Posted on November 17, 2015
On this day in 1988, thousands of Azerbaijanis gathered together to protest their government. And their government, at the time, was far away in Moscow—because in '88 Azerbaijan was still a part of the Soviet Union.
It was the first large-scale anti-Soviet protest in Azerbaijan. And it pointed toward what soon happened—just three years after this giant protest, Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence from the USSR.
(To be perfectly honest, 1991 is also the year when ALL the previously-Soviet republics pulled away, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ended as a nation.)
As I said in this earlier post, Azerbaijan is located between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, on the Caspian Sea. It is considered a Muslim-majority democratic, secular republic, one of the first Muslim-majority nations to have operas, theaters, and modern universities. Check out that earlier post for some amazing photos!
Here are some interesting facts about Azerbaijan:
- The first known fireplace in human history is found in this nation. It dates back from seven to five hundred THOUSAND years ago. It's located in a large cave.
- Neft Dashlar (“Oily Rocks”) is an industrial settlement that started as the first operating offshore oil platform in the world. There was just one path out over the water, to the platform. But now there are a bunch of paths and platforms, many of them build on the backs of ships that were sunk to serve as the foundation of the town.
About 2,000 people now live in the fully-functioning town.
- Azerbaijan is known as the Land of Fire – probably because of Yanar Dag, or “Burning Mountain.” Like the “Door to Hell” in Turkmenistan, this constant fire is natural gas escaping from the ground. Think of it as Earth's pilot light!
Natural gas and oil are important to Azerbaijan's economy – even back in ancient times, there was oil production here, according to descriptions written by Arabic and Persian authors. The famous traveler Marco Polo probably referred to Azerbaijan's oil: “Near the Georgian border there is a spring from which gushes a stream of oil, in such abundance that a hundred ships may load there at once. This oil is not good to eat; but it is good for burning and as a salve for men and camels affected with itch or scab. Men come from a long distance to fetch this oil, and in all the neighborhood no other oil is burnt but this.”
name “Seven Beauties” is important in Azerbaijan. First, it is
the name of a poem by the 12th Century Persian poet
Nizami Ganjavi. Second, it is a ballet by Gara Garayev – a ballet
composed to honor Ganjavi and to explore motifs used in the poem.
Third, it is the name of a sculpture by Nail Alakbarov, which
depicts seven armudi glasses standing on top of each other.
These pear-shaped glasses are used for drinking tea. Last, it is the
name for a competition that is a sort of crochet-off. Seven girls
are given hooks and colored thread. They race to crochet the best
quality stockings in the shortest time.
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