Nature of Azerbaijan
Ancient authors – Herodotus (5th century BC), Strabo (64/63 BC – 23/24 AD), Polybi (Approximately 200 g. -120 g.) Claudius Ptolemy (approximately 90-160 gg.) In their works gave information about Azerbaijan, its borders, geographical position, rivers, settlements, tribes living there, the Caspian Sea , That it has no connection with any other sea. Subsequently, Arab geographers and travelers Ibn Khordadbeh (approximately 820/826 -912/913), Abu Iskhag Istakhri (820-934), Iranian scientist Rashidaddin Fazlullah (1247-1318), Azerbaijani scientist Muhammad Nakhchivani (the end of the 13th century – the 2nd Half of the 14th century) and others wrote about the economy, administrative division of Azerbaijan, mountains and rivers, cities, distance between them, trade routes. Albanian (Caucasian) historian Musa Kalankatly (VIII – VIII century) in the work “Albanian history” described Albania as a glorious country, rich in nature, large population, pointed to the presence in Albania of fertile lands, magnificent gardens and green fields. On the world map of the Venetian F.Mauro (1459), the maps of Alsharifi (1601), the German scientist and traveler A. Olearius (1647), and also on the map “Eastern Transcaucasia and the Caspian Sea”, compiled on the orders of Peter I (1720) and printed In 1723, the settlements of Azerbaijan, its lakes, rivers, etc. were listed.
The Azerbaijani geographer Abdurrachid Bakuvi expressed his opinion on the climate of Azerbaijan, the nature of Baku, Haji Zeynalabdin Shirvani and Abbasgulu aga Bakikhanov – about the geography of Azerbaijan. V.Abih, I.Figurovky, A.Zakharov and others also contributed to the study of the territory of Azerbaijan. A comprehensive study of the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan was launched during the years of Soviet power, maps of various scales and scientific atlases were created. In the comprehensive study of the territory of the republic, the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan plays a special role.
Historical and geographical position of the Republic of Azerbaijan
The ancient Azerbaijani land is located in the Near East, covering the territory from the south-eastern part of the Caucasus Mountains to the southern and southeastern mountain territories of Lake Urmia. Its area is more than 200 thousand square kilometers.
Azerbaijan as a whole is in the eastern hemisphere. Spain, Greece, Turkey, China, and Korea are almost on the same latitude with Azerbaijan. A number of important roads of international importance pass through the territory of Azerbaijan from Europe to the countries of Central and East Asia. The territory of the republic from the north to the south is 400 km, from the west to the east – 500 km. The country is located between 38 ° 25-41 ° 55 north latitude and 44 ° 50-50 ° 51 east longitude. Being at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the republic has a unique geopolitical and geographical position, from ancient times to the present day it remains important for international economic and cultural ties.
About 60% of the territory of Azerbaijan is mountainous territory.
The main geomorphological units of the republic are the Greater Caucasus, the Lesser Caucasus (along with the Karabakh plateau) and the Talysh Mountains encompassing the Kura-Araz lowland from the north, west and southeast.
The average elevation of the republic is up to 400 meters. The amplitude of the land’s heights varies from -26.5 m (Caspian lowland) below the ocean level to 4466 m absolute altitude (Bazarduzi peak). Hence, it becomes clear that the height difference in the territory of the republic is about 4,500 meters.
The southeastern part of the Greater Caucasus belongs to Azerbaijan. There are two mountain ranges here: with the Bazarduzi peak (4466 meters) Main or watershed, with the summit of Shahdag (4243 meters) Bolshaya or Side. To the south-west mountain ranges gradually decrease by 1000 – 700 meters. The main Caucasian ridge is surrounded by foothills: in the northwest – plain meadows, in the southeast – Gobustan, in the south-west – Alazan-Haftoran, in the northeast – Gusar inclined plain.
Mountains are mainly formed from deposits of rocks of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, relatively less susceptible to denudation. The foothills are characterized by the Bedlends (steppes of Jeyranchel, Ajinoor) and mud volcanoes (Gobustan, Absheron). The Hussar Plain and the Alazan-Khaftaran Valley are formed from a thick layer of fourth-period crushed stone deposits.
