The historic country of Azerbaijan is located between the Caspian Sea and the Great Caucasus Mountains. It also lies in the middle of two continents, Europe and Asia. This part of the world has not been the most politically inviting or tourist-friendly in the world, yet in 2000, Azerbaijan opened its doors to international tourism. Because of the country’s unique location, weather in Azerbaijan has all the elements: snow, hail, rain, heat, and humidity, which could be inviting to some tourists and off-putting to others.
It is difficult to say exactly what the Azerbaijan climate truly is. The most fitting description is that it is complicated, mostly because of the presence of mountains, plains, reliefs and the nearby sea.
The country experiences mild winter except in the mountain areas where temperatures drop below zero. The lowlands, particularly Kur-Araz, experience warm spring while the plain areas could get very hot and dry summer. The most pleasant summer locations are those near the Caspian Sea to the east.
Azerbaijan has an exclave, the autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan, located just across Armenia. It is here where a variety of temperatures are experienced, ranging from very hot summer days (40°C) to very cold winter nights (-20°C). The hottest and coldest days on record were both experienced in Nakhichevan at 46°C and -33°C.
Fifty-eight percent of Azerbaijan is made up of mountains and not very far to the west are the Major Caucasus, Minor Caucasus and Talish mountain ranges, as well as the Suram Mountain in Georgia. They affect the country’s climate significantly.
Since the Major Caucasus and Suram block the north and westerly winds, only the cold winds from Siberia and the Urals from northwest can reach Azerbaijan. The Caucasus and Central Asia weather converge in Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile, the Talish mountains and Caspian Sea help produce heavy rains in the southwestern part of the country. The annual precipitation in this area is quite high at 1,500 mm, as compared with those in the Kur-Araz and Nakhichevan at only 200 mm to 800 mm.
As expected, the mountains are capped with snow, which could stay frozen for about 100 days in a year. Storms can also last long (45 days) on the mountains. Some of the country’s plain areas get snow for 10-15 days. In some areas, hail damage livelihood and crops, such as cotton, tobacco and cereals.
While several parts of the country experience weather extremes throughout the year, the best months to visit Azerbaijan are from April to October when it is warm and dry in most of the country, specifically in the capital city of Baku. The top tourist attraction in the city is the medieval inner city called Ichari Shahar, a well-preserved, living reminder of how people lived in this part of the world several centuries ago.
July and August are the warmest months with temperature rising to as high as 38°C (100°F). Winter months are very cold and wet.
Finally, it is interesting to know that the country is home to nine of the 11 types of climatic zones in the world, which include semi-desert, plain, dry steppe, mountain, forest, subalpine, and alpine. This is why the weather in Azerbaijan is quite unique and unpredictable at times.