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Thinking of moving to Azerbaijan? More and more people are choosing to call this little country straddling Southwestern Asia and Southeastern Europe home. Bordered to the East by the Caspian Sea and to the North by Greater Caucasus mountain range, it’s easy to see why people are keen to move to this corner of the world.
Since gaining its independence in 1991, Azerbaijan has sought to redefine and distance itself from the shadow of its time under the Soviet Union. It has relied on its oil reserves to promote investment, boost the economy and attract business. In recent years, tourism has been a key focus of the government. It has grown significantly since 2010 and Azerbaijan was named one of the fasted growing economies as a result.
Accommodation in Azerbaijan is plentiful but can be expensive. Most expats settle in the capital city of Baku, usually plumping for one of the city’s many high-rise flats. You will have the choice of either Soviet-era building or a modern one. Modern buildings tend to be more reliable and have a better upkeep than their Soviet counterparts. While you can find listings in newspapers like Bizim Asr and Our Century, it is advisable to enlist the help of an estate agent. English is not widely spoken so they can ensure you have a smooth, problem-free transition to your new home.
Education in Azerbaijan is compulsory between 6 and 15 years old. Azerbaijani education can be split into three levels: primary school (6-10 years old), middle school (10-15 years old) and high school (15-17 years old), students receive a diploma upon completion of middle and high school. The curriculum is taught in both Azerbaijani and Russian. However, for expats, international schooling is available. Baku boasts several schools that follow either a British or American curriculum and students have the option to pursue the International Baccalaureate.
Food is an integral part of Azerbaijani culture. Their rich, fertile lands produce delicious food and people know exploit it. Plov, or pilaf, is considered one of the country’s national dishes. This classic mix of rice, meat, vegetables and nuts varies from household to household and from restaurant to restaurant but you can be sure it’ll be delicious!
There is also a long musical tradition. Discover Mugham, the folk tradition that weaves poetry with improvised music. Azerbaijan’s classical music has been recognised and protected by the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists!
English is not widely spoken, so learning a little Azerbaijani or Russian could go a long way to help your move. Russian is the country’s second language and is better known than English.
There are several public holidays throughout the year. As a secular country, most holidays are not connected to any religion. However, Eid remains as a non-working holiday – a link to the country’s Muslim background. If you find yourself with some time to spare during holiday time then why not visit Neft Daşlari, the country’s floating city built on the remains of an old oil rig!
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