The small Caucasus covers the southwestern and western parts of the republic, has a relatively small elevation, consists of a number of ridges and meadows, is a mountainous territory with a complex structure. The main mountain ranges are Murovdag, Shahdag and Zangezur. The Karabakh plateau, from the south of Murovdag to the Araz River, is located on arc-shaped cones of extinct volcanoes and lava of the fourth period. The small Caucasus is formed from volcanogenic and deferred rocks of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Talysh Mountains are located on the south-eastern edge of the country. They are mainly formed from deposits of the third period. Talysh Mountains make up the transition link from the mountains of the Lesser Caucasus to the Elbrus Mountains (Iran), and consist of three main mountain ranges with a height of 2477 meters.
The Kura-Araz lowland covers the space between the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, the Talysh Mountains. Being the largest inter-mountain lowland in the South Caucasus, it occupies the central part of the republic. The lowland between the rivers Kura and Araz is divided into 5 plains: Mugansuy, Mil, Garabagh, Shirvan and Salyan.
To the north of Absheron peninsula, on the shores of the Caspian Sea is the Samur-Divichin lowland, leaning on the Hussar sloping plain. To the south of Absheron peninsula, along the slopes of Talish mountains, passes a narrow strip of the Lankaran lowland. Most of the Kura-Araz, Samur-Divichin, Lankaran lowlands, as well as Absheron peninsula is below the ocean level.
The climate of Azerbaijan is mainly influenced by the geographical position, the relief and the Caspian Sea. Here there are semi-desert climate, dry steppes climate, subtropical, medium and cold climate. According to V.V. Keppen, 8 out of 11 climate types in the world are observed in Azerbaijan. A dry subtropical climate is characteristic of Absheron and the Kura-Araz lowland. The humid subtropical climate is observed only in the south of the Talysh Mountains, typical for the foothills and the Lankaran lowland. Moderate climate, observed mainly on the forested highlands of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, is divided into dry, moderately warm dry, moderately warm wet and cold. A cold climate is observed on high mountain ranges, peaks of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, belts of alpine and subalpine meadows. While in the lowland the average annual air temperature in the lowlands is 15 ° C, in mountainous areas it varies from 0 ° and below. The temperature in July in the central lowland areas is 27 °, in the mountainous regions – 5 °.
The absolute maximum is 43 °, the absolute minimum is 30 °. These high rates are observed in Nakhchivan and high mountains. Precipitation is also unevenly distributed throughout the country. During the year, less than 200 mm of precipitation falls on the Absheron Peninsula and in the Priarazan strip of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Region. In the Kura-Araz lowland, the amount of precipitation is observed in the amount of 200-300 mm, on the northeastern slopes of the Lesser and Greater Caucasus – 600-800 mm. On the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus, elevations of 2000-2500 meters, precipitation reaches 1200-1500 mm. The greatest precipitation falls in the south of the Lankaran lowland and the slopes of the Talysh Mountains 1200-1,700 mm.
The prevailing winds on the northern (Absheron peninsula), southwestern (Kura-Araz lowland) and southern (Lankaran lowland) directions.
The dense river network of the republic covered it Territory, like a blue web. There are 8,400 large and small rivers in Azerbaijan. Of these, 850 have a length of more than 5 km. A total of 24 rivers have a length of more than 100 km.
The rivers Kura and Araz are the largest rivers of the Caucasus, are the main sources of irrigation and hydropower. The Kura River originates on the northeastern slope of the Gyzylgyadik mountain, at a maximum elevation of 2740 meters. Kura flows through the territory of Georgia, enters the territory of Azerbaijan. Flowing along the Kura-Araz lowland, it flows into the Caspian Sea. The total length of the Kura is 1515 km, on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan its length reaches 906 km. The area of the basin is 188 thousand square kilometers. On the Kura River, Mingachevir, Shamkir and Yenikend reservoirs, dams, and hydroelectric power stations were built. With the help of the water from the Mingachevir reservoir of the Upper Karabakh and Verkhne-Shirvan canals, the lands of the Kura-Araz lowland are irrigated.
