The Caspian Sea is the world's largest inland body of water, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. It is an endorheic basin located between Europe and Asia, to the east of the Caucasus Mountains and to the west of the broad steppe of Central Asia; the sea has a surface area of 371,000 km2 and a volume of 78,200 km3. It has a salinity of 1.2%, about a third of the salinity of most seawater. It is bounded by Kazakhstan to the northeast, Russia to the northwest, Azerbaijan to the west, Iran to the south, Turkmenistan to the southeast; the Caspian Sea is home to a wide range of species and may be best known for its caviar and oil industries. Pollution from the oil industry and dams on rivers draining into the Caspian Sea have had negative effects on the organisms living in the sea; the wide and endorheic Caspian Sea has a north–south orientation and its main freshwater inflow, the Volga River, enters at the shallow north end. Two deep basins occupy its southern areas.
These lead to horizontal differences in temperature and ecology. The Caspian Sea spreads out over nearly 750 miles from north to south, with an average width of 200 miles, it covers a region of around 149,200 square miles and its surface is about 90 feet below sea level. The sea bed in the southern part reaches as low as 1,023 m below sea level, the second lowest natural depression on Earth after Lake Baikal; the ancient inhabitants of its coast perceived the Caspian Sea as an ocean because of its saltiness and large size. The word Caspian is derived from the name of the Caspi, an ancient people who lived to the southwest of the sea in Transcaucasia. Strabo wrote that "to the country of the Albanians belongs the territory called Caspiane, named after the Caspian tribe, as was the sea. Moreover, the Caspian Gates, the name of a region in Iran's Tehran province indicates that they migrated to the south of the sea; the Iranian city of Qazvin shares the root of its name with that of the sea. In fact, the traditional Arabic name for the sea itself is Baḥr al-Qazwin.
In classical antiquity among Greeks and Persians it was called the Hyrcanian Ocean. In Persian middle age, as well as in modern Iran, it is known as Daryā-e Khazar. Ancient Arabic sources refer to it as Baḥr Gīlān meaning "the Gilan Sea". Turkic languages refer to the lake as Khazar Sea. In Turkmen, the name is Hazar deňizi, in Azeri, it is Xəzər dənizi, in modern Turkish, it is Hazar denizi. In all these cases, the second word means "sea", the first word refers to the historical Khazars who had a large empire based to the north of the Caspian Sea between the 7th and 10th centuries. An exception is Kazakh, where it is called Kaspiy teñizi. Renaissance European maps labelled it as Mar de Bachu, or Mar de Sala. Old Russian sources call it the Khvalis Sea after the name of Khwarezmia. In modern Russian, it is called Каспи́йское мо́ре, Kaspiyskoye more; the Caspian Sea, like the Black Sea, is a remnant of the ancient Paratethys Sea. Its seafloor is, therefore, a standard oceanic basalt and not a continental granite body.
It became landlocked about 5.5 million years ago due to a fall in sea level. During warm and dry climatic periods, the landlocked sea dried up, depositing evaporitic sediments like halite that were covered by wind-blown deposits and were sealed off as an evaporite sink when cool, wet climates refilled the basin. Due to the current inflow of fresh water in the north, the Caspian Sea water is fresh in its northern portions, getting more brackish toward the south, it is most saline on the Iranian shore. The mean salinity of the Caspian is one third that of Earth's oceans; the Garabogazköl embayment, which dried up when water flow from the main body of the Caspian was blocked in the 1980s but has since been restored exceeds oceanic salinity by a factor of 10. The Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water in the world and accounts for 40 to 44% of the total lacustrine waters of the world; the coastlines of the Caspian are shared by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The Caspian is divided into three distinct physical regions: the Northern and Southern Caspian.
The Northern–Middle boundary is the Mangyshlak Threshold, which runs through Chechen Island and Cape Tiub-Karagan. The Middle–Southern boundary is the Apsheron Threshold, a sill of tectonic origin between the Eurasian continent and an oceanic remnant, that runs through Zhiloi Island and Cape Kuuli; the Garabogazköl Bay is the saline eastern inlet of the Caspian, part of Turkmenistan and at times has been a lake in its own right due to the isthmus that cuts it off from the Caspian. Differences between the three regions are dramatic; the Northern Caspian only includes the Caspian shelf, is shallow. The sea noticeably drops off towards the Middle Caspian; the Southern Caspian is the deepest, with oceanic depths of over 1,000 metres exceeding the depth of other reg
Azerbaijan the Republic of Azerbaijan, is a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. 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 exclave of Nakhchivan is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, has an 11 km long border with Turkey in the northwest. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic proclaimed its independence in 1918 and became the first democratic Muslim state. In 1920 the country was incorporated into the Soviet Union as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic; the modern Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence on 30 August 1991, shortly before the dissolution of the USSR in the same year. In September 1991, the Armenian majority of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region seceded to form the Republic of Artsakh; the region and seven adjacent districts outside it became de facto independent with the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994.
