Mystery Class #10--Ismayilli, Azerbaijan
Greetings from Ismayilli, Azerbaijan!
My name is Amy Petersen and I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ismayilli, Azerbaijan from 2003-2005. Together with School #1's biology teacher Ulviyye Tahirova and students in our new Internet and Computer Center, we were secret Mystery Class #10 for this 2006 season.
The history of Azerbaijan is very diverse. The name Azerbaijan means "Land of Fire" and there are sites where the land actually does burn because of oil and natural gas located underneath.
Historically Azerbaijan has been occupied by a variety of peoples, including Turks, Mongols, Persians and Russians. After the collapse of the Russian Empire during World War I, Azerbaijan declared independence and established the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. This first Muslim republic in the world lasted only two years, from 1918 to 1920, before the Soviet Red Army invaded Azerbaijan. Subsequently, Azerbaijan became part of the Soviet Union.
Azerbaijan re-established its independence upon the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Despite a cease-fire in place since 1994, Azerbaijan has yet to resolve its conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Azerbaijan has lost control of 16% of its territory including Karabakh, and must support some 800,000 refugees and internally displaced persons as a result of the conflict.
The Azeris are a very hospitable people, they absolutely love guests! Azeri food is very delicious, lots of lamb and rice.