The Araz River originates not from Turkey on the Bingolsky Range, near the city of Sabirabad (the village of Sugovushan) merges with the Kura. Its length is 1072 km, the area of the basin is 102 thousand square kilometers.
Samur is the largest river in the northeast of Azerbaijan. It originates in the territory of Dagestan, at an altitude of 3600 meters and flows into the Caspian Sea. Its length is 216 km, the area of the basin is 4,4 thousand square kilometers. Along with the Samur River, the Gusarchay, Gudyalchay, Vyalvyachay, Sumgaychay, Vilyashchay, Lyankyaranchay and Astarachay rivers also flow into the Caspian Sea.
There are a lot of mountain rivers in Azerbaijan, most of them are fed by snow and rain. The small rivers Balakianchai, Talachay, Katekhay, Kurymychay, Kishchay and others, the channel of which starts from the Greater Caucasus, connect to Alazani and Ayrichay on the Alazan-Irichay valley.
Beginning from the Lesser Caucasus, Agstafachay, Tovuzchay, Asrikchai, Zyayamchay, Shamkirchay, Ganjachay, Kyuryakchay, Terterchay unite with Kura. Akerichay, Okhchuchay and Arpachay in the territory of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Nakhchivanchay, Alinjachay, Gilanchay, Ordubadchay flow into Araz.
On the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan there are about 250 lakes with fresh and salt water, differing in terms of nutrition and education. Of these, we can name the glacial origin of Tufangel, landslide and landslide by origin Goygol, Maralgol, Garagol, Batabat; Lake Aggyol, Sarysu, Mehman, Azhigabul, which appeared as a result of tectonic subsidence, the largest salt lakes – Ajynouur, Beyukshor, Binagadi and others.
The territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan has a rich and rare flora. In a relatively small area, almost all types of plants common in the world are found. Approximately 450 species of higher, sporiferous and flowering plants growing in Azerbaijan are united in 125 detachments and 920 floors. According to the total number of species of flora of Azerbaijan, unlike other Caucasian republics, richer. The kinds of plants occurring in the territory of Azerbaijan make up 66% of the total number of plant species growing in the Caucasus. Along with the widely spread plant species in the Caucasus and other regions, there are about 240 endemic species in the Azerbaijani flora that are relatively large in Azerbaijan and characteristic for relatively small areas.
The spread of the vegetation cover is caused by the physico-geographical formation of the region, the climatic conditions of modern lands, vertical zoning and a number of other factors. Thus, in the lower part of the republic up to the 200-meter high elevation desert, semi-desert and water-marshy plant species are developed. Grouping of desert plant types is observed mainly on the coast of the Caspian Sea, southeast Shirvan, Mil’skaya, Mugan and Shirvan plains. Depending on the salinity of the land, there are widespread species such as sarsazan, hydrochloric salt, petrosimony. Semidesert vegetation cover is widespread on the Shirvan, Salyan, Mugan, Mil and Karabagh plains, as well as in the Priaraz, Jeyranchol, and Gobustan plains; As a zonal formation, the semi-deserts of wormwood constitute an advantage over the area.
Of the other formations, the most typical are the Garagan (Kura-Araz) and Dengiz (Gobustan, Nakhchivan). Other plants, the most common in the semi-desert, are bulbous bluegrass, Japanese fire, hard chaff, oriental herring, cereal grasses and some herbs (Swede, hydrochloric acid, potash, Petrosimonia). These areas are characterized by tugai forests. The basis of forests prevalent mainly in the valleys of the Kura, Araz and Gabyrr rivers is oak, maple, ash, willow and others.
Priroda_01_7 On the plains at the foot of the mountains of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, at an altitude of 200 to 600, 700, sometimes 1,200 meters, one-and perennial xerophytic plants and shrubs are common. At higher levels, at an altitude of 1200-1800 meters, there are forests. The total territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan is 86.6 million hectares. The total area of Azerbaijani forests is equal to 1213.7 thousand hectares. Out of them, the area covered with forests makes up 989.5 thousand hectares, which is 11.4% of the total territory. The per capita is about 0.12 hectares, which is 4 times (0, 48 hectares) less than the corresponding average on a global scale.
