Customs and traditions
Although most Azeri define themselves as
Muslims, 70 years of Soviet rule has meant that religion
has little impact on everyday life. But the influence of
Islam is sometimes felt, for example, through a caution
with direct physical contact between the sexes - at
least in public and between people who are not more
A good handshake is the normal way to greet an Azeri.
Men in between, if they already know each other, and
women in between are often accompanied by the handshake
of a kiss on the left cheek. A man who greets a woman
should wait for her to reach out.
Overview of the capital city of Azerbaijan, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Almost all formal contacts require some social
redemption to get something done. Friendly conversation
about food, hobbies, family or other harmless topics
paves the way for the real thing. Politics is usually
not an appropriate topic of conversation. The older
generation, who grew up in the Soviet Union, have
learned that politics is for those up there, not for
ordinary people. In today's dictatorship, most people
also prefer to keep quiet. Generally, however, the
younger ones are less afraid of the regime than the
When visiting an Azeri home it is possible to wear
everyday clothes, but you should look good and clean.
Tight clothing that reveals body shapes should be
absolutely avoided. Most people are assumed to take off
their shoes. Sometimes you can borrow a pair of
slippers. Please bring a gift and hand it over with your
right hand. It may suffice with a few sweets or a flower
bouquet, and in that case an odd number of flowers,
since even bouquets are used only at funerals.
Pay close attention to everyone present. Younger
people always greet the elderly first, as always the
elderly who are served first at mealtime.
Food and meals
Food plays a major role in Azerbaijani culture. Not
least, there is a large selection of fruits and
vegetables, although meals tend to be dominated by the
meat of those who can afford it. In everyday life, a
moderate soup is the most common dish. There are at
least about thirty varieties, many of which are based on
yogurt. DŁşbərə is a praised soup made from
broth with small lamb-filled ravioli with sour cream and
garlic as an accessory.
The rice dish plow (pilaf) can be varied
with as many combinations of spices and accessories as
Just as in Turkey and Greece, you can find vine leaf
dollars, usually filled with rice and lamb mince and
seasoned with mint, fennel or cinnamon. Badımcan
dolması consists of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants
stuffed with lamb and chickpeas. Minced meat is also
available in the dŁşbərə dumplings. Grilled
meat, kebab, is available in many forms, usually served
with vegetables, cheese and bread, preferably the
unleavened thin bread lavaş.
The food is mostly rinsed with mineral water, but
there is native beer. Most meals end with tea and some
fruit or some sweet pastry, usually filled with nuts,
with names such as paxlava, şakarbura
or girma papadam.
Relatives and family
Azerbaijani society is very family oriented and
customer thinking is still strong. Within the clan or
extended family, everyone is supposed to help each
other, for example, getting work done. Taking time off
from work because a relative is ill or has problems is
considered normal and reasonable. This traditional
mourning of the immediate can in modern society lead to
corruption, most of all manifested in the stormy ruling
family Aliyev (Əliyev). High-level political decisions
are not often based on concern for the best of the clan.
In modern-day Baku, trendy-dressed women may appear
strong and independent, but Azerbaijan is largely a
men's society. Women rarely sit and play the popular
board game nard on a tea table, they have full up on
having the food ready at home. The strong family ties
also make it almost impossible to voluntarily refrain
from having children.
Weekends and holidays
Most Azerbaijani weekends are secular. The only
Muslim holidays that are labor-free public holidays are
id al-fitr or ramazan bayrami, which
ends the fasting month of ramadan, and the sacrificial
holiday id al-adha, or qurban bayrami.
The really big folk celebration takes place during the
traditional new year novruz, now called the
spring festival, which falls during a whole week with
surrounding weekends in March. The "regular" New Year is
celebrated for two days, and in January the martyrs'
day, also known as qara yanvar (black January),
is celebrated, honoring the more than 130 civilians
killed by Soviet soldiers in Baku in 1990.
International Women's Day on March 8 is a public
holiday since the Soviet era. Since then, they also
celebrate the victory day on May 9, the Soviet Union's
victory in the Second World War against the Nazis. The
founding of the Azerbaijan Republic in 1918 is
celebrated on May 28, the armed forces have their
holiday on June 26, the country's flag is honored on
November 9, and New Year's Eve coincides with the
Azerbaijan's International Solidarity Day, in memory of
how the People's Front had dismantled the border
barriers between the Soviet Union and December 31, 1989.
The national rescue day in mid-June is instituted in
memory of Heydər Əliyev's takeover of power in 1993.
Many other phenomena in society also have their own
day, but with a duty to work. Among them are the Tax
Authority's day of February 11, the Prosecutor's Day of
October 1, the Baku Metro's day of November 8, and the
Ministry of Communications and IT on December 6.
Baku with the Caspian Sea's best natural
harbor has ancient traditions as a port city, but the
Azerbaijani capital has not been able to become a major
international port because the Caspian Sea lacks
connection with other seas.
Regular maritime traffic goes from Baku to ports in
Russia, Turkmenistan and Iran. The Kur river is
navigable about 50 miles upstream.
Azerbaijan has a relatively well-developed transport
network and at least the main roads are in fairly good
condition. A highway runs from the Russian border in the
north to Iran in the south along the Caspian Sea through
Baku. In the capital begins another highway going west
The railways follow the major roads. There are also
train lines between Baku and Moscow as well as between
Baku, Georgia's capital Tbilisi and Kars in northeastern
Turkey. The railway from Baku through Armenia to
Nachichevan has been shut down since the war in the
early 1990s (see Modern History). The conflict with
Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave creates
serious obstacles to traffic and transport to the west.
Nachichevan, which is separated from the rest of
Azerbaijan, can only be reached from Baku by air or
along roads across Iranian territory. A railroad
connects Nachichevan with the city of Tabriz in Iran. In
Baku there is a metro.
Azerbaijan has air links with a number of
destinations in the former Soviet republics as well as
with, for example, Turkey and Western Europe. Of the
airports, Baku is by far the largest. The old Soviet
aircraft fleet has largely been replaced by modern