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   Azerbaijan occupies the southeastern part of the Greater Caucasus range descending to the Caspian Sea at the stretch of 800 km. The Republic has a unique geopolitical and geographical position, lying on the juncture of Europe and Asia (380 25"-410 55" of n.l. and 440 50"-500 52" e.l.) and retains its significance for world economic and cultural links. The total area of Azerbaijan including the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (5.5 thousand sq. km) comprises 86.6 thousand sq.km. To the north Azerbaijan borders on Russian Federation (extending for 17.9 km), to the west with the Republic of Armenia (785 km), to the northwest with the Georgian Republic (322 km), to the southwest with Turkey (11 km) in the south with the Islamic Republic of Iran (618 km).
   Azerbaijan is surrounded by mountains, occupying more than half of its territory: to the north is the Greater Caucasus with the highest peak of the country Bazaar - dyuzy - 4480m (its southeastern part reaches Azerbaijan), to the southwest is the massive Transcaucasian upland extending to Armenia and Georgia, mounted by the Lesser Caucasus, to the south the Talysh Mountains join them. In the west beyond the boundary of the Republic, the Greater Caucasus and Lesser Caucasus are bound by Likh (Suram) range and that territory in Azerbaijan is occupied by the vast Kur-Araz lowland. It is edged with sloping valleys and lowlands. Thus the surface of Azerbaijan resembles a gigantic tray with sharp mountainous edges, sloping to Caspian.
   The exceptions to this description are the four isolated valleys: one is on the northern slope of the Greater Caucasus (Gusar valley and Samur-Devechi lowlands) another is inside the Transcaucasian highland, (PriAraz valley of Nakhchivan), the third is on the Apsheron Peninsula descending far to the sea and the fourth is Lankaran lowland at the foot of the Talysh Mountains. These most striking features of the surface along with peculiarities of geographical position profoundly determine the diversity and bounties of its unique nature, comprising the features of the Caucasus and Middle Asia.


   Summers for the better part of the valleys are long dry and hot, landscape is semi-desertous, at times in salt-marsh even desertous. It rains only in cold months, agriculture without irrigation is impossible. In the mountains, steppes and thin forests go along with plentiful, broad-leaf forests. On Greater and Lesser Caucasus a lot of rivers flow from mountains to valleys. Larger rivers cross them while smaller rivers dry out, falling into a range of springs, creating "dry deltas", that flowing together form a line of an oasis so convenient for settling and farming. The main contrasts in the nature of Azerbaijan come from divergences between humid mountains and dry plains and between some separate high zones. The landscape varies from dry, hot or semi-humid subtropics to snow-capped highlands and glaciers. It is worth pointing out the originality of Azerbaijan nature, bound with the influence of certain local conditions on the general landscape, determined by its geographical position.
   The present panoramic view of Azerbaijan relief with its high mountains, volcanic highlands, deep canyons and river fields, valleys and coastlines with various mineral resources has been forming for millions of years of geological history. Diverse and curiously cut relief of present day Azerbaijan has peculiar characteristics of large regions.
   The border of Azerbaijan with the Russian Federation (Dagestan) stretches along the ridges of the watershed ranges of Greater Caucasus in the northeast. In the northwest of the Republic the watershed ranges sharply descend into Alazan-Agrichay valley. To the east of Bazar-dyuzu - the highest peak of the Eastern Caucasus - both slopes of watershed ranges belong to Azerbaijan. Here on the watershed range between Bazar-dyuzyn and Babadag (3629 m) high mountainous relief prevails.
   The Watershed range goes along with the ruggedness of the Lateral range with highest peak Shagdag (4243 m). To the east and south-east of Babaduz, the Greater Caucasus rapidly descends and turns into fanshaped branches of mountains of medium height called Dyubrar. To the southeast they are attached by hills and low mountains of Gobustan, to the east valleys of low plateau of Apsheron Peninsula. Both of these regions are full of active mud volcanoes.
