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Among the Transcaucasian republics Azerbaijan is the most densely populated one. More than 7.5 million people live here, of which over 300,000 are in the Nakhchivan Republic. Azerbaijan is distinguished with a high birth rate. Annually about 180,000 infants (2.7 per woman) are born here, with an infant mortality of 34.8 per 1000 births. Azerbaijan has a remarkable longevity rate (average for women- 70.8 years, men- 67.0 years). Every 100,000 citizens has 80 people aged 100 or more, especially among Karabakh and Talysh citizens. The record for long living belongs to Shirali Muslimov (161). At the same time Azerbaijan is a country of youth. Children (under 14) constitute one third of the whole population while people with the ability to labor make up about 60%. Of this percent, some 32% is involved in agriculture and forestry, 26% in industry, 42% in other modes of work. 100% of the population at the age from 9 to 49 is literate. Azerbaijanis constitute 90% of the population and belong to the Caspian type of the southern Europoid race. They are distinguished with sturdy build with a prevailing dark pigmentation, medium height and partially round shaped head, narrow face, rather narrow nose and in majority of cases big brown eyes. The language spoken by Azerbaijanis belongs to south-western group of Turkic languages. Another comparatively numerous national group is formed by Russians. They appeared here at the beginning of the XIX century when the tsarist government started the deportation of dukhobors, molokans and other sectants from the remote parts of Russia and the Ukraine and their settlements appeared at the beginning of the 20th century in different regions of Baku and Yelizavetpol. Among the other nationalities living in Azerbaijan are Lezgins, Avars, Udins, Tzakhurs, Tats, Kurds, Talyshs, Tatars and Georgians. The distribution of the population is uneven, explained by the diversity of natural resources.

80% of the population is concentrated on valleys and low lands that are more convenient for farming industry and where the large industrial centers lie and irrigating agriculture is developed. This belt covers Kur-Araz, Samur-Devechi and Lankaran lowlands, and also Ganja-Gazakh and PriAraz valleys and Absheron Peninsula. Average population density of Azerbaijan is 86 persons per 1 sq. km. Absheron Peninsula is more densely populated (800 persons per 1 But even on valleys and lowlands the populated settlements are not evenly distributed. On the average every 100 has 6 populated points, but their number increases to 20-25 along the river valleys, irrigating canals, highways and railroads. On the territories of salt-marshes and semi-deserts the number of settlements falls to 1-5 per 100 20% of the population lives in mountains. An average density is 42 persons per 1 The net number of settlements is decreasing, and the number of urban dwellers here constitutes 42%. 7% live on the highest points within 1000-2000 m. above the ocean level. An average density here falls to 22 persons per 1 sq. km. In districts situated over 2000 m. above the ocean the density is less than 1 person per 1 sq. km. The traces of urban settlements were patterned long before the time of Christ (B.C.), however formation and development of urban life refers to the period of progressing of feudal relations. The towns that appeared earlier were either the centers of feudal states such as Barda, Shemakha, Sheki, Ganja in the 4th-5th centuries or fortresses like Gardiman and Baylakan in the 5th century. Later trade and handicraft developed there. Trade ways passing across the territory of Azerbaijan to a certain extent prompted the emergence of small towns like Guba, and Shusha. Wars and separation of Azerbaijan into small states prevented the city growth. The progressing of capitalist relations in the middle of 19th century especially the run of Baku-Tiflis railroad as well as the highways binding Azerbaijan with Central Russia, favorably influenced the progress of economy. Along the railroads and in attached regions started to grow already shaped cities of Baku and Ganja. The extraction of mineral resources, construction of power stations, enterprises of metallurgy, chemical industry and others followed the emergence of cities like Sumgayit, Mingechevir, Dashkesan with features of industrial centers. The cities carrying out transport functions lay on the crossing of railroads and highways. To these belong Yevlakh, Salyan, Julfa and others. Resorts such as Shusha, Naftalan, Istisu, Bilgah, Mardakyan have appeared. As a whole a compact net of towns is peculiar for Azerbaijan, having 20 settlements, per 10 sq. km. At present the urban population makes 54%. Along with the Baku agglomeration (2.5 million) the largest towns are Ganja (291,000 inhabitants) Sumgayit (268,000), Mingechevir (96,000), Nakhchivan (76,000), Ali-Bayramli (65,000), Khankendi (57,000), Sheki (56,000), Lankaran, Yevlakh, Shusha, Guba, Kurdamir. The diversity of natural conditions in Azerbaijan long ago promoted the development of agricultural fields and a merging of rural settlements. In the past the villages with landowners - bey estates and peasants houses predominated as the type of settling. Very often such villages appeared on the banks of rivers and irrigating canals, on mountain slopes and along the roads leading to centers. The construction of irrigating canals in Kur-Araz low-lands resulted in agricultural economy moving beyond former borders into less populated areas especially to Mughan, Mill and Salyan Valleys.

The majority of rural population is involved in agriculture. Some rural points emerged with the growth of handicraft and mining industry: Goradiz, Ramani, Zaklik, Gushchu, Badamli and others. There are some recreation centers like Hajikend, Azad, Chaykend, Aghsu, resort settlements (Goygol, Chukhuryurd), rural settlements that provide the service of railroad transport and oil pipeline - Leki, Hajigabul, Dalap and others. There are villages in which the inhabitants tend to combine agriculture with carpetweaving and coppercraft with such villages are Dashbulag, Basgal, Gimil, Jasal, Urva, Pirebedil, Mashkhan, Azerbaijan is a country where national traditions are well preserved. The holidays on Moon calendar, "Gurban bayram" (the Feast of Sacrifice), "Ramazan" holiday (holiday after fasting) are marked as before. "Novruz" holiday (novruz is translated as "a new day") is the most ancient and cherished holiday of a New Year and spring. It is celebrated on the day of vernal equinox - March 21-22. Novruz is the symbol of nature renewal and fertility. Agrarian peoples of the Middle East have been celebrating Novruz since ancient times.

