"Azerbaijani territory is a natural point of contact between different cultures and civilizations, and his society mingled and absorbed many different influences, creating a unique and fascinating mix. Its rich architectural, literary and musical tradition is the best example of this stratified heritage.Part of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan restored its independence in 1991. Despite the ongoing Armenian occupation of the Western region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan succeeded in a difficult state-building process and in the post-communist transition of its society.Endowed with sizeable hydrocarbons reserves, Azerbaijani oil and gas industry attracted massive international investments. As a result, Azerbaijani economy quickly developed during the past decade and the country became a global player in the oil market. Current projects are also increasing natural gas supplies to Western Europe, diversifying energy exports.However economic growth will increasingly rely on non-energy sector development. The future of this country with a long history will lie in its ability to make the most out of its geographical position and its cultural heritage."