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The Population Of Azerbaijan Cultural Studies Essay

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Published: 23rd March, 2015 Last Edited: 23rd March, 2015

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Baku is the largest cultural center of Azerbaijan. It is the place where a national theatre, the first in Muslim East, lifted the curtain, the first opera was performed, the first Azerbaijan newspaper was published, the first Azerbaijan library was opened. Today Baku is known to have 30 museums, 7 theatres, 11 institutions of higher education, philharmonic, opera theatre, film studio, cinema theaters and libraries housed in the city’s most beautiful buildings having an interior decoration which is every bit as good as their interior cultural content.

I was born and raised in Azerbaijan and currently I live in Texas, United States. Geographically Azerbaijan is located where East meets West, therefore it is not surprising that the culture in Azerbaijan has been influenced by Western and Eastern set of values.

The port city of Baku, the cultural, industrial and political capital of Azerbaijan is located on the western Caspian seaside, on the bay shores of the same name in the southern part of the Apsheron Peninsula, rich in its oil fields. Baku consists of 11 administrative districts and 5 townships.

I've always believed that Azerbaijan has a very unique culture compared to other countries that share the same demographics and religion with it. To the outside world the Azerbaijan culture may seem very modern and Westernized however if one spends considerable amount of time living in Azerbaijan they will realize that the culture in this country is rather conservative.
Special administrative subdivisions are the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, which is separated from the rest of Azerbaijan by a strip of Armenian territory, and the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region, entirely within Azerbaijan.

The culture in Azerbaijan has been considerably shaped due to globalization especially during the last two decades.

The population of Azerbaijan consists of one racial group leaving very little space for diversity.

People that are different race that reside in Azerbaijan are from foreign countries and speak a foreign language.
Azerbaijan's fauna is notable for the same richness and variety: more than 12,000 species populate the country. Goitered gazelles, wild boars, wolves, foxes, hares, coypu rats, pheasants, ducks, bald-coots ("kashkaldak"), and Sultan chickens inhabit the area. Deer, roe deer, wild boars, brown Caucasian bears, lynxes, wolves and, somewhere, leopards are typical for lowland and midland. The Bezoar, mouflon, ibex and others populate the highland, the birds being represented by pheasants, partridges, stone partridges, francolins, Caspian snow cocks and Caucasian blackcocks.

Therefore Azerbaijani's are not very open minded and are not used to being around people that are different than them. Discriminating different races or cultures is considered something acceptable due to lack of exposure to other cultures.
Azerbaijan is a country holding its centuries-old national traditions sacred. Traditions accompany Azerbaijanis from the moment of their birth: wooing, birth of children, feasts, harvesting and many other. Besides, many traditions of Azerbaijan are incarnated in hospitality, culture, folk beliefs, national clothes, national festivals and entertainments.

In addition to the social circumstances of Azerbaijan acts as a major influence on Azerbaijani society, morals and values. Islam is practiced by 90% of the population and controls every aspect of a person's life.

The music of Azerbaijan has a lot in common with Armenian and Persian music. The classical music of Azerbaijan is called mugam, and is usually a suite with poetry and instrumental interludes. The sung poetry sometimes includes tahrir segments, which use a form of throat singing similar to yodeling. The poetry is typically about divine love and is most often linked to Sufi Islam.

Market exchanges and great religious associations integrate the social system of Islam, and although Islam is the core influence on the life of Azerbaijanis. I was born into a Muslim family and I still practice Islam. I believe the reason behind the conservative nature of Azerbaijani culture is that religion is still taking very seriously in this area.
Azerbaijan is situated on the Western Caspian coast, in the South Caucasus's east. It is an incredibly beautiful area of unique natural contrasts: 9 of 11 main climatic types of the Earth, from subtropics to alpine meadows, are represented there; the four seasons can be watched simultaneously; there is the splendid flora of humid sub-tropics and everlasting snow and glaciers of Shahdagh and Murovdagh, Gabala forests, full of spring flavors, and hot steppes of Mil, Mugan, and Shirvan, and mist and rains over tea and citrus plantations in the foothills of the Talish Mountain Range and warm"Moryana"(a shore-to-sea breeze) and the Absheron Peninsula's gusty"Khazri"( the Caspian north wind), all neighboring each other.

