The southern end, however, plunges more than 1,000 m (3,300 ft).
Just as the lake reaches a greater depth in the south, the nearby land reaches a greater height.
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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.
This photo shows details of the city, including the extensive port facilities, and part of the large web of offshore oil platforms in the Caspian Sea.
Although a lake, the Caspian is not a freshwater lake; the water delivered by the Volga River minimizes the lake's salt content at the northern end, but the Caspian grows more saline to the south.
Kara-Bogaz-Gol is a saline inlet along the lake's eastern perimeter. Often regarded as the southeastern border of Europe, the Caucasus Mts stretch from the Black Sea (left) to the Caspian Sea (right).
The oil platforms off Baku were built in the 1950s and 1960s, and were the first offshore oil-drilling efforts in the world.
Today, multinational oil exploration, sea-level rise (the Caspian Sea has risen more than 2 m in the past 20 years), offshore platform maintenance, and environmental degradation are all hot topics in Baku.
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