Sheki is the capital of the region of the same name and the regional center of Azerbaijan. It is located seventy-seven kilometers north of the Yevlakh railway junction. Ancient city BC was founded in the eighth century and named as Sakasen (shortened sake). Its name comes from the Iranian Sak tribe. Then the city was called Shaki. The snowy peaks of the Greater Caucasus reach 3000-30000 meters. Its capital is dominated by cyclones and anticyclones, various air masses and strong winds. The air temperature is 12 degrees. It is not very hot in the summer and the temperature does not rise above twenty-five degrees. High altitude (500-580 meters) protects Shaki from high temperatures. Magnificent forests not only create a protective barrier against it but also against floods. You can enjoy rare trees in them: peanuts, walnuts. The fauna is different. The main waterways are the Kish and Kurdistan rivers. On March 6, 1968, the decision of the Council of Ministers called the ancient district of the city – the president of Jukhara – a protected place and an architectural monument. During Soviet times, the city was the administrative center of Sheki district. Taking a Sheki tour, you will see the sewing factories, brick factories, music and theater schools, tobacco factories, textile college, educational institutions education school, theater, and Sheki Hans Palace Museum in this city.
Best Sights You Need to see on Sheki Tour
Sheki Khans Palace
This palace is one of the most valuable architectural monuments of the 18th century where you must see during Sheki tour. It was built in 1797 by the architect Haji Zeynalabdin from Shiraz. The palace, which at one time was part of the complex of palace structures and served as the residence of the Sheki Khans, is a two-story building. The facade of the palace has lifting lattice frames with a set of – multi-colored small glasses. The multicolored pattern colorfully complements the murals covering the walls of the palace. The writer and historian A. Kornilovich gave this description of Azerbaijani architecture the following description during his Sheki tour: “In Nuha, the main city, in the fortress, I saw their palace, now turned into public places. Several steps in the high portico lead to a vast, quadrangular courtyard occupied by the garden: sixteen Italian poplars of unusual height, symmetrically located, divide it into four alleys. On the sides of this outbuilding garden, in which there lived the court, khan’s wives, their servants, and others; behind it is a terrace one and a half-human height, on which there is a pool with three fountains, overshadowed by two tall, beautiful plane trees, and on the terrace is the palace itself. It is neglected but also astonishes the wanderer with remnants of splendor. I ascended a narrow, dark, stone staircase … into a high calm, a waiting room, all covered with flowers; to the right and left of the room, where instead of the walls of a walnut tree frame with patterns of the smallest work, and in these through patterns, glasses of all colors: blue, blue, yellow, red. The rooms … all in stained glass: on the ledge connecting them, painting … “.
Kornilovich also mentions the walls of the palace, painted with scenes depicting war, hunting for bears, wild boars, etc. By the way, it should be noted that structures similar to the palace of Sheki khans were also erected in Shusha, Ordubad, Lahich and other places of Azerbaijan in the 18-19 centuries.
This is another interesting architectural monument of the late 18th century which attracts tourists on Sheki tour. It belonged to close relatives of the Sheki khans. Here, the windows of the rooms of the first and second floors, as well as the windows of the palace of Sheki Khans, are made in the style of the mural of the palace. In the Shekikhanovs house, there was a striking beauty decorative Bukhara fireplace, tiled with tiled plates.
Caravanserai – the main part of Sheki Tour
Since ancient times, Sheki was famous as a city of craftsmen, artisans and, of course, traders. Merchants and merchants from the countries of the Great Silk Road gathered here from all sides. That is why the construction of caravanserais was given special attention. Caravanserai So, for example, in the 18-19 centuries, 5 large caravanserais operated in Sheki. Only two of them have survived to our time – Upper and Lower, built in the 18th century. Even then, the masters sought to provide decent service to their guests. Therefore, caravanserais were built taking into account all the amenities that would be necessary both for traders and for the safety of their goods. In Sheki caravanserais, merchants usually packed their goods in the basement, traded on the first floor, and lived on the second. The area of the Upper Caravanserai was 6000 square meters, and the lower – 8000. Their height is about 14 meters. Each caravanserai has more than 200 rooms. Traditionally, the caravanserais had gates from two, and sometimes from four sides at once. When the gates closed, they turned into an impregnable fortress. Currently, the Upper Caravanserai is used for its intended purpose – as a hotel complex.
During his reign, the Sheki Khan Haji Celebi (1743 – 1755) built a fortress in the north-eastern part of the city intending to protect it. The length of the fortress wall is about 1300 meters, its height is about 8 meters in the south and 4 meters in the north. The wall thickness is about 2 meters. Along with it, along the entire length, 21 defensive towers were located. From the north and south, the fortress was closed by arched gates. The wall and towers of the fortress were once heavily destroyed. And in 1958-1963, it was restored and restored.
Presumably, the foundation of the fortress was laid in the 15th century. Currently, its picturesque ruins can be seen on the banks of the Kish River, which is 4 kilometers from Sheki. The fortress is located on the top of Mount Garatepe. For many years she faithfully guarded the approaches of the city from foreign invaders. Several rows of thick walls also helped her in this. During its existence, the fortress became famous as impregnable and very strong, which was even mentioned in written sources. The name of the fortress “Gelersen-Gerersen” is translated into Russian as “You will come – You will see”. The appearance of this name is associated with a whole page of the history of the city. So, in the 18th century, when the Iranian ruler Nadirshah attacked Sheki, the Sheki Khan Haji Celebi refused to surrender. Enraged, Nadirsch wanted to know where he was hiding, that he was so sure of his safety. Then Haji Celebi sent the shah the answer: “Come – you will see.” Indeed, in 1744, Nadirshah with a large army approached the fortress, but could not take it and retreated. After that, the fortress began to be called “Gelersen-Gerersen.” There are many deep wells on the territory of the fortress, which, according to some versions, served as traps for enemies. There is also a version that under the fortress there is an underground passage in case of escape.
Minaret of Gileili.
This is an architectural monument of 16-17 centuries. Once it was part of the famous Gileili mosque in the city. Unfortunately, during its existence, the mosque was badly damaged, and as a reminder of it, there was only a minaret built of burnt bricks, and today it is well guarded by the state. The minaret is located in the Kulekhlinsky mahal of the city. It is the first and highest minaret in the Sheki region – Zagatala. Tourists are interested in this architectural monument more on Sheki tour.
The Juma Mosque, or Khan’s Mosque, was built in 1745-1750, near the market square. There is a small cemetery in front of the mosque, on which Haji Celebi, who ruled Sheki in the 18th century, and his entourage are buried. Their graves are crowned with domes and tombstones with inscriptions carved in Arabic. The mosque itself, its minaret and ancient cemetery are today protected by the state as valuable historical monuments.