LANDS AND PEOPLES
A Visit to Azerbaijan
AZERBAIJAN is the largest of the three countries of the Southern Caucasus. About a thousand years ago, Turkic tribes began settling in this territory in large numbers. Those settlers absorbed some of the local traditions, and the locals adopted some of the settlers’ culture. Not surprisingly, therefore, the Azerbaijani language is closely related to Turkish and Turkmen.
Azeris are known to be a lively and warm people. Family ties are close, and relatives rely on each other in times of difficulty.
Azeris love music and poetry. In one form of music called mugam, a singer recites classical Azeri poems to the accompaniment of folk instruments. A mugam performer has to have thorough knowledge of traditional mugam repertoire and a knack for improvisation.
Tea is an important part of Azerbaijani culture. The beverage is served in small pear-shaped glasses with a sugar cube, perhaps accompanied by pistachios, almonds, and raisins. Tea houses can be found in even the smallest of towns.
The Caspian Sea, to the east of the country, is a habitat of the sturgeon. The beluga sturgeon can live more than 100 years. One of the biggest ever caught was 28 feet (8.5 m) in length and weighed 2,860 pounds (1,297 kg)! Sturgeons are prized for their eggs
Azeris are religious people who like to talk about God. Most of the population are Muslims. Other religious groups are also present, including more than a thousand of Jehovah’s Witnesses
DID YOU KNOW?
Jehovah’s Witnesses study the Bible with millions of people worldwide, using the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? It is available in more than 250 languages, including Azerbaijani.