These regions are internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan pending a solution to the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh through negotiations facilitated by the OSCE. Azerbaijan is a unitary semi-presidential republic, it is one of six independent Turkic states and an active member of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Non-Aligned Movement, the OSCE, the NATO Partnership for Peace program, it is one of the founding members of GUAM, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Azerbaijan holds observer status in the World Trade Organization. While more than 89% of the population is Shia Muslim, the Constitution of Azerbaijan does not declare an official religion and all major political forces in the country are secularist. Azerbaijan has a high level of human development that ranks on par with most Eastern European countries.
It has a high rate of economic literacy, as well as a low rate of unemployment. However, the ruling party, the New Azerbaijan Party, has been accused of authoritarianism and human rights abuses. According to a modern etymology, the term Azerbaijan derives from that of Atropates, a Persian satrap under the Achaemenid Empire, reinstated as the satrap of Media under Alexander the Great; the original etymology of this name is thought to have its roots in the once-dominant Zoroastrianism. In the Avesta's Frawardin Yasht, there is a mention of âterepâtahe ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide, which translates from Avestan as "we worship the fravashi of the holy Atropatene." The name "Atropates" itself is the Greek transliteration of an Old Iranian Median, compounded name with the meaning "Protected by the Fire" or "The Land of the Fire". The Greek name was mentioned by Diodorus Strabo. Over the span of millennia, the name evolved to Āturpātākān to Ādharbādhagān, Ādharbāyagān, Āzarbāydjān and present-day Azerbaijan.
The name Azerbaijan was first adopted for the area of the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan by the government of Musavat in 1918, after the collapse of the Russian Empire, when the independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established. Until the designation had been used to identify the adjacent region of contemporary northwestern Iran, while the area of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was referred to as Arran and Shirvan. On that basis Iran protested the newly adopted country name. During the Soviet rule, the country was spelled in English from the Russian transliteration as Azerbaydzhan; the earliest evidence of human settlement in the territory of Azerbaijan dates back to the late Stone Age and is related to the Guruchay culture of Azokh Cave. The Upper Paleolithic and late Bronze Age cultures are attested in the caves of Tağılar, Damcılı, Yataq-yeri and in the necropolises of Leylatepe and Saraytepe. Early settlements included the Scythians in the 9th century BC. Following the Scythians, Iranian Medes came to dominate the area to the south of the Aras.
The Medes forged a vast empire between 900–700 BC, integrated into the Achaemenid Empire around 550 BC. The area was conquered by the Achaemenids leading to the spread of Zoroastrianism, it became part of Alexander the Great's Empire and its successor, the Seleucid Empire. During this period, Zoroastrianism spread in the Atropatene. Caucasian Albanians, the original inhabitants of northeastern Azerbaijan, ruled that area from around the 4th century BC, established an independent kingdom; the Sasanian Empire turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state in 252, while King Urnayr adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century. Despite Sassanid rule, Albania remained an entity in the region until the 9th century, while subordinate to Sassanid Iran, retained its monarchy. Despite being one of the chief vassals of the Sasanian emperor, the Albanian king had only a semblance of authority, the Sasanian marzban held most civil and military authority. In the first half of the 7th century, Caucasian Albania, as a vassal of the Sasanians, came under nominal Muslim rule due to the Muslim conquest of Persia.
The Umayyad Caliphate repulsed both the Sasanians and Byzantines from Transcaucasia and turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state after Christian resistance led by Kin
The Aras or Araxes is a river that starts in Turkey and flows along the borders between Turkey and Armenia, between Turkey and the Nakhchivan area of Azerbaijan, between Iran and both Azerbaijan and Armenia, through Azerbaijan to the Kura River. It drains the south side of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains and joins the Kura, which drains the north side of Lesser Caucasus Mountains, its total length is 1,072 kilometres. The Aras River is one of the largest rivers in the Caucasus. In the classical antiquity, the river was known to the Greeks as Araxes, its modern Armenian name is Arax. It was known as Yeraskh, its Old Georgian name is Rakhsi. In Azerbaijani, the river name is Araz. In Persian and Kurdish its name is ارس and in Turkish it is Aras; the Aras meets with the Akhurian River southeast of Digor. From Digor it flows along the closed Turkish-Armenian border, runs close to the corridor that connects Turkey to Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan exclave, it continues along the Iranian-Armenian and the Iranian-Azerbaijan border.
