We want to tell you about a wonderful land – Azerbaijan and its unique nature, its centuries-old culture and history, and of the ancient people inhabiting this land, his life, customs and traditions which absorbed the elements of various cultures and civilizations.
Time has preserved here a great number of archaeological and architectural monuments of ancient epochs. The reader will be acquainted in this photo-book with Azykh cave, the earliest dwelling site of primitive man, Gobustan – famous for its rock inscriptions skilfully drawn by ancient artists, the ruins of one of the earliest towns of Azerbaijn – Kabaia, sublime medieval architectural monuments of Nakhchivan, Barda, Baku, Shekhi and other cities.
The ancient stone writings, manuscripts, carpet designs which reached us from the ancient times would tell much to those who can, and, above all, are willing to read them to familiarize with Azerbaijan, to learn the truth about this country, to look at it with kind eyes, with the eyes of friends.
Azerbaijanis the country of ancient culture. The Ogouz tribes, having migrated and settled in the region, found here deep-rooted traditions of culture created in the course of centuries by efforts of many generations, and the Ogouzes in their turn enriched it with the traditions of All-Turkic culture.
Talent and creative genius of our people are reflected in the books “Kitabi Dede Korkud”, “Ogouz-name”, “Koroglu” and other early literary monuments.
This fertile, generous and kind land is the cradle of many enlighteners, philosophers, scholars, poets, architects, musicians, artists. The legends say that Zoroaster was born here. The Azerbaijan land gave the world such outstanding people as Nizami Ganjevi, Khagani Shirvani, Bahmaniyar, Nasimi, Fizuli, Nasireddin Tusi, Shakh Ismail Khatai, Molla Panah Vagif, A. Bakikhanov, M.F. Akhundov, M.A. Sabir, J. Mammadgulizade, Gusein Javid, J.Jabarly, Samed Vurgun, Aliaga Vahid, Rasul Rza and many others.
Bright, manycoloured palette of nature of the native land has found its reflection in the canvases of Sattar Bahlulzade, Tahir Salahov, Togrul Narimanbeyov, Mikail Abdullayev and other talented masters of the brush.
Folk music, mugams have inspired our outstanding composers -
Uzeir Hajibekov, Muslim Magomayev, Gara Garayev, Fikret Amirov, Niyazi, Arif Melikov, world-renowned singers Bul-Bul and Rashid Beibutov.
Famous Azerbaijani carpets, as if absorbed all colours of nature, all stages of the history of native land, today like magic flying carpets, crossing the frontiers of time, spread around the world glorifying the craftsmanship of our carpet-makers.
Many museums of the world have on display the items of arts and crafts of metal, ceramic, silk and wood made by the Azerbaijani craftsmen.
Science and education in Azerbaijan have deep roots. The establishment of the Baku State University in 1919 and the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences in 1945 played a key role in the development of science, education and culture in the republic. Today the interests of our scientists range from the problems of the Caspian Sea and space research to mysteries of human brain and many other fields.
Tens of higher and technical educational establishments, thousands of schools, colleges and Lyceums, a theological gimnasia – that is the spectrum of educational orientation of Azerbaijan today.
One of the most important problems at which the Azerbaijani scientists are working now is the ecology and preservation of the Caspian Sea and other regions of the republic. The scientists have succeeded in preserving unique natural parks – Kisylagaj, Shirvan, Zakatala, Ag-gel, Girkan and others.
The structure of industry of Azerbaijan for decades has been determined by oil-production, petrochemistry and refining, as for agriculture – by cotton, grapes, fruits and vegetables growing and livestock-breeding.
On the turn of the 20th century Baku becomes the oil centre of the world. Businessmen from all over the world come here. Oil has turned once provincial town of Baku into one of the nicest cities of Europe. At that time outstanding architects of Europe, Russia and the East were working and creating here. The look of the city boasts organically interwoven both Gothic, Barouqe and moresque styles and the architecture of the national Apsheron school. It was the fusion of these various trends that gave life to a unique architectural style, so-called Baku “eclectism”.
