Religion in Azerbaijan

Population and ethnography

Due to the conflict with Armenia over the autonomous region of Nagorno-Karabakh, and consequent large-scale migration, the population statistics for Azerbaijan are uncertain. According to thesciencetutor, the country of Azerbaijan has an average population density of 114 residents per km2, and the most densely populated area is the Apsjeron Peninsula.

About 53 percent of the country’s population lives in cities, of which the capital Baku holds a quarter. Other cities include Gjandzja (328,400 residents, 2015) and Sumgait (290,500). In 2009, the Azeri comprised just over 90 percent of the population. The largest ethnic minorities were Russians (392,000), Armenians (390,000) and Lezgins (171,000).

People in Azerbaijan

The Azeris, which began to immigrate in the 600s and in the 1400s, had reached their present extent, have traditionally been mainly farming, horticulture and livestock farming (partly in nomadic form), but have also conducted extensive trade. Among the binaries, the manufacture of Azerbaijani rugs and other textile crafts has played an important role. There are rich traditions in the decorative design of wood and metal utensils and ornaments.

The traditional costume for the men consisted of a “choka”, a kaftan, wide trousers of common frontal oriental type and “papach”, a fur cap, while the women wore similar, even wider trousers and a shorter jacket. In both cases, the mill is in sharp decline, except in connection with “folkloristic” manifestations. The Azerians have maintained a still lifelong musical tradition, practiced by “asjugs” (aşïc), who improvise songs to their own accompaniment. Folk poetry became relatively late for documentation.

In recent years, research on the Azeri has intensified and there are both special journals and a large number of publications. Folklore research is led by the Institute for Literature Studies, while ethnographic research is primarily done at the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography at the University, both at the National Academy of Sciences in Baku.


According to Countryaah data, Turkish language Azerbaijani is official language. In the northern parts there are elements of Northeast Caucasian languages (including the daytime languages Lezginska, Udi, Tsachur and Avaric). In southeastern Azerbaijan, on the Caspian Sea, the Iranian language is spoken. Armenian is spoken mainly in the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. Other languages are Russian, Tat (an Iranian language), Kurdish and Tatar.

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The most dominant religious affiliation among the Azeris is Shiite Islam, unlike other Turkmen who are usually Sunni Muslims. People’s religiosity shows some pre-Islamic features such as reverence for the fire, ancestors, holy places and celebration of Nauroz – the Persian New Year.

The significant Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh is Christian, as are Christians in the Russian minority.

Azerbaijan Religion