Pedestrianised Nizami küç, commonly still known by its Soviet-era moniker of Torgovaya (Trade St), remains a popular strolling/shopping area. Where else in the world will you find outdoor chandeliers? But more exclusive are the boutiques along the Bulvar, southern Rəsul Rza küç, western 28 May küç and Əziz Əliyev küç. Big 21st-century shopping centres include Park Bulvar Mall, 28 Mall and Port Baku Mall.
Carpets & Souvenirs
Carpets, along with Azeri hats and traditional copperware, might prove cheaper purchased in the provinces but they are conveniently sold though Ali Baba–esque shops around Baku’s İçəri Şəhər, especially along Zeynallı küç. These are great places to browse with very little sales pressure. Beware that antique carpets cannot be taken out of Azerbaijan and any new carpet bigger than 600 sq cm will need an export permit. As long as the carpet doesn't look old, that's a relatively easy formality organised within 24 hours through the Carpet Museum but certification costs AZN46 (or half price if you're prepared to wait a week). No service on Wednesdays or Sundays. Dealers often organise permits for their clients.
Several stands in the Old City sell a selection of (often tacky) souvenirs, along with old Soviet-era badges, medals and buttons. More of the same are available in subterranean shops beneath the passage leading east from Fountains Sq.
During WWI British soldiers found caviar to be ‘cheaper than jam’. These days officially packed 113g pots of ‘legal’ caviar sold at Xəzər Balıqı cost AZN120/165 for sevruga/beluga. That's barely a third of the price you’d pay in Western Europe. At Baku’s central market, Təzə Bazar, you might find cheaper ‘illicit’ caviar in the fish section, but quality is harder to assure.
In the last decade as oil revenues have burgeoned, so too has the ostentation of Baku's nouveau riche. A premonition of Baku's drive towards unbridled luxury was the conversion of the once-quirky old Karvan Jazz Club into a Dolce & Gabanna boutique. Across Əziz Əliyev küç you'll now find Tiffany and Bvlgari, with Dior Accessories around the corner in a sturdy 1909 stone building. Next door, the Tom Ford male couture store occupies a classic mansion that once hosted Charles de Gaulle during a secret 1944 stopover en route to Moscow during WWII.
Ten years ago, potholed roads were largely the domain of battered old Ladas. But today a Rolls Royce dealership now fills the century-old former Gorodskoi Bank building with its splendid 'dripping face' stonework. Baku Lamborghini sits at the base of the Flame Towers, while Ferrari and Bentley have showrooms close to Port Baku Mall. With Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney boutiques, Port Baku has often been cited as the city's foremost luxury mall, though since 2015, department store Harvey Nicholls might chose to dispute that.
In reality most such boutiques and showrooms are ghostly quiet for most of the time, despite eagerly attentive staff.