460

It is a collection of 12 stories reflecting the oral tradition of Oghuz nomads. Azerbaijan_sentence_461

The 16th-century poet, Muhammed Fuzuli produced his timeless philosophical and lyrical Qazals in Arabic, Persian, and Azerbaijani. Azerbaijan_sentence_462

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_463

His major works include The Divan of Ghazals and The Qasidas. Azerbaijan_sentence_464

In the same century, Azerbaijani literature further flourished with the development of Ashik (Azerbaijani: Aşıq) poetic genre of bards. Azerbaijan_sentence_465

During the same period, under the pen-name of Khatāī (Arabic: خطائی‎ for sinner) Shah Ismail I wrote about 1400 verses in Azerbaijani, which were later published as his Divan. Azerbaijan_sentence_466

A unique literary style known as qoshma (Azerbaijani: qoşma for improvization) was introduced in this period, and developed by Shah Ismail and later by his son and successor, Shah Tahmasp I. Azerbaijan_sentence_467

In the span of the 17th and 18th centuries, Fizuli's unique genres as well Ashik poetry were taken up by prominent poets and writers such as Qovsi of Tabriz, Shah Abbas Sani, , Nishat, Molla Vali Vidadi, Molla Panah Vagif, Amani, Zafar and others. Azerbaijan_sentence_468

Along with Turks, Turkmens and Uzbeks, Azerbaijanis also celebrate the Epic of Koroglu (from Azerbaijani: kor oğlu for blind man's son), a legendary folk hero. Azerbaijan_sentence_469

Several documented versions of Koroglu epic remain at the Institute for Manuscripts of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_470

Modern literature in Azerbaijan is based on the Shirvani dialect mainly, while in Iran it is based on the Tabrizi one. Azerbaijan_sentence_471

The first newspaper in Azerbaijani, Akinchi was published in 1875. Azerbaijan_sentence_472

In the mid-19th century, it was taught in the schools of Baku, Ganja, Shaki, Tbilisi, and Yerevan. Azerbaijan_sentence_473

Since 1845, it was also taught in the University of Saint Petersburg in Russia. Azerbaijan_sentence_474

Folk art Azerbaijan_section_29

Main article: Azerbaijani folk art Azerbaijan_sentence_475

Azerbaijanis have a rich and distinctive culture, a major part of which is decorative and applied art. Azerbaijan_sentence_476

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_477

Each of these types of decorative art, evidence of the endowments of the Azerbaijan nation, is very much in favor here. Azerbaijan_sentence_478

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_479

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_sentence_480

In November 2010 the Azerbaijani carpet was proclaimed a Masterpiece of Intangible Heritage by UNESCO. Azerbaijan_sentence_481

Azerbaijan has been since ancient times known as a center of a large variety of crafts. Azerbaijan_sentence_482

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_483

Archeological sites in Dashbulaq, Hasansu, Zayamchai, and Tovuzchai uncovered from the BTC pipeline have revealed early Iron Age artifacts. Azerbaijan_sentence_484

Azerbaijani carpets can be categorized under several large groups and a multitude of subgroups. Azerbaijan_sentence_485

Scientific research of the Azerbaijani carpet is connected with the name of Latif Karimov, a prominent scientist and artist. Azerbaijan_sentence_486

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_487

Cuisine Azerbaijan_section_30

Main article: Azerbaijani cuisine Azerbaijan_sentence_488

The traditional cuisine is famous for an abundance of vegetables and greens used seasonally in the dishes. Azerbaijan_sentence_489

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_490

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_491

Saffron-rice plov is the flagship food in Azerbaijan and black tea is the national beverage. Azerbaijan_sentence_492

Azerbaijanis often use traditional armudu (pear-shaped) glass as they have very strong tea culture. Azerbaijan_sentence_493

Popular traditional dishes include bozbash (lamb soup that exists in several regional varieties with the addition of different vegetables), qutab (fried turnover with a filling of greens or minced meat) and dushbara (sort of dumplings of dough filled with ground meat and flavor). Azerbaijan_sentence_494

