Welcome to Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan even sounds like a distant and exotic land to me – and it is, since it’s approximately 7,000 miles away from my home in Los Angeles. My journey to get here takes me across America, over the Atlantic Ocean, and across Europe before landing in Baku.
Normally, a nighttime arrival means that you have to wait until morning to see a place – but not with Baku. The lights of the capital city are incredible! From the neon-lit clock tower shaped like an oil pump to towering buildings sparkling with tiny lights – it seems everything is shimmering for my arrival!
Here’s what I know about Azerbaijan: The capital city of Baku is in eastern Azerbaijan, right on the Caspian Sea. Russia sits to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south. The country does not have an official religion, but the majority of its citizens are Muslim.
Throughout history, the country has passed through the hands of many conquering peoples. Azerbaijan has been sought after for its oil, natural gas, and its key position on the Caspian Sea. As a result, the country is blend of Asian, Persian, Arabic, Russian, European, and Turkic influences.
I search the internet for everything I can find on Azerbaijan, but it is still a mystery. I can’t read any of the signs or understand any of conversations around me. It’s a little scary to arrive in a place so different and unfamiliar, but I’m ready to explore and investigate. But first, I better get a quick lesson in Azeri so that I can better communicate with the people I meet.