Geography of Azerbaijan
Geographycal position of Azerbaijan and its influence on climate, flora and fauna of the region
Azerbaijan is located in a southeast part of Transcaucasian region, in the west of Asia. It borders in the north with Russia, in northwest with Georgia, in the south with Iran, in the West with Armenia, in extreme southwest with Turkey . Its eastern part is washed by the Caspian Sea. The territory's area is 86.6 thousand sq km. Besides its continental part Azerbaijan has numerous small islands in the Caspian Sea (Baku archipelago and Absheron Peninsula).
The territory of Azerbaijan is characterized by all kinds of relief: mounts and lowlands, plains and depressions. Roughly half of Azerbaijan territory is occupied by mountains: the Major Caucasus ridge in the north, the Minor Caucasus ridge in the south-west. The highest point of the country is Mount Bazardyuzyu found on the Main or Watershed Divide ridge (4,466 m ). In the middle part of the country there is Kura Lowland, in southeast - Lenkoran Lowland. The country is rich in oil, iron ore, nonferrous metals. Azerbaijan Map
The country enjoys several types of climate from dry and humid sub-tropical to mountainous tundra ones (alpine). The temperature ranges from +26… +30 C in the plains to +5 C in the alpine regions in summer and from – 3 C in the plains to –10 C in the mountains in winter. Summer is dry. Autumn and spring are rainy.
All Azerbaijan Rivers fall into the Caspian Sea. There are up to 1,250 small rivers in Azerbaijan. The majority of the rivers belong to the river basin of Kura, the largest one in the Caucuses (with length of 1,515 km, and area of 188,000km2). Some of them fall directly into the Kura, other, to its largest tribute, the Araks, the second largest in Azerbaijan (1072-km long), and the rest, directly into the Caspian Sea. The Kura River is the place were the Mingechaur power station and Mingechaur reservoir are located (605km2).
There are 250 lakes in the republic, the majority of which are insignificant. The largest lake is the Gadjikabul (15.5 km2). A little smaller is Lake Boyukshor (10 km2.). The north-eastern slope of the Murovdag range is occupied by a group of picturesque lakes, among which there is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Caucuses – the Goygol Lake.
Nature of Azerbaijan
The territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan is famous for its rich flora. It is home for over 4,500 species of bloomers, among which rare and endangered ones can be found. The territory of Azerbaijan is occupied by large-leaved woods, mixed forests, tugai thickets, plantings with evergreens, Alperstein sparse forests, alpine meadows (in the mountains).
The fauna of Azerbaijan is also rather diverse. The forests are inhabited with the bear, wolf, deer, lynx, and wild boar. There are a great number of lizards, venomous snakes and other reptiles, as well as hares, wolves, foxes. The Kura and Araks valleys are ranged with wild boars, roedeers, badgers, jackals. The larger animals include Persian gazelles. The East Caucasian tur, roedeer, chamois can also be met there. The shallow gulfs of the Caspian are abundant with a diverse world of birds: pheasants, partridges, black-cocks. Many species of birds are migrating there for hibernation among them are ducks, geese, swans, herons, pelicans, flamingos, gannets etc.
Fishing of 30 breeds of fishes is allowed in the republic’s fresh waters and the Caspian. Many of them are also fished in the Kura and some reservoirs. The most valuable species of fishes are salmon, sturgeon, beluga, asp, shamaja (Cyprinus chalcalburnus) and sucking-fish.
In addition to them there are the bream, carp etc. Nowadays the republic’s plants and farms producing various species of fishes are growing up to 20,000,000 small fries of the Acipenseridae, 600,000 those of the Salmonidae and over 800,000,000 those of breams, carps and other fishes.
The country’s nature is very rich. There are even unique forests, a site of interest of the Cainozoe preserved in its territory. They cannot be met anywhere else. So it is quite natural that the government is developing and maintaining a good few of the environment-oriented territories.
Such reserves as the Kyzylagach, Zakata and Shirvan are of international significance. The Girkan reserve protects relict plants in the region of the Talysh Mountains and Lenkoran lowlands.
The Turianchay reserve protects the famous Eldar pine tree. The natural complexes of the eastern part of the Greater Caucuses are protected by the Ismailli reserve, and one of the most world’s beautiful Lake of Goygol and the natural complexes of the Lesser Caucuses surrounding it are protected by the Goygol reserve.
The Aggel, Basutchay, Karayaz, Kyzylagaja, Pirkuli, Turianchay reserves and also16 wildlife sanctuaries are not of lesser interest.