In Azerbaijan, the art of carpet weaving is one of the most important aspects of culture and history. So naturally, the country is home to a museum dedicated to carpets and rugs—at the time of its establishment, the only one of its kind.
The museum was founded in 1967 and originally housed in the Juma Mosque in the Old City district of Baku. In 1991 it was relocated to the former Lenin Museum on Neftchilar Avenue, and in 2014 it moved again to a new building in the seaside park. The current museum building, designed by the Austrian architect Franz Janz, is intended to resemble a massive rolled carpet.
The Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum is home to the largest collection of Azerbaijani carpets in the world, some dating back to the 17th century, as well as archaeological artifacts and folk crafts, including ceramics, oil lamps, embroidery and jewelry. It also serves as a research site, where the art of traditional carpet weaving and its modern legacy are studied and discussed.
On the first floor of the museum, visitors can walk through a timeline of Azerbaijani carpet weaving, from simple woven mats made from reed or cane to more complex woven forms. There are also weaving tools on display like looms, wool, ropes, and carpet bags.
The second floor is filled with pile carpets, divided into distinct groups. Displays show information about common motifs found in Azerbaijani folk art, such as buta, dragons, the tree of life, different styles of crosses, and Islamic symbols. A 17th-century carpet called “Ajdahali,” the oldest carpet in the museum’s collection, is also on display here.
The third floor focuses on modern carpeting, and how the art has developed through the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Among the artists featured is Latif Karimov, a prominent carpet designer and scientist who played a role in the establishment of the museum.
Know Before You Go
Entry is 7 AZN for adults, 3 AZN for students and free for children under 6. The museum is open every day except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.