Carpets, copper and music: The artistic and authentic crafts of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, a country surrounded by Caspian sea and Caucasus mountains, is known for its blend of new and old. From its modern cities like Baku to its historical Unesco listed cities, Azerbaijan has a modern look while it also preserved its authentic, old version. From hosting world events like Formula 1 Baku Grand Prix to having museums and walled inner cities that showcase history, Azerbaijan is one of the most experiential places on Earth.

The artistic and authentic crafts of Azerbaijan

To represent its culture and traditions, here are some of the authentic crafts of Azerbaijan that you must own.

Hand Weaved carpets: a tradition of centuries

Carpets truly are a skill of art. It involves skills and dedication and it takes a considerable amount of time to make. The authentic and traditional carpet is made from wool from sheep, silk and yarn. Men shear sheeps in autumn and then women weave it. Different organic dyes are used to give different colors to the carpets. Vertical and horizontal looms are used to create patterns and designs. These could be pile or pile-less having a difference of density. No matter which one you own, the experience of owning it is priceless. 

Azerbaijani Traditional Carpet

Lahij: A city known for its copper

Lahij, a city in the northwest of Azerbaijan, was once the copper mining hub. Because of that, copper craftsmanship became an important skill there. Copper mining is not done here anymore but the handmade copperware still exists. Artisans in Lahij still use traditional techniques of their ancestors to melt, shape, smooth and then design those copper products like vases, utensils, pottery etc. It is owned by people across the country and the copperware of Lahij is displayed in museums internationally including the Louvre in Paris. It is a valued craft and the products are skillful. Copperware, so do check it out.

Handmade copper vases from Azerbaijan
Handmade copper vases from Azerbaijan

Head scarves made out silk – Kelagayi

Silk head scarves are one of the most valued crafts of Azerbaijan which is also listed on UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. These scarves are worn by women to cover their head as part of the local tradition.

Silk head scarfs of Azerbaijan

Making a scarf with traditional methods is truly unique. These are made from silk, therefore this craft is found in north and west regions of the country where silk is produced. Silk is weaved with traditional methods and the cloth is dyed with natural dyes extracted from plants. After that patterns are made onto it using wooden stamps and they are left to dry. All the patterns are intricately designed and have a meaning.

Silk head scarfs of Azerbaijan

Papaq hats: a unique handicraft

Papaq hats are a symbol of dignity and honor for the people of Azerbaijan. These hats are flat on top and are decorated with colorful fabrics, bands or embroidery. It is usually made up of karakul sheepskin. 

Azerbaijan Papaq hat

Bey, Bayarka, and Choban are the three types of Papaq hats.

Bey Papaq is worn at special events like weddings and is worn by religious leaders and respected people.

Bayarka has ear flaps and is worn by military leaders.

Choban is the most popular among handicraft collectors for its unique look. Shepherds wear these as this hat can protect them from harsh weather. 

An authentic papaq requires skill and there is a particular stress on the details of this cap. It is one of the interesting crafts that Azerbaijan has to offer. 

Azerbaijan Papaq hat

Traditional musical instruments

Azerbaijan has a rich history in musical instruments, which some say, dates back to 6000 years. These are not a few instruments, these count to over 30. The tar is definitely one of the most important ones. It is made out of the wood of walnut and pear, with multiple strings attached on top of it, each of which varies in thickness. It is a handmade instrument that can be played alone or can be coupled with many other musical instruments.

Traditional musical instruments of Azerbaijan

Kamancha has been used in Azerbaijan for over 1000 years. It is a bow-stringed instrument made out of walnut wood, leather, copper, and zirconium. The Gaval is one of the original percussion instruments being used in Azerbaijan for centuries. It is open from one side and the other side of the cylinder, which is made of wood, is covered by fish skin.

Traditional musical instruments of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan has a lot to explore with its rich musical culture and unique handmade musical instruments.

Traditional musical instruments of Azerbaijan

Considered a modern country now, Azerbaijan still has a lot of its culture preserved and open to explore through traveling and through the art of the artisans. People of Azerbaijan take pride in their craft and culture. Tuzmo celebrates all artisans and their unique crafts and we welcome you to share your pictures from your trip to this beautiful country at