Azerbaijan Travel Information

Photo In the nineteenth century, Russian influence over daily life in Azerbaijan was less pervasive than that of indigenous religious and political elites and the cultural and intellectual influences of Persia and Turkey. During most of the nineteenth century, the Russian Empire extracted commodities from Azerbaijan and invested little in the economy. However, the exploitation of oil in Azerbaijan at the end of the nineteenth century brought an influx of Russians into Baku, increasing Russian influence and expanding the local economy reserves. Azerbaijan possesses fertile agricultural lands, rich industrial resources, including considerable oil reserves, and a relatively developed industrial sector. Utilization of those resources in the Soviet period, however, was subject to the usual distortions of centralized planning. In the early 1990s, economic output declined drastically. The major factors in that decline were the deterioration of trade relations with the other former Soviet republics, the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, erosion of consumer buying power, and retention of the ruble alongside the national currency. In 1994 the economy remained heavily dependent on the other former republics of the Soviet Union, especially Russia.
The official language of Azerbaijan is Azeri, a Turkic language of the Altaic family that is closely related to the Turkish and Turkmen languages. Azeri originally developed in the Arabic script, but in the 1920s a Latin (or Roman) alphabet was introduced. In 1939 the Soviet regime mandated the use of the Cyrillic alphabet, the script of the Russian language. After Azerbaijan gained independence, the government abandoned the Cyrillic alphabet and adopted a Turkish version of the Latin script. Russians and Armenians primarily use their own native languages.
Most adults in Azerbaijan can read and write. The country's high adult literacy rate was achieved during the Soviet period, when an extensive, state-funded education system was developed. The first eight years of education are compulsory, but most students complete the full ten-year program of basic education, and many choose to continue their education at secondary or vocational schools. Baku is the seat of most of the country's institutes of higher education, including Baku State University (founded in 1919 during Azerbaijan's brief initial period of independence), Azerbaijan Technical University (1950), and Azerbaijan State Petroleum Academy (1920).

Important: Travel to Azerbaijan may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Azerbaijan visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Republic of Azerbaijan
Capital city: Baku
Area: 86,600 sq km
Population: 9,493,600
Ethnic groups: Azeri 90.6%, Dagestani 2.2%, Russian 1.8%, Armenian 1.5%, other 3.9%
Languages: Azerbaijani
Religions: Muslim 93.4%, Russian Orthodox 2.5%, Armenian Orthodox 2.3%, other 1.8%
Government: republic
Chief of State: President Ilham ALIYEV
Head of Government: Prime Minister Artur RASIZADE
GDP: 93.05 billion
GDP per captia: 10,200
Annual growth rate: 0.1%
Inflation: 8.1%
Agriculture: cotton, grain, rice, grapes, fruit, vegetables, tea, tobacco
Major industries: petroleum and natural gas, petroleum products, oilfield equipment
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nonferrous metals, bauxite
Location: Southwestern Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Russia, with a small European portion north of the Caucasus range
Trade Partners - exports: Italy 32.6%, France 13.3%, US 7.6%, Germany 6.3%, Indonesia 5.4%, Czech Republic 5.3%
Trade Partners - imports: Turkey 18.1%, Russia 15.4%, China 7.8%, Germany 7.2%, UK 6.1%, Ukraine 4.6%, Italy 4.2%