Ermak Travel Guide

 

The World at your fingertips 

 

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan Destinations Travel Guide

 

 

 

Flag of Azerbaijan

Language: Azerbaijani

Currency: Manat (AZN)

Calling Code: 994

 

 

 

Azerbaijan - officially the Republic of Azerbaijan to differentiate it from Iranian Azerbaijan - is the largest sovereign country in the Caucasus region, located between Western Asia and Eastern Europe, bounded on the east by the Caspian Sea, north with Russia, northwest with Georgia, west with Armenia and south with Iran. The exclave of Nakhichevan borders Armenia to the north and east, with Iran to the south and west and shares a small border with Turkey to the northwest.

Azerbaijan has a historical and ancient cultural heritage. In addition to being the first Muslim-majority country to have operas, theaters and plays, it is one of the Muslim countries with the greatest support for secularism and religious tolerance. In 1918 the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan was established, the first secular and democratic republic in the Islamic world, but it became part of the Soviet Union from 1920 until its independence in 1991. Shortly after, during the Nagorno-Karabakh War, Armenia occupied the Nagorno-Karabakh region as well as other surrounding territories and enclaves previously in Azerbaijani control. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which emerged in the region, continues without the diplomatic recognition of any nation and is still considered de jure as part of Azerbaijan, despite being de facto independent since the end of the war.

Azerbaijan is a constitutionalist, secular and unitary 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 also has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and is a member of 38 international organizations. Country is one of the founding members of GUAM and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). On May 9, 2006, Azerbaijan was elected to the newly created Human Rights Council by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

After gaining independence, Azerbaijan achieved a high level of human, economic and literacy development, as well as low levels of unemployment and homicide compared to other CIS countries and Eastern Europe. On January 1, 2012, the country began its two-year term as a non-permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations. In 2015, the country joined the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries (FPEG) as an observer member.

 

Travel Destinations in Azerbaijan

 

Baku

Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, is famous for newly built modern buildings as well as majestic medieval architecture that defines this beautiful city.

Gobustan Petroglyphs

Gobustan region of 'edge of the ravine' as it is translate is famous for its prehistoric rock art, numerous caves and ancient burials.

Göygöl National Park

Göygöl National Park is a nature reserve in the Goygol Rayon of Azerbaijan. The reserve covers an area of 12,755 hectares (127.55 km2).

Shirvan National Park

Shirvan National Park is a nature reserve that is located in the Salyan Rayon and Neftçala Rayon of Azerbaijan. Nature reserve covers an area of 544 km2.

Zangezur National Park

Zangezur National Park is situated in Ordubad Rayon of Azerbaijan. It covers an area of 12,131 hectares (121.31 km2).

     

 

 

 

 

History

Favorable natural and geographical conditions have allowed people to settle here since ancient times. Thus, the herd society of primitive man encompassed a huge period of the Stone Age, more precisely - more than 1.5 million years. Most of the sites of ancient people were found in Karabakh, Kazakh and Nakhichevan. In Karabakh, valuable finds have been discovered in the caves of Azykh, Taglar and Zar. In the Kazakh region, in the caves of Dashsalahly and Damdzhyly, as well as at the Shishguzey and Kekilli sites, tools and other material remains were discovered. The sites of Stone Age people are also identified in the Talysh zone.

