Azerbaijan, formally the Republic of
Azerbaijan, is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at
the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the
Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest,
Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south. The enclave of Nakhichevan
is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west,
and Turkey to the northwest.
Azerbaijan, a nation with an ethnic Azeri and Shi‘ite Muslim majority
population, is a secular and unitary republic.
The name of Azerbaijan derives from
Atropates, a satrap of Persia under the Achaemenid Empire, who was later
reinstated as the satrap of Media under Alexander of Macedonia. The
original etymology of this name is thought to have its roots in the
ancient Iranian religion of Zoroastrianism. In Avestan Frawardin Yasht
("Hymn to the Guardian Angels"), there is a mention of âterepâtahe
ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide, which literally translates from Old Persian
as "we worship the Fravashi of the holy Atare-pata".
over the region of present-day Iranian Azerbaijan. The name "Atropates"
itself is the Greek transliteration of an Old-Iranian, probably Median,
compounded name with the meaning "Protected by the (Holy) Fire". The
Greek name is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus and Strabo, and it is
continued as ādurbādagān in the Pahlavi geographical text Shahrestānihā
i Erānshahr. The word is translatable as both "the treasury" and "the
treasurer" of fire in Modern Persian.