   The Kur valley entirely belongs to Azerbaijan, except for its northwestern part, stretching to Georgia. This part becoming narrow in the northwestern part of the valley is separated by Middle Kur highland into two valleys - Alazan-Agrichay in the north and Ganja-Kazakh in the southwest. The Kur-Araz lowland, which like the Caspian lies entirely below ocean level, is bounded by hills and sloping valleys. On the west, at the foot of the Lesser Caucasus, the Karabakh and Mil plains descend to it on the north at the foot of the Great Caucasus - Shirvan plain. The banks of the Araz and Kur make Mugan plain extending to Iran. The Salyan plain and southeastern Shirvan stretch to the mouth of Kur. Not far from the Caspian coastline, archipelagoes of mud volcano isles emerge from the water, namely the Apsheron archipelago near the Apsheron Peninsula and the Baku archipelago near the coasts of Gobustan and the Kur-Araz lowland.
   The southeast of the Lesser Caucasus is within the bounds of Azerbaijan. It is a system of several highlands exceeding 2,000-3,000 m. in height and a range of spurs of medium and low heights. Approximately in the middle the Terter river vale separates the Azerbaijan part of the Lesser Caucasus into two parts - northwest and southeast. The first is formed by a gentle arc of two ranges - Shakhdag with Ginaldag peak (3367 m) and Murov dag with Gyamish peak (3725). Both slopes of Murovdag belong to Azerbaijan and the borders between Azerbaijan and Armenia pass on watershed of Shakhdag range. To the southeast of the Lesser Caucasus rises the Karabakh range with Boyk Kir peak (2725 m). It towers above the Karabakh plain and surroundings of Khankendy: In the south the mountains change from the Geyan steppe to the hilly valleys of Araz. The interiors of Transcaucasian highlands extend far into the territories of Georgia and Armenia and stretch with two small areas into Azerbaijan. To the east of this jut is the Karabakh volcanic highland covered with drift and a series of young but extinct volcanoes. Some high points are over 3,000 m (Ishikhli mount is 3552 m), though 1,500-2,500 m are more usual. On the territory of Nakhchivan the bordering highland ranges - Zangezur and Daralagez are rising. The top of Zangezur range - Kaputjukh mountain (3,904 m) is the highest non- volcanic point of Transcaucasus highlands. The south bottom of the Zangezur ranges are washed by the Araz. The Talysh mountains are of medium height. Their highest point Kyumyurkey mount is 2,477 m. The most northeastern slopes of these mountains are in Azerbaijan. They are divided into three parallel chains by valleys and hollows. The main watershed creates the boundary of Azerbaijan and Iran so the Talysh slopes entirely lie in Iran.
   Azerbaijan rich in mineral resources, the most important of which is oil. The most known oil fields are on Apsheron Peninsula and the Caspian Shelf. To the north of Apsheron Peninsula the region of Siyazan oil fields has more prospectives. Oil fields lie to the west and southwest of Apsheron in Gobustan, Shirvan in Salyan valley. The richest deposits of oil have been discovered in the aquatics to the south of Apsheron. Of great importance is the associated natural gas. Not far from Ganja are the layers of unique modification of medicinal oil (Naftalan).
   Azerbaijan is rich in iron ore and alunite, pyrite, molybdenum, arsenic. The deposits of polymetalic ores on Filizchay in the upper part of Belokanchay are of industrial importance. The richest deposits of iron ore are in the mountains of the Lesser Caucasus (Dashkesan). On the mount slopes of Lesser Caucasus in Zaglic region the alunite deposits are located, the richest in the world. Not far away (Dashkesan-Ganja district) are considerable deposits of cobalt ore and pyrite. In Nakhchivan rock salt is extracted (Negram field with deposits of 2-2.5 billion tons). Negram deposits are estimated to contain arsenic ore and molybdenum (in Paragachay).
   Azerbaijan land is rich in various constructing material. Here, on the territory of the Lesser Caucasus marble is extracted though inferior to Carr marble, and also fine and steady tuff. The deposits of gravel, sand, lime, fire-proof and brick-red loam are being worked out on the Apsheron Peninsula. The deposits of construction stone in the Republic are estimated to 300 billion tons (Gyuzdeck, Mardakyan, Dovletyari, Dilagarda, Shakhbulag, Naftalan, Dash Salakhly) and of facing stone, some 24 millions tons (Gyulbakht, Dashkesan, Shakhtakhty, Kilably).
   The number of terminal and mineral springs of Azerbaijan exceeds thousands. The most known are the springs Istisu, Turshsy, Badamli, Galalty, Shikhburnu, Surakhany.

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