The Caspian Sea – the world’s largest inland body of water – stretches along Azerbaijan’s eastern border.
Some of the oil-rich areas of the sea and its littoral areas belong to Azerbaijan. The country lies between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, which at their highest point attain an altitude of 4,466 meters at the peak of Bazardüzü.
Of the earth’s eleven climate zones, eight are found in Azerbaijan. This is reflected in the country’s natural attributes. Azerbaijan’s landscapes and its flora and fauna show a tremendous variety – sandy deserts and glaciers, steppes and tropical jungles, mud volcanoes and salt flats, olive groves, vineyards, cotton fields, the sea and high mountain lakes. The ice and snow-covered peaks of the Greater Caucasus mountain chain stretch along the country’s northern border. Şahdağ, Azerbaijan’s second highest mountain peak, is 4,243 meters above sea level.
By contrast, the Caspian coastal landscape lies 28 meters below sea level. To the northwest the foothills of Greater Caucasus mountain range reach out to meet the steppe plateau. To the east lies Qobustan – one of humankind’s oldest settlements – with its numerous mud volcanoes.
The mountainous areas of the Lesser Caucasus and volcanic Karabakh tableland occupy the west and southwest of the country. To the extreme southeast, bordering the Caspian Sea, lie the subtropical Talysh mountains, their slopes covered the year round by tea plantations and orange and lemon groves.
Azerbaijan’s granary, the vast Kür-Araz Lowland, lies in the central part of the country, between the massifs of the Great and Lesser Caucasus. High mountains protect Azerbaijan from the cold winds of the north and from the rains out of the west, so that the prevailing climate is mild. They also reduce the humidity from the Caspian Sea. It is only from the northeast and the east that air masses from the Urals, Siberia and Central Asia can force their way into Azerbaijan.
These special circumstances and Azerbaijan’s geographical situation determine the natural conditions that distinguish it significantly in terms of climate from other countries at the same latitude.