Azerbaijan is a country in Asia and a former Soviet Republic state. It lies on the Caspian Sea and is home to the breathtaking Caucasus Mountains – which run on into Georgia, Russia and Armenia.
It has a population of roughly 1 million people, the vast majority of whom are either Turkic or Shia Muslim and speak predominately Azerbaijani. Officially the Republic of Azerbaijan, it’s one of six Turkic states and a member of the Council of Europe.
A major energy leader, Azerbaijan is one of the oldest oil producers in the world, with an industrial history dating back to Ancient times. Its main sectors are petroleum, steel, textiles and machinery. The country also has a growing internet sector.
Tourism is an important part of the Azerbaijan’s economy. In 2017, the country welcomed just shy of 3 million visitors – an increase of 20% on the year before. While not a popular expat destination, Azerbaijan’s rich energy reserves make it an attractive place to do business – particularly if you’re coming from overseas. Those not employed by the oil sector tend to work in one of four industries: tourism, education, agriculture or communication.
Azerbaijan’s capital city, Baku, is where most visitors tend to settle. As the country’s main commercial hub, Baku is home to popular tourist spots like Fountains Square and Shikhov Beach, and boasts a dazzling array of monuments, parks and museums. It’s divided into twelve districts, and, down the years, has played host to numerous international events like the 2016 Grand Prix and the 57th Eurovision Song Contest.
Azerbaijan has its own currency - the Azerbaijani manat. All services and goods must be paid for using this currency. US dollars, Euros and Sterling are easily exchanged in the country, although, it’s worth noting that most supermarkets, shops and restaurants accept credit cards.
Transportation in Azerbaijan consists of trains, taxis, ferries and buses. The Baku Metro is Azerbaijan’s only metro system and serves a total of 25 stations, with several expansion projects on the way.
The country has a total of 10 airports, some of which are easier to fly to than others. Heydar Aliyev International, the country’s main airport, is easily reached, and served by many well-known airlines including Emirates, Qatar and Iran Air.