Atropates name is believed to be derived from the Old Persian roots meaning "protected by fire." According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam: "In Middle Persian the name of the province was called Āturpātākān, older new-Persian Ādharbādhagān (آذربادگان/آذرآبادگان), Ādharbāyagān, at present Āzerbāydjān/Āzarbāydjān, Greek Atropatíni (᾿Ατροπατήνη), Byzantine Greek Adravigánon (᾿Αδραβιγάνων), Armenian Atrpatakan, Syriac Adhorbāyghān." Azerbaijan, due to its numerous fire-temples has also been quoted in a variety of historic sources as being the birthplace of the prophet Zoroaster although modern scholars have not yet reached an agreement on the location of his birth.
With Qajar Iran being forced to cede to Imperial Russia its Caucasian territories north of the Aras River (that is, modern-day Georgia, Dagestan, Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan) during the course of the 19th century, through the treaties of Gulistan (1813) and Turkmenchay (1828), vast amounts of soil were irrevocably lost.
It is bound by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south.
The exclave of Nakhchivan is bound by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, while having an 11 km border with Turkey in the north west.
Charity workers who spoke with Al Jazeera agree that the issue of selective abortions in Azeri culture runs deep.
"I think society needs to change its perception of a woman," Mehriban Zeynalova told Al Jazeera.
- Tarana Hasanova, gynaecologist The rejection often begins with an ultrasound taken at the 12th week of pregnancy.
But like others living at the shelter, she was rejected for not giving birth to a boy."My marriage was good until I became pregnant, and did not give in to the pressures of having an abortion because the baby was a girl.Then my husband sent me to my mother's house, and said he was going to take lovers to get a baby boy," she said.Shana's daughter, Leman - now a happy, piano-playing child - was ignored and disowned by her father and his parents from the time she was born.Historic Azerbaijan was called Atropatene in antiquity and Aturpatakan in the pre-Islamic Middle Ages.Some refer to Iranian Azerbaijan as South (or Southern) Azerbaijan and the Republic of Azerbaijan as Northern Azerbaijan, Prior to the Russo-Persian wars of the 19th century, the Azerbaijani people were distributed throughout the north-western Persian Empire, with the highest concentrations in Persian provinces that correspond to contemporary Iranian Azerbaijan and the Republic of Azerbaijan."The understanding that a girl brings evil to the world needs to change and overall, the perception of woman's role in society has to change." Male-dominated region There are several reasons why selective abortion is common in Azerbaijan. As families get smaller, the pressure to have boys increases.