Balakan is a rayon of northwestern Azerbaijan, located between Georgia and Russia. It borders Georgia to south and west and Dagestan of Russia to east and north. There is an Azerbaijan-Georgia border crossing at Postbina in the rayon that is open to both local residents and foreigners. Archaeological finds including many historical monuments and kurgans in the region speak of early human habitation. Balakan was a part of Caucasian Albania.
The rayon is situated at the foothills of Greater Caucasus and is very rich with flora and fauna. Balakan mountains makes up the big part of Zakatala State Reserve. The Katexwaterfalls is located in the reserve. Due to existence of many mountains in the rayon, Balakan is rich with many rivers. The mountainous part of rayon is cold, the temperature in lower parts is mild. Average annual humidity reaches 41%, average monthly temperature is 13 °C (55 °F). The northern part of rayon is enriched with vegetation, among them hornbeam, alder, oak, chestnut, walnut, acacia trees, as well as raspberry, rose hip and medlar. There are over 30 plants used for medical treatment purposes.
Balakan region is considered one of the most resourceful regions of Azerbaijan by its economic potential, natural resources and cultural heritage. The economy of rayon is based on agrarian sector. Main segments of the agriculture are tobacco growing, horticulture, sericulture and corn cultivation. Additionally, cattlebreeding, wheat growing,winemaking and fishery are widely practised. There are 123 agricultural farming businesses in Balakan rayon. There is one city of Balakən and 59 villages in the rayon. According to 2010 census, Balakan rayon has 89,406 residents, out of which 10,200 (11%) live in urban and 79,206 (88,6%) live in rural areas. Men make up 48.2%, women – 51.8% of the population. The population density is 95.7 people per 1 km2. In 2010, there were 1,238 newborns and 510 deaths in rayon. The ethnic composition of the rayon is very rich. Representatives of 27 ethnicities live in Balakan rayon. The largest group is Azerbaijanians. Azerbaijanians make up 88.4% of the population. There also live Avars, Ingiloys, Georgians, Lezgins, Russians, Persians, Tatars, Tsakhurs, Ukrainians, Armenians, Talysh.
Research by: Ulduz Tourism