|Form of government
||Republic with presidential system
|Telephone area code
The Republic of Azerbaijan (officially Azerbaijani:
Azärbaycan Respublikas) is located in the Near East on
the Caspian Sea. The southwestern Asian country has an
area of 86,600 km² and is therefore twice as large as
Denmark. It shares borders with Russia in the north,
Georgia in the northwest, Armenia in the west and Iran
in the south. To the east of the country is the Caspian
Sea, which is the largest lake on earth with an area of
The Autonomous Republic of Naxçvan (Russian:
Nakhichevan) also belongs to the territory of the
Republic as an enclave. The Nagorno-Karabakh region is
located within Azerbaijan and is used by the majority of
Armenians living there.
The landscapes of the mountainous region are divided
into the heartland, which lies in the Kura-Arax lowlands
formed by rivers. Azerbaijan also has a share in the
Caspian Caucasus, especially the eastern main and side
ridges, which rise to an altitude of 4,466 m above sea
level (the highest mountain in the country, Basardjusju).
In the south of Azerbaijan is the Little Caucasus, of
high geographic importance is the Karabakh highlands,
which are of volcanic origin. The Talysch Mountains rise
in the southern part of the country on the border with
Iran. The Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan has a share
in the highlands of Armenia. Kura and Arax are the main
rivers in the country. The Kura is the largest river in
all of the Transcaucasia. It originates in Turkey and
flows via Georgia to Azerbaijan. There it is dammed up
in the Mingetschaur reservoir to form the country's
largest inland lake with 605 km², before it flows into a
wide delta into the Caspian Sea. The Arax (also Araks or
Aras) also originates in Turkey and forms the border
with Iran. It flows into the Kura in Azerbaijan.
About half of the country is covered by mountains,
which have a decisive influence on the subtropical
climate of the region. There is a steppe and semi-desert
climate in the lowlands. Here the temperatures in July
average 27 กใ C, in January just over 0 กใ C.
Precipitation amounts between 200 and 300 mm. The
Länkäran lowlands, on the other hand, are subtropical
and humid. Here the annual precipitation increases up to
1,800 mm. In the capital Baku by the sea, the average
temperatures in January are -4 กใ C, in July 26 กใ C. The
annual rainfall in the capital is around 280 mm. The
Apscheron peninsula north of the capital has extremely
Flora and fauna
The vegetation varies according to the respective
altitude and average temperatures. In the lowlands of
Azerbaijan and the foothills there is semi-desert
vegetation, in some places desert vegetation. About 13%
of the state area is covered by forests and bushes.
Oaks, beeches, pines and chestnuts mainly grow on the
mountain slopes with more rain. The higher mountain
areas are covered by alpine meadows. The south of
Azerbaijan has evergreen vegetation. There are mainly
beech and oak forests here.
The wildlife is rich; in the lowlands it shows
gazelles, jackals and hyenas. But reptiles and rodents
are also at home here. Various deer, wild boar and brown
bears live in the mountains. European bison, chamois and
leopards also occur. The mild winters in the coastal
regions of the Caspian Sea cause numerous bird species
to live in this region, such as flamingos, swans,
pelicans, herons and sandpipers. The Caspian Sea is home
to around 850 animal species and 500 plant species. The
increasing salinization poses a threat to the existing
fish species. The waters include sturgeon, herrings and
The Turkish-speaking Azerbaijanis (also called Aseri)
make up about 90% of the population. They migrated to
what is now Azerbaijan since the 11th century and
intermingled with the Iranians and other ethnic groups
who were already living in Transcaucasia. According to COUNTRYAAH,
million Azerbaijanis live outside the state territory
(more than in the country), most of them in Iran.
Armenians and Russians make up almost 4% of the
population, some of whom have fled to Armenia and Russia
for political and social reasons. The country's largest
city is Baku with around 1.1 million residents, and
around 8.5 million people live throughout the country.
Most of them are located on the Apscheron peninsula, in
the Baku region and in the Länkäran lowlands in the
south of the country.
The Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, surrounded by
Azerbaijani territory, is an ethnic special case and is
mostly inhabited by Armenians. In contrast, the enclave
of Nakhichevan, which is surrounded by Armenia, is
mostly inhabited by Azerbaijanis.
93% of the total population are Muslims, about two
thirds Shiite and one third Sunni. A small minority is
The population growth is 1.1%. The literacy of the
population is practically extensive, the average life
expectancy is only 66 years.
The official language is Azerbaijani (Azeri). Latin
script has been binding again since 2001; the importance
of Russian is decreasing.
Azerbaijan is a republic with a presidential system.
According to the 1995 constitution (amended in 2002), it
is headed by a president elected every five years as
head of state (since 2003 Ilham Aliyev).
The legislature lies with the National Council with
125 members. The executive lies with the government,
chaired by a prime minister appointed by the President
(Ilham Aliyev, since 2003) (Artur Rasizade, from
November 1996 to August 2003 and again since November
2003). The country's most important party is the "New
Azerbaijan" presidential party.
The administration of Azerbaijan is divided into 59
districts (rayons) and eleven cities as well as the
Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan.
High structural unemployment with a low standard of
living characterize the basic economic situation in the
country - although the gross domestic product (GDP)
increased considerably until 2010, followed by
stagnation and moderate growth in 2011. The reason for
the high growth rates is the increasing production of
oil and gas and their further processing. However, there
is a lack of foreign investment in other economic
sectors, among other things due to the still uncertain
situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. The country's main
problem remains the transition from a planned
Soviet-style economy to a market economy; corruption is
It is estimated that 6% of the gross domestic product
is generated by agriculture, the industry provides 67%,
the service sector 27%.
About 50% of the country's area consists of arable
land, which, however, mostly has to be additionally
irrigated. The main crops are wine, tobacco, vegetables,
cotton, wheat and rice. Tea and citrus fruits are grown
in the Länkäran lowlands. Silkworm farming has a long
tradition, based on large mulberry crops. In addition to
agriculture, animal husbandry (mainly sheep, goats and
cattle) is also common. The animals graze in the
lowlands in winter and in mountain areas in summer.
Oil production in the Baku area began at the end of
the 19th century. The high quality of the oil makes the
raw material a valuable export item today. Other mineral
resources are also mined in the country. The most
important are iron and copper ores, rock salt, alunite
and sulfur gravel. The majority of industrial companies
belong to heavy industry: there are iron, steel and
aluminum plants. Bartering with the former Soviet
republics has decreased in recent years, while political
and economic relations with Iran and the EU have
The international airport is located near the
capital, Baku, which is also the most important (inland)
The currency of Azerbaijan is the manat (= 100