|Road network length||18,893 km|
|Length of highway network||935 km|
|License plate code||AZ|
Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan) is a country on the border of Europe and Asia. It is located on the Caspian Sea in the Eastern Caucasus and has 10 million inhabitants on an area more than twice the size of the Netherlands. The capital is Baku.
According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Azerbaijan is located in the Caucasus and on the Caspian Sea. The country borders Russia to the north, Georgia, Armenia to the west, Turkey for a very short time and Iran to the south. The exclave of Naxçıvan (Nakhchivan) belongs to Azerbaijan and is sandwiched between Armenia, Iran and Turkey. The west of Azerbaijan is partly formed by the de facto independent country of Artsakh (formerly: Nagorno-Karabakh). Azerbaijan measures a maximum of 380 kilometers from north to south and 420 kilometers from west to east.
The country is dominated by the Greater Caucasus in the north and the Lesser Caucasus in the south, interspersed with a large valley where most people live. The Greater Caucasus has several peaks over 4,000 meters, of which the 4,467 meter high Bazardüzü is the highest point in the country. The largest river in Azerbaijan is the Kür, its main tributary is the Aras, both rivers originate in Turkey.
The Azerbaijani landscape is very diverse, ranging from highlands, high mountains, steppe, semi-desert, cultivated polders and forests. Although Azerbaijan has a long coastline on the Caspian Sea, significant parts of the coast are industrialized for the oil industry and few parts are suitable for tourism.
Azerbaijan has a rather varied climate, from subtropical in the southeast to arid in the east and north and more temperate highland climate in the west. The country has hot summers and fairly cold winters. The average maximum temperature in Baku ranges from 7°C in January to 31°C in July. Precipitation varies greatly, from just 200mm per year around Baku to around 1,700mm in the west.
The population of Azerbaijan grew from approximately 2 million around 1900 to almost 10 million in 2020. See Azerbaijan population density. The population growth in Azerbaijan is considerably higher than elsewhere in the Caucasus. About half of Azeris live in cities, the rest in the countryside.
By far the largest city in Azerbaijan is the capital Baku, located on the Caspian Sea and has 2.3 million inhabitants. The second city is Ganja (Gəncə) inland. The main port is in Sumqayıt, the country’s third largest city. There are a total of 10 cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants.
The country is inhabited by Azeris, a Turkish people who also live in neighboring Iran. They make up more than 90% of the population. Other groups are much smaller, making up 1-2% each, such as the Lezgienen in the north, the Armenians in the west and Talysh in the south. Russians also live in the cities.
Azerbaijan is spoken in Azerbaijan, a Turkic language written in a modified Latin script. Russian is spoken on a very small scale as a mother tongue, as is Armenian in the west. Russian and English are spoken as foreign languages.
The economy, as well as government revenues, of Azerbaijan is largely based on oil and gas which is exploited in large quantities. As a result, Azerbaijan has been able to improve its infrastructure more than the other Caucasus countries. GDP in Azerbaijan has grown strongly since the 1990s, with per capita income growing from 9% of the US average in 1995 to 32% in 2010. However, income inequality is relatively small for a country so heavily oil-oriented. Agriculture plays an important role in the central part of Azerbaijan, more than half of the land area is cultivated with agriculture.
From the Middle Ages, the area was often under the rule of Iranian dynasties. The area was at the forefront of conflicts between the Russian Empire and the Persian Empire. From 1813 the area came under Russian administration. The Aras River often formed the border between the Russian Empire and Persia. After the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1918, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was proclaimed. This was the first democratic country in the Islamic world. The independent country existed for less than two years, in 1920 it was annexed as part of the Soviet Union. In 1921, the Republic of the Aras was annexed to Azerbaijan, which coincides with the present-day autonomous region of Nakhchivan (Naxçıvan). Then there was talk of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan.
During World War II, Azerbaijan played a crucial role for the Russian army, 80% of the oil for the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front was supplied from Azerbaijan. One of the spearheads of the German invasion was also the occupation of the oil fields around Baku. The city was never reached by them. In the late 1980s, a conflict broke out between Armenians and Azeris in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union on October 18, 1991, which soon ceased to exist. This did not end the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and resulted in a large-scale war. At the end of the war in 1994, Armenia controlled about 20% of Azerbaijani territory. During the 1990s, most Russians and Armenians left the country. Since independence, Azerbaijan has been described as a dictatorship, governed by Heydar Aliyev between 1993 and 2003. That year, he was succeeded by his son Ilham Aliyev as president. In 2020, Azerbaijan managed to conquer a large part of Nagorno-Karabakh.