Architecture Azerbaijan_section_31

Main article: Architecture of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_495

Azerbaijani architecture typically combines elements of East and West. Azerbaijan_sentence_496

Azerbaijiani architecture has heavy influences from Persian architecture. Azerbaijan_sentence_497

Many ancient architectural treasures such as the Maiden Tower and Palace of the Shirvanshahs in the Walled City of Baku survive in modern Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_498

Entries submitted on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list include the Ateshgah of Baku, Momine Khatun Mausoleum, Hirkan National Park, Binagadi asphalt lake, Lökbatan Mud Volcano, Shusha State Historical and Architectural Reserve, Baku Stage Mountain, Caspian Shore Defensive Constructions, Ordubad National Reserve and the Palace of Shaki Khans. Azerbaijan_sentence_499

Among other architectural treasures are Quadrangular Castle in Mardakan, Parigala in Yukhary Chardaglar, a number of bridges spanning the Aras River, and several mausoleums. Azerbaijan_sentence_500

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, little monumental architecture was created, but distinctive residences were built in Baku and elsewhere. Azerbaijan_sentence_501

Among the most recent architectural monuments, the Baku subways are noted for their lavish decor. Azerbaijan_sentence_502

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_503

Major projects such as Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, Flame Towers, Baku Crystal Hall, Baku White City and SOCAR Tower have transformed the country's skyline and promotes its contemporary identity. Azerbaijan_sentence_504

Visual art Azerbaijan_section_32

Main article: Visual arts of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_505

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_506

About 1500 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. Azerbaijan_sentence_507

Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl was convinced that people from the area went to Scandinavia in about 100 AD, took their boat building skills with them, and transmuted them into the Viking boats in Northern Europe. Azerbaijan_sentence_508

Over the centuries, Azerbaijani art has gone through many stylistic changes. Azerbaijan_sentence_509

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_510

Azerbaijani painting enjoyed preeminence in Caucasus for hundreds of years, from the Romanesque and Ottoman periods, and through the Soviet and Baroque periods, the latter two of which saw fruition in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_511

Other notable artists who fall within these periods include Sattar Bahlulzade, Togrul Narimanbekov, Tahir Salahov, Alakbar Rezaguliyev, Mirza Gadim Iravani, Mikayil Abdullayev and Boyukagha Mirzazade. Azerbaijan_sentence_512


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Cinema Azerbaijan_section_33

Main articles: Cinema of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani animation, and Television in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_513

The film industry in Azerbaijan dates back to 1898. Azerbaijan_sentence_514

In fact, Azerbaijan was among the first countries involved in cinematography. Azerbaijan_sentence_515

Therefore, it is not surprising that this apparatus soon showed up in Baku – at the start of the 20th century, this bay town on the Caspian was producing more than 50 percent of the world's supply of oil. Azerbaijan_sentence_516

Just like today, the oil industry attracted foreigners eager to invest and to work. Azerbaijan_sentence_517

In 1919, during the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, a documentary The Celebration of the Anniversary of Azerbaijani Independence was filmed on the first anniversary of Azerbaijan's independence from Russia, 27 May, and premiered in June 1919 at several theatres in Baku. Azerbaijan_sentence_518

After the Soviet power was established in 1920, Nariman Narimanov, Chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of Azerbaijan, signed a decree nationalizing Azerbaijan's cinema. Azerbaijan_sentence_519

This also influenced the creation of Azerbaijani animation. Azerbaijan_sentence_520

In 1991, after Azerbaijan gained its independence from the Soviet Union, the first Baku International Film Festival East-West was held in Baku. Azerbaijan_sentence_521

In December 2000, the former President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, signed a decree proclaiming 2 August to be the professional holiday of filmmakers of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_522

Today Azerbaijani filmmakers are again dealing with issues similar to those faced by cinematographers prior to the establishment of the Soviet Union in 1920. Azerbaijan_sentence_523

Once again, both choices of content and sponsorship of films are largely left up to the initiative of the filmmaker. Azerbaijan_sentence_524

