These challenges are international in scope and are priorities for the Central Intelligence Agency.
The mountains of northern Iran line the southern end of the giant lake, and emerald green vegetation clings to those mountain slopes.
In marked contrast to the mountains, sand seas line the southeastern and northern perimeters of the lake, and marshes occur along the lake shores in Azerbaijan to the west.
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The current city was built in support of the hydroelectric power station constructed as part of the then-Soviet Union's energy infrastructure for the region.
Today, Mingachevir is the fourth-largest city in Azerbaijan (by population), and it has become a cultural and economic center of the country.
To the ancient Greeks and Persians, the lake's immense size suggested it was an ocean, hence its name.
A large expanse of clear sky permitted this natural-color satellite image of the entire water body.
three equal horizontal bands of sky blue (top), red, and green; a crescent and eight-pointed star in white are centered in the red band; the blue band recalls Azerbaijan's Turkic heritage, red stands for modernization and progress, and green refers to Islam; the crescent moon and star are a Turkic insignia; the eight star points represent the eight Turkic peoples of the world Measured by surface area, the Caspian Sea is the world's largest inland water body.
It covers roughly 371,000 sq km (143,200 sq mi) and borders five countries.
The width of the reservoir illustrated here is approximately 8 km (5 mi); a jet flying over the reservoir left a contrail midway between the shorelines. Baku is Azerbaijan's major city, and the oil capital of the Caspian region.