The Land of Fire
The Land of Fire (Azerbaijani: Odlar Yurdu) is a phrase in the Azerbaijani language and an ancient Azerbaijani cultural concept that denoted either the entire Azerbaijan's geographical land or the metaphysical realm of mortals, and later became associated with political sovereignty and cultural symbolism.
The larger concept of Odlar Yurdu is closely associated with civilization and order in classical Azerbaijani philosophy, and has formed the basis for the world view of the Azerbaijani people and nations influenced by them since at least the Bronze Age.
Historical and political development
The etymology of the phrase is thought to be related to Atropates, who ruled over the region of Atropatene (present Iranian Azerbaijan). The name "Atropates" itself is the Greek transliteration of an Old Iranian, probably Median, compounded name with the meaning "Protected by the (Holy) Fire" or "The Land of the (Holy) Fire". The Greek name is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus and Strabo. Over the span of millennia the name evolved to Āturpātākān then to Ādharbādhagān, Ādharbāyagān, Āzarbāydjān and present-day Azerbaijan. The word is translatable as "The Treasury" and "The Treasurer" of fire or "The Land of the Fire" in Modern Persian.
The symbolism of the term widely been used in most fields such as in heraldry, the shield in national emblem of Azerbaijan contains the image of a fire in the center of an eight-point star against a background of the colors of the Azerbaijani flag.
After Azerbaijan's independence from Soviet Union, the phrase was used as a touristic campaign to promote the country as a tourist destination and as a location for industry. The phrase appeared in many touristic promotions, the most notable on Atletico Madrid's shirts between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. In 2014, the phrase appeared on Sheffield Wednesday and Lens shirts after the clubs' takeover by Azerbaijani businessman Hafiz Mammadov.
The "Land of Flames" expression became the origin for the literary expressions denoting Azerbaijan in a number of European languages, such as in Russian language Strana Ogney (Страна Огней, i.e. "Country of the Fires").
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