Television Azerbaijan_section_34

Main articles: Media of Azerbaijan and Media freedom in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_525

There are three state-owned television channels: AzTV, Idman TV and Medeniyyet TV. Azerbaijan_sentence_526

There is one public channel and 6 private channels: İctimai Television, Space TV, Lider TV, Azad Azerbaijan TV, , and ARB. Azerbaijan_sentence_527

Human rights in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_section_35

Main article: Human rights in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_528

The Constitution of Azerbaijan claims to guarantee freedom of speech, but this is denied in practice. Azerbaijan_sentence_529

After several years of decline in press and media freedom, in 2014, 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 2014). Azerbaijan_sentence_530

Spurious legal charges and impunity in violence against journalists have remained the norm. Azerbaijan_sentence_531

All foreign broadcasts are banned in the country. Azerbaijan_sentence_532

According to the 2013 Freedom House Freedom of the Press report, Azerbaijan's press freedom status is "not free," and Azerbaijan ranks 177th out of 196 countries. Azerbaijan_sentence_533

Christianity is officially recognized, but in practice it is often oppressed. Azerbaijan_sentence_534

All religious communities are required to register to be allowed to meet, under the risk of imprisonment. Azerbaijan_sentence_535

This registration is often denied. Azerbaijan_sentence_536

"Racial discrimination contributes to the country’s lack of religious freedom, since many of the Christians are ethnic Armenian or Russian, rather than Azeri Muslim." Azerbaijan_sentence_537

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America are banned in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_538

Discrimination against LGBT people in Azerbaijan is widespread. Azerbaijan_sentence_539

During the last few years, three journalists were killed and several prosecuted in trials described as unfair by international human rights organizations. Azerbaijan_sentence_540

Azerbaijan had the biggest number of journalists imprisoned in Europe in 2015, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and is the 5th most censored country in the world, ahead of Iran and China. Azerbaijan_sentence_541

Some critical journalists have been arrested for their coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_542

A report by an Amnesty International researcher in October 2015 points to '...the severe deterioration of human rights in Azerbaijan over the past few years. Azerbaijan_sentence_543

Sadly Azerbaijan has been allowed to get away with unprecedented levels of repression and in the process almost wipe out its civil society'. Azerbaijan_sentence_544

Amnesty's 2015/16 annual report on the country stated ' ... persecution of political dissent continued. Azerbaijan_sentence_545

Human rights organizations remained unable to resume their work. Azerbaijan_sentence_546

At least 18 prisoners of conscience remained in detention at the end of the year. Azerbaijan_sentence_547

Reprisals against independent journalists and activists persisted both in the country and abroad, while their family members also faced harassment and arrests. Azerbaijan_sentence_548

International human rights monitors were barred and expelled from the country. Azerbaijan_sentence_549

Reports of torture and other ill-treatment persisted. Azerbaijan_sentence_550

The Guardian reported in April 2017 that "Azerbaijan's ruling elite operated a secret $2.9bn (£2.2bn) scheme to pay prominent Europeans, buy luxury goods and launder money through a network of opaque British companies .... Azerbaijan_sentence_551

Leaked data shows that the Azerbaijani leadership, accused of serial human rights abuses, systemic corruption and rigging elections, made more than 16,000 covert payments from 2012 to 2014. Azerbaijan_sentence_552

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." Azerbaijan_sentence_553

There was no suggestion that all recipients were aware of the source of the money as it arrived via a disguised route. Azerbaijan_sentence_554

Sport Azerbaijan_section_36

Main article: Sport in Azerbaijan Azerbaijan_sentence_555

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. Azerbaijan_sentence_556

Currently, the most popular sports include football and wrestling. Azerbaijan_sentence_557

Football is the most popular sport in Azerbaijan, and the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan with 9,122 registered players, is the largest sporting association in the country. Azerbaijan_sentence_558

The national football team of Azerbaijan demonstrates relatively low performance in the international arena compared to the nation football clubs. Azerbaijan_sentence_559

