Sunday, December 14, 2008


The first thing that I have learned about Azerbaijan is that it spent many centuries under Persian rule.

The Persians!

Today's Iranians are the remnants of that once-vast empire, which nearly overwhelmed Classical Greece; which drew a line in the Mideastern sand that Rome never crossed; which remains to this day mysterious and unknown to most of us. We can name a few of the Caesars, most of us -- but who other than specialists can name a Persian, or a Parthian?

Azerbaijan in the modern era passed back and forth between Persia and the new power in the region, Russia. Most of the 20th Century it spent as a Soviet republic, supplying the bulk of the USSR's gasoline.

Today, it finally enjoys independence, and in what is left of December, I shall try to learn something of its ancient culture, and maybe a few words in its native language.

If nothing else, I now know the capital: Baku.


Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Ah, Azerbaijan. I too know so little about it and the Persian Empire. look forward to your next post on this. Enjoyed your last post on the dream too and it was interesting to learn of your unusual hobby.

Eastcoastdweller said...

LGS, I only wish I could speak of these countries with the voice of a traveler's experience, as you so interestingly do.

Sınav said...

Azerbaijan was not entirely under Persian rule.
According to prominent historians such as Samad Sardarinia, Ruqayya Behzadi, Nasir Purpirar and … The Aryans who came to recently called region of Iran 1000 years BC were just aggressors who are said to have found Accamedian Empire that succeeded in subjugating and colonizing neighboring nations including ancient Azerbaijani.
Azerbaijanis Albanian government was toppled in the early 8th century by Arab conquest. Once Arabs lost their grip on Azerbaijan, Turkish states such as Seljuqs, Atabays, Elkhanlar, AliJalayir, Teymuri, Qara qoyunlu and at the end Qajars seized Azerbaijan as they emerged in the region.

Of course the people living in Iran are not all Iranians. Iran is a patchwork of nations made up of Azerbaijanis, Persians, Arabs, Turkmens and etc.

Southern part of Azerbaijan has been under Persian rule since 1921 when Qajars(Qac-Ərs) were ousted from power by British forces who renamed “ Qacar confederation” to Iran and assigned Persian nationalism to rule the newly found Iran.

I would like to paste some excerpt about South Azerbaijan from*:
“Iranian Azerbaijanis, who are mainly Shi’a Muslims, are recognized as the largest minority in Iran and are generally believed to constitute between 25-30 per cent of the population. They are located mainly in the north and north-west of Iran. Although generally well integrated into society, in recent years they have increasingly called for greater cultural and linguistic rights, such as the right to education through the medium of the Azerbaijani Turkic language, which they believe is provided for under the Constitution, and the right to celebrate Azerbaijani culture and history at cultural events.”



Eastcoastdweller said...

Sinav, I really appreciate your comments. Feel free to share with us whatever you would like, about Azerbaijan -- what foods are enjoyed there, what great writers or poets are read, what holidays are celebrated and anything else like that.