Searching For A Traditional Papakha Hat In Azerbaijan & Georgia

papakhaWhile traveling to new countries, I’m always on the lookout for traditional, local hats. However, in recent years I haven’t really bought any new hats since they can be a pain to carry around during a trip.

In the past, I’ve shared some of my World Hats here. My collection probably comes in at around 15-20 hats. It’s been years since I last shared a post about a hat.

During our month long summer trip, I came across an interesting hat which I had to bring home. We spotted the papakha in two of the six countries we visited.We first came across the papakha in Baku, Azerbaijan. From the moment we spotted this hat, we found it to be pretty awesome, funny and ridiculous-looking.

Lucas tried on the papakha and wanted us to get one. I agreed that it would be a great addition to my collection, however Kim wasn’t as excited about us bringing home this furry hat.After a few more photos, I asked a price before walking away.

This stand in the old city wanted around $30-35 for an authentic version, made from sheep wool. When I politely declined to purchase the hat, I was offered a synthetic version for around $15.

I never like to buy items from the first stand I come across, so I thanked the vendor and told him that maybe we’d come back. (As we left, he asked for money since Lucas tried the hat on, I laughed and said goodbye.)

During the next couple of days we didn’t come across many stands selling the hats. One shop wanted around $40. I considered negotiating but decided against buying it.

When we left Azerbaijan for Georgia, I was disappointed that I didn’t buy a papakha.

On our second day in Tbilisi, we took the aerial cable car up to visit Narikala Fortress. While wandering around, there were various stands selling souvenirs and one was offering photos in which you get to wear traditional clothes.

I spotted a couple of papakhas and asked if they were for sale!

The friendly girl working the stand said that they were really for photos but she’d sell one. After some more chatting, I told her that we’d think about it…

We returned soon after and I was told that a papkha would be $20. Considering how pricey they were in Azerbaijan, I felt this was a solid deal. After some negotiating, we settled on a price of $16 and I had my local hat.The girl told me that the papakha was a traditional hat in Georgia, worn by people in the mountains. Happy with my purchase, I took a couple of photos and then put it away.

I initially thought that I was lucky to come across the hat in Tbilisi but it turned out that we saw papakhas for sale all around the country as we drove around for the next five days!

I wondered if I bought my hat too soon and if I could’ve gotten a better deal. In the end, I decided not to ask the price from any of the vendors we saw selling them around Georgia.

In the end, I think that I got a pretty good deal for the newest hat in my collection!

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