Although in Azerbaijan the forests are small in area, they are rich in their species. In the forests grow 435 species of trees and bushes, 70 of them are endemic. Broad-leaved forests are characteristic for the whole territory of the republic. This type of forest is most widespread in the low and middle-mountainous parts of the mountains of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, the Talysh Mountains. At an altitude of 600-1600 meters, they form a single belt in many places. On other parts of the forest are in the form of meadows and stripes.
Forests consist of three types of trees – beech, hornbeam and oak. They make up 82.6% of the total forest cover. In addition, maple, linden, alder, poplar, willow, elm and other broad-leaved trees also grow. Coniferous (needle) trees account for 1.7% of all forests in the republic. In Azerbaijan, 107 species of trees grow naturally, 7 of them are conifers (needles). These include long-barreled, with a firm smell and fruitful juniper, hook-shaped pine, Eldar pine, European black linden.
The Republic of Azerbaijan is considered the birthplace of rare species of trees and bushes. Black linden, as a relic plant of the third period, is a rare pearl of forests. This tree is most common in the south of the Greater Caucasus (Gabala region), southeast (Pirgulu, Shemakha district). The late-growing, but long-lived yew never occupied a large area. The natural homeland of the Eldar pine is the Eldar notch of the Jeyranchel foothills. The relict and rare trees of the third period growing on the Talysh Mountains are the iron tree, the Lankaran acacia, the chestnut-oak tree, the Caucasian persimmon, the boxwood, the Hirkan figs, the Hirkan maple, zelkva, lapin – the indescribable beauties of nature.
Azerbaijan with its inherent complex of fauna is at the junction of several zoogeographical poles. They adapted to the local nature and enriched the fauna of the republic with some species of animals from neighboring territories – Iran, Central Asia, the Mediterranean countries. Due to the variety of natural conditions, the fauna of the Republic of Azerbaijan is also represented by various species. 97 species of mammals, 357 species of birds, 67 species of reptiles and amphibians, 97 species of fish, more than 15 thousand invertebrates, 1 species of cyclostomes live in Azerbaijan.
The fauna of the plains is represented by numerous mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds.
From mammals you can find here gazelles, wild boar, wolf, fox, badger, reed cat, hare and others, reptiles – marsh, Caspian and Mediterranean tortoise, striped lizards, common and water horror, adder, amphibians – various kinds of frogs, Many species of insects, of birds – partridge, pheasant, eagle, turgea (mountain partridge), various ducks and geese, swans, kashkaldak, Sultan hens, gutan with curly feathers and other birds. In addition to the animals that inhabit the middle and elevated mountainous parts of the plains, these territories are characterized by the East Caucasian goat, the Caucasian noble deer, the European goitered gazelle, the Caucasian brown bear, the bearded birds, the golden eagle, the Caucasian falcon, the Caucasian tetra, the Caucasian snowcock and other fauna .
108 species of animals are listed in the Red Book of the Republic of Azerbaijan, including 14 species of mammals, 36 bird species, 13 species of amphibians and reptiles, 5 species of fish and 40 species of insects.
Mineral resources of Azerbaijan
The territory of the republic is rich in minerals of three types: ore, non-metallic and fuel by origin.
Azerbaijan is famous for oil and gas deposits. 2/3 of the territory of the republic are rich in oil and gas. The largest number of oil and gas fields is located on the Absheron peninsula, in the shelf zone of the Caspian Sea, the archipelago of Baku and Absheron. In addition, the southeastern Shirvan, the central steppe zones, Gobustan, Jeyranchol, Ajynour, Siazan are rich in oil.
