Ok, here we come! Azerbaijan is next one from Things You didn’t Know Series.
There are many facts like obsession with tea drinking. A weird system of buying sim cards and many many others which most probably could make a list grow up to 20 Things but those are the ones that stuck in my memory the most.
I loved Azerbaijan. It is a truly spectacular country. I will try to show it to you in upcoming posts how beautiful this place is and how amazing people are but now let’s talk about all those weird, quirky and plain funny facts! Maybe not all of those pictures are National Geographic standards but they are real examples from the road.
Azerbaijan Info/ Azerbaijan Facts
Azerbaijan Capital: Baku
Azerbaijan Currency: Azerbaijani Manat AZN
Azerbaijan Language: Azeri, Russian
Azerbaijan Population: 9,76 million
Azerbaijan Religion: Shia Islam, Sunni Islam and Christian minorities
Azerbaijan Flag: A horizontal tricolour of blue, red, and green, with a white crescent and an eight-pointed star centred on a red band. Adopted on the 9th of November, 1918 and readopted on the 5th of February, 1991.
The sky blue symbolizes Turkic multinationalism, the red is for the progress to establish a modern state and the development of democracy, and green shows the nation’s relation to the Muslim world. In the middle of the flag, and appearing on both front and back, are a white crescent and an eight-pointed star.
While the crescent and star are typically seen as markers of Islam, some historians and researchers disagree about why an eight-pointed star is used on the flag of Azerbaijan. They say it either stands for 8 letters of the world ‘Azerbaijan” in Arabic or for the eight Turkic people groups of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan Map/ Where is Azerbaijan located?
Azerbaijan is located in the Caucasus region on the Asian continent. Azerbaijan shares land borders with 5 countries: Turkey, Russia, Iran, Armenia, Georgia. And is located on the Caspian Sea.
Many people ask: is Azerbaijan in Europe? If you ‘Google’ list of European countries Azerbaijan is included, but as mentioned before it is located on the Asian continent.
The country is a member of European Council, Eastern Partnership Program of NATO.
Linguistically Azerbaijani language is not Indo-European. Alphabetically can be considered European as Azeri people use latin alphabet.
Interesting, funny and quirky facts about Azerbaijan.
1. Lada Land
Azerbaijan is a country of Lada! And you know I love Lada, specifically the old models. I love everything that has to do with transport and public transport. I know I’m weird! I’m not sure if it is some kind of sentiment for Soviet Union times but I find Lada quirky and so so cool! I have always been aesthetically attracted to Soviet cars for their simplicity and retro quality and as symbols of a bygone era and way of life.
So Azerbaijan was like Lada Heaven for me. There were Ladas everywhere. In all colours and shapes. Azerbaijan is in a top 5 of Lada importers, so you can only imagine how many Ladas they have there.
Generally, the country is a Soviet car heaven, as you can see a lot of Zhigulis, Moskviches and Volgas, but except some KGB Volgas, Lada was always my favourite.Azerbaijan is heaven for Soviet car lovers #ladaloveClick To Tweet
2. Selfies Issue
Azerbaijani people love taking pictures of themselves and love when you take pictures of them, especially men! Believe me, capital of Azerbaijan – Baku is one shooting scene. I went for a boat trip to watch Baku waterfront from the sea, but I was the only person looking at the cityscape! Locals were too busy with their cameras to pay attention! And that applies to everyone, at any time and situation! I actually should do a separated post with all those photographies.Land of selfies should be on the bucket list of all selfie lovers hahaClick To Tweet
3. Yuma Signs (funny only for Polish people)
This one may be only funny for Polish people I’m afraid. So in Poland, long time ago some small time crocks were going to Germany for Yuma, meaning they went there to steal cars!
Yes, we are not particularly proud of it but used to German people were quite scared of coming to Poland with their cars and I’m not surprised about that. Luckily those times are long gone and Poland is doing super great at the moment.