The most successful Azerbaijani football clubs are Neftchi Baku, Qarabağ, and Gabala. Azerbaijan_sentence_560

In 2012, Neftchi Baku became the first Azerbaijani team to advance to the group stage of a European competition, beating APOEL of Cyprus 4–2 on aggregate in the play-off round of the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League. Azerbaijan_sentence_561

In 2014, Qarabağ became the second Azerbaijani club advancing to the group stage of UEFA Europa League. Azerbaijan_sentence_562

In 2017, after beating Copenhagen 2–2(a) in the play-off round of the UEFA Champions League, Qarabağ became the first Azerbaijani club to reach the Group stage. Azerbaijan_sentence_563

Futsal is another popular sport in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan_sentence_564

The Azerbaijan national futsal team reached fourth place in the 2010 UEFA Futsal Championship, while domestic club Araz Naxçivan clinched bronze medals at the 2009–10 UEFA Futsal Cup and 2013–14 UEFA Futsal Cup. Azerbaijan_sentence_565

Azerbaijan was the main sponsor of Spanish football club Atlético de Madrid during seasons 2013/2014 and 2014/2015, a partnership that the club described should 'promote the image of Azerbaijan in the world'. Azerbaijan_sentence_566

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 2009, 2013 and 2017. Notable chess players from country's chess schools that made a great impact on the game in world, includes Teimour Radjabov, Shahriyar Mammadyarov, Vladimir Makogonov, Vugar Gashimov and former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov. Azerbaijan_sentence_567

As of 2014, country's home of Shamkir Chess a category 22 event and one of the highest rated tournaments of all time. Azerbaijan_sentence_568

Backgammon also plays a major role in Azerbaijani culture. Azerbaijan_sentence_569

The game is very popular in Azerbaijan and is widely played among the local public. Azerbaijan_sentence_570

There are also different variations of backgammon developed and analyzed by Azerbaijani experts. Azerbaijan_sentence_571

Azerbaijan Women's Volleyball Super League is one of strongest women leagues in world. Azerbaijan_sentence_572

Its women's national team came fourth at the 2005 European Championship. Azerbaijan_sentence_573

Over the last years, clubs like Rabita Baku and Azerrail Baku achieved great success at European cups. Azerbaijan_sentence_574

Azerbaijani volleyball players include likes of Valeriya Korotenko, Oksana Parkhomenko, Inessa Korkmaz, Natalya Mammadova and Alla Hasanova. Azerbaijan_sentence_575

Other Azerbaijani athletes are Namig Abdullayev, Toghrul Asgarov, Rovshan Bayramov, Sharif Sharifov, Mariya Stadnik and Farid Mansurov in wrestling, Nazim Huseynov, Elnur Mammadli, Elkhan Mammadov and Rustam Orujov in judo, Rafael Aghayev in karate, Magomedrasul Majidov and Aghasi Mammadov in boxing, Nizami Pashayev in Olympic weightlifting, Azad Asgarov in pankration, Eduard Mammadov in kickboxing, and K-1 fighter Zabit Samedov. Azerbaijan_sentence_576

Azerbaijan has a Formula One race-track, made in June 2012, and the country hosted its first Formula One Grand Prix on 19 June 2016 and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Azerbaijan_sentence_577

Other annual sporting events held in the country are the Baku Cup tennis tournament and the Tour d'Azerbaïdjan cycling race. Azerbaijan_sentence_578

Azerbaijan hosted several major sport competitions since the late 2000s, including the 2013 F1 Powerboat World Championship, 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships, 2010 European Wrestling Championships, 2009 Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships, 2014 European Taekwondo Championships, 2014 Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships, and 2016 World Chess Olympiad. Azerbaijan_sentence_579

On 8 December 2012, Baku was selected to host the 2015 European Games, the first to be held in the competition's history. Azerbaijan_sentence_580

Baku also hosted the fourth Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017, 2019 European Youth Summer Olympic Festival and it is also one of the hosts of UEFA Euro 2020. Azerbaijan_sentence_581

See also Azerbaijan_section_37


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