From the end of the 19th century, thanks to efforts of the Azerbaijani intellectuals and industrialists, with a view to develop culture, education and health care, some philanthropic institutions were set up. Beginning from 1905 their number increased and the range of their activity widened considerably. The establishment fund of these institutions was made up of donations by rich merchants and industrialists, incidentally, the foundation of the most prestigious in the world Nobel Prize was laid down in Baku. Among the benefactors of that time Haji Zeinalabdin Tagiyev was especially notable. Millionaires Musa Nagiyev, Shamsi Asadullayev, Murtuza Mukhtarov and others were also participating actively in charity deeds. Thanks to their efforts new public buildings were put up, new schools and gymnasias opened, national dramatic art, health care, the press got boost in their development, the city’s water-supply was improved. Gifted young people were sent to study at the best universities of Europe and Russia.
It is the duty of every citizen to defend its state and territory from the enemies, and for this reason, everyone should know the geographic position and frontiers of its country.
The Republic of Azerbaijan is located in the east of the South Caucasus and on the west coast of the Caspian Sea. The total area of the country is 86,6 sq.km. It borders on Iran (765 km) and Turkey (15 km) to the south, Russia (390 km) to the north, Georgia (480 km) to the northwest and Armenia (1007 km) to the west, and shares water boundaries with Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Iran. The capital of the country is the City of Baku. Big islands: Pirallahy, Chilov, Khara-Zira, Boyuk-Zira. Big lakes: Sarysu, Aghgol, Aghzybirchala, Mehman, Boyukshor, Hajygabul. Big rivers: Kur, Araz, Alazan (Ganykh), Iori (Gabyrry), Samur, Terter.
According to the Constitution , Azerbaijan is a democratic, legal, secular, and unitary republic (the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchyvan). The major source of the state power is the people.
There is one autonomous republic – Nakhchyvan Autonomous Republic, 65 regions, 69 cities, 13 urban regions, 130 urban-type settlements and 4354 villages in the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Culture of our people is ancient and rich, and most importantly, very interesting. We need to love and develop our culture.
Located at the junction of East and West, Azerbaijan has played a huge role in the formation of the universal culture. The people of Azerbaijan have the right to feel proud for their historical monuments, rich literature, art and music culture. The first secular theatre, first opera, first ballet and the first Academy of Sciences in the Muslim East were founded in Azerbaijan.
Wonderful nature, climate, natural resources of the country produced a significant impact on the artistic thinking and creative skills of the Azerbaijani people. The folk art is connected with everyday life of people, which occupies quite special place in the fine arts as well. Carpet-weaving schools of Azerbaijan (Guba, Baku, Shirvan, Ganca, Gazakh, Garabagh, Tabriz) have made amazing carpets in different periods. Some of them are kept in well-known museums such as Victoria and Albert of London, Louvre of Paris, Metropolitan of New York, also at museums in Vienna, Rome, Berlin, Istanbul, Tehran and Cairo.
Azerbaijan was rich in architectural works since ancient times. Maiden Tower and Shirvanshah Palace in Baku, Momina Khatun and Yusif ibn Kuseyr mausoleums created by architect Ajami in Nakhchyvan, Panah Ali Khan’s Palace and poetess Natavan’s house in Shusha, paintings on the walls of Palace of Shaki Khan are unique patterns of architecture.
Enjoying a rich cultural heritage, Azerbaijan is also known as the motherland of a majestic music. Folk songs, dances, art of ashyg have specific place in Azerbaijan’s national music. Mugham is the basis of national music of Azerbaijan. In 2003, UNESCO included the Azerbaijani mugham in the World Heritage List. Mugham lyrics are sourced from poems by prominent poets as Vahid, Nizami, Khagani, Fuzuli, Nasimi.
