Azerbaijan Lifestyle and Culture

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Azerbaijan is a small country but rich enough to live in. It would be better to have an offer before coming to Baku as there are many opportunities in Baku to work in technical fields. Even oil is down, Baku is still live and mostly for luxury travelers.

Azerbaijan culture combines the historical, religious, and traditional evolving and molding over centuries to create the modern-day Azerbaijani. Some traits may be familiar and others foreign and contradictory, but this is what makes the country special. Embrace the following quirks, and immerse yourself in the culture and traditions of Azerbaijan.

Tea is almost sacred. The brightly colored drink gets poured into a pear-shaped glass called an armuda, served without milk. A cube of sugar accompanies, and then locals take a bite before sipping the tea. The reason behind this quirky style dates back to medieval times when paranoid rulers were afraid of assassination by poison. Apparently, the sugar reacts to the toxin when dipped into the tea.

Despite the liberal appearance of this secular, post-Soviet nation in the Caucasus, tradition remains vital in Azerbaijani culture. Outside of the capital, Baku, locals still live a rural lifestyle. Many grow fruit and vegetables in plots and often live in modest houses. The communities in the Caucasus Mountains have rich traditions dating back thousands of years.

There are various dwellings in different regions. Traditionally, people in towns lived in quarters (mahallas) that developed along ethnic lines. Modern Azerbaijan adopted the Soviet-style of architecture; however, Baku retains a Maiden Tower and an old town crisscrossed with narrow streets as well as examples of a mixture of European styles in buildings that date back to the beginning of the twentieth century. These edifices usually were built with funds from the oil industry.

Soviet-era governmental buildings are large and solid with no ornamentation. Residential complexes built in that period usually are referred to as "matchbox architecture" because of their plain and anonymous character. Public space in bazaars and shops is crowded, and people stand close to each other in lines.

Steamed rice (pulov) garnished with apricots and raisins is a major dish at ritual celebrations. It is eaten alongside meat, fried chestnuts, and onions. During the Novruz holiday, wheat is fried with raisins and nuts (gavurga). Every household is supposed to have seven types of nuts on a tray. Sweets such as paklava (a diamond-shaped thinly layered pastry filled with nuts and sugar) and shakarbura (a pie of thin dough filled with nuts and sugar) are an indispensable part of celebrations. At weddings, pulov and various kebabs are accompanied by alcohol and sweet nonalcoholic drinks (shyra).

The history of Azerbaijani cinema is part of the history of Azerbaijani culture.  National cinematography opens bottoms of human heart and new live horizons. It gained great experience year-by-year and created number of different works, reflecting our people's life and problems. These films were kept for future generations and became people's spiritual knowledge.

"Azerbaijan is  a great country with a rich culture" - Mat from Germany

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