Ancient history
In ancient centuries, Caucasian Albans lived in the greater territory of the present Azerbaijan Republic, spoke the languages ​​of the Lezgi branch and Iranian-speaking Medes in the territory of Nakhichevan. According to anthropological data, the Caucasian Albans belonged to the Caucasian type of the Caucasian race. Azerbaijanis, Kumyks and tsakhurs belong to the Caspian type of the Caucasian race. The Albanian class society apparently did not take shape earlier than the end of the second century BC e. Previously, some scholars believe they were subordinate to the Achaemenid satrap of Medes, and with the fall of the Achaemenid state, to the kings of Atropatena (mainly in Iranian Azerbaijan, partly in Azerbaijan). At the beginning of the II century. BC e. the entire western part of present-day Azerbaijan, south of the Kura River before it merged with Araks, inhabited by various Albanian tribes, was conquered by Great Armenia. At the end of II century. BC e., and according to other opinions in the middle of I in the Albanian tribes created their kingdom. Strabo at the beginning of the 1st century n e. reported that the Albanians are divided into 26 tribes, which speak their own dialects and therefore "do not easily enter into relations with each other," and that a single king has appeared in them recently, whereas earlier each tribe was ruled by its own king. According to the prevailing theory, the right bank of the Kura (Artsakh and Utik provinces) moved away from Armenia to the vassal from Persia to Albania as a result of the division of the first in 387 AD. e.

In the Caspian region, the Middle Meidic language was spread, the ancestor of the modern Talysh language, although according to the evidence of Arab geographers and historians of that era, such as Istakhri, Ibn-Haukal, Mukaddasi and others, the Albanian language continued to be used in the capital, the city of Barda in the X century, but then mentions disappear about him. The same Arab sources report that Armenians lived behind Barda and Shamkur (in Nagorno-Karabakh). The Albanian kingdom was dependent on the Persian Sassanids, who liquidated it in 457, but subsequently the Albanians managed to restore relative independence. In the 7th century, Albania was conquered by the Arabs. Ethnicly motivated population of the left-bank (north of the Kura) Albania at this time is increasingly shifting to the Persian language. This mainly applies to the cities of Arran and Shirvan, as they became in the 9th-10th centuries. Two main areas on the territory of present Azerbaijan are called. As for the rural population, it seems that it basically retained for a long time its old languages, akin to modern Dagestan, primarily Lezgi.

Middle Ages
In the middle of the VII century, the territory of Caucasian Albania was invaded by the army of the Arab Caliphate. During the resistance, the prominent Albanian military leader Javanshire, the head of the feudal estate Gardman, who became the ruler of Albania, became famous. Only at the beginning of the VIII century, having broken the resistance of the masses of the people, did the Arab caliphate conquer the territory of Albania, like the rest of Transcaucasia. In the IX century, an uprising of Iranian Hurramites led by Babek flares up against the Arabs. According to Masudi and Fichrist Ibn al-Nadim, at the peak of his fame Babek’s power extended in the south to Ardabil and Marand, in the east to the Caspian Sea and the city of Shemakha in Shirvan, in the north to the Mugan steppe and the banks of the Araks river, and in the west to the areas of Julfa, Nakhichevan and Maranda.

With the weakening of the Arab caliphate in Transcaucasia in the 9th-10th centuries, a new political upsurge began: the Shirvanshahs were created on the territory of modern Azerbaijan (existed until 1538), later the Sheddadids (970-1075, the Ganja Emirate), partially covered the Armenian kingdom of the Bagratids (885 —1045), as well as the emirates of the Iranian Islamic dynasties of the Salarids (941–981) and the Rabadids (981–1054). After the fall of the united Armenian kingdom, the Armenian Tashir-Dzoragetsky kingdom and the Khachen principality (in Nagorno-Karabakh) retained their independence in the west of modern Azerbaijan.

 

Under the auspices of the Muslim dynasties that ruled in Arran and Shirvan, the process of Islamization of the local population was fairly intensive. However, up to the XI-XII centuries. most of the population of Shirvan and Arran did not accept Islam.

Since the end of the XII century, the troops of the strengthened Georgian kingdom under the leadership of the Armenian princely family of Zakaryans and with the support of the local Armenian population have liberated Eastern Armenia from the power of the Seljuk Turks. The Armenian principality of Zakaryans (including the Kura and Araks interfluve — the west of present-day Azerbaijan), under the sovereignty of Georgia, existed until the Mongol invasion in the middle of the 13th century.