Works of literature by our classics and contemporaries such as M.F.Akhundov, N.Vazirov, H.Zardabi, M.S.Ordubadi, G.Zakir, M.A.Sabir, J.Mammadguluzade, M.P.Vagif take an honorable place in the world cultural heritage.
Another kind of art closely related with Azerbaijani literature is theatre. The Azerbaijani theatre is sourced from the Azerbaijani people’s daily life, celebrations and point of view. Theatre in Azerbaijan has always been realistic and close to working people. The history of theater started by plays “Vizier of Lankaran Khanate” and “Haji Gara” by M.F.Akhundov.
Cinematography, one of the most interesting and popular kind of art, has become an integral part of people’s life. National cinematography has gained a rich experience year by year. Children’s films also play great role in the Azerbaijani cinematography. “Secret Of A Tower”, “Magic Dressing Gown”, “Garib In The Land Of Genies”, “Lion Left Home”, “I Compose”, “Painful Roads”, “Music Teacher”, “Secret Of Ship Clock”, “Casket Of Ismayil Bey” are children’s favorites.
The Sun, sky, air, water, flora, fauna, and human itself are parts of nature. Nature has 2 types: animate (plants, mushrooms, animals, human being) and inanimate (the Sun, stars, air, water, stones). Every citizen of our republic should know and love its nature.
2 big rivers run through Azerbaijan – Kur and Araz. The relief of our country is complicated and comprises of the mountain systems (Major Caucasus in the north, Minor Caucasus in the west and southwest and Talysh Mountains in the southeast) and Kur-Araz Lowland. The highest peak in Azerbaijan is Bazarduzu (4466m) in Shahdagh. Azerbaijan takes the first place in the world for the number and diversity of mud volcanoes. The climate in Azerbaijan is mostly influenced by the geographical position, landscape and Caspian Sea, the biggest stagnant lake in the world. According to V.V.Keppen, out of 11 climate zones existing in the world Azerbaijan accounts for 9: semi desert, dry steppe, subtropical, moderately warm with dry summer, cold with dry winter, cold with dry summer, moderately warm with equal distribution of sediment, cold with plentiful sediment, mountainous tundra.
Azerbaijan has rich flora, which embraces iron tree, Lankaran acacia, chestnut-leaf oak, Oriental persimmon, box tree, Eldar pine, and etc. 140 kinds of plants are in the Red Book. Because of the occupation of 20% of our territory by Armenia, Eastern plane tree in Basitchay Reserve in Zangilan district has completely been destroyed.
Thanks to the diverse nature, Azerbaijan enjoys a rich animal kingdom. The fauna of the republic is represented by a great number of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and so on. 108 species of animal (14 species of mammal, 36 species of bird, 13 species of reptile and amphibian, 5 species of fish, 40 species of insect) are in the Red Book of Azerbaijan.
To safeguard the national flora and fauna, public reserves and national parks have been set up in the republic. The country has 6 national parks (Hirkan, Shirvan, Aghgol, Ordubad, Absheron, Altyaghaj) and 12 reserves (Basitchay, Garayazi, Garagol, Goy-Gol, Gyzylaghaj, Ilisu, Ismayilly, Pirgulu, Turyanchay, Zagatala, Eldar Shamy (Pine), Shahbuz, Shirvan).
Caspian Sea is of great importance for the Azerbaijani people. Caspian seal, the only mammal aquatic animal, is the smallest one in the world and has been included in the Red Book.
The territory of Azerbaijan is rich in minerals. Information on the existence of oil in Absheron Peninsula dates back to 5000 years ago. There are iron, aluminum, mercury, gold, copper, lead, zinc, cobalt, manganese, and molybdenum ores in the country.
The country possesses mineral waters with different chemical ingredients. For this reason, Azerbaijan is called ‘the museum of mineral waters’. Istisu (Kalbajar), Badamly and Sirab (Nakhchyvan) are famous beyond Azerbaijan. Mineral waters in Surakhany and Zygh in Absheron, Galaalty in Shabran district, Turshsu in Julfa district have medical features. Thermal waters dominate the Talysh Mountains and southern and northeastern slopes of Major Caucasus.
