Anciently great Albania, the original Caucasian descendants of modern Azerbaijan created settlements as early as 4th Century B.C. So let this be the beginner’s guide to Azerbaijan. Do we know any famous Azeris? Of course, we all do. For the most part, we just don’t know they are Azeris.
There’s Gary Kasparov, the legendary former world chess master who, before making chess world-worthy learned to pull off his tricks as he was growing up in Azerbaijan, and Freddie Mercury who was born Faroukh Bulsara.
The world has more to be thankful to Azerbaijan as it has at one point in history supplied 50% of the world’s demand for oil. What even makes this nation an even great place of interest is that contradictions and diversity are never more harmonious and respected in one place than here.
One wonderful example is regardless of the nation being a nominally Muslim country, Irish pubs have sprawled and no prohibitions on drinking are implemented that, if more than anything, do not make this country any less fun, unlike Libya and Brunei.
Europe or Asia…this is the immortal question. Snuggled in between the two massive continents of Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan’s location is at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. But it’s no feat too hard to speculate where Azerbaijan is setting its eyes on.
With the map of Europe on their banknotes that includes the stretch of the Caspian Sea, the first republic in the Caucasus region is obviously gearing up to join the EU.
As part of the Caucasus region, the highest point, north of this landlocked mountainous landmass remains the Bazarduzu Dagi at an altitude of 4,485 meters, and the lowest, hence, the Caspian Sea that is -28 meters below sea level. Large flatlands, Kur-Araks lowlands, roll into the center.
Azerbaijan’s size, location, and landscape affect how the air masses enter the country, creating its unique climate. There are 9 out of 11 climate zones present in Azerbaijan and have both the absolute minimum and maximum temperatures, -33°C and 46°C, in Julfa and Ordubad respectively.
AZERBAIJANI, a Turkic language, is the official language used by the larger 90.3% Azeri demographic while RUSSIAN is also widely spoken by most people, slowly declining in the number of speakers with ENGLISH as a language on the rise.
English speakers can mostly be found in places frequented by foreigners, especially in the capital city of Baku, and fewer outside it. And that’s only one of the thrilling parts.
Three hours away from the capital, the traveler morphs into an entirely different world away from the colossal constructions and 21st-century structures of Baku. Old generation villages, nature’s skyscrapers the Caucasus Mountains, and quaint seaside towns are just a few of a traveler’s would-be favorite things.
And as already aforementioned, the country offers the best of worlds with different climate zones which can thus only mean a world party! Beach fun in Khachmaz., the largest tourist getaway in Azerbaijan, Sheki for a trek on the famed and celebrated Caucasus Mountains, and Lankaran, the southern city famed for its floral landscape are among the best times anyone can ever have.
But the best time the traveler will ever have is right at the dinner table where drinks, food, and jokes are passed around. By outsider standards, nothing is typical in Azerbaijani cuisines for there are simply so many variations and traditions to eating and cooking.
For the lactose intolerant, Azerbaijani food may be troublesome involving several trips to the bathroom with the universal and unlimited yogurt that is ubiquitous in appetizers, soups, main dishes, and desserts.
Plov is the national dish, but quintessentially Azerbaijani, this is made with a saffron twist and served with herbs and greens versus the Central Asian version of vegetables and meat-infused plov. On the other hand, Piti is the national soup. There are over 40 recipes for plov and 30 for soups.