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Summary: Azerbaijan is located in southwestern Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Russia, with a small European portion north of the Caucasus range, and is mostly large, flat lowlands with the Great Caucasus Mountains to the north, uplands in the west, and its capital on a peninsula that juts into the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan's number one export is oil, and it has only recently begun making progress on economic reform.

Capital: Baku
Time Zone: DST +0500 UTC
Population: 7,868,385
Languages: Azerbaijani, Russian, Armenian
Power: 220 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Azerbaijani Manat - Currently 1 AZM = 0.0002 USD $
Climate: The climate in Azerbaijan is mostly a dry, semi-arid steppe, with temperatures ranging from -5 degrees centigrade in winter to 40 degrees centigrade in Summer.


Baku: Built around Baku Bay and rubbing up next to the Caspian Sea, of particular interest is the Ichari Shahar, or Old Town, at the heart of the city and dating back to the Bronze Age, where you can enjoy just walking around seeing sights like the Maiden's Tower which is part museum and part observation point over the city dating back to the 12th century, and the Palace of the Shirvan Shahs dating from the 15th century.

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Atashgah Temple: In the village of Surakhany, 20 kilometers from Baku, is one of the most interesting temples in Europe and was a spot of worship for thousands of years along the Silk Route for Zoroastrians overlooking the surrounding area. Built on land saturated with natural gas to the point where spontaneous flames burst, the temple, whose name literally means 'home of fire', has flames burning at each corner of its roof, and a museum that relates some of the Hindi and Sanskrit history.

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Gobustan: About 65 kilometers from Baku is this open-air landscape with inscriptions and displays dating as far back as 12,000 years. From Latin to pictographs, there are around 4,000 inscriptions on display, with some figures carved over 3 feet tall, and ranging from people, animals, boats, and hunting scenes, with a neighboring History Museum that displays artifacts and tools found in the region and works to preserve the petroglyphs for future visitors.



Security Warning: Tensions remain high in the western region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijan-Armenia border region. Exercise extreme caution if you plan to visit these regions as the relationship between the Azeries and the Armenians is quite hostile.

Buses vs Trains: The trains run slower than buses, although the trains tend to be in better condition. Overall, the buses are the safer bet to get around in the country.

Shoes: Azerbaijan is a Muslim country, so remember to take your shoes off when entering a mosque. In Baku, you wouldn't be able to tell someone's religion by seeing them - it is a very even keeled place.

When To Visit: The high summer months can be very hot, however, spring and fall can be very nice, and good times to soak up the coast.

Food: The national cuisine of Azerbaijan is heavily influenced by its proximity to Central Asia, Turkey, Georgia, Iran and Turkey. It includes richly spiced meats such as lamb, beef, mutton and poultry, flavoured with dried apricots, chestnuts, and herbs.

Tipping: A tip is normally expected by waiters and doormen in restaurants, occasionally beforehand to ensure good service. As well, it is normal to tip the managers of car parks.





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