Architecture reflects the history of the humankind. It starts with natural caves that served as homes for primitive men. Azerbaijan has numerous caves, particularly in the foothills of the Major and Minor Caucasus, Talysh Mountains, in Nakhchyvan, Zangilan, Kalbajar, Gadabay, Khanlar, Shamakhy and Gazakh districts, and in the Azykh Cave in Fuzuli district. Closed towns, defence constructions, huge fortress walls were constructed in connection with the birth of the State of Manna in the territory of Azerbaijan and then the emergence of the State of Atropatena in the north. Important steps were taken in town building in the period of Caucasian Albania. Lasting fortress walls and earthenware water pipe in the Town of Gabala, stone-made defence system in Damirgapy Pass (Derbent, “long walls”), oval Christian temple in Chyraggala, Lekit village, basilica in Gum village, complex of temples in Mingachevir and other findings point out the high level of town-building. During the rise of the Arab Caliphate, Barda was the architectural center of Azerbaijan. Mosques and other religious buildings, caravanserais, bazaars, bath-houses were built in Barda, which is called “Baghdad of these places” in historical sources.
Different architectural schools (Aran, Tabriz, Nakhchyvan, Shirvan, Absheron) emerged due to the collapse of the Caliphate and formation of small states in Azerbaijan. The schools had common features in architecture. Yusif Ibn Kuseyr and Momina Khatun mausoleums created by Ajami Abubakr oghlu Nakhchyvani are the peak of the Nakhchyvan school.
The most outstanding and valuable monument of the 18th century is Sheki Khans’ Palace. It was constructed as the summer residence of Mohammad Hasan Khan. The facade of the Palace is richly painted with anecdotal drawings displaying scenes of hunting and war, as well as intricate geometrical and vegetative patterns. There are 6 rooms, 4 corridors and 2 glass balconies in the Palace.
Surrounded by fortress walls, Icherisheher (Old Town) is located on the small hill on the coast of Caspian Sea. Icherisheher covers Maiden Tower and Shirvanshah Palace. The Palace was built after the capital of the State of Shirvanshah moved from Shamakhy to Baku. The Shirvanshah Complex includes Divankhana, Shirvanshah Palace, Shirvanshah Mausoleum, Shah’s Mosque with a minaret, Seyid Yahya Bakuvi Mausoleum, Murad Gate, Palace Bath-House and Reservoir. In XII century, Maiden Tower was included in the defence system of Baku and changed into one of the biggest fortresses in Shirvanshah.
In December 2000, Icherisheher and Maiden Tower were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Azerbaijan’s architectural heritage was subject to huge losses in the last century. Besides, Garabagh and adjoining districts ( Lachyn, Kalbajar, Zangilan, Gubadly, Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Aghdam) were occupied as a result of the war begun by Armenia against Azerbaijan since the 1990s. A great number of monuments of Azerbaijan in these territories have savagely been destroyed.
National identity and moral values of every nation are immortalized and developed by its language.
It is a big fault for the nation not to know and not to value its native language.
Every nation is formed by its language.
Azerbaijani language is the official language of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the mean of communication for 9 million population of the country (2010).
Azerbaijani is also the native language for 20 million Azerbaijanis residing in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Several millions of Azerbaijanis live in Russia, USA, Turkey and Western Europe. Irrespective of the residence, Azerbaijanis still understand each other very easily. More than 30 millions of people worldwide speak Azerbaijani.
Genealogically, Azerbaijani language belongs to the Turkic group of languages and, together with closely associated Turkish, Turkmen and Gagauz languages, forms the southwestern group of Turkic languages.
