Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan, and the country’s largest city. It is situated on the Western Coast of the Caspian Sea in the southern part of the Apsheron Peninsula. The city boundaries include a vast territory covering nearly 2,200 square kilometres, which encompass not only the city, but a large number of outlying areas.
The layout of Baku is fairly rectangular, with only the oldest part of the city (Icheri Sheher) comprising of a series of crooked and narrow streets and walls. The suburbs of the city are the centres of oil extraction and where the businesses of railway transportation, machine-building and construction are located. In the outskirts of the city, there are various mud volcanoes and Baku’s boundaries include a health resort in the Apsheron Peninsula with coastal beaches. The beach areas are approximately 28 metres below sea level.
The weather in Baku is moderately warm with a hot, dry summer (average temperature in July is 26°C) and a fairly short, mild winter (average temperature in January is 3°C). As the city is situated on the same latitude as Greece and Italy, the area is distinguished by high average annual temperatures and a low quantity of rainfall. Strong northern and southern winds, named Khazri and Gilavar by the locals, are typical for Baku.
Modern Baku boasts many industrial centres, with oil and gas extraction and petro-chemical, machine-engineering and metalworking industries all prevalent within the city’s boundaries. The city is famous for its numerous historical monuments like the Maiden’s Tower, Shirvanshahs’ Palace, and the ancient Ateshgah Fire Temple.
Baku has been at the forefront of the country’s social and cultural history. The first national theatre was established in the city as was the country’s first University. The Azerbaijan capital was also the location for the country’s first newspaper and library. Last but not least, Baku will act as the main host city of the first ever FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Europe.
Lankaran is a small seaside city near the southern border with Iran and has a population of 45,000. The city was built on a swamp along the northern bank of the river bearing the city's name. The region surrounding Lankaran is an important producer of spring and winter vegetables. Rice, grapes, tobacco, citrus trees and oak woods all thrive in the warm climate. However the main and most famous crop is tea, which is processed at the local tea factories. Other industries are centred on food processing, furniture, silk, wood and fine carpets.
The beaches near Lankaran are sandy and pleasant. Thermal sulphide, chloride and sodium-calcium waters of the Andjin mineral springs are situated 12 km to the West from the town. In the same area, the ruins of Ballabur castle can be found, near the village of the same name. The climate of Lankaran is humid and subtropical. The winter is temperate, summer is dry and autumn is particularly rainy. The average yearly temperature is 14°C. January is the coldest (3-4°C average) and July the warmest (25°C on average) months of the year.
Hunting and rice growing were the traditional ways of life for residents of Lankaran in the ancient periods. Later on, the inhabitants of the region were involved in the cultivation of flax, silkworm breeding, cattle breeding, bee-keeping and fishing. Blacksmiths, jewellery-makers, ship builders and potters turned the city into a land of craftsmen.
Lankaran is commonly referred to as the land of citric plants. Pheikhoa, lemon, orange, mandarin and other citric fruits are all produced in the area. The construction of the Lankaran Cannery for Fruits and Vegetable production was a big step in the development of this field.