Azerbaijan International

Winter 2001 (9.4)
Pages 62-65

Web Watch
New Developments About Azerbaijan
by Jean Patterson

Jean Patterson
Since personal computers are still relatively expensive, Azerbaijanis usually seek out other ways to get online. Some use computers at work or at educational institutions like Western University, which provides free Internet access to students and non-students alike. Some take advantage of the computer labs funded by the British Library and international organizations like the Soros Foundation's Open Society Institute. Others visit local Internet clubs, paying an hourly fee to log on, check e-mail, chat, do research or just browse Web sites. As more and more Azerbaijanis gain access to the Internet, the number of Azerbaijani Web sites is growing exponentially. But creating a Web site that has Azeri Latin text is still no easy matter. Seven letters of the Azeri language () do not correspond to the English alphabet, are not found on the standard Latin keyboard and, therefore, require a special Azeri font.

To get around this problem, many Azerbaijani Web sites require that the site visitor download specific Azeri fonts before viewing the site. Others may convert all Azeri text to PDF or GIF files, an effective, yet time-consuming process for the Web site creators, but one that enables the text to be read easily on both Mac and IBM. A few Web sites are still dodging the font problem altogether by substituting common symbols or letters for the special characters - for instance, using a dollar sign symbol ($) as a rather crude way to represent "s" - cedilla (). [To learn more about the obstacles to creating a Web site in Azeri Latin, see the article: "Azeri Latin on the Web" in AI 9.1, Spring 2001 at].

Below: Mammad Safaroghlu is one of the many talented Azerbaijani artists featured on, a Web site created by Azerbaijan International that displays 1,800 works of Azerbaijani art. Contact Mammad in his studio at (994-12) 75-36-17 or at his home at 67-19-96. See description below.

Mammad Safaroghlu
Despite these difficulties, many quality Web sites are being created, especially these past two years. Here we've chosen some of the newer sites that offer substantial information related to Azerbaijan. Whether you're interested in music, art, literature, history or political developments, there's a lot that you can learn about Azerbaijan on the Web these days.

Azeri Search Engine
Search.AZNet is one of the first search engines to be designed specifically for Azerbaijani Web sites. As of mid-December 2001, the site had catalogued more than 675 Web sites in 71 categories. Individual listings indicate the popularity of that site via SAZNet. The Site is extremely well organized, and easy to navigate. It's in English, Azeri and Russian. Fonts need to be downloaded to view the Azeri Latin but are not available for Mac.

A unique feature of this site is that you can convert any of 15 different IBM fonts to a standard font - Palatino - either Azeri Latin or Azeri Cyrilllic. However, no equivalent service is offered for Mac users.

SAZNet was one of the first projects created with the support of the Open Society Institute - Assistance Foundation in Azerbaijan, which provides Internet training centers in Baku, Ganja, Mingachevir and Lankaran. Through the program, more than 10,000 users have gained access to Internet training, modern computers, Web publishing software and manuals. By the end of 2001, approximately 80 new Web sites about culture, history, science and medicine will have been developed using the program's "Internet Startup Kit" program.

Azeri Web Directory
With the help of a search engine, this Web site provides one of the most comprehensive directories of Web sites that pertain to Azerbaijan. Links to these sites are divided into various categories that include: regions and cities of Azerbaijan, economy, culture, history, environment, science, state and government, maps, humanitarian organizations and the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict. A section called "Azeris at Internet" links to more than 200 personal Web sites created by Azerbaijanis. This site also offers weather forecasts, exchange rate information and news from the Habarlar-L e-mail distribution list. A recent addition to the site enables visitors to join a list to be notified when new Azerbaijani sites are added to the Directory. A new slideshow features rock carvings of Gobustan and photos of Old Baku. Site is in English.

Azerbaijan International
Left: Azerbaijan International magazines from 1993 are archived on the Web at
While is hardly a new site - Azerbaijan International Magazine launched it in May 1996 - it is frequently updated with new material, including recent magazine articles and photos. With more than 1,300 articles and 3,900 photos in its archives, which go as far back as 1993, is the closest thing to an encyclopedia about Azerbaijan on the Internet, which is why it is linked by the Web sites of CNN, Washington Post and the BBC.

One recent addition to the site this year is an extensive section devoted to the Karabakh conflict and the peace process, with speeches, interviews, briefings, news articles, analysis and photo essays. There is also a new Music Section, featuring more than 100 sound samples.

AI Store offers more than 200 quality items, such as the new Uzeyir Hajibeyov seven-CD set, books, dictionaries and previous magazine issues. Site is in English, with some articles in Azeri Latin and Azeri Arabic. Fonts do not need to be downloaded for Azeri Latin or Azeri Arabic, which can be viewed equally well on both Mac and IBM.

