LIVING & SOCIALIZING IN AZERBAIJAN
Please. Zəhmət olmasa.
Thank you. Təşəkkür edirəm.
You’re welcome. Buyurun
How are you? Necəsiniz?
Fine, thank you. Yaxşıyam, çox sağolun.
Excuse me. Üzr istəyirəm
I’m sorry. Bağışlayın
Help! Kömək edin!
What is your name? Sizin adınız nədir?
My name is ______ . Mənim adım _____ .
Nice to meet you. Çox şadam.
I can’t speak Azerbaijani [well]. Mən Azərbaycanca [yaxşı] danışa bilmirəm.
I do not understand. Başa düşmürəm
Do you speak English? Siz İngiliscə danışırsınız?
Is there someone here who speaks English? Burada İngiliscə danışan var?
Signs that you may need to read:
OPEN – AÇIQ
CLOSED – BAĞLI
ENTRANCE – GİRİŞ
EXIT – ÇIXIŞ
TOILET – TUALET
MEN – KİŞİ
WOMEN – QADIN
FORBIDDEN – QADAĞANDIR
For help with pronunciation please visit: http://ilanguages.org/azeri_phrases.php which have spoken examples of simple phrase.
- Money – Most bank cards are accepted in ATMs in Baku, and many larger restaurants. It is also easy to change up dollars to Manat. A top tip for changing up money is to walk into large hotel complexes such as the Hilton or Radisson – as they are almost guaranteed to have a working currency converter machine.
- Shopping– Baku is home to a number of shopping centres, the largest in the centre of Baku are on the Boulevard, Park Bulvar Mall and Port Baku, on the eastern White City side. The shopping centres are home to household brands that you will recognise such as Boots and Marks & Spencer, as well as some of the recognisable more exclusive brands such as Ted Baker, Gucci and Armani.
- Special days in Baku – When booking and during your stay in Baku, it is good to be aware of national holidays and days where there could be some public entertainment:
• New Year (1-2 Jan)
• Women’s Day (8 Mar)
• Victory Day (9 May)
• Republic Day (28 May)
• Day of National Salvation of Azerbaijan People (15 Jun)
• Day of Military Forces of Azerbaijan Republic (26 Jun)
• State Sovereignty Day (18 Oct)
• Constitution Day (12 Nov)
• National Rebirth Day (17 Nov)
• Solidarity Day of World Azerbaijanis (31 Dec)
• Novruz Bayram – 5 days
• Gurban Bayram (Day of Sacrifice) – 2 days
• Ramazan Eid (Days after Ramadan fasting) 2-3 days
Things To Consider
- The Arminian / Azerbaijani war – you may have heard recently that there is a temporary end to the ceasefire in the Nagorno Karrabakh area of Azerbaijan. The region is on the west side of the country and shouldn’t cause issues during your visit to Baku. However, it is strongly advised by the UK government that you do not take a trip to this area of Azerbaijan. Especially as, if you do not have Azerbaijani approval to visit, you could be declined entry to Azerbaijan for life, for this visit. It is also recognised by the UN that Armenia has unlawfully occupied the region since the early 90’s, so this is the major problem which is in the mind of Azerbaijani people.
- Dressing In Public – As Azerbaijan is a secular country, there are no restrictions on clothing. This means that headdresses for ladies is not necessary. However, as with any trip abroad make sure you dress respectively in public places and bring your sun-cream in the summer, as it will be hot!
- Chivalry – Azerbaijani’s pride themselves on respect for women and the elderly. Be aware ladies, that men will open the door to you and insist on giving up their seat for you, it is not an act of subversion – rather one of cultural politeness. Gentlemen, please be aware that you should bring your British traditions with you, as you will be tutted at if you do not follow these rules.
- Eating – A couple of ‘polite’ rules apply while you are eating. One is that you should never in any circumstance blow your nose over dinner. If you have a cold, dismiss yourself to the bathroom! Never put your feet up while you are eating (or in public while sitting in general) and do not pick at your teeth – even at the end of a meal. You should also tip after a meal to be polite. At many of the restaurants we went to we were offered bread to accompany our meal – this is free (unless it appears on the menu in a smaller cafe). If you are a vegetarian like me, eating in traditional restaurants can be difficult, but not impossible – there are many traditional foods that can be eaten, e.g. pumpkin and green vegetable Qutabs, vegetable kebabs and saffron potatoes – not forgetting breads and cheeses and very fresh salads. Many are side dishes, or ‘starters’ – just be confident in ordering what you would like to taste. If you are eating at a family home, remember to take your shoes of at the door and to bring a gift!
- Presidential respect– You may notice that many officials and police officers have a badge commemorating the late Heydar Aliyev – presidential respect is very high in Azerbaijan, and it can be a serious offence to disrespect the late or current president.
- Crime – As in any city, there is petty theft and pick-pocketing in the city, however Azerbaijan as a whole has an extremely low crime rate. Some things that you may notice as a result of this, is that there is a very visible police force and there are many security guards.
- Homosexuality – is legal in Azerbaijan, however unfortunately, through cultural influences is not widely accepted in smaller towns and cities in Azerbaijan. Baku and other major cities however will be accepting, as long as, like any relationship, it is kept under-wraps in public. Azerbaijani’s are a reserved people and do not easily tolerate PDA’s from any relationship.