Preparations for Novruz start long before the holiday. People do house cleaning, plant trees, make new dresses, paint eggs, make national pastries such as shakarbura, pakhlava and a great variety of the national cuisine. Wheat is fried with kishmish (raisins) and nuts (govurga). It is essential for every house to have "semeni" - sprouts of wheat. As a tribute to fire-worshiping every Tuesday during four weeks before the holiday kids jump over small bonfires and candles are lit. On the holiday eve the graves of relatives are visited and tended. Novruz is a family holiday. In the evening before the holiday the whole family gathers around the holiday table laid with the 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, contests of national sports. In rural areas crop holidays are marked.

In Azerbaijan the following holidays and significant dates are marked at present:
January 1 - New Year
January 20 - Memorial Day of Victims of the totalitarian regime killed in the result of the aggression of soviet military forces
March 8 - International Women's Day
March 21-22 - Novruz Bayrami
May 9 - Victory Day
May 28 - Day of Republic
June 26 - National Army Day
October 18 - Independence Day
November 12 - Constitution Day
November 17 - National Revival Day
December 31 - Day of Solidarity of the World Azeris

The diversity and richness of raw resources in Azerbaijan stimulated the development of handicraft and home-industry, pottery, copperware, saddle-making, cotton, wool, silk manufacturing, carpet weaving, jewelry, wood, stone and metal carving.

The carpet industry is a traditional trade in Azerbaijan. It was well developed in Guba, Shirvan, Ganja, Kazakh, Karabakh, in the villages of Baku and in the areas of sheep herds. Azerbaijan carpet weavers derive their patterns from modern life and works of classics of Azerbaijan literature. Wood and stone carving is widely spread in Azerbaijan, decorating the design of houses. Special bars are made for windows called "shabaka". They are cut of wood or assembled without nails or glue from thin wooden plates. In stone carving and other types of applied art geometrical ornament and stylized inscription of plants are dominant. The interior of the houses are decorated with carving in alabaster.

The national costume of Azerbaijan changed greatly within the 19th-20th centuries. The men's dress of that period was similar to that of all Caucasian nations having some distinctions in cut and decoration. Wide trousers of hand-made cloth, a simple tunic shaped shirt made of coarse calico, cotton or satin caftan called arkhaluk - these are the main elements of peasant wearing. The costume was completed with a papakh (a king of cap), woolen socks and home-made shoes. Not everyone could own a "chukha" and sheepskin coat for winter wearing, "kyurk".

At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century urban inhabitants used to wear trousers of European style but the rest of the costume remained traditional. The shoes of urban inhabitants in the 19th century were either of ancient style like bashmaks without a back, with turned-up toes with thick heels, or of European fashion with some local design. Clothing of Azeri women of that period was more unique and distinguished according to social layers and ethnic groups. In the color scale of women's clothing bright colors prevailed. The main elements of women's clothing contained a short tunic shaped (belt-length) shirt made from calico, cotton, satin, or silk and worn with a long, wide, pleated skirt. The hair was done in a sack-shaped hairdress covered by silken hand made kerchief. Shoes like men's bashmaks were worn with home-made woolen or silk socks. The woman's costume was decorated with jewelry worn on head, neck, chest, hands. In the city a woman did not appear in the street without wearing the chadra and very often a face was covered with a special veil - rubend. In villages a woman covered the lower part of her face with kerchief. An important item of a woman's costume was a wide, leather belt embroidered with coins and silver buckle.

A child's costume imitated the costumes of adults and differed in a number of items. Cuisine is something very traditional in the life of Azeris. The bread of white wheat flour baked in tandirs is still preferable in villages. Churek and lavash - thin pancakes are also baked. Butter, cheese and katig are made from milk. The traditional Azeri dish is plov. There are over hundred varieties of it. It is made of rice and goes with different meat, fish, vegetable, fruit seasoning. Meat dishes are flavored with chestnuts, dried apricots, raisins, and green herbs. In the northern-western part khingal is a favorite dish - a flour dish with meat, fried onion and kurut (a dried cottage cheese). Dolma is a widespread dish: ground lamb meat with rice and different spices is wrapped into grape leaves (or occasionally in cabbage). Eggplants, potatoes, pepper, apples are also stuffed with lamb meat. Cuisine of some regions has its peculiarities. In Lankaran chicken is stuffed with nuts, onion and jelly and fried on a spit. Fish is also stuffed and baked in tendir. Apsheron is famous for its dushpara - small meat dumplings and kutabs - meat patties made in a very thin dough. Favorite dishes for the first course are pity, kyufta-bosbash - a clear soup with meat balls, rice peas and potatoes. Khamrachi - noodle soup, dovga - soup of sour milk and greenery. On holidays and on special occasions various cookies are baked: shakarbura - a pie of thin dough with nuts and sugar, pakhlava - (a diamond shaped layered sweet pastry with nuts). Doshab is made of vine and tut (mulberry) - a thick syrup.