Every culture has negative and positive aspects to it. One of the positive aspects of my culture is that families are very close to each other and are always there for each other. I like and admire this about my culture.

The country appears to decline towards the Caspian Sea, where all rivers of Azerbaijan flow. Some of them enter the Kura, the country's main one, while others do into the Araks, which is the Kura's largest tributary. The largest lake in the world (about 400 square km of water surface), the Caspian Sea is unique in terms of its origins and biological resources.

However, there is a downside, which is that there is a very little sense of privacy. Everyone always wants to know everything about each other's personal life and they feel that they are entitled to know what's going on in other people's personal lives.
About the size of Portugal or the state of Maine in the United States, Azerbaijan has a total land area of approximately 33,436 square miles (86,600 square kilometers), less than 1 percent of the land area of the former Soviet Union. Of the three Transcaucasian states, Azerbaijan has the greatest land area.

In other words there is no respect for privacy and I find this to be quiet embarrassing about my culture. Living in the United States has exposed me to a lot of new things including different social norms.
Azerbaijan's nature, represented by deserts and, in contrast, by relict woods, endlessly astonishes a traveller. Azerbaijan's flora is rich and versatile; its brightness and colorfulness resemble an enormous national carpet. There are more than 4,100 plant species including endemics (Talish Lily, Garabakh Tulip, Caspian Saffron, Iris Camillae etc.)

One thing that I really admire about the culture here is how people are professional and organized. I believe being able to deal with all kinds of circumstances in a professional manner shows good manners. I also like how people are organized; it helps society to function better and more efficiently.

Most of the people in Azerbaijan are racist towards black people, simply because they have never really interacted with them.

A couple of years ago Azerbaijani soccer teams started recruiting African soccer players.
Highland and lowland are the dominating reliefs of there. Lowland gets expanded towards the East. The largest one is that between Rivers Kura and Araks, consisting of Plains Ganjah, Karabakh, Mil, Shirvan, Mugan, Salyan and South-Eastem Shirvan. The Caucasus-Major (Bazarduzu Mountain, 4,466 m), Side (Shahdag Mountain, 4,450 m), Niyaldag, Govdag and Gaytar-Haji Ranges stretch across the Azerbaijan part of the Caucasus Major. Through the Caucasus Minor, Heights Shahdag (Mountain Shahdag, 2,901 m), Murovdag (Gyamishdag Mountain, 3,724 m) and Karabakh (Ghizgalasi Mountain, 2,843 m) dominate as the Caucasus Minor's relief.

This resulted in a number of African soccer players living on my native hometown Baku. Unfortunately they were not very welcome by the local population. People would stare at them, laugh at them and make rude remarks about them. I made friends with couple of them and would hang out with them on regular basis. During these times people would often stare at us and make rude comments. I would always make sure to stand up for my friends and explain that it is wrong to act this way towards them.

A few years earlier we a had a class project regarding Geography and everyone was free to come up with a creative idea that involved some foreign country.

Every stood in front of the class one by one and explained their project.
Not only is Azerbaijan a country of ancient history and culture, but also of popular traditions, their roots into the deep of past centuries. Along with traditions of carpet-weaving, stone-carving, copper-engraving, silk-cloth production and embroidery, traditions of sport contests have been maintained and passed from generation to generation such as those of gulesh (Azeri wrestling), chovgan (horse polo), and chidir (horse racing). It is the same ancient past where traditions of hunting and fishing have reached our days from, closely connected to features of Azerbaijan's climate, flora and fauna and the Azerbaijan hunter's mentality and moral code.

When it was turn for one of my classmates he opened a map of the world with Middle East and North Korea crossed out in it. He then explained that he would drop a nuclear bomb on North Korea and Middle East and kill everyone that lives there.
Three physical features dominate Azerbaijan: the Caspian Sea, whose shoreline forms a natural boundary to the east; the Greater Caucasus mountain range to the north; and the extensive flatlands at the country's center.

No one in class said anything including the teacher. I was shocked and wanted to say something but kept quiet. If this incident happened today I would definitely stand up and let him know that he was being ignorant and offer him more information about Middle East.

In addition to the social circumstances of Azerbaijan, religion acts as a major influence on Azerbaijani society, morals and values.