The Zangmar, Ghotour River, Hajilar River, Kalibar River, Ilghena River, Darreh River and Balha River are the major tributaries of the Aras from the South. In Turkey, the Ghareso river flows in from the North, the Akhurian, Hrazdan, Vedi, Vorotan and Meghri rivers join in from the Armenian side; the Khachin River, Okhchi River, Kuri River and Kandlan River flow into the river from the Azerbaijan side. In Armenian tradition, the river is named after Arast, a great-grandson of the legendary Armenian patriarch Haik; the name was Hellenized to Araxes and was applied to the Kura-Araxes culture, a prehistoric people who flourished in the valleys of the Kura and Aras. The river is mentioned in the last chapter of the Aeneid VIII by Virgil, as "angry at the bridge," since the Romans built a bridge over it, so that it is thereby conquered; the river Aras has been associated with the biblical rivers Pishon. Robert H. Hewsen described Aras as the only "true river" of Armenia and as "Mother Araxes," a symbol of pride to the Armenian people.
According to a legend cited by Strabo in ancient times Araxes river in Armenia had no outflow to Caspian sea but spread out in plains and created a lake without outflow. In Islamic times, the Araxes became known in Arabic parlance as al-Rass and in Perso-Turkish contexts as Aras. In modern history, the Aras gained significance as a geographic political boundary. Under the terms of the Treaty of Gulistan and the Treaty of Turkmenchay, the river was chosen as the border limit between the Russian Empire and Qajar Iran, as the latter was forced to cede its Caucasian territories to Russia. Iran and the Soviet Union built the Aras Dam on the Aras in the Poldasht area creating the Aras Reservoir; the Meghri Dam is under construction near the Armenian town of Meghri. In 2006, a bird research and education center was established by KuzeyDoğa Society, a Turkish non-governmental organization for nature conservation, in the Aras Valley at the village Yukarı Çıyrıklı, in the Tuzluca district of Iğdır Province, Turkey.
It is one of Turkey's two bird ringing stations. Between 2006 and 2015, more than 65,000 birds of 198 species were ringed and 258 bird species were observed at this station. Fifty-five percent of the 471 bird species found in Turkey are recorded at this wetland, making it Turkey's most important wetland for birds; the number of ringed and observed 258 bird species comprises 85 percent of the 303 bird species in Iğdır Province. Seven new bird species were observed during the bird ringing activities in 2012 alone, including the raptor Shikra or Little Banded Goshawk, new to Turkey's avifauna. University of Utah biology professor Çağan Şekercioğlu, president of the KuzeyDoğa Society, appealed to the Ministry of Forest and Water Management to drop the Tuzluca Dam project, which would destroy the wetland harboring bird wildlife in the Aras Valley. In 2013, the ministry granted the site the highest level of conservation status. Rivers and lakes in Armenia Rivers and lakes in Azerbaijan Geography of Turkey Geography of Armenia Geography of Iran Geography of Azerbaijan Nature of Azerbaijan
Lake Sevan is the largest body of water in Armenia and the Caucasus region. It is one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in Eurasia; the lake is situated at an altitude of 1,900 m above sea level. The total surface area of its basin is about 5,000 km2; the lake itself is 1,242 km2, the volume is 32.8 km3. It streams. Only 10 % of the incoming water is drained by the Hrazdan River; the lake provides 80 % of the crayfish catch of Armenia. Sevan has significant economic and recreational value, its only island is home to a medieval monastery. Sevan was exploited for irrigation of the Ararat plain and hydroelectric power generation during the Soviet period, its water level decreased by around 20 m and its volume reduced by more than 40%. Two tunnels were built to divert water from highland rivers, which halted its decline and its level began rising. Before human intervention changed the lake's ecosystem, the lake was 95 m deep, covered an area of 1,416 km2, had a volume of 58.5 km3. The lake's surface was at an altitude of 1,916 m above sea level.
The scholarly consensus is that the word Sevan originated from the Urartian word suna translated as "lake". The term is found on an 8th-century BC cuneiform inscription by the Urartian king Rusa I, found in Odzaberd, on the southern shore of the lake. Per folk etymology, Sevan is either a combination of sev + Van or sev and vank’. Russian and European sources of the 19th and early 20th century sometimes referred to the lake as Sevanga or Sevang, it is the Russified version of the Armenian sev vank’ or derives from the Armenian phrase սա է վանքը sa ē vank'ə. Since antiquity up to the Middle Ages, Sevan was known as a sea and referred to in Armenian as the Sea of Gegham. In classical antiquity, the lake was known as Lychnitis; the historic Georgian name of the lake is Gelakuni. The name Gokcha appeared in Russian and European sources during the 19th and early 20th century. Along with Lake Van and Lake Urmia, Sevan is considered one of the three great "seas" of historic Armenia, it is the only one within the boundaries of present-day Republic of Armenia, while the other two are located in Turkey and Iran, respectively.
