Republic of Azerbaijan


Sept. 21, 2004, midnight | By Fidan Karimova | 16 years, 2 months ago


Teenagers from and in Azerbaijan, just like their peers all over the world, like to talk about their hobbies and interests, and about the life that surrounds them:
Nigat Bagirov (11th grade – in Azerbaijan)

Some of my hobbies include being on the Internet. On my free time, I like going online and researching school related stuff: books, interesting programs; but mostly I like to chat online. When I graduate from school, I am planning to study programming. My favorite movie is Matrix. I saw all three movies, about three times. I basically like horror films and action films.

As for Baku, I love everything about it. There are many historical places in Azerbaijan: such as the Maiden Tower, Shirvanshah's Palace, walls of the "Icheri Sheher" (walled-in-city), along with many other landmarks. I enjoy walking with my friends along the Boulevard or the Fountains Plaza.

Many famous eastern poets, such as Nizami, Fizuli, Vazeh, and others, originated in Azerbaijan. I love reading Azerbaijani literature, and mostly do so during school breaks. But during summer vacation, last year, I went over to Ganja and hung out with my friends in the parks and cafes.

As for America, I think it is a bit too democratic – does whatever it wants. But it definitely has an impact on Azerbaijani people.

Sabina Bayramova (9th grade – in Azerbaijan)

I love Baku and when I leave the country, I miss it a lot. I usually enjoy walking in the parks, especially since after the renovation many modern coffee houses, little boutiques have been added. But I mostly hang out there because there are always a lot of people. I also go to the new Azerbaijani movie theatre and watch a lot of new movies with my girl friends.

As for our culture, it is old and rich with traditions and customs, defining who we are. We have our history, national holidays, music, cuisine, folklore, everything that shapes a nation.

I go to school six days a week. School ends on May 25, and afterwards we have exams. This year I have to take 5 different exams: Russian Language, Algebra, History of Azerbaijan and Biology. And the exams are not just simple exams. You have special cards (about 25) with different questions, and you have to know the information well for each. During the day of the exam you enter the examination room, pick out the card and whichever card you pick, with whatever question, you have to answer it. No take backs.

America has had a big impact on Azerbaijani teenagers. We also like listening to rap (Puff Daddy, Tupac, R Kelly, Nelly). America influences the way we dress, and our teenagers wear almost the same fashions as American kids.

Okuma Kerimova (9th grade – USA)

I was born in Baku, Azerbaijan and grew up there, attending preschool and then primary school #160, until I came to Maryland in the winter of 1998. I find that there are many similarities between American and Azerbaijani schools. For example, in both countries there are different teachers for every subject, and there are lunch breaks. But there are also many differences, such as the length of the school week and years of study: in Azerbaijan it runs from Monday till Saturday, and you only go up till 11th grade, instead of 12. Probably the biggest difference, in my opinion, is that the education is more intense and teachers are very strict in Azerbaijan, compared to America. America is wonderful, but nothing can compare to Azerbaijan. And although Azerbaijan has its own culture, filled with its own traditions, customs, beliefs and history, America seems to play a major role in the lives of the young generation. Since many teenagers in Azerbaijan think of America as a major icon for style, music and just general way of life. It is common to see many similarities in the lives of teenagers from both countries. With the growing need to be up-to-date with everything that is "cool" in America, there are new Rap groups, new stylish clothes and a new look on life. However, the traditional culture of Azerbaijan, which has deep roots in every generation, does not change on the inside. The pride of the nation and its deep traditions are a constant to the past and future generations.

Location: Azerbaijan occupies the southeastern part of the Caucasus, descending to the Caspian Sea, between Iran, the Russian Federation and Turkey, with Armenia to the west and Georgia to the northwest.

History: Prior to becoming a part of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan, also named the "Land of Fire," for sporadic fields of fire gushing out from its petrol fields, was acknowledged as a place where development of many civilizations took place. The independent Azerbaijani Democratic Republic was proclaimed on 28 May of 1818, and in a short time achieved remarkable results. One of them was the legislation in 1918 which established universal suffrage and gave women rights to vote. Along with that, Azerbaijan was the first Muslim state to adopt a Latin alphabet, instead of Arabic scripture. But, in 1920, Azerbaijan became a part of the Soviet Union and was under Soviet control till the end of 1991. After regaining its independence on October 18, 1991, Azerbaijan was able to control its own natural resources again, but most importantly run its own affairs.

