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The new generation [ go to first page of report ]

Geography -History - Tourism

Country Fact File

Land Area: 86,600 sq km
Population: 7,830,764 (July 2003 est.)
Population Growth Rate: 0.44% (2003 est.)
Capital: Bak

Nature and climate

The modern appearance of the territory of Azerbaijan with its high mountains, volcanic plateaus, deep mountain canyons and river valleys, plains and coasts, complex of various minerals was formed over several hundred millions of years of geologic history. Diverse and many-tiered, quaintly divided landscape of modern Azerbaijan has been formed.
Azerbaijan is called mountain country. Geo -morphological units are formed by the peaks of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, and the Talish Mountains, which surround the Kur-Araz lowland. The average height of the territory of the Republic is 657 meters, however, while Caspian lowland is below the ocean level by 26 meters, the highest mountain of the Republic is Bazarduzu that reaches 4466 meters. The alpine mountain chains of the Greater Caucasus descend in the southeastern direction of the peninsula and go to the Caspian seabed as the underwater chain. This area has the largest amount of the mud volcanoes in the world - over 250.

The mountains of the Lesser Caucasus are less high and consist of numerous mountain chains and the volcanic Garabag plateau with the cones of the extinct volcanoes. The highest mountain is Gapijik (3906 m).

The narrow Samur-Devechi lowland enclosing the Absheron peninsula, lies along the Caspian Sea coast. The lowland part of the Shirvan steppe is located to the east of Goychay River at the foothill of the southern mountainside of Caucasian chain. The Lankaran zone takes the southeastern part of Azerbaijan. As to the landscape, it is divided into two parts - offshore line forms up Lankaran lowland and Talish Mountains rise in the southwestern part. The border with Iran passes through the highest mountain range. The highest peak of the Talish inside Azerbaijan is Kuzyurdu Mountain, which height is 2436 m.

Mud volcanoes

Mud volcanoes are a unique phenomenon in the territory of Azerbaijan. The majority of these volcanoes erupt a mixture of mud, water and gas almost uninterruptedly. The real sight is the eruption of the mud volcanoes which is accompanied with the spreading of the mudflow, throwing the tongues of flame, ash and stones. Mud volcanoes might also be continental and offshore. Nearly 400 among 800 mud volcanoes in our planet are in Azerbaijan. There is no territory in the world similar to Azerbaijan by number of the volcanoes, their variety and activity. That is why, Azerbaijan is considered the Motherland of mud volcanoes. Some of volcanoes are in the list of UNESCO sites as specially kept monuments of nature. The largest mud volcanoes in Caucasus and world is Taragay - over 410 m located in the south of Gobustan. There is also a unique volcano in the world - Goturdag volcano, where constant eruption has been taking place for many years.

Water resources

The Caspian Sea-Lake is a unique reservoir of the planet, the remains of the ancient ocean "Tesis" covering the whole Caucasus in the old ages. It is called a sea due to its territory area and number of the hydrologic specifications. It washes coasts of five states - the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan. More than 70 names of the Caspian Sea are known: Khazar (name of the Turkic tribes), Caspian, Khavilnsky, Baku, Gurgan, Darband etc. The Caspian has features of both a sea and a lake. Sea features are as follows: huge area and water volume, strong storm action, chemical hydrology similar to a sea. Lake features: surrounded by land, distance to the closest ocean is over 1000 km. In winter the sea is not calm, often storms are observed here.

The level of the Sea over the whole history of the Caspian has varied considerably. It increased from- 29,0 m in 1978 to- 26,5 m in 1995 for 18 years. At present, it is 27 m below the level of the World Ocean.

The current Caspian is of great importance for Azerbaijan. It softens climate, serves as the important transport mean, is rich with oil and fish, supports sanatoriums, health resorts, that are built on the coast.

Let's pay attention to the physical map of Azerbaijan. A rich river net of the Republic covers its territory with a blue web. Almost seven and a half thousand rivers exist, small and non-deep as rule, they do not exceed the length of five kilometers. However, the main water artery of the country is the Kur with the inflow on the right - Araz crosses the whole Republic. Kur is also called indomitable river. There are many small lakes, wonderful of which is Goy-gol ("Blue lake") is high in the mountains.

The territory of the Republic is rich with underwater, thermal and mineral springs. Herbal features of "Sirab", "Istisu", "Badamli" are popular far from Azerbaijan.

Occupying a considerably small territory, Azerbaijan has unique natural-climate features. Nine of 11 climatic zones of our planet are in the territory of Azerbaijan: from subtropics to Alpine mountains.
Climate conditions are multifarious. This is provided by the allocation of the territory at the turn of temperate zone and subtropics. That is why the annual difference of the temperatures in various regions of the republic might exceed 60 degrees centigrade.

It is not a coincidence that Azerbaijan is named "sunny country", because the amount of sunshine reaches 2900 hours a year. Sunny radiation has an impact on the formation of the climate of the Republic: from dry subtropics to temperature and cold zone. If mountainous citizens may walk in boots and sheepskin coats in spring, local fashionable women actively demonstrate the open clothes in the fresh air in the coastal fields.

