Carpet weaving is one of the Caucasus region's most ancient arts, dating back to the Bronze Age. In this edition of Cult, Euronews visits a renowned museum in Baku, home to ancient as well as modern carpets.
Azerbaijani art and culture
Carpets have been at the heart of Azerbaijani art and culture for thousands of years.
In 2010, their importance was recognised by UNESCO, which added Azerbaijani carpets to its intangible cultural heritage of humanity list.
Traditional Azeri carpets have a dense texture - and the patterns are characteristic of the different regions where the art is practiced.
The world's first carpet museum is in Baku. Exquisite carpets are on display there, while delicate items are kept in climate-controlled storage for their protection.
Anar Kerimov is Azerbaijan's Minister of Culture, and said thecarpets are a symbol of Azerbaijani culture.
"It is a legacy that we inherited from our ancestors and it has been passed from generation to generation for centuries. It is so dear and close to Azerbaijani people that you can find a carpet in every house and every family, making it a very significant and inseparable part of our lifestyle."
The carpets are renowned for their compositions, vivid colours, and different weaving techniques, as Shirin Melikova, the director of the Carpet Museum, explained.
"By the ornaments we can talk about different periods, all of them have a meaning, very deep meaning, and if you know this meaning, you can even read and find out very special features of each historical time."
Today's Azerbaijani carpet weaving consists of seven major carpet weaving schools, each with its distinct patterns and traditions.
"This carpet called “Resistance” was created in 2017. The main topic of the carpet is that black crows depict the society, and the orange crow is the personality. This personality resists the society," artist, Chingiz Babayev, explained.
The museum is also a research, training, cultural and educational centre, where different exhibitions and conferences are held.
The Azerbaijan Carpet Museum is a unique attraction for both locals and visitors to Baku.
"I work with tourists, and I always recommend the carpet museum because it is a very unusual building, inside and out. When you look at it from the outside, it is like a folded carpet, and inside I feel like I am back into my childhood, because I remembered my grandmother, and when I was waking up at her summer house, summer was the first thing that I saw," Tatyana Ivashkevich, said.