Carpets of Azerbaijan
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Azeri Carpet: Quba - Qolu Chichi (photo by Vugar Dadashov)Carpet weaving is one of the oldest and most traditional forms of art in Azerbaijan. The skills of this art have been handed down from one generation of artisans to another for centuries, and the the motifs and the colours used form an essential part of the culture of Azerbaijan, and seem able to speak to Azeris of every background, whether simple or sophisticated. You'll find two types of carpets: knotted and flat-weaved. 

Azeri Carpet: Quba - Ugah (photo by Vugar Dadashov)There are three types of carpet shops operating in Azerbaijan:

  • The first are government-owned and operated; they are old style with unhelpful sales staff. 
  • The second type are the consignment shops, where things are sold for their owners by the shop staff and the shop gets a commission on each sale. 
  • Azeri Carpet: Quba - Orduj (photo by Vugar Dadashov)The third style is the modern, western, capitalist shop. These sell everything imaginable, sometimes from the same display case. There are dozens of private carpet dealers in Baku, with world-wide connections, many are located near the carpet museum. Some of these carpet dealers sell out of their homes, many are jewish. 
Quite often one can distinguish the carpet shops easily: an old carpet fragment is hung on the outside of the door - an excellent form of advertisement with no language skills required. Often the shops work as meeting places from where you may be taken to the dealer's house to be shown better pieces, or to be led to unofficial dealers.

Azerbaijan - Baku / Baki: old town - carpet dealer by the old baths - photo by Miguel TorresThe value of a carpet is determined by a complex mix of factors including quality, colour, age, fashion and transportation but naturally very suceptible to each moment's balance of  market  offer and demand. Carpet  prices tend to be high throughout Azerbaijan. Just because a carpet is in Baku it does not mean it will be chepear there than in the West, the noveau riche in Azerbaijan have created a new local demand and the local dealers are well informed of world prices.

Baku, Azerbaijan: carpet weaver - photo by G.MonssenExport can be difficult due to bureaucratic requirements, even for new carpets. Expats often encounter problems when moving out of Azerbaijan trying to take their own used carpets. So if you are going to be a Baku resident have this in mind, before starting to buy expensive carpets. 

The only easy way to smuggle Azeri carpets out of the country is via train to Russia, where it is not even checked for. From Moscow, it is simple to get carpets out of the country. Unless you smuggle, you will find little cost advantage to buying carpets in Baku for export, versus buying in the West.

carpets museum - Baku Azerbaijan (photo by Miguel Torres)If you want to learn more about he carpets of Azerbaijan, the carpet museum is a good place to start, the impressive building, still known for its original purpose as the Lenin museum is located on 123a Neftchilar av. Its collection was enriched with the carpets brought from Shusha carpet museum, evacuated before the Armenian advance. Some good reference books for the prospective buyer are: "Bennet's Oriental Rugs - Vol I - Caucasian" (1993) and Ulrich Schurman's "Caucasian Rugs" (last reprinted in 1990).
Carpet Retailers Carpet Manufacturers
Sheikh Safi Caucasian Rugs
Husu Hajiyev, 35/20 Baku
Phone: +994 50 380 88 78
Phone: +994 12 4945307

Icheri Sheher, 28 A. Zeynally
Tel: 921 560
Fax: 921 569

28 A. Neymatulla
Tel: 674213

Gumush Suyu
156 Mardanov Gardashlary
Tel: 942550
Fax: 986 063

Tel: 392 442

Icheri Sheher
9 Rzayev
Tel: 922 822
Fax: 925 633

Shop nr. 31
60 Ataturk Avenue
Tel: 620 419

Shop nr. 32
A. Gurbanov
Tel: 942846

Shop nr. 37
82 Fizuli
Tel: 942846

37/43 Uzeyir Hajibeyov st.
Baku 370010
Tel: 984408
Fax: 988347

3 S. Vurgun
Tel: 933 285
Fax: 937 408

Azerlime Aydinm
2 Sh. Rahimov
Tel: 906 658
Fax: 906 659

Letif Company
Tel: 685 870/689 883
Fax: 685 870

see also: culture, geography, images of carpets, places, summary, photos
A to Z of Azerbaijan / A dan Z ye Azerbaycan