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Azerbaijan

Geography

Azerbaijan was once a major stopover on the Great Silk Route, and there are many captivating sights to see in this ancient country - Bronze Age petroglyphs, medieval minarets and mosques, the famous carpets. With an oil bonanza incipient, the capital Baku is fast becoming a boomtown.

The best time to visit Azerbaijan is between April and October when it's warm and dry in much of the country. July and August are the best months for reaching mountain villages like Xinaliq, but can be scorching (up to 38°C/100°F) and unbearably humid in Baku. It's much colder and wetter in the winter and snow, while rare in Baku, is common in the mountains. The biggest national festival (Novruz) climaxes on March 21st with much merriment and even fire-jumping.

Capital:Baku

Official language: Azerbaijani

Currency: Manat (AZN)


Climate

Thanks to the sheltering mountains the lower-altitude regions of Azerbaijan verge on a tropical climate. Daily summer temperatures in Baku are usually between 25°C and 35°C (77-95°F), although the capital gets some relief from the Caspian breeze. Winters still get cold but freezing conditions are rare. Summer temperatures are similar in the mountains, but with colder nights, and winter sees the temperatures huddled below zero.

Geography

The total length of Azerbaijani land borders is 2,648 km, of which Armenia constitutes 1007, Iran 756, Georgia 480, Russia - 390 and Turkey - 15. The coastline stretches for 800 km and the length of the widest area of the Azerbaijani section of Caspian Sea is 456 km. The territory of Azerbaijan extends 400 km from north to south, and 500 km from west to east. The three mountain ranges are the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, and the Talysh Mountains, together covering approximately 40% of the country. The highest peak of Azerbaijan is mount Bazardüzü (4,466 m), while the lowest point lies in the Caspian Sea (-28 m). Near a half of all the mud volcanoes on Earth is concentrated in Azerbaijan.