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Azerbaijan Now Has a Carpet Museum That Looks Like a Carpet

Photos via the Heydar Aliyev Foundation

Azerbaijan's Carpet Museum has been around since 1967, first inside a 15th-century mosque, and then on the second-floor of the amazing columned monolith that had (until the dissolution of the USSR in the '90s) been the Lenin museum. It wasn't until this summer, however, that the museum could finally, at long last, move its 10,000-piece textile collection from such historic architectural splendor and into the place where it apparently truly belongs: an ultra-cheesy new structure shaped like a rolled up rug. Like the giant baskets and piano buildings that came before it, the Carpet Museum, designed by Austrian architect Franz Janz, is somewhere between delightful and terrible, an eye-popping example of literal architecture that's made all the more bizarre by the fact that the museum abandoned unbelievably gorgeous historic spaces in favor of it.

The structure, which took six years to build, has curved walls from the inside, not just the outside, which means that visitors can admire the country's intricate textiles, which were inscribed by Unesco in the "List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" in 2010, while pretending they are rolled up in a flying carpet. Janz appears to be a favorite of the oil-rich nation's dictator leader; he also designed a complex shaped like a less-literal spaceship for the rapidly developing waterfront of the seaside capital, Baku. "In a way, everything is much easier in Azerbaijan, because the final decision is always the president," Janz told the Austrian paper Der Standard this year. Oof.

· Azerbaijan Carpet Museum [Official site]
· Carpet Museum Opens in Baku [Hali]
· Nine Nutso Buildings Disguised to Look Like Other Things [Curbed National]
· All Lookalikes posts [Curbed National]
· All Museums posts [Curbed National]