CAPITAL : Baku
FLAG : Three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), red, and green; a crescent and eight-pointed star in white are centered in the red band.
ANTHEM : Azerbaijan National Anthem, composed by Uzeyir Hajibeyov.
MONETARY UNIT : The manat, consisting of 100 gopik, was introduced in 1992 and remains tied to the Russian ruble with widely fluctuating exchange rates. As of May 2003, 1 manat = $0.000204 (or $1 = 4,909 manat).
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is in force.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; International Women's Day, 8 March; Novruz Bayrom (Holiday of Spring), 22 March; Day of the Republic, 28 May; Day of Armed Forces, 9 October; Day of State Sovereignty, 18 October; Day of National Revival, 17 November; Universal Azeri Solidarity Day, 31 December.
TIME : 4 PM = noon GMT.
FLORA AND FAUNA
The country's flora and fauna is rich and varied. There are 16 nature reserves and more than 28 forest reserves and hunting farms.
In 1998 estimates, 90% of the population was Azeri; about 3.2% were Dagestani peoples; 2.5% were Russian; another 2% were Armenian; and 2.3% were of other ethnic origins. Almost all Armenians live in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Azerbaijani (or Azeri) is a language related to Turkish and is also spoken in northwestern Iran. It is traditionally written in Arabic script. In 1995, an estimated 89% of the population spoke Azeri; 3% spoke Russian; 2% spoke Armenian; and 6% other. In 1939, the Soviets introduced a Cyrillic alphabet, with eight special characters.
The Caspian Sea is Azerbaijan's principal fishing resource. Commercial fishing traditionally centered on caviar and sturgeon. The total catch was 18,797 tons in 2000, primarily Azov sea sprat.
About 13% of the land area consisted of forests and woodlands in 2000. Soviet-era policies gave priority to high production and rapid growth at the expense of the environment. The State Committee for Ecology and Use of Natural Resources has recently introduced new regulations to protect forest resources. Roundwood production in 2000 totaled 14,000 cu m (494,000 cu ft).
As of 1995, at least 14 insurance companies were doing business in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has no territories or colonies.
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