So when I saw this sign for the first time I have burst with a laugh! I was like: what?! You have road signs showing you where your car can be stolen?! But being serious, I have found out later that it means car wash but still funny, very funny for me.Yuma signs everywhere. #jokeonlyforpolishpeopleClick To Tweet
4. Last kolkhoz on Earth?
Have you ever heard about ‘kolkhoz’? Yes, it is a collective farm from Soviet Union times. And you can visit one in Azerbaijan! Yes, it is still working and applying all the rules of the collective community. Meaning that all the people work for the same salary. There is not private property, they share what they produce etc
Not only it is super interesting and quirky but the place itself and the area are super beautiful. Ivanovka is definitely a place not to miss.Last existing kolhoz on Earth? That is pretty something!Click To Tweet
5. Beautiful contra real?
People in Azerbaijan are genuinely surprised when you are trying to take pictures of something ugly, unfinished or poor. Seriously they can’t understand why don’t you shoot nice and shiny new government buildings?!
So I have been taking pictures of those chickens in the metal box and a very nice older gentleman asked me why?! I told him that I have enough of nice and shiny constructions in Europe and that I’m looking for genuine and quirky.
Either he thought I mixed up some words in my poor Russian or that I’m just weird.Beautiful versus real...main struggle of Azerbaijan. #quirksofazeripeopleClick To Tweet
6. Photography Issue
Generally, Azerbaijan has a ‘photo issue’. They seem to struggle with deciding what is permitted to be photographed and what not. Oil fields are a NO, actually a big NO NO.
Policeman and anything to do with Police such as cars, buildings and even traffic police is not a good idea. Can’t count how many times, some obsessed policeman called me to check if I didn’t take a picture of him only if I lifted my camera in 100m circle around him.
And I’m not a suspicious person or a fan of conspiracy theories but why a ‘Man of Right and Law’ is so afraid that I will photograph him? I understand that mafia boss could get quite upset about such thing but policeman?!
Oh, I have some good idea! Maybe because he is slacking off the whole day and afraid that one day his boss will see it on Facebook?A strict list of things that can't be photograph is way too long in Azerbaijan. #nonophotosClick To Tweet
7. Land of Fire
Azerbaijan is called a ‘Land of Fire’. There are different explanations, and I actually find them all connected to each other. Zoroastrianism is a religion in which Fire Temples are the most important places of worship.
It is said that Zoroastrianism which was predominant religion of Iran before Islam actually has it is origins in Azerbaijan (used to part of Persian Empire). Azerbaijan is a Persian name and actually mean ‘protector of fire’.
But why fire? Maybe because gas is plentiful here. So plentiful that there are places where a natural gas fire blazes continuously for ages! Yes, I’m serious, look up Yanar Dag.Azerbaijan is a Land of Fire, both in ancient times and currently. #landoffireClick To Tweet
8. Oil? Oh, oil! We have plenty of that!
Ok, so now you know that Azerbaijan is very rich in gas, but it is even richer in oil. Now you think, some countries are just too lucky? Right?! You know Nobel brothers? They actually set up their Nobel Brothers Petroleum Company in Baku. They acquired the majority of their wealth in Azerbaijan!Oil is omnipresent here. #oilfactsClick To Tweet
9. Littering Issue
People litter to such extension that it is terrifying. On my ride from Qax to Zaqatala about 7 teenage boys throw their fizzy drink bottles through the window.
Almost everyone does the same and when you mention it is not ok, they answer that there are people who will clean it up.
When I have said a couple of times that except Baku I have never seen anybody cleaning the streets they say that it will be taken care off when President will come to the region.
Seriously?! I doubt.
Azerbaijan is a beautiful country but everywhere you drive, sides of the road exhibit only rubbish! It is very sad!
And please note, I’m not trying to pick up on Azerbaijan, the whole region of Caucasus is facing this huge problem. That is why I’m putting a picture of the plastic bottle on the grass instead of a dog laying in the garbage.
I really loved Azerbaijan but this is something that really shocked me!Littering is a huge problem of Azerbaijan. #badfactsClick To Tweet
10. Watermelon Land
Azerbaycan is a country of watermelons, that goes without saying. But there is something very specific about the way how you should eat watermelon there. Always with a white cheese and bread! Yes, I really meant to write white cheese and bread…
If you ask me what is Azerbaijan famous for or what is Azerbaijan known for I think I would say for eating watermelon with cottage cheese :) Of course, there is a lot of facts about Azerbaijan, its culture and heritage that Azeri people should be proud of it but that is just my quirky choice.Watermelon with white cottage cheese is how you should eat watermelon always! #yummyClick To Tweet
Did you love those interesting facts about Azerbaijan?
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And do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions about Azerbaijan. More than happy to chat!