Azerbaijan is the amalgamation of a nascent nation with the antiquity that dates back for millennia. A country where modernity and tradition have always intertwined in a seamless manner and this new nation is forging ahead leaving behind all the ruins and memories of the war torn pre-Soviet era. With a sanguine spirit boosted by the oil industry, the country is once again emerging on its own to claims its rightful place in the geopolitical world map. Azerbaijan has witnessed a history of exodus of people that include the Turkic tribe, Shiite Muslims with Persian origins, and the Russian dominion. The 19th century marked the dawn of modernization and development of the oil industry that the Soviet Union exploited during its rule. The 19th century also saw national awakening that led to a brief independence in 1918 which was ended by the invasion of the Red Army in 1920. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Azerbaijan became the first country to have declared independence. Independence was short-lived euphoria for the young nation as a war on Nagorno-Karabakh broke behind the past is prudent recourse people have taken for constructing a great nation. Check out some of the interesting facts about the amazing country in the write-up below.
Largest City: Baku
Official Language: Azerbaijani
Religion: Shia branch of Islam
Legislature: Presidential Republic
Independence: Declared: 30 August 1991
Completed: 18 October 1991
Area: 86,600 sq.km
Population: 9,165,000 (2011 estimates)
Currency: Manat (AZN)
National Animal: Karabakh horse
28 Interesting Facts about Azerbaijan
1. Azerbaijan is home to the first known fireplace and one of the ancient proto-human habitations in the human history that date back 700,000 to 500,000 years ago. The Azikh Cave, which is also the largest cave in Azerbaijan covering eight thousand square meters, is one of the proto-human sites in Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, it should be mentioned, that now it is under occupation of Armenia.
2. There is a beautiful Khan's Palace in Shaki, one might chance upon a man named Jumay who sits beside a covered object. Upon coming closer, Jumay will unravel the stuffed head of a wolf. When a tourist offers a donation the eyes of the wolf lights up brightly.
3. The Gobustan Nature Park has got thousands of rock paintings that give a peek into the lives of the pre-historic inhabitants of Azerbaijan.
4. Nature of Azerbaijan - is unique, there are 9 out of 11 of the world's climate zones.
5. By the number of mud volcanoes, Azerbaijan ranks first in the world. There are about 350 out of 800 mud volcanoes, in Azerbaijan.
6. Carpet type "Zeyva" Guba-Shirvan school of carpet weaving is inscribed in the painting "Madonna of the Canon Van der Pale" by Jan van Eyck (XV).
7. The average temperature of Baku and the average temperature of the globe agree to tenths of.
8. Azerbaijan is also referred to as "the land of fire" which may be due to the large deposits of oil in the land that might have ignited from time to time.
9. The Absheron peninsula in Azerbaijan has the rare geological wonder of Burning Mountain, where due to natural gas, the mountains burn throughout the year regardless the weather conditions.
10. Famous Norwegian explorer, archaeologist and anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl claimed that one of the peoples of Azerbaijan, Udis (udinler) were the ancestors of the Scandinavians, migrated to Scandinavia in the VI - VII th century ad. In the last two decades of his life he made several trips to Azerbaijan and visited the church in Kish village of Shaki District.
11. Azerbaijan Democratic Republic is the first Muslim country where women were enfranchised.
12. Azerbaijan became part of the USSR in 1922. It declared independence from the Soviet Union on August 30, 1991.
13. Soviet Russia in 1924 carved out the Autnomous Province of Nagorno-Karabakh that comprised of the main population of the ethnic Armenians. The region was within Azerbaijan but ever since the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 1994, it has remained under the Armenian control.
14. 20% Azerbaijan's territory is under the Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.
15. Azerbaijan is the largest and most populous country in the South Caucasus region.
16. The world's first oil well was drilled in Bibi-Heybat (Absheron peninsula), Baku during 1847-1848 by Vasiliy Semyonov. The depth of the well was 21m.
17. The industrial settlement of "Neft Dashlari", which means oil rocks, is the first and the largest town on stilts that was constructed on the Caspian Sea. The construction commenced in 1947 and was built in phase. So it is on the list the Guinness Book as the oldest offshore oil platforms.
18. At the beginning of the 20th century in Baku was mined 50% of world oil production and, during World War II Baku fuel supplied all the Soviet army, providing up to 85% of its needs.
19. Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, launched the first in the Soviet Union train.
20. 12% of known worldwide Nobel Prize consists of capital earned by Alfred Nobel from the Azerbaijan's oil industry.
21. Tovuz and Goygol districts were founded by Germans in 1819 and before they were called: Traubenfeld and Elenendorf. In some parts of these districts still exhibits Western European atmosphere.
22. On a golden plate "Voyager" released into space in 1977, recorded a lot of songs of the peoples of the world, as a message to extraterrestrial civilizations. From the Soviet Union on this disc recorded samples of Azerbaijani mugham and Georgian choir.
23. The first opera - "Leyli and Majnun" (January, 1908) and the first ballet - "Maiden Tower" (April, 1940) in the Muslim and East world were staged in Baku, Azerbaijan.
24. Baku Museum of Miniature Books - the world's only museum of miniature books, located in the old city of Baku, known as "Old City". It began to function on April 2, 2002. The exhibits in the museum were collected by the sister of the prominent Azerbaijani, Soviet and Russian artist-painter Tahir Salahov, Zarifa Salakhova for nearly 30 years. Her personal collection consists of 6,500 books from 64 countries. The museum is on the list the Guinness Book as the first private museum of miniature books, and as the largest collection of miniature books in the world.
25. The 1,768 kilometer long Baku-Tbilisi-Jeyhan pipeline that was opened in 2006 brings crude oil from the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey's port on the Mediterranean coast.
26. On January 1st 2012, Azerbaijan was selected to be the non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the first time. It was a great success of our diplomacy.
27. In May 2011, Azerbaijan won the Eurovision Song Contest and in May 2012, Eurovision Song Contest was held in Baku, Azerbaijan.
28. The First in the history European Olympic Games - Baku 2015 were held in Baku, Azerbaijan on June 12-28, and featured almost 6,000 athletes from 50 countries competing in 20 sports.
04 August, 2015
Azerbaijan University of Languages
International Relations and Area Studies / American Studies