Mare Caspium was the name given to the Caspian Sea in ancient times. This is the largest inland lake in the world, but anyone who wants to know how big it really is almost always produces only a shrug of the shoulders, even in Azerbaijan. Evaporation, climatic changes and a scientifically unfathomable inflow of fresh water made the values of the Caspian Sea vary again and again. Moreover, the normal level of this huge body of water is almost thirty meters below sea level. On the coast of this extraordinary sea lies Azerbaijan, and with its port in Baku, the country has access to shipping. The republic is the largest of the three former Soviet republics in the Caucasus and has the dimensions of Austria.
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Guide to Azerbaijan
Many a person who is familiar with carpets runs the risk of drifting in the wrong geographical direction when buying. The names “Shirvan” and “Tabriz” do not refer to carpets from Iran, but to those from Azerbaijan. It is important to know that Shirvan is a historical region on the banks of the Kura River and Tabriz is the capital of a province in eastern Azerbaijan. Carpet weaving has always been very important in this country, and the most beautiful products can be seen in the Baku Carpet Museum.
More recently, however, the industrial extraction of oil has played an even greater role in Azerbaijan. The “black gold” is extracted in the offshore area of the Caspian Sea. The so-called “Maiden’s Tower” from the 12th century and the Palace of the Khans of Shirvan from the 15th century in the old town of Ichari Shahar in Baku have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Both buildings are something like stone testimonies from the changing history of this city.
Azerbaijan has professed Islam since the Arab conquest in the 7th century. A minority of Armenians, Russians and Kurdish Yazidis are of Christian faith.