Thanks to the world-famous naphthalan oil, many diseases are cured. The largest number of natural gas deposits is in Garadagh, the shelf zone of the Caspian Sea, Baku and the Absheron archipelago. The small Caucasus is rich in deposits of ore. There are deposits of iron, titanium, gold, silver, copper, cobalt, chromite, polymetals, molybdenum, etc. The largest deposits of iron ore are in Dashkesan.
Priroda_01_12Gobustan, Absheron and Tovuz limestone, Shakhtakhtin travertine (Nakhichevan AR), Dashkesan marble, Upper Adzhikend gypsum, quartz sands Hajiveli are of great economic importance from non-ore deposits.
On the territory of Azerbaijan there are mineral springs with different chemical composition. According to the richness of their composition, the territory of Azerbaijan is called a “museum of mineral waters”. Istisu in the Kalbajar district, Badamly and Sirab – in the Nakhchivan AR are known far beyond Azerbaijan.
Mineral waters in the areas of Surakhani and Zikh Absheron peninsula, Galaalty Divichinsky district, Turshsu in Djulfa district have healing properties. On the Talysh Mountains, the southern and northeastern slopes of the Greater Caucasus, thermal water is an advantage.
The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest drainless lake, plays an important role in the life of the Azerbaijani people and is unique in its physical and geographical indices. Suffice it to say that the flora and fauna of the Caspian Sea is rich in endemic species. So, 90% of the sturgeon in the world, distinguished by their antiquity from other species of fish, are located in this sea.
Specificity of the geographical landscape has created favorable recreational conditions. The sea is located along the meridian in the form of the Latin letter S, located between 47 ° 17 ‘eastern latitude and 36 ° 33′ west longitude. The length of the Caspian along the meridian is about 1200 km, the average width is 310, the largest and smallest latitudes are respectively 435 and 195 km. Due to periodic changes in the level of the Caspian Sea, the level of its surface (mirror) and the volume of water change. At present, the sea level is below sea level by 26.75 m. At this sea level mark, its surface area is 392600 km2, the water volume is 78648 km3, which is 44% of the total lake water resources in the world. In this regard, the maximum depth is 1025 meters, it can be compared with the Black, Baltic and Yellow Seas, the Caspian is deeper than the Adriatic, Aegean, Tyrrhenian and other seas.
The Azerbaijani part of the water area covers the middle and southern parts of the sea, the salinity of the Caspian Sea is significantly different from that of the world’s oceans. The salinity of the water in the northern part is 5-6, the middle and southern parts 12, 6-13.5 ppm. Out of about 300 mud volcanoes existing in Azerbaijan, more than 170 are insular and underwater volcanoes in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. Especially a lot of them in the southern Caspian.
The uniqueness and variety of natural conditions have become the reason that until now the representatives of rare species of flora and fauna have been preserved in the Caspian.
171 species of phytoplankton (algae), 40 species of zooplankton, 258 species of phytobenthos, 91 species of macrozoanthosis, 80 species and subspecies of fish from 14 families inhabit the Azerbaijan water area of the sea.
By the number of fish species, the majority are carpaceous – 42 species, kylpoid – 17, salmon-2, sturgeon consist of 5 species.
Of the ichthyofauna of the Caspian, four breeds, 31 species and 45 subspecies are endemic. Most endemic species are recorded in the Middle Caspian. Approximately 40 species and subspecies of fish are intended for catching. The basis of the common ichthyomass is the sprat (80%), the rest being mullet, atherin and hula. Among the fish that are endangered and included in the Red Book of the Republic are the Caspian lamprey, spotted fish, the South Caspian pore (white-eyed), Chekhon, and the Caspian Sea Sif. In recent years, Caspian salmon, white salmon, temamula, shamaiq, shibrite and garasol have been threatened with extinction. In the marine fauna of the Caspian Sea, the only mammal is the Caspian seal. He is the smallest of all the seals. The size of the Caspian seal population from 1.5 million at the beginning of the 20th century decreased by the end of the century to 300-400 thousand in 1993. The Caspian seal is listed in the Red Book.
320 species of birds have been registered on various biotypes of the Caspian Sea and coastal zones, of which 37 are waterfowl, 109 are waterbirds and 156 are land-based.