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Where in the World: Republic of Azerbaijan

Raymond Stellhorn
Columnist
rjs2091@lhup.edu
user vita86, commons.wikimedia.org

user vita86, commons.wikimedia.org

With International Education Week upon the United States, it is time to take a look at a region of the world that many Americans are not so familiar with. The Republic of Azerbaijan is a country located in the Caucasus region, essentially the gateway between Europe and Asia. The official language is Azerbaijani, though, English and Russian are commonly spoken.

This former member of the Soviet Union has rose out of the red ashes behind the iron curtain into a great new era. Azerbaijan has a strong western influence nowadays.  However, it has always been ahead of the times for change compared to its neighboring countries in the region.

In 1918, it was the first Islamic democratic state to become secular separating religion from government.  Baku is the largest city and capital where 25 percent of approximately 10 million of all Azerbaijans live. Azerbaijan is currently in the midst of a renaissance as it was during the beginning of the twentieth century.

Peretz Parinsky, commons.wikimedia.org

Most recently in June of this year, Baku hosted the Inaugural European Games, an international event similar to the Pan-American Games which only contested between countries within the European Olympic Committees. Baku will also be hosting the 2016 European Grand Prix Race of the Formula 1 World Championship, the highest level of motorsport in the world.

Baku is known as the City of Winds for its location on the Caspian Sea. The city has become industrialized and has a modern skyline of tall glass skyscrapers.

Conversely, though, Baku has many historically preserved buildings including an Opera and Palaces as well as “Icheri Sherher”, the old Baku. Azerbaijan, the Land of Fire as it is known through travel advertising is a beautiful country with a rich history that is on the rise to be a destination for those from all over the world.

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