Geographically, Azerbaijan is located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia, straddling Western Asia and Eastern Europe. It lies between latitudes 38° and 42° N, and longitudes 44° and 51° E. The total length of Azerbaijan’s land borders is 2,648 km (1,645 mi), of which 1,007 kilometers are with Armenia, 756 kilometers with Iran, 480 kilometers with Georgia, 390 kilometers with Russia and 15 kilometers with Turkey. The coastline stretches for 800 km (497 mi), and the length of the widest area of the Azerbaijani section of the Caspian Sea is 456 km (283 mi). The territory of Azerbaijan extends 400 km (249 mi) from north to south, and 500 km (311 mi) from west to east.
Three physical features dominate Azerbaijan: the Caspian Sea, whose shoreline forms a natural boundary to the east; the Greater Caucasus mountain range to the north; and the extensive flatlands at the country’s center. There are also three mountain ranges, the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, and the Talysh Mountains, together covering approximately 40% of the country. The highest peak of Azerbaijan is Mount Bazardüzü (4,466 m), while the lowest point lies in the Caspian Sea (−28 m). Nearly half of all the mud volcanoes on Earth are concentrated in Azerbaijan, these volcanoes were also among nominees for the New7Wonders of Nature.
The main water sources are surface waters. However, only 24 of the 8,350 rivers are greater than 100 km (62 mi) in length. All the rivers drain into the Caspian Sea in the east of the country. The largest lake is Sarysu (67 km2), and the longest river is Kur (1,515 km), which is transboundary with Armenia. Azerbaijan has several islands along the Caspian sea, mostly located in the Baku Archipelago.
Since the independence of Azerbaijan in 1991, the Azerbaijani government has taken measures to preserve the environment of Azerbaijan. National protection of the environment accelerated after 2001 when the state budget increased due to new revenues provided by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Within four years protected areas doubled and now makeup eight percent of the country’s territory. Since 2001 the government has set up seven large reserves and almost doubled the sector of the budget earmarked for environmental protection.