Azerbaijan is a relatively large Western Asian country with diverse cultural offerings. It's the first primarily Muslim country to have opera and public theater, and the political parties are secular and nationalist in nature. You can see synagogues of the Mountain Jews of the Caucasus, Armenian and Apostolic churches, and paganist stone idols in addition to mosques. Another did you know is that Azerbaijan has almost half of the mud volcanoes on Earth. New funding and efforts have gone into preserving the environment in the last twenty years, and the government has set up major reserves. Azerbaijan is a country of contrasts: mountains and lowlands, extreme cold and high heat. Oil, gas, and mineral resources are a major source of wealth for the nation. Spas are a popular destination, and in fact you can pay to bathe in crude oil in places like Naftalan as well as the capital city, Baku. Skiing is popular, and there are plans to create the largest ski resort in the country inside the pristine Shahdag National Park. Greens and other vegetables play an important role in the traditional Azerbaijani cuisine, along with the many herbs that can be grown here. Watercress, sorrel, and mallow accompany meat and fish or stand on their own in soups. Saffron rice plov and dushbara dumplings are worth a try. You can experience Azerbaijani tea culture, or taste some of the many flavors of sherbet drinks.