The Azerbaijan Republic is situated in the east of Transcaucasus. Its territory extends from main Caucasian Mountains the north to minor Caucasian and Talish Mountains in the south. Azerbaijan borders with Dagistan in Russian Federation in the north, Armenia and Georgia in north-west, Iran and Turkey in the south. The country borders with the Caspian Sea in the east.
Total area of Azerbaijan is 86,6 thousand square km. Besides the continent parts the country comprises coastal islands in the Caspian Sea.
The countrys nature being extremely variegated and beautiful consists of mountain chains and plains. Absolute altitude of the territory over sea level is 27,0 m to 4 466 m. Azerbaijan is chiefly mountainous country. 2/3 of the countrys territory is Major and Minor Caucasus mountain systems, Garabagh volcanic highlands and Talish mountains. Between Major and Minor Caucasus mountain chains stretches wide Kura-Araz lowland framed by sloping plains and low mountain blocks. Along Talish foothills to the south streches Lankaran lowland and Arazboyu plain is situated in Nakhchivan cavitation.
Azerbaijan is rich of minerals: iron and polimetal ores, construction material (limestone, mergel, granite, marble etc.). Oil and gas are the most important among minerals. Production of oil and gas commenced over 100 years ago. The country is famous for mineral waters, like Istisu, Sirab, Badamli, Daridagh and others. These are the most popular among existing mineral waters.
River net of Azerbaijan includes some 1250 rivers, among which only 29 rivers are of longer than 100 km. Number of rivers in mountainous areas are more than in arid foothills and plains. All rivers belong to the Caspian region.
The Kur is the longest river in Azerbaijan. Its length within the boundaries of the country is 900 km. Lower part of the Kur is used for local shipping. Main branches of the Kur are Araz, Ganikh and Gabirri rivers. Rivers of the north-eastern Azerbaijan and Lankaran zone run into the Caspian Sea.
There are no big lakes in Azerbaijan, but number of small lakes reaches 250. These lakes are mainly the Kur riverbeds (Hajigabul, Sarisu). In mountainous districts lakes are of techtonic, glacier origin, or man made. The most famous among them is Goygol (at 1556 m. height). Major and Minor Alagol lakes (at 2730 m. height).
Land cover of Azerbaijan is fairly variegated: from highlands mountain - grassland soils to grey soils of semi-deserts and yellow soils of Lankaran subtropics.
Soil and plants differ due to absolute altitude of due to difference in absolute altitude soil and plant covers vary along the climatic zones. Main soil - plant zones are: lowland semi-desert zone, foothills semi-lake, mountain-forest (low and medium mountains), alpine, subalpine and nival zones of highlands. There are over 4 100 plant species in Azerbaijan, with 9% of them being endemic. There exist several zoogeographic zones in Azerbaijan, with unique fauna complex. There are extremely lots of rodents and reptiles in plains. There live also gazelles, wolves, bears, boars, deers, Dagistan tur and Caucasian goats in Major Caucasus.
Reserves that have been created in the country are of great importance in protecting and rehabilitating natural complexes in Azerbaijan. The biggest reserves are Gizilaghaj and Zagatala reserves.
Azerbaijan is an industrial country with developed multi-sphere agriculture. Oil production, oil processing, machine building, metallurgy, energy industry, chemistry, light, food and other industries are the spheres of modern industry that have been developed on the basis of rich natural resources.
Agriculture is an essential part of the countrys economy. Its main spheres are cotton-growing, wine-growing, vegetables, fruits, grain growing and cattle breeding. Lots of tourists are attracted to Azerbaijan by rich climate, historical architectural monuments and ancient oriental cultural traditions. Various climatic zones, availability of mineral waters, sand covered beaches of the Caspian Sea have stimulated development of health resorts and rest zones. Naftalan, Istisu, Shusha, Mardakan, Bilgah, Absheron health zones are the most famous ones.