In 1136, with the collapse of the Seljuk empire, the State of Ildehyzids arose, with its capital in Tabriz, Ardabil and Nakhichevan. The Atabeks united under their authority the main part of Iranian Azerbaijan and parts of the present Azerbaijan Republic. Until 1194, they were considered as vassals of the Western Seljuk (Iraqi) sultans. This state fell at the hands of Khorezmshah Jalaleddin in 1225, who himself became a victim of the Mongol invasion of Khorezm, Iran and Transcaucasia.

The penetration of the Oghuz Turks into Eastern Transcaucasia led to the Turkization of a significant part of the local population and laid the foundation for the formation of a Turkic-speaking Azerbaijani nation in the 11th – 13th centuries. In the process of ethnogenesis of Azerbaijanis, Iranian peoples participated. The process of the formation of the Azerbaijani ethnos basically ended by the end of the 15th century, however, the ethnic border between the Turks and Azerbaijanis was established only in the 16th century, and even then it has not yet been finally determined. A number of scholars note the adoption of Shiism (XVI century) during the Safavid rule as the final factor in the formation of the Azerbaijani people.

At the beginning of the XIII century, the region was conquered by the Mongols. In the middle of the XIII century, the Mongol empire of the Hulaguids was formed, which had Iranian Azerbaijan with its main base and the capital in Tabriz.

After the fall of the Hulaguids' empire, on its possessions, stretching from Derbent to Baghdad, the Oguz-Turk states of Kara-Koyunlu and Ak-Koyunlu appeared, which fought with each other. These tribal confederations were pushed back from Central Asia to Front Asia by the Mongol invasion. By 1410, Kara-Koyunlu established its authority over most of Transcaucasia, northwestern Iran and most of Arab Iraq.

Throughout the 15th century, the historical region and the state of Shirvan (where the city of Baku is located) remained relatively independent. This area, as well as the small principality of Sheki in the northwest of Shirvan, were rich. In 1461, power in the region passed to Ak-Koyunlu. In the mid-15th century, a war broke out between Ak-Koyunlu and the Ottoman Empire. Attempts were made to create an anti-Ottoman coalition, which would include the Georgian kingdoms, the Trebizond Empire, and even some European states. But in 1461, the Ottomans liquidated the Trebizond Empire, and in 1473 under Terjan defeated the troops of the ruler Ak-Koyunlu Uzun-Hasan.

New time
At the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries a new period began in the history of Azerbaijan. Shah Ismail I of the Safavid dynasty managed to unite under his rule all of Transcaucasia and the Iranian province of Azerbaijan (south of the Araks River) and later all of Iran. Ismail's allies in the fight against the Turks were England and Portugal. However, the defeat at the battle of Chaldyran in 1514 was a powerful blow to his empire. These wars went under the banner of the struggle of Shiism and Sunnism and went down in history under the name Turkish-Persian (Ottoman-Safavid) wars.

In the XVII-XVIII centuries, Armenian meliks of Khamsa existed on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. They were formed at the direction of the Safavid shahs and were under the control of Armenian feudal clans.

Kyzylbashi and the Ottomans fought intermittently for about four hundred years. At the end of the 16th century, the Safavid empire weakened from permanent wars with the Ottomans, and as a result, the entire territory of modern Azerbaijan was conquered by them. Ottoman rule in Arran and Azerbaijan lasted 20 years. The heir to the Safavids and great-grandson of Shah Ismail I Shah Abbas I decided to free the country from the conquerors. Shah Abbas for a short time formed a regular army, defeated the Turks, having restored almost completely the Safavid empire at the beginning of the 17th century. Although the restored Safavid state took on a Persian appearance, the Azerbaijani language continued to be the language of the court and the army.

 

At the beginning of the XVIII century, the Safavid empire again weakened, and the whole of Azerbaijan with Iran was again conquered by the Turks. The new Ottoman occupation lasted only 6 years. Against the Ottomans, this time came from a Afshar tribe, one of the sub-ethnic groups of Iranian Azerbaijanis, commander Nadir Kuli Khan Afshar, later Nadir Shah, who put an end to the rule of the Safavid dynasty.

