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A tale of continuity

A tale of continuity cultural

A tale of continuity

 

In Azerbaijan, you can see a confluence of the old and the new

One can say that this country has a foot each in two worlds — One in the modern world with industrial aspirations and another rooted in ancient crafts, traditions and music.

This oil and gas-rich nation is a curious amalgam of the old and the new, and there can be no better example to illustrate this than its capital city Baku (seen in the centre photo). Nestled inside is the walled city of Baku where you can see traces of civilisations that range from Persian to Ottoman. It has monuments such as the Maiden Tower that is said to date back to the 7th century and Palace of the Shirvanshahs that dates back to 1100s -1400s, among others. The site of the walled city itself is believed to have been inhabited since the Palaeolithic times!

Contrasting this is the cutting-edge Heydar Aliyev Center designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid. →

The country has the Caspian Sea to its east. Its neighbours include Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Iran. Azerbaijan shares more than just a border with these countries. It’s history is closely intertwined with theirs. The confluence of different architectural styles can be attributed to Azerbaijan coming under the control of various rulers and dynasties over the centuries. From the Safavid Dynasty of Iran to the Turkic Seljuks, each left a mark on the country’s cultural landscape.

Azerbaijan became a modern republic in 1918, but its stint as an independent state was short-lived. In less than three years, it became a part of the Soviet Union and remained so till the collapse of USSR in 1990s. The country is also engaged in a conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno- Karabakh region and its government has been accused of curtailing freedom of expression.

The country’s economy relies heavily on its oil and gas supplies and is one of the world’s largest suppliers of oil. Azerbaijan’s national animal is the Karabakh Horse and is employed to play a traditional sport called Chovqan. Majority of the population speak Azerbaijani which has Turkish roots. However, several languages such as Russian are also spoken. The people in Azerbaijan have a distinctive culture in terms of food, music and crafts. The carpets from Azerbaijan, for instance, are renowned worldwide and Azerbaijani Mugham, a form of music, has been recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage.

 


Factfile

  • Name: Republic of Azerbaijan

  • Capital: Baku

  • Currency: Manat

  • Prime Minister: Artur Rasizade

  • President: Ilham Aliyev

 


 

Natural Features

The country is home to mud volcanoes and several mountain ranges such as the Talysh Mountains. The highest peak in the country is Bazarduzu. Important rivers in the country include the Kura and Aras, but the country has thousands of small rivers that snake through its landscape.

 

source: thehindu.com

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