Islam is practiced by 90% of the population and controls every aspect of a person's life.
Highland and plain lakes, whose total number approximately equals 250, such as Tufan (the Caucasus Major), Alagellar, Gey-Gel, Maralgel, Zeligel, Karagel (the Caucasus Minor) truly adorn the Azerbaijan land.

Market exchanges and great religious associations integrate the social system of Islam, and although Islam is the core influence on the life of Azerbaijanis. The moral value system of Islam is based on the absolute equality of man, irrespective of race, wealth or lineage.
An early source of oil, discovered there in 1873, its capital city of Baku is famous for its wealthy oil reserves.

The only distinction in Islam is based on piety.

I believe that Azerbaijan's reaction to westernization has been a negative one due to the fact that previous Western culture has failed to penetrate it. The reason for the Azerbaijan's rejection of globalization is because of their social circumstances.

Ashiqs are traveling bards who sing and play the saz, a form of lute. Their songs are semi-improvised around a common base.

Socially, Azerbaijani culture is the opposite of what the fundamentals of globalization are. In Azerbaijan people are interdependent individuals, highly family oriented and they think analytically. In addition, Azerbaijani people do not base their activities on a timeline and are far more lenient in terms of tardiness or leaving a business setting to converse with a friend.
The Azerbaijan land is densely cut through by numerous, mainly highland, rivers, most of which have noisy mountain-echoing waterfalls such as Afurji (River Velvelichay), Ghirintov and Sariguney (River Gurmuhchay), Mighi (River Damiraparanchay) etc.

Azerbaijani people embody the idea of putting someone else needs before their own as well as choosing to do business amidst their own social circles. The culture of Azerbaijani people to not do business with a stranger is one of the core reasons why globalization does not work there.
The location of human and pre-human habitation dating back two million years, remnants of Azerbaijan's history include Bronze Age petroglyphs and medieval minarets and mosques. Azerbaijan was also once a major stopover on the Great Silk Route.

In order to give a better understanding of how people there view doing business within their own social circle I'd like to tell a story of man whose friends frequent his uncles taxi company and would rather walk if there are not taxis available opposed to calling upon the services of another company.
The most famous contemporary Azeri musicians are perhaps jazz singer Aziza Mustafa Zadeh and her father, Vagif Mustafa Zadeh, who are quite popular internationally in jazz circles.

In order to sum up how culture influences each generation differently I've divided them into three categories.

1-Those who reject westernization as the "highest stage of imperialism" and "cultural invasions" based on the idea that it is designed to dominate, intimidate and destroy a cultures heritage.

2-Those who welcome the scale of globalization as the age of modern science, advanced technology, global communications and knowledge-based information. This second group of thinker's debate that its people can no longer remain confined to the boundaries of their heritage 3-Lastly, the third group does not agree with the idea of globalization nor does the group disagree with it. It can be described as a group that is positive neutrality and has a variation of attitudes when it comes to globalization.

The reaction of westernization depends of which group of population it is affecting.

It seems the first group mentioned above is that of the elderly group around the age of grandparents.
The site of numerous invasions over the centuries, Azerbaijan was briefly independent from 1918 to 1920, and regained its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

This group is made up of individuals who still hold on to tradition and religion allowing it to determine every aspect of their life. With this group Islam is the practiced religion and the traditions of Islam go against the idea of westernized globalization. The third group is made up of those who are middle aged, who at the moment feel indifferent about the idea of globalization. These people still allow specific parts of religion and tradition to dictate their lives yet they still entertain the thought of allowing the change to take place. It is safe to say that this group agrees with Frank Griffel who quoted, ""Instead of rejecting globalization, the Islamic world is finding its own way of globalization. The two processes use the same means and the same tools and are indeed inseparable."

Lastly, the second group is primarily made up of the younger generation. The younger generation is a lot more respectable to the change of things merely because that is the age in which he or she was born and raised in. Since the third group entertains the prospect of utilizing everything good in globalization, that is the idea the middle aged (parents) are passing on to the second group (children of the third group). To the first group the religion of Islam plays a major role in how globalization is reacted upon, however, the way the world is changing and the younger the generations, globalization will soon outweigh the power of religion.

Baku, one of the most beautiful world’s cities is located at the joint of Europe and Asia. The capital’s name itself is interpreted as a “wind blow”, “city of winds” or “hill”, “city on the hill”.

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