Nadir Shah, who came to power after the fall of the Safavid state, drove out the Ottoman Turks and further expanded its subordinate territories, conquering Northern India in 1739, including Delhi. However, after the death of Nadir Shah, the empire he ruled broke up. Even under Nadir Shah, numerous khanates and sultanates were formed in Transcaucasia and Iranian Azerbaijan (mainly led by Azerbaijani Turkic-speaking dynasties), which sought independence. During the time of the weak Zend dynasty, they were practically independent, but by the beginning of the 19th century, Iran was again united by the leader of the Turkic tribe of the Khajars, Aga-Mohammed Khan. The khanates of Iranian Azerbaijan were annexed by Kajar Iran, the khanates of Transcaucasia managed to maintain their independence, two of them, the Cuban and Karabakh, subjugated most of the other khanates. In 1796, Russian troops invaded Eastern Transcaucasia, taking Baku and Talysh, but quickly withdrawn; Baku was again taken in 1806 during the new Russian-Persian war.

According to the Gulistan (1813) and Turkmanchay (1828) treaties that completed the Russian-Persian wars, the Persian shah ceded the territory of present Azerbaijan to Russia. The Russian Empire created a curfew management system. Former khanates and sultanates were transformed into counties and provinces. In this territory, the Baku, Guba, Sheki, Shirvan, Karabakh, and Lankaran provinces, Elizavetpol and Jar-Balaken districts, Kazakh and Shamshadil distances were created. Provincial and city courts were established. In 1829, a committee was established to determine the rights and obligations of the Muslim clergy.

Latest time
Until 1918, Azerbaijanis did not have their own statehood, and unlike neighboring Georgians and Armenians, who considered themselves to be the successors of a centuries-old national tradition, the Muslims of Transcaucasia saw themselves as an integral part of the great Muslim world, the Ummah.

In May 1918, in connection with the revolutionary events in Transcaucasia, three independent states were proclaimed: the Georgian Democratic Republic, the Republic of Armenia and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (mainly on the lands of the Baku and Elizavetpol provinces, Zakatalsky district).

The chairman of the National Council of ADR was Mamed Emin Razulzade. Alimardan-bey Topchibashev was elected head of parliament. Fatali Khan Khoysky was appointed Prime Minister.

However, the Armenian population of Karabakh and Zangezur refused to obey the ADR authorities. Convened in Shusha on July 22, 1918, the First Congress of Karabakh Armenians proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh an independent administrative and political unit and elected its own People’s Government (from September 1918, the Armenian National Council of Karabakh). The confrontation between the Azerbaijani troops and the Armenian armed forces continued in the region until the establishment of Soviet power in Azerbaijan.

In mid-April 1920, units of the 11th Red Army, smashing the remnants of Denikin's troops, approached the northern borders of the ADR. On April 27, units of the 11th Red Army crossed the Azerbaijani border and entered Baku on April 28.

On April 28, 1920, it was announced the creation of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (Azerbaijan SSR) on the territory of the ADR.

In December 1922, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia formed the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (ZSFSR). In 1922, it became part of the USSR, and in 1936 the ZSFSR was abolished, and the Azerbaijan SSR was included in the USSR as an independent republic, which existed until 1991.

In July 1923, the regions of the Azerbaijan SSR with a predominantly Armenian population (Shushinsky, Jabrail and parts of the Djevanshir and Zangezur counties) were united into an autonomous entity (Autonomous Oblast of Nagorno-Karabakh (AONK), since 1937 - the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO).

 

During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. Azerbaijan produced up to 80% of Soviet fuel. Many Azerbaijanis who went to the front were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.

In the late 1980s, in the wake of democratic reforms in the USSR, accompanied by a weakening of state power and party leadership, among the Armenian majority of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, support for the idea of ​​re-subordinating the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region of the Armenian SSR increased, which led to an acute interethnic conflict.