In December 2001, when the term "Azerbaijan" was searched for on the top English-language search engines and directories, was listed as Number 1 at Google, Altavista, Lycos and AOL Search; Number 2 at MSN Search and Northern Light, and Number 3 at Yahoo! - an extraordinary ranking that is based on the site's popularity and the number of other sites that link to it (at last count, more than 1,000).

Azerbaijan Adopt
This is a Listserv, a new resource for parents and parents-to-be of children adopted from Azerbaijan. Ever since Azerbaijan's first international adoption in May 2000, more and more families are considering the possibility of adopting orphaned children from Azerbaijan.

On December 1, Kimi Abernathy, whose family made the first adoption from Azerbaijan, established the azerbaijanadopt group, which enables families who have already adopted from Azerbaijan to share their experiences and answer the questions of those who are in the process of adopting or are considering adopting from Azerbaijan.

This listserv is an absolute "must" for anyone who is interested in adopting from Azerbaijan. The forum offers vital information about the realities of adopting in Azerbaijan, with answers to questions like: "How does the process work?" "What kind of timeline can I expect?" "How much should it cost?" In terms of estimated expenses, future adoptive families are urged to research their adoption agencies carefully and watch out for unscrupulous ones that tack on extra costs in the middle of an adoption.

Parents also raise concerns and give reassurance about the health needs and developmental problems of some of Azerbaijan's orphans. For instance, one family found out after adopting their son that he had a hole in his heart and desperately needed to have open-heart surgery; without the surgery, the child probably would not have lived much longer. Now he is a very healthy, active little boy. A few other adopted children appeared to have developmental problems at first, but have made amazing progress once they were given the proper attention; now they are exceeding the norms for their age group.

To join, sign in at group/azerbaijanadopt/ and register with Yahoo! Groups. Note that the Listserv is for the exchange of information only; adoption agencies are not permitted to solicit list members.
Azeri Art
Created by Azerbaijan International magazine in November 1999, features world-class art from Azerbaijan, with more than 1,800 works by 117 Azerbaijani artists. To help art lovers "Discover the Unknown World of Azerbaijani Art," this site is constantly being updated with additional works of art. Those who are interested in purchasing art are encouraged to contact the artist directly but may send an e-mail via the site, and then AI's office in Baku will forward the message directly to the artist. Listings on the Web site are provided free of charge for Azerbaijani artists. Site is in English. Art samples can make beautiful and distinctive backgrounds for your computer screen.

Azeri Discography
Musigi Dunyasi created this site to commemorate the history of sound recordings in Azerbaijan. The site's pages list more than 500 Azerbaijani folk songs, mughams and folklore that were recorded between the early 1900s and 1950s and are now housed at the State Museum of Azerbaijan Musical Culture, the State Sound Recordings Archive and the Bulbul Memorial Museum. Click on the colorful records to see the catalog listings. Through the use of Flash animation, the site allows you to "thumb through" faded copies of the original catalogs, which include black-and-white photos of the musicians. The site promises to make sound files of some of the recordings available. Site is in English and Azeri Latin.
AZERI genocide
This Web site, created by the Sahil Group, is a valuable resource for information about the Karabakh conflict, Section 907, the Minsk Group negotiations and the human rights violations that were committed during the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia this past decade as well as other massacres that have been carried out against Azerbaijanis. offers news items from ANS [Azerbaijan News Service] and AssA-Irada as well as official statements from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UN and OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe]. Articles are posted on a variety of topics, including the history of Armenia, the history of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and a chronology of the conflict with Armenia. The site also offers a forum in English, Russian and Azeri for visitors who want to express their opinions on these topics. Site is in English.

Azeri Language
This Web site was created by Azerbaijan International magazine for articles in and about the Azeri language; it features items in the official Azeri Latin script of the Azerbaijan Republic and in the modified Azeri Arabic script, read by the estimated 25 to 30 million Azerbaijanis who live in Iran or grew up there.

The site also has a "Learning Azeri" section, which includes the "Sociolinguistically Speaking" series in English, to help foreigners learn Azeri expressions in the context of Azerbaijani culture.

The site features Azeri poetry and short stories in Azeri Latin and English translation; authors include contemporary writers such as Anar, Rustam and Magsud Ibrahimbeyov and the late Yusif Samadoghlu, son of the famous writer Samad Vurghun. Newer features include song lyrics from performers like rap group Dayirman and "Industrial Mugham" singers Gulyaz and Gulyanag Mammadova.

In the "Just for Kids" section, Farid Alakbarov's "Scientific Tales" series teaches children about science using fun, easy-to-read stories. Also featured on the site are close to 120 poems by Vagif Samadoghlu in Azeri Latin and English translation. Site is in English, Azeri Latin and Azeri Arabic. Fonts do not need to be downloaded to view the Azeri; site works for both Mac and IBM.

