Azerbaijan's increasing popularity as a tourist destination is undeniable. Official figures from the Tourism Authority of the State of Azerbaijan show a rise of 11.4% to just over 3 million in 2019 compared to the previous year. The government of Azerbaijan will be hoping to pick up where they left off after the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the fast-growing tourism industry, many people still know little about Azerbaijan, its history, and geographical location. If you're interested in visiting Azerbaijan, read on to find out more about this fascinating nation before you go.
Do I Need a Visa to Visit Azerbaijan?
Unless you're from one of just 10 visa-exempt countries, you need a visa to visit Azerbaijan. The easiest way to gain permission to enter the country is by applying for an online ASAN visa.
Provided you meet all the Azerbaijan e-Visa requirements you can apply online in minutes and receive your approved visa in just a few days.
With the eVisa, you'll be able to stay in Azerbaijan for up to 30 days; plenty of time to discover what the country has to offer.
When Did Azerbaijan Become a Country?
To understand when and how Azerbaijan became the independent state it is today, it's useful to look at a brief timeline of its recent history:
- 1828: As a result of the Treaty of Turkmenchay, Azerbaijan is divided between Russia and Persia. Southern Azerbaijan becomes part of Persia whilst the territory of present-day Azerbaijan is part of the Russian Empire.
- 1918: Following the collapse of the Russian Empire at the end of World War, the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic is formed comprising present-day Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia. The Republic is dissolved in 1918 and the Independent Azerbaijani Republic declared.
- 1920: Independent Azerbaijan was short-lived, becoming part of the Soviet Socialist Republic just 2 years after the declaration after the Red Army Invasions.
- 1988: Unrest in many parts of the Soviet Union, including in Nagorno-Karabakh, an autonomous region of the Azerbaijan SSR.
- 1991: The Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan SSR adopts the name of Democratic Sovereignty of the Azerbaijan Republic, dropping the word Soviet Socialist. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic flag is restored as the state flag.
- October 18th, 1991: The Supreme Council of Azerbaijan adopts a Declaration of Independence which is followed by a national referendum later in the year. Azerbaijan now celebrates its independence day on October 18th each year.
Is Azerbaijan Part of Europe or Asia?
Given this complex history, you might be wondering whether Azerbaijan lies in Asia or Europe. The answer to this question is, in fact, both. Azerbaijan is situated in the South Caucasus region of Asia, at the meeting point between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
Whilst Azerbaijan is located mainly on the Asian portion of the Caucasus, the districts of Qusar, Shabran, Siazan, Khachmaz, and Quba are geographically in Europe.
Traveling to Azerbaijan offers a unique opportunity to step foot in both continents while visiting just one country.
Which Countries Border Azerbaijan?
Azerbaijan is bordered by:
- Russia to the north
- Georgia to the northwest
- Armenia and Turkey to the west
- Iran to the south
Azerbaijan is also bounded by the Caspian Sea which lies to the east.
What Languages Are Spoken in Azerbaijan?
The official language of Azerbaijan is Azerbaijani, or Azeri, a Turkic language closely related to Modern Turkish. Azerbaijani is the native language of approximately 92.5% of the population, more than half of which are monolingual. Russian is also widely spoken.
Armenian and Georgian are spoken to a lesser extent in Azerbaijan as well as several endangered languages such as Lezgian, Talysh, Avar, and Budukh. The use of English as a foreign language is increasing.
Some people think that Azerbaijan is an Arab country however this is not the case and Arabic is not one of the languages spoken.
Which Is the Main Religion in Azerbaijan?
Around 97% of the population of Azerbaijan identifies as Muslim, mostly adhering to Shia Islam. Nevertheless, the government of Azerbaijan is secular and article 48 of the Constitution ensures Freedom of Religion.
Besides Islam, a small proportion of the population follows the Russian Orthodox Church, various Christian denominations, and other religions.
Which is the Main Airport in Azerbaijan?
Flying is the most convenient way to reach Azerbaijan for most overseas visitors and Heydar Aliyev International Airport is the main gateway for foreign arrivals. The airport is situated 20 kilometers from the capital city Baku and is connected by a modern highway which was built in 2008. Main flight operators include Azerbaijan Airlines and Buta Airlines.
With direct flights from cities including Berlin, Barcelona, New York, and Istanbul, Heydar Aliyev International Airport welcomes many thousands of tourists from across the globe to Azerbaijan every year.