Baku is the capital, the largest city, and the largest port of Azerbaijan and all the Caucasus. The basis of Baku's economy is petroleum. The existence of petroleum has been known since the 8th century. The World War II Battle of Stalingrad was fought to determine who would have control of the Baku oil fields. Fifty years before the battle, Baku produced half of the world's oil supply. Currently the oil economy of Baku is undergoing a resurgence. Azerbaijan is in South Western Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Russia, with a small European portion north of the Caucasus range. The climate is dry and semi arid. The official language is Azeri which is widely spoken, it is closely related to Anatolian Turkish. Russian is widely understood. Increasing numbers of the young population speak English, mostly in Baku, but for business purposes an interpreter may be necessary. The main religion is Islam. The economy of Azerbaijan has largely completed its post-Soviet transition into a major oil based economy (with the completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline), from one where the state played the major role. Azerbaijanis are very hospitable. While Islamic values prevail, adherence to Islam is not strict, and conservative Western clothing is acceptable. At religious sites and in the more traditional and rural areas clothing should be modest, and women are expected to cover their heads, shoulders and arms. While alcohol is freely available, drinking to excess and public drunkenness is not socially acceptable. Business meetings are generally formal and professional titles are preferred. Business dinners often include toasts and visitors should be prepared to make a short speech or toast in response to one from their hosts. The security risk for expatriates in Azerbaijan is medium overall, but high for the Armenian border areas and Nagorno-Karabakh. Risks include generalised petty street crime, tension between Azerbaijan and neighbouring Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the risk of terrorist attacks. Other risks include the poor road conditions outside of Baku. All goods and services are priced and must be paid for in local currency (Manats). Major currencies such as Sterling, US dollars and Euros can be easily exchanged. Most international hotels, supermarkets and restaurants accept major credit cards. ATMs can be found in most major towns and cities. Medical facilities outside Baku are very limited. For expatriates serious illness or injury may require evacuation to Turkey or Western Europe. The population of Baku is 2.2 Million (2016 est.), while the inflation rate is 11.7% (2016 est.).
Cost Of Living
The cost of living for expatriates in In Baku, the cost of each basket, based on local prices, compared to the international average, is categorized follows (Exact cost of living percentages only available in personalised reports): Baku as at 1 April 2016 is average in comparison to other places in the world. 1) Alcohol (where available) & Tobacco: Average 2) Clothing: Very High 3) Communication: Very Low 4) Education: Low 5) Furniture & Appliances: Average 6) Groceries: Very Low 7) Healthcare: Low 8) Household Accommodation: High 9) Miscellaneous: High 10) Personal Care: Low 11) Recreation & Culture: High 12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: High 13) Transport: Very Low Baku is for example 12.9% more expensive than Minsk for groceries, 46.4% more expensive for household costs than Belgium, and -47% cheaper for transport costs than Brussels. The hardship premium for Baku for an expat from Botswana, is for example 10%, i.e. host location (Baku) premium of 30% minus home (Botswana) location premium of 20%. Baku is ranked as a high degree of hardship location. Want to know more about cost of living, hardship or expat pay in Baku? Register subscribe to your home location and Baku and run your personalised reports.