INFODESK

Infodesk

Geographic location and population : Azerbaijan is located in the South Caucasus, on the western shores of the Caspian Sea. The Republic has borders with Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Turkey and Russia and maritime borders with Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Azerbaijan's total land area is 86 600 square kilometers and it has a population of over 9 million people.

Climate : The country is situated at the junction of moderate and subtropical zones, so the climate is varied. The average temperature in January varies from 3 to 10 degrees Celsius and reaches 26 to 35 degrees Celsius in July-August. Azerbaijan enjoys over 2900 hours of sunshine per year and experiences low levels of precipitation.

Clothing : From May to September, residents of coastal regions wear light summer clothes. However in winter – hats, padded coats and jackets are often needed.

Language : The official language is Azerbaijani. In addition, much of the population speaks Russian to some degree and many understand and speak Turkish & English. In hotels, bars and offices, English is widely used.

Photography : You can take the usual tourist photos and videos (with some exceptions), but when taking a photo of strangers, you should, as a matter of courtesy, ask permission.

Alcoholic drinks : All restaurants and bars serve alcohol. In addition, anyone over the age of 18 can buy alcohol without restrictions in many stores.

Working hours : Weekends are usually Saturday and Sunday (mainly for public offices), but most shops and supermarkets are open daily. The beginning of the working day is between 8am and 9am; shops generally close between 9pm and 11pm, restaurants and bars - much later – especially at the weekend.

Commercial transactions : It is common practice and perfectly acceptable (and often expected) to bargain at markets and fairs. The sellers will, in most cases, make concessions.

Communications : Telephone communication is no problem. Hotels have international direct dialing (IDD) wi-fi and fax facilities. Public payphones accept coins.

Electricity : The voltage in Azerbaijan is 220/240 V 50 Hz.

Water : Avoid drinking untreated tap water. Hotels and restaurants mainly serve bottled mineral or spring water in plastic bottles or water which has been boiled.

National holidays : New Year - January 1-2, International Women's Day - March 8 , Novruz Bayrami - March 20-24 , Victory Day - May 9, Republic Day - May 28, National Salvation Day - June 15th, National Army Day - June 26 , Constitution Day - November 12, National Revival Day - November 17, Day of Solidarity of Azerbaijanis of the World - December 31

Religious holidays : Ramazan Bayrami Gurban Bayrami

Issues concerning Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh : Nagorno-Karabakh is an integral part of Azerbaijan which is currently occupied by Armenian troops. Consequently, Azerbaijanis are sensitive to tourists visiting Nagorno-Karabakh through Armenia. If the traveler has visited Nagorno-Karabakh and his passport has an endorsement indicating such a visit, then he/she will be denied a visa and entry to Azerbaijan on the grounds of violating Azerbaijani law and illegally entering the territory of our country. This issue should be approached seriously and with understanding. In addition, Azerbaijan cannot ensure the safety of tourists travelling in the occupied territories.

Tipping : The Service Charge in many restaurants is 5-10% of the bill. If there is no mention of this on the menu, you can, if you wish, add 10% to the amount of the bill. For porters at the airport or at the hotel, you can offer AZN 5, depending on the amount of luggage. Tipping in taxis is not expected, but it would be expedient to tip the drivers' of London-style cabs or those cabs equipped with meters. If the taxi is not fitted with a meter, you should negotiate the fare before the start of the journey. Taxi drivers do not usually take foreign currency.

Internet : The Internet is also developing rapidly and there is a network of internet cafes in Baku and regional towns. These facilities are especially popular among young people playing computer games, so they can be noisy and rather smoky. Access prices is mostly 1 manat per hour, depending on location.

Currency : The national currency - manat (AZN). US$1 = 1.70 AZN (At the exchange rate of the National Bank of Azerbaijan for 16.09.2017). Exchange of any currency can be undertaken in banks and many exchange offices. Banks are usually open from 10 am to 5 pm.

Health : Emergency medical care is usually provided free of charge. An ambulance can be called twenty-fours a day on (012) 103. There are also private clinics and paid medical services where doctors speak foreign languages. In pharmacies, many of which are open around the clock, there is a large selection of over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies.

Banking : It is usual to pay for goods or services in the national currency – the Azerbaijani manat. Any foreign currency you bring into Azerbaijan in cash can be converted and cash can be obtained from the many ATMs located across the country. You are recommended to change only the amount of cash for your expected needs and to only exchange money in banks of official exchange offices. Never change money on the street. The exchange rate in the banks and exchange offices which are located throughout the capital and other major cities, as well as at airports, differs only slightly. Some hotels and shops have their own exchange points. In Baku, banks are open from 9.00-9.30 to 17.30 (some banks continue their work until late at night, but many exchange offices are open round the clock), in the suburbs, opening hours are usually from 9.30 to 17.00-17.30 (some banks only work with clients up until lunchtime). Credit cards are practically universally accepted for payment in all large stores, hotels and banks and in some smaller outlets. The use of credit cards in the provinces is also gaining ground. Many large shops and tourist sites in the regions are equipped with POS-terminals.

Safety : Azerbaijan is the most stable and secure country in the region. Crime is almost non-existent; cleanliness and order prevail in the streets. Azerbaijanis are a very law-abiding and friendly people, with respect for other people's traditions and customs. Probably for this reason, tourists feel at home in our country and come back here again.

Cellular communications : Cellular communication GSM 900 is developing very rapidly across the country. In Azerbaijan there are three mobile operators - Azercell, Bakcell and Azerfon (Nar Mobile). Roaming is available to subscribers of 300 operators around the world. The mobile communication network covers almost the entire country (except for the occupied territories). To exit from a fixed unit to the cellular network the code (0) 50 (0) 51 {Azercell, GSM-code 40001, the seven-digit number} (0) 55 (Bakcell, GSM-code 40002, the seven-digit number), (0) 70 and (0) 77 (Azerfon, seven-digit number) is dialed. 3G services are provided not only at all the stations of the Baku Metro, but also in the tunnels. Azerfon is the first of the three mobile operators operating in Azerbaijan to be licensed to use 3G network, which was launched in December 2009. But progress does not stand still and mobile operator Azercell, in May 2012, launched its high-speed 4G network based on LTE technology. For now, all mobile operators in Baku have 4G network covering Baku & suburbs.