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This article is about the country Azerbaijan. Quick Facts CapitalBaku (Baki) Governmentrepublic
CurrencyAzerbaijani manat (AZM) Areatotal: 86,600 sq km
note: includes the exclave of Naxcivan Autonomous Republic and the Nagorno-Karabakh region
water: 500 sq km
land: 86,100 sq km Population7,798,497 (July 2002 est.) LanguageAzerbaijani (Azeri) 89%, Russian 3%, Armenian 2%, other 6% (1995 est.) ReligionMuslim 93.4%, Russian Orthodox 2.5%, Armenian Orthodox 2.3%, other 1.8% (1995 est.)
note: religious affiliation is still nominal in Azerbaijan; percentages for actual practicing adherents are much lower

Azerbaijan is a Turkic state in the Caucasus of Southwestern Asia. It achieved independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It has borders with Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Russia and Turkey as well as a Caspian Sea coastline.

Conflict has been ongoing with neighbouring Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, and the country is regarded internationally as something of a kleptocracy.


  • Nagorno-Karabakh
  • Armenia supports ethnic Armenian secessionists in Nagorno-Karabakh and militarily occupies about one-sixth of Azerbaijan (counting Karabakh) - Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) continues to mediate dispute; Azerbaijan signed bilateral agreements with Russia delimiting the Caspian seabed, but littoral states are far from multilateral agreement on dividing the waters and seabed regimes - Iran insists on division of Caspian Sea into five equal sectors while Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan have generally agreed upon equidistant seabed boundaries; Iran threatens to conduct oil exploration in Azerbaijani-claimed waters, while interdicting Azerbaijani activities; Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan await ICJ decision to resolve sovereignty dispute over oilfields in the Caspian Sea


    dry, semiarid steppe

    Natural hazards 


    large, flat Kur-Araz Ovaligi (Kura-Araks Lowland) (much of it below sea level) with Great Caucasus Mountains to the north, Qarabag Yaylasi (Karabakh Upland) in west; Baku lies on Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) that juts into Caspian Sea

    Elevation extremes 
    lowest point 
    Caspian Sea -28 m
    highest point 
    Bazarduzu Dagi 4,485 m
    Environment - current issues 
    local scientists consider the Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) (including Baku and Sumqayit) and the Caspian Sea to be the ecologically most devastated area in the world because of severe air, soil, and water pollution; soil pollution results from oil spills, from the use of DDT as a pesticide, and from toxic defoliants used in the production of cotton


    Electricity is supplied at 220V 50Hz. Outlets are the European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko" or the compatible, but non-grounded, CEE-7/16 "Europlug" types. Generally speaking, U.S. and Canadian travelers should pack an adapter for these outlets if they plan to use North American electrical equipment in Azerbaijan.

    Additionally, some older buildings may be still equipped with Soviet-era outlets. The Soviet GOST-7396 standard was very similar to the current European CEE-7/16 "Europlug", but the pins were of a 4.0mm diameter, while the Europlug features 4.8mm pins. As such, the pins of a Europlug or Schuko may be too large to fit into a Soviet-era outlet. Although the Soviet-era outlets have largely been phased out, travelers who are particularly concerned with having the ability to plug in at all times may consider packing an adapter for the Soviet-era outlets too, just in case.

    Get in

    By plane

    By train

    By car

    By bus

    By boat

    Get around

    total: 2,125 km in common carrier service; does not include industrial lines
    broad gauge: 2,125 km 1.520-m gauge (1,278 km electrified) (1993 est.)
    total: 36,700 km
    paved: 31,800 km (includes some all-weather gravel-surfaced roads)
    unpaved: 4,900 km (these roads are made of unstabilized earth and are difficult to negotiate in wet weather) (1990)


    Azerbaijani is the official language. This is a Turkic language, related to Turkish itself. Hovever, English is widely spoken. Many people also speak Russian, especially in the capital city, Baku.

    Azerbaijani (Azeri) 89%, Russian 3%, Armenian 2%, other 6% (1995 est.)


    Azerbaijani manat (AZM)
    Currency code 
    Exchange rates 
    Azerbaijani manats per US dollar - 4,804 (11 February 2002), 4,656.58 (2001), 4,474.15 (2000), 4,120.17 (1999), 3,869 (1998), 3,985.38 (1997)
    Economy - overview 
    Azerbaijan's number one export is oil. Azerbaijan's oil production declined through 1997 but has registered an increase every year since. Negotiation of production-sharing arrangements (PSAs) with foreign firms, which have thus far committed $60 billion to oilfield development, should generate the funds needed to spur future industrial development. Oil production under the first of these PSAs, with the Azerbaijan International Operating Company, began in November 1997. Azerbaijan shares all the formidable problems of the former Soviet republics in making the transition from a command to a market economy, but its considerable energy resources brighten its long-term prospects. Baku has only recently begun making progress on economic reform, and old economic ties and structures are slowly being replaced. An obstacle to economic progress, including stepped up foreign investment in the non-energy sector, is the continuing conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Trade with Russia and the other former Soviet republics is declining in importance while trade is building with Turkey and the nations of Europe. Long-term prospects will depend on world oil prices, the location of new pipelines in the region, and Azerbaijan's ability to manage its oil wealth.




    Azerbaijan has a Turkic and majority-Muslim population.

    Muslim 93.4%, Russian Orthodox 2.5%, Armenian Orthodox 2.3%, other 1.8% (1995 est.)
    note: religious affiliation is still nominal in Azerbaijan; percentages for actual practicing adherents are much lower
    Ethnic groups 
    Azeri 90%, Dagestani 3.2%, Russian 2.5%, Armenian 2%, other 2.3% (1998 est.)
    note: almost all Armenians live in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region


    Diplomatic representation in the US 
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Elmar MAMEDYAROV
    FAX: [1] (202) 337-5911
    telephone: [1] (202) 337-3500
    chancery: 2741 34th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
    Diplomatic representation from the US 
    chief of mission: Ambassador Ross L. WILSON
    embassy: 83 Azadliq Avenue, Baku 370007
    mailing address: American Embassy Baku, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-7050
    telephone: [9] (9412) 98-03-35, 36, 37
    FAX: [9] (9412) 90-66-71


    Telephones - main lines in use 
    865,000 (2002)
    Telephones - mobile cellular 
    800,000 (2002)
    Telephone system 
    general assessment: inadequate; requires considerable expansion and modernization; teledensity of 10 main lines per 100 persons is low (2002)
    domestic: the majority of telephones are in Baku and other industrial centers - about 700 villages still without public telephone service; satellite service connects Baku to a modern switch in its exclave of Naxcivan
    international: the old Soviet system of cable and microwave is still serviceable; a satellite connection to Turkey enables Baku to reach about 200 additional countries, some of which are directly connected to Baku by satellite providers other than Turkey (1997)
    Radio broadcast stations 
    AM 10, FM 17, shortwave 1 (1998)
    175,000 (1997)
    Television broadcast stations 
    2 (1997)
    170,000 (1997)
    Internet country code 
    Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
    2 (2000)
    Internet users 
    25,000 (2002)