What do you know about Azerbaijan? Do you know the basics, such as where exactly it is and how to pronounce the name? If no— you’re not alone!
The reason we started this site is actually because there is currently relatively little written about this unique and beautiful country, and we wanted to change that.
First Fact— Where Azerbaijan is on a Map:
Azerbaijan is located in Central Asia, more specifically what’s called the Caucasus. Meaning, it is part of the countries located along the Caucasus mountain ranges between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Other countries part of the Caucasus include: Georgia, Russia, and Armenia. Azerbaijan has a coast along the Caspian Sea and its neighbors starting north and going counter clockwise include: Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, and Iran.
Second—How do you Pronounce Azerbaijan?
We get how this isn’t the easiest country name to say, and we are here to help. 😉 Did you notice on our logo, the dotted line goes between “Azer” and “baijan”? Danielle did this to help break up the name to make it a bit easier.
If you can say “Ah-zair” (like ah, hair)…
then “buy-shawn” (like buy, Shawn)…
Then you got it!
Does that help?
Here’s audio of it:
Azerbaijan is a country with a lot of history. Do you know why Azerbaijan is known as the Land of Fire? It’s because it was a sacred hub for one of the oldest religions known to man- Zoroastrianism (which was based off nature and Earth’s elements)- because of naturally occurring ‘eternal’ flames that came up from the ground. Now, we know those flames were due to the high volume of natural gas in this part of the world.
The capital, Baku, was part of the birth of the oil industry and there’s sugestions there was trade involving oil as far back as the 3rd or 4th century. Azerbaijan lead the world in the industry and built the first oil extraction on the sea. This wealth from oil is apparent when you visit the capital, Baku, which is adorned with a growing number of unique architectural marvels attracting an increasing number of tourists.
Azerbaijan was part of the Silk Road trading route where they traded their ornate and various hand-woven rugs, and today these designs are still cherished and embraced.
It would be impossible to talk about the culture of Azerbaijan without mentioning TEA.
Tea, usually black or with herbal additions, is enjoyed at all hours of the day and always with sweets. Sitting down for tea is not just about the delicious beverage- it is about taking moments out of the day to reset, relax, and connect with loved ones through conversation and storytelling.
Azerbaijanis take a lot of pride in hosting and making sure their guest is well fed and taken care of.
Out of the possible 11 climates, Azerbaijan has 9 of them. This is one of the possible reasons Azerbaijani food typically has complexity and layers to it, because of the wide variety of different foods grown locally. Different areas of the country specializes in their own foods. For example- one area specializes in watermelon, another in citrus.
The language spoken here is appropriately ‘Azerbaijani‘— which is a Turkic language (meaning part of the language family that spans across Central Asia and Turkey). Since there’s no Duolingo for Azerbaijani, you could go through the Turkish lessons to understand the sentence structure and many overlaping words. After a while you’ll start to learn the rules that make the words different- for example “k” in Turkish is almost always a “q” in Azerbaijani. “Ben” in Turkish means “I”, while the Azerbaijani word is “men”.
Some quick words!
Hello – salam
Thank you – sag ol
Thank you very much – chok sag ol (cox sag ol)
Because of once being a part of the USSR, many people in Azerbaijan also speak Russian fluently, and a growing number of people also know English. It is not unheard of to meet someone in Azerbaijan that is fluent in 4 languages! It’s common for example to watch YouTube videos in Turkish, Russian, or English.
The Azerbaijan flag:
Read more about the meaning here.
“The first blue stripe stands for the Turkic origin of Azerbaijani people and its Turkic heritage and is connected with the idea of Turkism. The middle red stripe means building a modern society, developing a democratic and modernized country. The third green stripe expresses affiliation with Islamic civilization and the Islamic religion.
The crescent on the flag is a symbol of the Turkic people. The eight-pointed star has two meanings: One is related to the way of writing the word “Azerbaijan” in the old alphabet, which was written with eight letters.”
Fascinating and fun facts about Azerbaijan
Danielle compiled a list of 30 fascinating facts about Azerbaijan in her blog, which you can read here.
Our favorite YouTube clips:
If you have the time, we’ve compiled our favorite YouTube clips about Azerbaijan. The first is from the channel Geography Now, where the host covers each country in alphabetical order:
We hope this overview of Azerbaijan geography and culture help give a general idea about the country. If you have any ideas for us to add to this page, let us know!
Thanks for reading.
—Go Travel Azerbaijan