Azeri Music
"All About Azeri Music" is a Web site that offers news updates on Azeri pop music and musicians. Performers and groups featured include Googoosh, Aygun Kazimova, Manana, Gulyaz and Gulyanag Mammadova, Dayirman and Rast. also provides streaming audio music clips and news about upcoming concerts. Artists and musicians are invited to create their own free Web pages through the site. Site is in English.

http://azermarka.azerin.comAzerI Stamps
Stamp collectors will enjoy this Web site from Azermarka dedicated to the postage stamps that Azerbaijan has issued since 1992.

The most recent stamps commemorate Azerbaijan's entrance into the Council of Europe, its medalists from the 2000 Olympics, and Nasraddin Tusi's 800th Jubilee. Site is in English and Azeri Latin.
Balaban Music
Azerbaijani musician Alikhan Samadov plays several traditional Azerbaijani instruments, including the balaban, a deep, mournful-sounding reed instrument. On his Web site, you'll find a brief history of the balaban and a description of how it is played. The site also features the musician's biography and MP3 files of songs from his album "Balaban: The Land of Fire," released by Mega Music. To order the CD, contact: Site is in English and Turkish.
The ancient city of Ganja is full of history, providing ample material for this Web site. An extensive essay details Ganja's history from the 7th century AD to the present, with information about famous people from Ganja, like gifted 12th-century Azerbaijani poetess Mahsati Ganjavi, 12th-century Azerbaijani poet Nizami (1141-1209) and composer Fikrat Amirov (1922-1984). More than 100 historical and modern photos supplement the text. Ganja's Web site project was funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and administered by the IREX Access and Training Program. Site is in English, Azeri Latin and Russian. The font needs to be downloaded to view the Azeri Latin. The Azeri Latin version of site does not work for Mac.
"Celebrating the Legacy of Azerbaijan's Great Composer" is the theme of this Web site created by Azerbaijan International magazine and launched in November 2001. The site is dedicated to the memory of Uzeyir Hajibeyov (1885-1948). Hajibeyov established the direction of contemporary music in Azerbaijan in the 20th century by synthesizing Eastern musical elements and traditional instruments with Western musical genres such as operas and symphonies. Even today, he is considered the "Father of Composed Classical Music in Azerbaijan."

Visitors to may listen to Real Audio sound samples from Hajibeyov's major operas and musical comedies: "Koroghlu" (1938), "Leyli and Majnun" (1908), "Arshin Mal Alan" (The Cloth Peddler, 1913) and "O Olmasin, Bu Olsun" (If Not This One, That One, 1911), also known as "Mashadi Ibad." A new seven-CD set of these four works, made from vinyl recordings of the 1970s and 1980s, is available for purchase through the site. The CDs were produced by Azerbaijan International and sponsored by Statoil of Norway. also features a number of biographical articles about the composer - some of them recollections by his colleagues, such as opera singer Shovkat Mammadova and conductor Niyazi - others from Hajibeyov's former students who are still living today. There is also a Research Section that includes oral history.

For the first time in Azerbaijan's cultural history, the librettos to Hajibeyov's works have been made available in Azeri Latin and English translation; these are formatted as PDF files, which are readable on both Mac and IBM. Simply download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader from is in English and Azeri Latin. Fonts do not need to be downloaded to view the Azeri Latin; site works for both Mac and IBM.

"Is Armenia really being blockaded by Azerbaijan?" asks this recently re-launched Web site, designed by Baku's Azerbaijan Data Network to educate the international community about the understudied aspects of the Karabakh conflict. Articles at the site discuss Armenia's various terrorist organizations, the history of the Karabakh region, its rich cultural heritage, Azerbaijan's conflict with Armenia and the plight of refugees. You can also read about famous poets, writers and musicians from Karabakh, such as 19th-century poetess Natavan, composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov, singer Bulbul and conductor Niyazi. Site is in English and Russian.
Novruz CARDS
Novruz (Noruz), or Spring Festival, usually celebrated around March 21, is one of Azerbaijan's most important holidays. To help Web visitors celebrate this occasion, Azerbaijan Online offers online Novruz greeting cards with scenes from Azerbaijan, music by Shovkat Alakbarova, Rashid Behbudov and Bulbul as well as a description of Novruz traditions. Site is in Azeri Latin, with some sections in English. Fonts do not need to be downloaded to view the Azeri Latin; site works for both IBM and Mac.
Vahabzade's poetry
This Web site appears to be the first one dedicated to a single Azerbaijani writer - in this case, the 76-year-old poet and writer Bakhtiyar Vahabzade. The site, created by the Sahil Group, includes a short autobiographical statement, photographs, a few of Vahabzade's poems as well as a listing of his books and published poems. Site is in English and Azeri Latin. Fonts must be downloaded to view the Azeri Latin. Azeri Latin version of site does not work for Mac.

Azerbaijan International (9.4) Winter 2001.
© Azerbaijan International 2002. All rights reserved.

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