Azerbaijan covers an area of about 90,000 km2 on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, including the oil-bearing Apsheron Peninsula. It is bordered by Iran to the south, Russia to the north, and Armenia and Georgia to the west. A semi-autonomous enclave of Christian Armenians, known as Nogorno-Karabakh, lies in the west of the country, claiming yet-to-be recognised independence. About one-third of the country is made up of fertile lowlands, while the rest comprises the Caucasus Mountains, rising to almost 4,500 m. It enjoys a dry sub-tropical climate of cold winters and hot summers, moderated by altitude. The lowlands are cultivated, partly with the help of extensive irrigation canals. The present population amounts to about 9.2 million, mainly belonging to the Shi’ia branch of Islam.