Baku, August 12, AZERTAC
Souvenirs from Baku are as bright and colorful as Azerbaijan itself. Romantics and aesthetes buy jewelry and silk scarves, gourmets enjoy a choice of baklava and rich alpine tea, few pass by carpet weaving products.
Ethnic crafts, souvenir weapons, hammered copper dishes and armoud crystal glasses await buyers in shops and antique boutiques lost on the streets of the Old City. And each seller is ready to offer his product at a low price - the main thing is to be able to stop before the wallet is empty!
AZERTAC, based on the publication on www.tonkosti.ru, offers an overview of gifts from Azerbaijan that will not leave anyone indifferent.
Carpets and rugs
The national pride of Azerbaijan and the most expensive gift from Baku is a carpet. "The traditional art of carpet weaving in Azerbaijan" is included in the UNESCO Representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The cost of the product depends on the size, complexity of weaving, materials used, and the presence of pile. The price of the most expensive carpets can start from 3,000 manats. The best carpets and rugs are offered in the shops of Old Baku (Icherisheher), on Torgovaya Street and in shops in the area of the Maiden Tower.
Carpets are sold everywhere, and merchants very originally show them, spreading directly under the feet of passers-by, not embarrassed by street dirt. And no wonder: it is believed that a quality product will not suffer from dust or from shoes of potential buyers.
However, often small shopkeepers give out ordinary artisan rugs for valuable rarities. To purchase a really worthwhile item, you can visit the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum before buying. Museum employees discover some secrets of carpet weaving and teach to distinguish branded products that are famous all over the world from trivial fakes.
If the classic carpet turned out to be too expensive and uncomfortable a gift, you can buy a small "tea" rug - stand. Such products are no less beautiful, but much more compact and cheaper.
Another interesting thematic souvenir is a carpet bag. It reflects the traditional culture of Azerbaijan, goes well with various wardrobe items and serves as an original ethnic accessory.
Jewelry and souvenir weapons
Baku is famous not only for weavers, but also for jewelers. The rich cultural heritage of the masters' gold works resulted in two independent jewelry schools: shebeke (şəbəkə) and khatamkarlyg (xətəmkərlıq).
Ornaments made in the first technique resemble the finest lace woven from precious (gold or silver) metal. The technology is extremely complicated in execution and requires many years of constant practice from the master. But the result fully justifies itself: the products are airy, elegant and shining in the sun. The second technique is no less original: khatamkarlyg. It is a kind of mosaic of precious metals: silver or gold "nails" laid out a pattern or ornament. It takes dozens of hours to create one such masterpiece. It is not surprising that the price of jewelry can start from 1000 manat.
It is recommended to buy jewelry in Baku only in specialized stores ready to provide a full set of accompanying documentation - it will be checked without fail when crossing the border.
Jewelers' skill can also be appreciated in souvenir weapons. Of course, it is not cast in gold, but is encrusted with precious and semiprecious stones. Traditional daggers from Azerbaijan will be a great gift for a man.
Armuds, dishes and ceramics
Another visiting card of Azerbaijan - armudi - pear-shaped glasses for tea. Thanks to the original design, they are better than ordinary glasses for tea drinking: the liquid at the bottom is still hot, and the temperature on the surface is already comfortable for drinking.
The cost of armudi in souvenir counters starts from about 35 manats (in supermarkets it can be cheaper). The finer the work of the master - the higher it is appreciated. For example, you can find crystal glasses with an unusual cut or the finest porcelain dishes, hand-painted.
If you do not want to take risks and buy fragile items, you can pay attention to copper vases, dishes and plates with fine coinage. They will become an interesting addition to the modern interior and a pleasant reminder of a trip to the South Caucasus. They are sold in numerous antique shops lost on the streets of the Old Town.
Despite the fact that copper utensils are presented in antique stores, they are not real antiques. This is souvenir products, the cost of which is from 20 manats.
Also in stores offer local ceramics: painted sets of glasses and plates. But more often than not, tourists purchase ceramic chirag oil lamps. This is a wonderful reminder of the rich cultural heritage of the country and a good gift from Baku.
National clothes and home textiles
Tourists highly value national clothes and products made of natural silk. In Baku, it is of the highest quality: thin, strong, durable. National women's clothing is made from dense matter, richly embroidered with gold and silver threads (in Islam there is a ban on the wearing of silk products by men). A more practical version of a silk gift is a light shawl, a bright stole or an elegant shawl.
An interesting option might be a cyurdyu - an original vest worn instead of outerwear. The sleeveless jacket is sewn from various dense fabrics: velvet, velor, etc. Often the product has a fur base or fluffy stitching along the edge. But the main highlight of the cyurdyu is the amazing hand embroidery.
Another unusual local piece of clothing is the jorab. These are hand-knitted socks made of thick, natural, brightly colored wool. Jorabs are not just practical - they were an important addition to the national costume, it is a kind of accessory - like a shawl or a hat. You can buy them for 2-5 manats in any market.
But the true oriental flavor can be conveyed only with the help of charyk (çarıq) - embroidered shoes with a sharp toe without a back. Such shoes seem to be the Incarnation of the East, in addition, it is quite comfortable and can complement a romantic summer look. Local craftsmen manually embroider shoes. If the shoe seems too exotic, you can buy a small copy of it: key chains in the form of charyk will not allow the keys to get lost in the bag.
A good gift would be home textiles, such as tablecloths. They are sewn from natural linen fabrics, abundantly decorated with traditional ornaments and often, fringe. The best hand-made products are offered not by large stores, but by small shops. The quality of such products is very high.
One of the desired products for tourists in Azerbaijan is black caviar. For a long time, it was possible to purchase it only on the black market. And even now, the turnover of this product is strictly controlled by the state. In order not to encounter dissatisfaction with the authorities and not become a victim of fraudsters, it is recommended to acquire and taste caviar only in specialized departments.
There is a norm for exporting black caviar from the country: it is allowed to carry no more than 250 g per person. It is imperative that you have a cash receipt with you confirming the legality of the purchase.
Jam will be an excellent gift for the sweet tooth. There are dozens of different varieties on the food markets, both from traditional European fruits and berries, as well as more exotic ones. Jam from walnuts, mulberries, figs, white cherries, rose petals and others are popular.
To bring the jar intact, it is better to purchase factory products with a sealed lid. Other local desserts: halva, shakar-bura and baklava - in Baku, these sweets are prepared according to traditional recipes.
Baklava is made in many eastern countries, but here it has a special taste - the recipe contains honey, cardamom and saffron. Thanks to spices and ghee, the dessert gets its unforgettable aroma.
Azerbaijani sweets are packed in strong and reliable boxes that do not allow products to spoil or “suffocate” on the road. But when buying, you should pay attention to the expiration date, and on the way to observe some precautions: for example, do not put desserts on the bottom of the bag and prevent them from heating.
In Azerbaijan, as in many other eastern countries, there is a rich tea tradition. In the southern regions of the country, quality tea is grown. Locals do not like tea in bags, preferring to brew tea leaves in a teapot.
If you purchase a box of loose black tea, it will be a great addition to other gastronomic gifts from this region.
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