On February 20, 1988, an extraordinary session of the People’s Deputies of the NKAR appealed to the Supreme Councils of the Armenian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR and the USSR with a request to consider and positively resolve the issue of transferring the NKAR from Azerbaijan to Armenia. The party and state leadership of the USSR and Azerbaijan rejected this appeal. The Armenian pogroms in Sumgait, Kirovabad and other cities of Azerbaijan led to a sharp aggravation of the situation, which caused a mass exodus of ethnic Armenians from the republic. Mass actions of civil disobedience - rallies, marches, strikes of the Armenian population of NKAR, received significant moral, material and organizational support from Armenia. Social tension and ethnic hatred between the Azerbaijani and Armenian populations increased every day.

The measures taken by the party and state leadership of the USSR and Azerbaijan of a socio-economic and propaganda nature, the change of the top party leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan were unsuccessful, did not contribute to restoring order and the introduction of additional units of the internal troops of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs in the NKAR. In June 1988, the Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR agreed to the inclusion of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region in the Armenian SSR. In the summer and autumn of 1988, cases of violence in the NKAR became more frequent, the mutual flow of refugees increased. In November and December 1988, massacres took place in Azerbaijan and Armenia, accompanied by violence and killings of civilians. This leads to the exodus of hundreds of thousands of refugees from the territory of Azerbaijan and Armenia. By the beginning of 1989, almost all Azerbaijanis were forced to leave Armenia, in turn, almost all Armenians left the rural areas of Azerbaijan (except for the territory of the NKAR). The Armenian community of Baku was reduced fourfold (to 50,000).

On January 12, 1989, direct control was introduced in the NKAR with the formation of the special management committee of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, chaired by Arkady Volsky. A state of emergency was introduced in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. In April - May 1989, the situation in the region again aggravated as a result of mounting actions of the Karabakh movement, whose leaders switched to tactics of provoking clashes between the Armenian population of NKAR and the internal troops of the USSR and Azerbaijanis. In the areas of compact residence of Armenians in the territory of the Azerbaijan SSR outside the NKAR, self-defense units from local residents began to be created.

In the summer of 1989, the Armenian SSR imposed a blockade on the Nakhichevan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. The leadership of Azerbaijan, in response, declared an economic and transport blockade of Armenia.

On November 28, 1989, the NKAR special management committee was replaced by the so-called republican organizing committee for the NKAR. In the future, it was this body that was developed and carried out by the police, riot police and internal troops to deport (evict) the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh and neighboring areas. The session of the Council of People’s Deputies of the NKAR did not recognize the republican organizing committee, which led to the creation of two centers of power in the NKAR. On December 1, 1989, the Supreme Council of the Armenian SSR and the National Council of the NKAR adopted a joint resolution on the inclusion of Nagorno-Karabakh in Armenia. This led to new armed clashes.

In early January 1990, the first mutual artillery shelling on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border was noted. A state of emergency was introduced in the NKAR, in the border regions of the Azerbaijan SSR, in the Goris district of the Armenian SSR, as well as in the border zone along the state border of the USSR on the territory of the Azerbaijan SSR. On January 13-18, as a result of the Armenian pogroms in Baku, where by the beginning of the year there were already only about 35 thousand Armenians, up to 90 people were killed.

 

On January 20, troops were sent to Baku to prevent the anti-communist Popular Front of Azerbaijan from seizing power, which led to numerous casualties among the civilian population of the city (Black January).

On May 18, 1990, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, Ayaz Mutalibov, was elected President of Azerbaijan.

On July 25, 1990, as a counteraction to the creation of illegal armed groups in the region, a decree of the President of the USSR “On the prohibition of the creation of illegal groups not provided for by the legislation of the USSR and the seizure of weapons in cases of their illegal storage” was issued. From the end of April to the beginning of June 1991, the so-called “Ring” operation was carried out by forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR and the Soviet Army in the NKAO and adjacent regions of Azerbaijan, with the official goal of disarming the Armenian illegal armed groups and checking the passport regime in Karabakh. It led to armed clashes and casualties among the population. During the operation, a full deportation of the population of 24 Armenian villages was carried out.

