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Azerbaijan

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Azerbaijan

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Population: 9,165,000 (est.)

Language(s): Azerbaijani

Capital: Baku

Interesting Facts:

  • The Azerbaijani manat is the official currency of Azerbeijan.
  • The Constitution of Azerbaijan does not declare an official religion, and all major political forces in the country are secular nationalist
  • Yet approximately 93.4% of the population of Azerbaijan identifies as Muslim of whom most are Shia, although religious affiliation is still nominal in Azerbaijan and percentages for actual practicing adherents are much lower.
  • Majority of the population in Azerbaijan comprises of Azerbaijanis (90.6%). Other ethnic groups constitute Dagestanis (2.2%), Russians (1.8%), Armenians (1.5%), Taylish (1%), and Turks (0.6%).
  • Azerbaijan is the largest and most populous country in the South Caucasus region.
  • Azerbaijan became part of the USSR at the end of 1922. It declared independence from the Soviet Union on August 30, 1991.
  • The Azykh cave of Azerbaijan is believed to be one of the earliest known caves inhabited by man.
  • Azerbaijan is believed to be the birthplace of the founder of Zoroastrianism.
  • Azerbaijan was initially a Christian country, which was converted to Islam in the early eighth century.
  • Soup, often made with meat and sheep fat, is considered to be a staple of Azerbaijani cuisine.
  • Azerbaijan was the first Muslim-majority country to have operas, theater and plays.

Azerbaijan, officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. It is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south. The exclave of Nakhchivan is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, while having a short borderline with Turkey to the northwest.

Azerbaijan has an ancient and historic cultural heritage, including the distinction of being the first Muslim-majority country to have operas, theater and plays. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established in 1918, but was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920. Azerbaijan regained independence in 1991. Shortly thereafter, during the Nagorno-Karabakh War, neighboring Armenia occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, its surrounding territories and the enclaves of Karki, Yukhary Askipara, Barkhudarly and Sofulu. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which emerged in Nagorno-Karabakh, continues to be not diplomatically recognized by any nation and the region is still considered a de jure part of Azerbaijan, despite being de facto independent since the end of the war.

Azerbaijan is a unitary constitutional republic. It is one of the six independent Turkic states as well as an active member of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations. It is one of the founding members of GUAM, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. A member of the United Nations since 1992, Azerbaijan was elected to membership in the newly established Human Rights Council by the United Nations General Assembly on May 9, 2006 (the term of office began on June 19, 2006). The country is also a member of the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. Azerbaijan is a correspondent at the International Telecommunication Union and member of the Non-Aligned Movement and holds observer status in World Trade Organization.

The Constitution of Azerbaijan does not declare an official religion, and all major political forces in the country are secular nationalist, but the majority of people and some opposition movements adhere to Shia Islam. Relative to other Eastern European and CIS states, Azerbaijan has reached a high level of human development, economic development and literacy, as well as a low rate of unemployment and intentional homicide. On 1 January 2012, the country started a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

Source: Wikipedia

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