Lake Sevan is considered the "jewel" of Armenia and is "recognized as a national treasure" in the country. The 2001 Law on Lake Sevan defines the lake as "a strategic ecosystem valuable for its environmental, social, cultural, medical, climatic and spiritual value." Naturalist and traveler Friedrich Parrot, best known for ascending Mount Ararat in 1829 for the first time in history, wrote that, It is important for the Armenian economy: being the main source of irrigation water, Sevan provides low-cost electricity, fish and tourism. Sevan originated during the early Quaternary when a Palaeo-Sevan, ten times larger than the present lake, came into existence by tectonic formation; the current lake was formed some 25 to 30 thousand years ago. Sevan was recognized as being a major potential water resource in the 19th century, its high attitude location relative to the fertile Ararat plain and limited energy resources attracted engineers to explore ways of usage of the lake's water. In his 1910 book, Armenian engineer Sukias Manasserian proposed to use Sevan's water for irrigation and hydroelectric power generation.
He proposed draining the lake by 50 m. Major Sevan would dry out, while Minor Sevan would have a surface area of 240 km2. Manasserian's proposal was adopted by the Soviet authorities in the 1930s when, under Joseph Stalin, the country was undergoing rapid industrialization. Works on the project started in 1933; the riverbed of Hrazdan was deepened thorough excavation. A tunnel was bored around 40 metres under the lake's surface; the tunnel was completed in 1949 and thereafter the Sevan's level began to drop at a rate over 1 metre per year. The water was used for irrigation and the Sevan–Hrazdan Cascade of six hydroelectric power stations on Hrazdan River. During the second half of the 20th century, the ecological condition of Lake Sevan underwent tangible changes and vast degradation due to reduced water level, increased eutrophication, detrimental impact of human activity on the biological diversity of the lake. According to Babayan et al. the lake level dropped by 19.88 m by 2002, while the volume decreased by 43.8%.
Due to the water level decrease, the quality of the water deteriorated, natural habitats were destroyed that meant loss of biodiversity. Vardanian wrote that drop of the lake level and the economic development in the basin brought about the change in hydro-chemical regime of the lake; the quality of the water deteriorated, water turbidity increased. The inner circulation of the water constituents as well as the circulation of the biological substances altered. According to Babayan et al. "by the 1950s it had become evident that the ecological and economic consenquences of extensive exploitation of the water of Lake Sevan were too undesirable to continue in the same way." In 1964 a project began to divert the Arpa River through a 49
Aghstev River is a river in Armenia and Azerbaijan, is a right tributary of the Kura River. Aghstev is 133 kilometres long with a drainage basin of 2,589 square kilometres. Along the river lie the cities of Dilijan, Ijevan and Aghstafa. Rivers and lakes in Armenia Rivers and lakes in Azerbaijan Geography of Armenia Geography of Azerbaijan
The Azat is a river in the Kotayk Province of Armenia. Its source is on the western slope of the Geghama mountains, it flows through Garni and Arevshat. It flows into the Arax near Artashat; the main purpose of the Azat dam is to serve for hydro power generation. Its hazard potential is ranked to be high; the Azat River is known in Armenia for its beauty. It has a basin that occupies 572 square kilometers; the Azat passes through the Khosrov State Reserve. In its lower reaches, the river flows into the Ararat valley; the Azat is known for its rock choked river bed. One section of the Azat, where it meets River Goght, is fascinating, it is a canyon known as Canyon of Garni. The canyon's formation is so unique that it looks artificial; the canyon is composed of regular hexagonal prisms. Near its end, the gorge's beautiful formation has prompted the name "Symphony of Stones". Geography of Armenia Rivers and lakes in Armenia
Kasagh is a river in the west-central region of modern Armenia which flows north to south. It originates near Mount Aragats in Aragatsotn province, flows south into Armavir province and into the Metsamor River, which itself is a tributary of the Aras River. From north to south: the town of Aparan the Aparan reservoir Saghmosavank, an Armenian monastic complex Hovhannavank, a 13th-century Armenian monastic complex the town of Ashtarak the town of Oshakan the city of Vagharshapat Rivers and lakes in Armenia Geography of Armenia