The territory of Azerbaijan is rich in archeological monuments that prove it to be one of the most ancient settled areas in the region. With continuous human habitation, Azerbaijan has a wealth of monuments from every evolutionary period. The history of human life on Azerbaijani territory goes back about two million years. Azikh, Taghlar (Khojavand district, Garabagh), Damjili, Dashsalahli (Gazakh district), Gazma (Nakhchivan) are in the list of the world’s most ancient archeological monuments. The Azikh cave (azikh in ancient Turkish means “bear”) is the biggest cave in Azerbaijan. The cave, 230 metres long, has six interconnecting chambers. In 1968, Azerbaijani paleontologist, Mammadali Huseinov, (1922-1994) discovered a lower jawbone of Early Man from Azikh cave, which turned out to be one of the Neanderthal type. It has been since analyzed independently in the West and confirmed to be between 350.000-400.000 years old. It was named after the place where it was found “Azikhantrop” (Azikh Man).
There are several theories why Azerbaijan is called Land of Fire. Yet, since olden times Aturpatakan, which was one of the early primary names of oil-rich Azerbaijan mentioned in Persian sources, meant “a place where sacred fire is preserved”. Oil extraction in Absheron peninsula which is one of the ancient oil regions of the world, dates back to the 7th-6th centuries BC. Information about is found in the works of ancient and medieval historians. For instance, ancient Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus, (4th century AD) in his “History” noted that in the ancient states of Azerbaijan they used “Midian oil” which was called nafta in the local language.
The people were infuriated by the territorial claims and aggressive acts of Armenia, backed by the Soviet officials, against Azerbaijan, as well as by the anti-nationalist behavior of the local authorities. Azerbaijanis were being expelled from the land where they had lived for centuries. Since 1988 the national movement for liberty grew. This was a protest against the policy of the USSR and, as a result, for the independence of Azerbaijan. Thousands of people protesting against the policy of held demonstrations all day long in the central square (Now called Azadliq or Freedom Square) and the streets of Baku.
There are no articles, although the word bir (“one”) can be used as an indefinite article:
bir kitab “a book”.
In other cases, the definiteness or indefiniteness of an article has to be guessed from the context:
çay ucuzdur – “the tea is cheap” *or* “tea is cheap” Continue reading
Like other Turkic languages in the former USSR, Azeri has gone through several changes of alphabet over the past century. Until the 1920s it was written in the Arabic alphabet, from 1928 to 1938 it, along with the other Turkic languages, was switched to Latin. From then on it was written in a modified Cyrillic script, and in 1992 it switched to a Latin alphabet, this time based on the one used in Turkey. In South Azerbaijan (Iran) Azeri is still written with the Arabic script.
The latin alphabet:
a b c ç d e ə f g ğ h x ı i j k q l m n o ö p r s ş t u ü v y z
and the cyrillic:
а б в г ғ д е ә ж з и ы ј к ҝ л м н о ө п р с т у ү ф х һ ч ҹ ш ‘
While the Cyrillic is being phased out and is hardly ever seen on the internet, it is still used in printing. since we’ll be using the Latin in this course these are only included for completeness’ sake.
The tragic developments that unfolded in the city of Sumgayit of the Azerbaijan SSR in February 1988 were perhaps the most significant event of the final years of the USSR. Sparked off by Soviet secret services in an international and ethnically diverse major industrial city of Sumgayit, the ethnic clashes became a catalyst for the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. This web-site provides a collection of materials and a brief analysis of the impact the Sumgayit developments and the Karabakh conflict had on the subsequent fate of the entire Soviet Union.