Azerbaijani language is one of the ancient languages that have passed through a long path of development. Regarding the Kitabi-Dede Gorgud epos as a verbal pattern of our literature, the age of the language serving the people as a mean of communication can exceed 1300 years. Some materials point out that the history of the written literary language of Azerbaijan goes back to the 13th century.
Heydar Aliyev, who always attached a great importance to the native language and had a perfect knowledge of that, taking into consideration the situation at the turn of the new period of the development of the state language, signed the Decree “On the improvement of measures for the use of the state language” on June 18, 2001.
Reflecting the achievements of the language through the path of development, the Decree also mentions problems in the sphere of the official language and ways to solve them.
Today, Azerbaijani alphabet based on the Latin script is used in Azerbaijan.
The national flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan consists of three equal broad horizontal strips. The upper strip is blue, the middle is red and the lower is green. The blue strip designates the Turkic origin of the Azerbaijani people, the red color points out its intention to build a modern society and develop democracy, and the green strip reflects its relation to the Islam civilization. In the middle of the red strip on both sides of the flag there is a white crescent and an octagonal star.
The national emblem of the Republic of Azerbaijan symbolizes the state independence of Azerbaijan. It reflects the image of an oriental shield on the arch formed by the oak branches and wheat-ears. The shield features an octagonal star in the background of the colors of the national flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan with the image of a fire in the centre of the star.
On May 27, 1992, the Parliament adopted Law “On the National Anthem of the Republic of Azerbaijan”. The Law approved the “March of Azerbaijan” created by prominent composer Uzeyir Hajybeyov and poet Ahmad Javad in 1919, as the national anthem of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The heroic patriotic glorious land!
To die for you we are glad and we are ready!
If there is need to shed blood
We are too ready!
With three color banner live happily!
Sacrifices too many done,
Every soldier to front has gone!
When your chest was field of battle!
Come back as a heroic son!
Let me see you flourish,
Let your enemies perish!
I love you, my dear land
Be mightier we do wish!
To safeguard your sacred land,
To hold high your honored flag,
All the youngsters are too glad!
Glorious land, glorious land!
The Garabagh conflict started in 1988. In 1988-1989, over 220.000 Azerbaijanis living in Armenia were fired from the historical lands. But Armenians were not satisfied with this. Raising a territorial claim against Azerbaijan, they started war in our territory. In late XX century, Armenians committed the Khojaly tragedy, the one of the gravest crimes against Azerbaijanis and the whole humanity. On February 26, 1992, Armenian military forces committed genocide in the Town of Khojaly. 613 people, including 106 women, 63 children, 70 elderly were killed, 1000 civilians of different age left invalid by bullet wound, 8 families were completely annihilated, 130 children lost one parent, while 25 both of them, 1275 residents were taken hostage, 150 of them are missing.
As a result of the Armenian military aggression to Azerbaijan, 20% of Azerbaijan’s lands – Daghlig Garabagh and 7 adjoining districts have been occupied. In 1988-1994, this aggression left 20.000 Azerbaijanis dead, 100.000 wounded, 50.000 disabled. More than a million of our countrymen were displaced from native lands and became refugee. That is the greatest number of refugees after WWII. Azerbaijan was face to face with a huge humanitarian disaster. Among refugees, there were children as well. People lived in tents for long years.
In 1994, President Heydar Aliyev began peace negotiations that are continued by President Ilham Aliyev since 2003. The state of Azerbaijan does not want war and wishes children to live in peace.
Children should grow up in a patriotic spirit. Patriotism is studying and working well, helping people in need, backing up good deeds, fighting against evil and violence. Each of us should always be ready to defend the fatherland.
Dates of occupation
Khojaly – 26-02-1992
Shusha – 08-05-1992
Lachyn – 18-05-1992
Khojavand – 02-10-1992
Kalbajar – 02-04-1993
Aghdara – 17-06-1993
Aghdam – 23-02-1993
Jabrayil – 23-08-1993
Fuzuli – 23-08-1993
Gubadly – 31-08-1993
Zangilan – 29-10-1993