The Culture of Azerbaijan has developed under influence under Islamic and European cultures, Iranian and Turkic heritage as well as Russian influences due to its former status as a Soviet republic. Today, western influences, including globalized consumer culture, are strong.
Azerbaijani art has developed over the ancient history of Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijanis have created a rich and distinctive culture, a major part of which is decorative and applied art. This form of art rooted in hoary antiquity is represented by a wide range of handicrafts, such as chasing, jeweler, engraving in metal, carving in wood, stone and bone, carpet-making, lasing, pattern weaving and printing, knitting and embroidery. Each of these types of decorative art, evidence of the endowments of the Azerbaijan nation, is very much in favor here. Many interesting facts pertaining to the development of arts and crafts in Azerbaijan were reported by numerous merchants, travelers and diplomats who had visited these places at different times.
The Music of Azerbaijan builds on folk traditions that reach back nearly 1,000 years. For centuries Azerbaijani music has evolved under the badge of monody, producing rhythmically diverse melodies. Azerbaijani music has a branchy mode system, where chromatisation of major and minor scales is of great importance.
Traditional Azerbaijani dress has developed as a result of long processes of material and religious culture of Azerbaijani people. It is closely connected to its history and reflects its national specification.
Ethnographic, historic and artistic features of the national creativity, which were also used in creation of determined forms of it, are reflected on costumes. Azerbaijani arts reminds about itself also in ornaments of costume with artistic embroideries, in weaving and knitting.
Style of clothes reflected marital status and age of its owner. For example, costume of a girl and a married woman were differed. Young women wore more colorful and beautiful dresses.
From the 20th centuries national costumes in Azerbaijan are worn only in villages. Almost all national dances are performed in national costumes.
The Azerbaijani cuisine, throughout the centuries, has been influenced by the foods of different cultures due to political and economic processes in Azerbaijan. Still, today’s Azerbaijani cuisine has distinctive and unique features. Many foods that are indigenous to the country can now be seen in the cuisines of other cultures. For the Azerbaijanis, food is an important part of the country’s culture and is deeply rooted in the history, traditions and values of the nation.
Azerbaijani or Azeri is a language belonging to the Turkic language family, spoken in southwestern Asia by the Azerbaijani people, primarily in the Republic of, in Iran and in the Republic of Georgia, Russia, Turkey and in other countries with a presence of Azerbaijani speakers. Azerbaijani is a member of the Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages and is closely related to Turkish, Qashqai, Turkmen and Crimean Tatar. Turkish and Azerbaijani are known to closely resemble each other, and the native speaker of one language is able to understand the other, though it is easier for a speaker of Azerbaijani to understand Turkish than the other way around.
Classical literature in Azerbaijani was formed in the fifteenth century based on the various Early Middle Ages dialects of Tabriz and Shirvan (these dialects were used by classical Azerbaijani writers Nasimi, Fuzuli, and Khatai). Modern literature in Azerbaijan is based on the Shirvani dialect mainly, while in Iran it is based on the Tabrizi one. The first newspaper in Azerbaijani, Əkinçi was published in 1875.
In mid-19th century it was taught in the schools of Baku, Ganja, Shaki, Tbilisi, and Yerevan. Since 1845, it has also been taught in the University of St. Petersburg in Russia.
Architecture in the country of Azerbaijan typically combines elements of East and West. Many ancient architectural treasures such as the Maiden Tower and Palace of the Shirvanshahs in the walled city of Baku are old Turkic architecture, and survive in modern country of Azerbaijan. Among other medieval architectural treasures reflecting the Turkic roots of architecture in the region are the Shirvan shahs’ palaces in Baku, the palace of the Shaki Khans in the town of Shaki in north-central Azerbaijan, the Surakhany Temple on the Apsheron Peninsula, a number of bridges spanning the Aras River, and several mausoleums. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, little monumental architecture was created, but distinctive residences were built in Baku and elsewhere. Among the most recent architectural monuments, the Baku subways are noted for their lavish decor.
Sport in Azerbaijan has ancient roots, and even now, both traditional and modern sports are still practiced. Freestyle wrestling has been traditionally regarded as Azerbaijan’s national sport, however today, the most popular sports in Azerbaijan are football and chess.
The most celebrated traditional Azerbaijani holiday is Novruz Bayram, which is the traditional celebration of the ancient New Year. Novruz is a family holiday. In the evening before the holiday the whole family gathers around the holiday table laid with various dishes to make the New Year rich. The holiday goes on for several days and ends with festive public dancing and other entertainment of folk bands, and contests of national sports. During the Soviet Union, celebration of Novruz was generally unofficial, and at times even prohibited. Since the independence of Azerbaijan, Novruz became an official public holiday. Usually preparation for Novruz begins a month prior to the festival. Each Tuesday of the forthcoming 4 weeks is devoted to one of the four elements – water, fire, earth and wind.
Other public and traditional holidays include Ramadan, Women’s Day, Ramazan Bayrami, Gurban Bayrami, Republic Day, Constitution Day, Victory Day, Armed Forces Day, Salvation Day, Flag Day, and more.