Population: 7,830,764 people (2003)

Capital: Baku - it holds all the history of Azerbaijan, prior to the Bronze Age and beyond. In the heart of the city is Icheri Sheher (Inner City) that has been there since Azerbaijan was formed. Over the time new modern buildings were built around the city. But the Inner City remains one of the most visited places in Baku, because of its many tourist attractions. The most amazing sight, the Maiden Tower, which was built in the 12th century, is located in the Inner City, along with the Palace of the Shirvan Shahs and the Azerbaijani History museum.

Language: Azerbaijani (Azeri). It is closely related to Turkish and belongs to the Turkic group of languages.

Population: Azerbaijanians - 89%, Russians - 3%, Armenians - 2%, others - 6%

Religion: Muslim 93.4%, Russian Orthodox 2.5%, Armenian Orthodox 2.3%, other 1.8% (1995 est.)

President: Ilham Aliyev

Government type: Republic

Conflicts: The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Mountainous Garabagh has been going on since 1988, and has lead to millions of deaths and refugees on territories occupied by Armenians. Along with that, in 1989, Armenia conducted an ethnic cleansing in the town of Khojaly.

Anthem: Click here to listen to Azerbaijan's anthem.

Traditional recipes: For delicious recipes, click here.

Music:

Music in Azerbaijan can be divided into three different categories: mugam (improvised music, with songs based on traditional Azerbaijani poetry) and the songs of the ashuqs (bards), whose purpose is to tell the history of Azerbaijan through music; folk music; modern music which includes Azeri rap.

Click here to listen to Azerbaijani music.

Places to visit in Azerbaijan:

Baku:
Baku is the largest city in Azerbaijan, with one fifth of Azerbaijan's population. Baku is a great cultural center of the country, with its many historical locations such as the Maiden Tower, the Shirvan Shah Palace and the Inner City. In the old days, Baku was a commercial city, with many merchants coming from Iran, Russian and Central Asia in and out of Baku. Aside from the apparent tourist attractions, Baku is also the place with abundance of natural resources, such as oil springs, saffron and salt. Baku's winds sometimes blow so hard that they have the power to sweep a man off his feet.

Gobustan:
Gobustan is an open-air museum filled with Neolithic rock drawings. Just 40 miles south of Baku, Gobustan has some 4000 inscriptions that go back 12,000 years. Stone Age people illustrated wearing loin clothes are depicted as hunting. Their dances are thought to have been accompanied by the melodious strains of the Gaval-Dashy (Tambourine Stone) - a rock that has a deep, resonating tone when struck.

Shemakha:
This little town on the foothills of the Caucasus was a major trading center and the capital of the Shirvan shahs from the sixth century until they were moved to Baku. Many of the old royals are buried in the Eddi Gyumbez (Seven Cupolas) Mausoleum. Shemakha is also famous for its carets and wines.

National sports: (Information compiled from here.)

  1. "Nard" – otherwise known as backgammon, this is the oldest game in history. The game is played on wooden boards with dice. Many recorded relics indicate the popularity of the game amongst the aristocrats of Persia, Greece, Rome and the Far East. The Persians called the game Takhteh Nard which in Persian means "Battle on Wood". (Takhteh = Wooden board) and (Nard = Battle).

  2. "Coch-fight" – This game is conducted during spring accessions such as "Novruz". There are two teams. One of them is named "night", another "day". A circle is drawn on the ground, with a radius of 6-7 m. Staying on one leg, with each team standing on a different leg, the two teams walk around the circle, while keeping their hands on their waist. After the sign, the members of one team try to take down the members of the other team.

  3. "Seven Beauties" – Seven girls are given the hooks and different colored threads. At the appointed time they must crochet the stockings. Girl, who crochets the best stockings the fastest, comes out as the winner.

  4. "Diredoyme" – There are two teams, each made up of five players, but only four participate during the game. The goal of the game is to win over as many members from the opposite team as possible.

National Holidays: March 20-21st (Novruz Bayram), May 28th (Republic Day), June 15th (National Salvation Day), October 18th (National Independence Day), November 12th (Constitution Independence Day), November 17th (National Revival Day), December 31st (Worldwide Solidarity of Azerbaijanis Day). Ramazan Bayram – days vary.



Tags: Cultural Connection print

Fidan Karimova. Fidan is a SENIOR!!! She is happy to be a part of the Silver Chips staff, considering that it's the best high school newspaper ever! She would also like to point out that she is one of two Azerbaijani students at Blair and proud to … More »

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