The largest, richest and most developed country in the Caucasus (a region east of Turkey, north of Iran and South of Russia that is partly in Europe and partly in Asia). It also happens to be one of the richest and most developed countries in the former Soviet union. It borders Iran to the south, Russia to the north, Armenia to the West, and Georgia to the north-west. Azerbaijan also has an autonomous exclave known as "Nakchivan" (separated from Azerbaijan proper by Armenia) that has a border with Turkey (and Iran and Armenia). Azerbaijan, when it was first created in 1918, was the first secular democracy in the Muslim world (predating even Turkey), not to mention the first Muslim country (and one of the first countries in the world) to give women the right to vote. Azerbaijan is still one of the few secular majority-Muslim countries.
Azerbaijan is a rapidly developing country with a rapidly growing economy (for most of the latter half of the 2000's, Azerbaijan's economy was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world), due to large oil and gas reserves.
The official language of Azerbaijan is Azeri (a language similar to Turkish), although most Azeris can also speak Russian and Turkish.
The predominant religion is Islam, although Azerbaijan is a secular country and most of it's population are not religious and do not practice (According to a poll in 2008, Azerbaijan's one of the least religious countries in the world).
Person: Where are you from?
Person: Oh, that's some Islamic shithole in the middle east, right? Don't they have Sharia law or something there?
Me: No, Azerbaijan's a secular country, and it's not in the middle east, it's in the Caucasus. There is no Sharia law in Azerbaijan whatsoever. And it's more developed than most former Soviet countries (not to mention most majority-Muslim countries).
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