Often winds also have an impact on the climate. The spped of the northern "khazri" winds sometimes reaches forty meters a second, which damages a lot of fields of the economy. However, it brings desired coolness in summer. Southern "gilavar" in winter promotes to the clear weather, in summer - dry and hot weather.

Precipitations are divided rather unevenly. Less than 200 mm of precipitations are in the southern coast of Absheron peninsula, in the southeastern Shirvan and southeastern Gobustan (foothills of Great Caucasus), in Lankaran region - 1200 -1400 mm (sometimes up to 1700 - 1800 mm). Most rainfall appears in the cold season in Lankaran region, in the remaining regions and foothills - from April to September.

All four seasons of the year might be observed in Azerbaijan simultaneously, such that, the magnificent plants of the damp subtropics neighbor with the zone of eternal snow and ice of Shahdag and Murovdag while the forests are filled with the spring aroma in Ismayilli, Lachin, kalbajar. Contrast this with the hot Mil, Mugan and Shirvan steppes and fog with rain over the tea and citrus plantations in the foothills of Talish and the gusty nord - khazri winds in Absheron.

The Azerbaijan intend to sun themselves in numerous Absheron beaches in summer months - from May to September, have enough swimming in the warm gentle Caspian waters.

Neither plentiful nor long snowfalls are characterized for the local winters.

Treasures of the soil

Azerbaijan is a of oil and Azeri oil is highly valued in the world market by its characteristics. 47 thousand sq. km out of the total area of the country (86.6 thousand sq. km) area oil and territories. Specialists say that underground fields in the territory of the republic total to no less than three billion tons of oil. Such potential attracts attention of the leading oil companies of the world. Azeri oilmen have been cooperating with number of foreign companies in the framework of the realized project since 1994.

Azerbaijan owns huge mineral-raw sources of 340 nomenclatures. So, base of minerals and raw materials on 28 kinds of the minerals in 1991 was esteemed at 36.6 billion US dollars.

Fauna and flora

15 preserves and 20 reserves have been established with the purpose of defense of planting and animals.
The largest preserves of Azerbaijan are Zagatala and Gizilgaj, which united the various reps of the animals of the republic in their territories. Ducks and sea gulls neighbor here with the herons, cormorants, pelicans, and have "guests" in summer, such as flamingo. The gulf near the mouth of the Kur serves as a rich spawning ground for 16 valuable fish species, and his home to up to 200 species of birds. A lot of Amphibians and creepers are characterized for the coastal zone.
The main surviving inhabitant of Shirvan preserve is the deer like Jeyran. You may see the herds and lone animals, little jeyrans with their mothers here. Sultan birds, bustard, little bustard, marble teal, spoon-bill are rare and disappearing species of the birds listed in the Red Book and can be see only on this depended territory.

In order to see the living monuments of history, you should go to one of the must wonderful places of Azerbaijan - Girkan preserve. A relic grove of the lignum vitae and chestnut-leaf oak, which impress with their power and magnificence, is here. Local citizens consider the lignum vitae as sacred. As the people say, if you embrace a tree before sunset and dream a wish, it will definitely come true. Dappled deer, Talish pheasant are also decoration of these places.

Goy-gol preserve is engaged in the defense and study of typical landscapes and fauna of Lesser Caucasus, re-acclimatization of the noble deer, provision for the cleaning of the water of one of the most beautiful lakes of the world - Goygol as a source of the drinking water.

31 species of trees among 107 existing in the territory of Azerbaijan are in Ilisu preserve. Mainly, these are oak, hornbeam, and beech. Ash-tree, maple, nut-tree, willow, as well as wild-growing fruit trees - apple-tree, pear, sweet cherry. Dog rose, blackberry etc. are among the bushes. Particularly valuable species (relic and endemic) are the following: bear filbert, Caucasian persimmon, chestnut, Azeri dog rose etc. Animals are represented by 35 species. Bear can be seen quite often. Deer, Dagestan goat, boar, wolf, fox, squirrel, badger, raccoon, hare, hedgehog etc. are also widely spread.

Dagestan goats, Asia Minor moufflons, marals, Caucasian charnoises and roe deer, in the semi-deserts - jeyrans, foxes and jackals can be seen in the foothill regions. Hens, lynxes, porcupines, leopards and panthers are widely spread here. In autumn months, when the nuts and oak cones are ripened, the "feast" of the boars and bears start in the forests.

Besides the oak, beech and hornbeam are also growing here and Kur banks are covered with so-called Tugay forests. Rare species of the trees grow in the foothills of the Talish mountains: box tree, silk acacia, lignum vitae, dzelkwa and yew. There is expanse of sub-Alpine and Alpine meadows high in the mountains. There are over 4000 species of plants in Azerbaijan, among of which there are herbal greens and bushes.

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