For this 5th episode of my series « Merci Bakou », I decided to talk about what I consider a very important topic, especially considering that Christmas season is coming: where to buy souvenirs (and presents!) from Azerbaijan?
If you follow this blog you probably know that I am very found of all kinds of pretty souvenirs and if you have ever been in my place you have already noticed that I am crowded with millions of small memories in every corner of my flat. It is therefore always difficult for me to travel where the most beautiful souvenirs are (France, Belarus, Iceland, and most recently Türkiye or Serbia) as I tend to spend all my money there, but it is even harder to go where there is not so much nice souvenirs, as i feel very frustrated not to be able to support local business and bring cute things home.
After 18 months in Baku, I can tell you that Azerbaijan is a place where I have struggled in that matter. To be able to bring back some nice memories for my friends and family, I went everywhere without much success. But with hard work and patience (+ a lot of time spent on Instagram) (if you don’t have Instagram, just create an account, you’ll need it here), I finally found some cool addresses which I am about to share with you today. Enjoy!
Handicraft is probably one of the most well known artisanal shop in Baku. There you will be able to find all kind of arts and crafts made in Azerbaijan by great artists and artisans: cute ceramics in the shape of pomegrenate; handmade hats; or computer case with Azerbaijani patterns… and flowers! The style is modern and very trendy and they have a large selection of items. By the way, they also organize workshops sometimes – so don’t hesitate to ask them what’s going on in the shop!
This one is actually my favorite: AzerJorab, which means, Azerbaijani socks! I mean, what is better than slippers and socks as Christmas gifts, especially when they are so cute and colorful? Plus, AzerJorab is not only an online shop, it is also a social enterprise: my friend Kifayat created the company a few years ago and all the knitters are women from Masalli region. Thanks to this activity they create social contact, access financial autonomy and improve their self confidence. Personnally, all my family have a pair of AzerJorab and we are more than happy with this product! Thank you Kifayat for this great initiative!
As its name explains, Baku Book Center is one of the most famous bookshop of Baku. Located in the very downtown of the city, it can also be a good address for souvenirs and presents thanks to their « I love Baku » brand corner (which you can also buy in Heydar Aliyev Center shops). Expect t-shirt and phone-cases with the president’s face (it’s quite something!), beautiful bags, shoes, pillowcases or photo-frames with Azerbaijani patterns… but also some random products you can only find every now and then: Azerbaijani cooking and photography books; notebooks with famous Azerbaijani people on the cover; keychains; etc. It’s also nice because you can enjoy a coffee afterwards there.
Soroka is a very nice although a bit too fancy (for my taste) shop in the building of the Gazelli gallery. Go through the restaurant, cross the spa and right before the gallery, you will find there a variety of very good-looking gifts, jewels, toys and so on. The only thing is that they have a lot of international products and a few locals. According to my information, then even moved all their local souvenirs stock to their other shop which is in Baku airport (not really convenient for day-to-day shopping but always a good option for last minute one). But, in Baku, things change quite fast so you can always have a look there, and if they don’t have local stuffs, have a cookie instead at the restaurant: they are really good!
5. Ninka Cards
Ninka Cards is a very cool brand of local artists who are creating visuals with a special aesthetic and more importantly with an Azerbaijani inspiration. For example you can buy there a totebag with a beautiful illustration of Baku landmarks or cards with Azerbaijani words on it. They have their own shop and workshop in Passage 1901 on the first floor where you can explore all their products but also products from their partners. I personally love their card and domino games with Azerbaijani designs. Good to know: for some commercial inquiries you can also make a request for a special and unique design.
More socks! Corabb, which you should pronounce « djorab » in Azerbaijani is a brand of socks with Azerbaijani designs that will make all your friends (and you!) happy for Christmas. The brand offer colorful and original socks with for example baklavas on it or an oil platform (very Azerbaijani), but also more classics ones with dark colors and a small embroidery detail such as a Karabakh horse or an esturgeon. In any case, all those socks are good choices! You can order them online so it’s quite convenient.
Since you arrived in Azerbaijan, probably a lot of people (a lot of people in like, litterally everyone) have talked to you about Abad. It is indeed one of the most famous shop for Azerbaijani souvenirs as it is managed by the state and supports small craftworkers in various type of objects: plates, tea sets, décorations, etc. They have a big shop in the building of an ancient hammam just next to the Virgin Tower. It is a good place to have a first look for souvenirs but try not to pay too much attention to the sellers as they will follow you everywhere which is very uncomfortable for Western tourists (I mean at least for me and everyone I know it was not a good shopping experience). But they do have some nice things so it is definitely worth a visit!
Minali is a brand of jewels designed and made in Azerbaijan. They are quite colorful, and have modern and fashionable designs. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, you will have a lot of options for you and your friends. They also offer collections with pomegrenates and « buta », two very important symbols of Azerbaijan.
I have never been in Chelebi shop, located in Port Baku shopping mall, but I did spent some time on their Instagram and was gifted some of their pieces: it’s really cool! It’s mostly furnitures but you can also find some stuffs for the house like mugs with carpet designs, decorated pillows, or really beautiful tea pots.
That’s it for today! I hope this selection of Azerbaijani shops and brands helped you with your Christmas shopping. If you know other adresses, feel free to share them in the comment sections 🎁
See you soon for more Azerbaijani vibes!