When I tell people from Europe and further afield that I live in Azerbaijan, the normal response is “Azerbaijan, is that a country?” Well, just in case there was any doubt about the matter, yes it is… To assist any of my readers who may want to know, here are a few fun facts gleaned from the website: http://www.funtrivia.com
|The capital city of Azerbaijan is Baku. Whereabouts in the country is Baku located?|
Baku is a port on the Caspian Sea
- . The port of Baku, on the Caspian Sea, is a mix of the historic and modern. The inner walled city dates back at least as far as the twelfth century, and in 2000 it was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. In 2009, Baku was the “Capital City of Islamic Culture” too. The Caspian Sea coast forms the eastern border of Azerbaijan.
|To the west of Azerbaijan, tucked away between Armenia and Iran, is an Azerbaijani exclave. What is it called?|
- . Nakhchivan has an area of a little over 5300 square kilometres, and shares borders with Iran and Armenia. It also has a border of about nine kilometres with Turkey to the northeast, which is one of the shortest international frontiers in the world. The capital and administrative centre of the area is Nakhchivan City. It is believed by historians that the name derives from the nearby presence of Mount Ararat, and that this is the town mentioned in both Christian and Islamic scriptures as being founded by Noah and the other survivors from the Ark, after the Great Flood.
|Part of the border between Azerbaijan’s exclave and Iran is formed by a river. With its source in Anatolia, Turkey, and its end in the Caspian Sea via the Kura river in Azerbaijan, which river is this?|
- . The River Aras is part of one of the largest river systems in the Caucasus. In the early 1800s, it was designated the official border between the Russian and Persian Empires, and has remained politically important as a frontier ever since. In times of drought it is possible to stand in the river bed with one foot in Azerbaijani Nakhchivan, and the other in Iran.
|Azerbaijan, particularly in the Gobustan region, is home to more than half the examples of one particular geographical feature in the world. What feature are they?|
- . Gobustan is a national park and reserve, and has been declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. As well as half the mud volcanoes in the world, it is also home to well preserved ancient rock art and carvings, and the unique ‘musical stones’ known as Gaval Dash.
|The national animal of Azerbaijan is known as a “Karabakh,” named for the eponymous region of the country. What sort of creature is a Karabakh?|
- . Karabakh horses have been bred for many hundreds of years, but the breed is now threatened with extinction as there are only a few thoroughbreds left. They are a hardy breed, and are famed for their speed and good temperament. The Karabakh and neigbouring Nagorno-Karabakh regions are in the south west of Azerbaijan and extend across the border into eastern Armenia.
|Slightly less than half of Azerbaijan is mountainous, with three main ranges covering the north of the country. Two of these are the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains whilst the third is the Talysh Mountains. What is the landscape like in the Talysh Mountains?|
Sub-tropical and temperate rain forest
- . The lush forest known as the Caspian-Hyrcanian mixed forest covers the entire Talysh range of mountains and also extends north into Iran and down onto the Lankara plains in Azerbaijan. Before it became extinct, the Caspian tiger was found there, and the region is home to many endangered plant, animal, and bird species. Small parts of the forests are now protected by the Azerbaijani and Iranian governments in a bid to halt the destruction of the forests for lumber and crop lands.
|The lowest point of elevation in Azerbaijan lies in the Caspian Sea. Is this point below sea level?|
- . It is indeed below sea level. The lowest elevation of Azerbaijan is twenty-eight metres below sea level. This contrasts with the highest point of the country, Mount Bazarduzu, in the Greater Caucasus on the border with Russia, which stands 4466 metres above sea level.
|What type of geographical feature is Qara Su, also known as Los, in eastern Azerbaijan?|
- . Qara Su, also sometimes called Los Island, lies in shallow water just off the coast near Baku. It is one of the islands which make up the Baku Archipelago. Like many of these islands, Qara Su is uninhabited and polluted after natural gas and oil were discovered there and extracted without thought for the environmental implications during the Soviet era.
|What is the official language of Azerbaijan?|
- . Azerbaijani, also known as Azeri or Turkic Azeri, is a member of the Turkic family of languages. Azerbaijani is the official language of the country, and there are several dialects also spoken throughout Azerbaijan. These dialects are all closely related to each other however, and most people who are fluent in one can easily communicate with speakers of the others. It is also one of the official languages of Iran, being widely spoken in the south of the country, as well as in other countries in the Caucasus region. Azerbaijani is the 34th most widely spoken language of the world.
|Since their first team entry as an independent nation in 1996, athletes from Azerbaijan have won sixteen medals at Summer Olympic Games. Seven of these medals were won in the sport which many Azerbaijanis consider the country’s national sport. Which sport is this?|
- . Azerbaijani athletes have won two gold, three silver, and two bronze medals in wrestling events at the Olympic Games, including a bronze won by Mariya Stadnik in a women’s event at the Beijing Games in 2008. All sixteen of their medals were won in one of the sports mentioned in this question.