The Caucasus Mountains protect the country from the Arctic air masses that affect Russia in winter while the Caspian Sea shields it from the hot, dry air of Central Asia in the summer.
Temperatures in the winter are mild (0-15°C/32-59°F) at lower altitudes and along the coast and drops moderately as you head inland and drastically as you head into the mountains (-20°C/-4°F is possible in the Caucasus Mountains).
Snow is rare in Baku and along the coast in general while common inland and copious in the mountains, where many villages may be cut off during the winter.
The southern forests are the wettest part of the country, with plenty of rain in late autumn and early spring. Lankaran receives the most annual precipitation (1600-1800mm/63-71 in) while the region around Baku averages 200 mm (8 in).
The government is a kleptocracy run by the Aliyev family and their allies.
While the opposition is often sacked or imprisoned, it is not as severely authoritarian compared to Turkmenistan, Iran or the Russian Caucasus.
Despite this and related investments, corruption is pervasive, and the government, which eliminated presidential term limits in a 2009 referendum, has been repeatedly accused of human rights abuses.
Additionally, some older buildings may be still equipped with Soviet-era outlets.
The Soviet GOST-7396 standard was very similar to the current European CEE-7/7 "Schuko plug", but the pins were of a 4.0mm diameter, while the Schuko features 4.8 mm pins.
Summers range from warm to hot (20-40°C/68-104°F) throughout most of the country, although breezes off the Caspian make life pleasant along the coast.
Nakhchivan is quite different, high and arid, summers here can easily surpass 40°C (104°F) while winter nights often drop below -20°C (-4°F)..fact the country's extreme minimum and maximum (-33°C/-27°F & 46°C/115°F) were both recorded in southern Nakhchivan!