On August 30, 1991, the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan adopted a declaration “On the restoration of state independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, on September 2, 1991 at a joint session of the Nagorno-Karabakh regional and Shaumyan district councils of people's deputies in the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region and the adjacent Shaumyan region of the Azerbaijan SSR Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

During the autumn of 1991, Armenian combat units launched offensive operations to restore control over the Armenian villages of the NKAR and the former Shaumyan district of Azerbaijan, whose population had previously been deported. Leaving these villages, Azerbaijani formations in some cases set fire to them. According to the Memorial human rights center, at the same time, as a result of attacks by Armenian armed groups, several thousand residents of Azerbaijani villages had to leave their homes in the former Shaumyan district of Azerbaijan, Gadrut, Mardakert, Askeran, Martuni districts of NKAO. Since the end of autumn, when the Azerbaijani side launched a counterattack, the Armenian troops began targeted actions against the Azerbaijani villages. Both sides have charged that the villages of the enemy have been turned into fortified areas covering artillery positions.

On December 19, the withdrawal of internal troops of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs from Nagorno-Karabakh began, which ended by December 27. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the withdrawal of internal troops from Nagorno-Karabakh, the situation in the conflict zone became uncontrollable. The transition to a full-scale war for Nagorno-Karabakh began.

Modernity
Modern Azerbaijan was formed as a result of the collapse of the USSR (1991). The first president was the representative of the Soviet nomenclature Ayaz Mutalibov. On August 30, 1991, the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan adopted a declaration “On the restoration of state independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, and on October 18, a constitutional act “On the state independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan” was adopted, which laid the foundations for the state, political and economic structure of independent Azerbaijan.

After the failures of the Azerbaijani army in Nagorno-Karabakh and under pressure from the opposition, President Ayaz Mutalibov resigned on March 6, 1992, as well. about. President became Yakub Mammadov. In May 1992, Isa Gambar became the interim president of Azerbaijan.

On June 7, 1992, presidential elections were held, the victory of which was won by the leader of the nationalist Popular Front of Azerbaijan Abulfaz Elchibey, gaining 59.4% of the vote. The failures during the military confrontation and the incompetence of the government formed by the Popular Front caused a crisis of power, as a result of which the rebellion of Colonel Suret Huseynov broke out in Ganja on June 4, 1993.

To avoid a civil war, Elchibey invited Heydar Aliyev to Baku, who at that time lived in Nakhichevan. Thus, Heydar Aliyev came to power.

During these events, a group of Talysh officers led by Colonel Alakram Gummatov proclaimed the Talysh-Mugan Autonomous Republic in Azerbaijan as a part of Lankaran. Aliyev did not recognize Talysh autonomy; on August 23, the rebellion was crushed.

 

In late 1991 - early 1992, an armed conflict broke out between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic over control of Nagorno-Karabakh and some surrounding areas. At the same time, part of the territory of Armenia (exclave Artsvashen) passed under the control of Azerbaijan, part of the territory of Azerbaijan (exclaves of Karka, Barkhudarly, Upper Askipara) - under the control of Armenia.

In May 1994, with the mediation of a group of CIS countries, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic signed a ceasefire. During the Karabakh war, Azerbaijanis ousted Armenians from a number of territories of the former Azerbaijan SSR, where they previously made up the majority. The predominantly Armenian armed forces of the NKR, as well as the armed forces of Armenia supporting them, in turn, established control over a number of areas located outside the territory of the NKR declared in 1991 and previously having mainly the Azerbaijani population. The occupation of some of these territories was qualified in 1993 by the UN Security Council as occupation of the territory of Azerbaijan by Armenian forces. Subsequently, the authorities of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic who continued to maintain control over these territories until now have included them in the administrative-territorial structure of the NKR.

 

 

 

 

blog comments powered by Disqus