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Thursday, September 01, 2016

Despite Migration To The Cities, Azerbaijani Village Life Goes On

Published 5 December 2012

In Soviet times, Azerbaijan's agricultural economy was vibrant, exporting grapes, cotton, tobacco, and dairy products. But the country's agricultural production has declined since the 1990s. Due to high rural unemployment, many people have left the countryside to look for work in the cities, particularly in the capital, Baku. Life in the villages, however, keeps chugging along. RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service photographer Abbas Atilay spent time in villages in Azerbaijan's southeastern tip close to the Iranian border. (15 PHOTOS)


A goose with goslings crosses the road in the village of Siyabli, close to the regional capital of Lankaran.


Children help their parents with the potato harvest in the village of Jalilabad. The region is more famous for growing limes and tea.


A woman collects potatoes in Jalilabad. She covers her head to protect herself against the sun and insects. During the harvest she will spend all day in the fields. 


This man is collecting firewood. While most villages have electricity, some more remote settlements still rely on fires for heating and cooking.


In the village of Astara, a woman bakes tandir bread with a traditional clay oven dug into the ground.


Bee keeping is one of the region's oldest industries.


With parents working in the fields, child-care duties often fall to the grandparents.


Armed with a scythe, this man is heading out to cut the grass. 


With many families moving to cities to find work, class sizes in rural schools are usually small.


A teacher monitors math class in a Jalilabad school.


Irrigation channels around the village of Astara.


In the canteen of the Jalilabad school, portraits of former President Heydar Aliyev and his son, Ilham, the current president, adorn the walls.