Tatar (later known as Azerbaijani) bey from Karabakh. Photographer G.Gagarin

Azerbaijani traditional clothing (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan milli geyimi) is the traditional attire of the Azerbaijani people. It is closely connected to its history, religious culture and national identity.[1]

Costumes and dresses are of great importance in Azerbaijani culture. Azerbaijani style is visible in ornaments of costumes with artistic embroideries in weaving and knitting. In the 17th century, the territory of modern Azerbaijan was of great importance to the silk industry. Silks were produced in the cities Shamakhi, Basqal, Ganja, Shaki, Shusha, and others.

The style of clothes and their colours reflects their wearers' marital status, wealth, and other information.

Men's wear

Male folkwear is very similar from region to region but always reflects social class.[citation needed]


National outerwear for men consists of a ust koyney (shirt) or Chepken, Arkhalig, Gaba, Chukha and Kurk.

A Russian ethnographer[who?] writes about Azerbaijani male costume:[2][further explanation needed]

Underwear consists of straight and short shirts of coarse calico, white and mostly dark blue colours with underpants of this very material, which are fastened with tapes on the waist; in winter they are worn over woolen large pants, which are also fastened with tapes. Over a shirt is worn arkhalig made of cotton. Arkhalig is such as a Russian man's long tight-fitting coat with a short waist and short skirt with gathers on the belt; it is always fastened tightly or in the midst or aside of the chest. Chukha is worn over arkhalig with a short waist and with a skirt with a length of below knees, but the head is covered with a small conic shaped hat made of lamb fur, throughout the year. Short woollen socks are worn to feet.


Tatar (later known as Azerbaijani) man in typical clothing. The second half of the 19th century.
"Young noble Tatar", drawing by Vasily Vereshchagin, Shusha, 1865

The Papaq was considered a symbol of fortitude, honour and dignity of Azerbaijani men and losing it was considered as a disgrace. To steal a Papaq was considered as a hostile action against its owner and knocking down a papaq was considered a grave insult. The social dignity of the Papaq's owner could be determined by its shape. Men never took off their papaqs, even during dinner) except before salat. Appearing in public without a headdress was deemed inappropriate.[3]


Women's wear

Azerbaijani woman in national costume

The national female costume of Azerbaijan consists of outerwear and underwear. It includes chadra – a suck-formed[clarification needed] shawl – and rubend, a veil that was worn by women when outdoors. Women's outerwear was made of bright and colourful textiles, the quality of which depended on the wealth of the individual or her family. The clothing also included jewellery such as golden and silver beads, buttons stylised as hordeum seeds, coins, delicate pendants and necklaces. Young women wore bright clothes with bright flowers, unlike their elders.[4]


Women's outerwear consists of a shirt with wide sleeves, wide trousers to the ankle and bell-shaped shirts of the same length. Women also wore a knitted shirt with long sleeves (arkhalig, kulaja) that fitted tightly across the back and chest, and had a wide slit at the front. A tight belt was worn around the waist. A quilted, sleeveless jacket was worn in cold weather. Outerwear was often a cloak that was longer than the shirt. Women's shirts in Gazakh uyezd were long and had slits on each side.[5]

Women of Karabakh wore a tight-fitting chepken (chafken) to the waist and with long, hidden sleeves.[citation needed] Women wore tight pants with wide skirts. Long shirts that reached to the knees were worn in Nakhchivan,. Long shirts were also worn in Shusha, Shamakhi and other districts.[citation needed] Long kulajs were worn only by rich women in Nakhchivan and Ganja.[citation needed]


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Headdresses mostly consisted of leather in the form of a suck or caps of different forms. Over them, several headscarves were worn. Women hid their hair in a special bag called a chutga. Heads were covered with a cylindrical pillbox cap made mostly of velvet. A chalma was tied over it, along with several headscarves, named kelaghayi.


Jorabs were common among women.[citation needed]


In philately

Azerbaijan stamps from 2004 depicting 19th century attire. Regional clothes from left to right: Baku, Shusha, Nakhchivan, Shamakhi


  1. ^ "История азербайджанского национального костюма". 2010-02-19. Archived from the original on 2015-06-18.
  2. ^ "Азербайджанский национальный костюм". Archived from the original on 2012-04-26.
  3. ^ "Азербайджанский национальный костюм". Archived from the original on 2012-04-26.
  4. ^ "AZERBAIJAN NATIONAL COSTUMES".[permanent dead link]