The harbor of Baku, the capital, is known as the finest on the Caspian Sea. Photo credit - National Geographic
Azerbaijan, officially the Republic of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Respublikası) is a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south.
The exclave of Nakhchivan is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, while having a short borderline with Turkey to the northwest. The enclaves of Karki, Yuxarı Əskipara, Barxudarlı and Sofulu are surrounded by Armenia and have been controlled by it since the Nagorno-Karabakh War. The majority-Armenian populated Nagorno-Karabakh region in the southwest of Azerbaijan declared itself independent from Azerbaijan in 1991, but it is not diplomatically recognised by any nation and is still considered a de jure part of Azerbaijan, being occupied by Armenian forces.
Azerbaijan was the first successful attempt to establish a democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world.Azerbaijan, a nation with a majority Turkic and Shi‘ite Muslim population, is a secular and a unitary republic with an ancient and historic cultural heritage. Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries so far and holds membership in 38 international organizations. It holds observer status in the Non-Aligned Movement and World Trade Organization and is a correspondent at the International Telecommunication Union.On 9 May 2006 Azerbaijan was elected to membership in the newly established Human Rights Council by the United Nations General Assembly. The term of office began on 19 June 2006.
Azerbaijan is one of the founder members of GUAM and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and joined the Commonwealth of Independent States in September 1993. A Special Envoy of the European Commission is present in the country, which is also a member of the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program