Azerbaijan: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture (Culture Smart!)

October 31, 2020
Azerbaijan: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture (Culture Smart!)

The historian Tadeusz Swietochowski calls Azerbaijan “thequintessential borderland, many times over: between Europe andAsia, Islam and Christianity, Russia and the Middle East, Turks andIranians, Shi’a and Sunni Islam." Although a relatively youngcountry, having declared independence from the Soviet Union in1991, the culture of its predominately Azeri population stretchesback through a colorful history of over a thousand years. Againstthe backdrop of a beautiful and varied landscape, young populationand successful economy, Azerbaijan has become an increasinglyfascinating destination for many.It's culture, affected for centuries by pervading Persian andRussian influence, is not easily summed up, and civil discourse isoften preoccupied by the question of what truly makes up the Azerinational character. Of the many facets of the Azerbaijanimentalitet, a warm, generous hospitality, an inspired can-doattitude ("bajarana jan gurban", blessed be the one who can), and astrong sense of family loyalty and care for ones elders, childrenand extended family, are values shared and cherished above allothers.Culture Smart! Azerbaijan is most valuable in helping us tounderstand the country's complex present by way of a concisehistory of the Azeri people, their culture and the land. Atsomewhat of a cultural crossroads, chapters focusing on localattitudes, values, social and business etiquette mean this guidewill help travellers and business people alike navigate thisincredibly warm but sometimes complex culture, helping pave the wayfor greater understanding and ultimately more rewarding experiencesin this beautiful land.