Azerbaijan is one of the three former Soviet republics located in Caucasus. The country occupies the area of 86,600 sq. km. (33,400 sq. miles), with the population exceeding 9 million. Azerbaijan is bordered by the Russian Federation, Georgia, and Iran, and is divided by the Republic of Armenia into a smaller western part in the Lesser Caucasus and a larger eastern part, bordered by the Caspian Sea in the east. The capital of the country is Baku. The map of the country is shaped somewhat like an eagle in flight with the capital city, Baku, for its head. Since the earliest times, this area has been known as "the land of flames."
The history of Azerbaijan was determined by the country's geographical position. Located on the very crossroads of Eastern and Western civilizations, it was exposed to the influence of both of them. As a part of the greatest empires in the history of human kind, Azerbaijan was the site of the most decisive events and had seen many mighty conquerors, including Haroun al-Rashid, Genghis Khan, Pompey, and Alexander the Great.
Azerbaijan was settled by the Medes before the 8th century BC and was a separate kingdom after the death of Alexander the Great. Over the centuries, however, Azerbaijan has enjoyed only brief periods of independent statehood. The country was incorporated into the Persian, Muslim Arab, Turkish Seljuk, Mongol, Ottoman, and Russian empires. Over the half of historical Azerbaijan now lies within Iran.
The modern republic is formed from the territory ceded to Russia by Persia in 1828; then, from 1922 to 1991, the territory was a part of the USSR as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. Azerbaijan declared independence on August 30, 1991, and became an independent state when the Soviet Union disbanded on December 26, 1991.
In the 8th century, Azerbaijan, based on rich reserves of oil and natural gas, became one of the first petroleum-producing regions of the world. Today, in addition to oil processing, the country has a well-developed agricultural base (with cotton as the main cash crop), a large industrial sector, and an extensive transportation network.
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR VISITORS
Azeri is the official language in Azerbaijan. Other languages widely spoken are Russian, English, Turkish.
Azeri currency - Manat
Notes in Denomination of Manat are: 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100
Foreign currency should be exchanged only in banks or official Exchange Bureaus.
Currency restrictions: The export of local currency is prohibited. All remaining local currency must be converted at the point of departure. Export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival.
09.00 - 18.00 Monday to Friday
Azeri Power Stations supply at 220 volts/A.C.
Appreciated but not compulsory. You can tip taxi drivers, waiters, hairdressers, etc. VAT and service charges are included in all bills.