Azerbaijan is a geographical name. On the one hand this name is linked with the population, which lived in this region for thousands of years before our era, and who were mostly fire-worshippers. Local population considered that, the fire was their God and so they worshipped the fire. "Azer" means fire. The Turkic name "Azer" was used for this territory for a long time. The word "Azer" consists of two parts - "az" and "er". In Turkic languages, "az" means a good intention and a fate of success. Thus, the word "Azer" means "a brave man", "a brave boy", "the fire keeper". The word "Azerbaijan" originates from the name of an ancient Turkish tribe, who resided in those territories.
Azerbaijan is the region with unique geographical, climatic and geopolitical characteristics. The present Republic of Azerbaijan has rather small territory (86, 6 thousand sq.km) but it is possible to encounter here 9 of 11 basic climate zones existing. For example, on droughty and hot Absheron the climate was improved by parks and gardens planted for centuries, but the natural landscape consists of prickles, rocks, saline soils and steppes that become covered by grass only in spring. In other areas of the Republic, you can meet numerous sources of spring water (“bulag”), and the pure underground waters are brought on a surface by construction of special systems kagreze. There are Alpine zones, and woods with relic breeds of trees, where the climate is rainy even in the summer. There are vast steppes and high mountain ranges with the tops attracting climbers, tourists and those interested in wild nature.
In Azerbaijan one can meet plenty of curative, mineral and thermal waters, mud and oil for medical treatment. They are spread throughout Guba, Shamakhi - Ismayilli, Balakan - Gabala, Sheki - Zagatala, Nakhchivan, Ganjabasar regions. There are 6 national parks, 12 reserves and 17 protected areas occupying 2,4% from the total territory of the country and cover all basic climatic landscapes in Azerbaijan. Today, the plans for extension of area of protected nature territories up to 10 % of the total area of the republic area in progress.
5 national parks (Shirvan, Hirkan, Altyagaj, Ordubad, Ag-gol), 15 nature reserves and over two thousand trees (aged 100 to 400 years) are included in the state list of “The Natural Reserves of Azerbaijan” (as of 2004). The document also includes 37 geological and paleontological objects and more than 15000 ha of forests with endemic and relict flora. The list of relict flora includes eastern plane trees (aged 100 -500 years), dzelqua tree (aged 250 - 400 years), pistachio (aged 250 - 400 years), karkas tree (aged 300 - 600 years), box tree (aged 200 - 300 years) and black nut (aged 200 - 300 years).
The natural reserves with the objects of paleontology include nine caves such as the Azykh Cave, where a Paleolithic site of primitive man was once discovered, the asphalt lake in Binagadi, the richest site with remains of relict flora and fauna (approximately 260 species). There are also many unique geological formations such as Tengi marble gorge, the Afurja falls on the river Velvelichai and many others.
86,6 thousand square km (forests 12%, water basins 1.7%, sown area 54,9%, including 31.1 % pastures and hayfields, 31.4% other lands). The country extends between longitude 44° and 52° east and latitude 38° and 42° north, Baku situated at the parallel of 40°.
Distance from Baku to North Pole is 5550 km, to the equator 4440 km.
Big lakes, (km2 )
Sarysu-67.0 km2 Aggol-56.2 km2
Mehman - 35.0 km2
Azerbaijan borders with Iran (765 km) and Turkey (15 km) on the south, Russia (390 km) on the north, Georgia (480 km) on the north-west and Armenia (1007 km) on the west.
The length of the largest area of the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan sector is 456 km.
Foreign currency and travelers cheques can be exchanged for Azeri Manat in all banks. In addition, currency can be exchanged at all official exchange points, which can be found everywhere. It is necessary to keep receipts of all exchanges until departure from the country.