Visit Sheki, a marvelous corner of Azerbaijan where the times of the Great Silk Road come alive.
Nestled at the foot of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains in the country's north, Sheki is widely recognized as the cultural jewel of Azerbaijan and a significant tourist destination, second only to Baku. The town, boasting a rich history of around 2700 years, has witnessed numerous ruling dynasties, thrived during the Great Silk Road era, served as the Sheki Khanate's capital, and functioned as a district town under the Russian Empire. Its historic center, lined with cobbled streets and adorned with 18th and 19th-century buildings, including religious edifices, traditional caravanserais, and old craft workshops, has earned UNESCO World Heritage status.

The Journey from the Great Silk Road to UNESCO World Heritage

Sheki Fortress, with its robust crenellated towers and functioning as the Sheki Khanate's citadel from 1743-1819, is a monumental landmark. The fortress wall stretches an impressive 1.3 kilometers. The two-story summer residence of Sheki khans, built in 1761-62, is a remarkable example of 18th-century palace architecture in the Caucasus. The palace's facade boasts a large, multicolored stained-glass mosaic, created in the traditional shebeke technique. Each of its six rooms is uniquely adorned with vibrantly painted miniatures, portraying mythical birds and flowers in the Garden of Eden. A pair of chinaras, as old as the palace itself, stands majestically in the front park. Other notable sites include Islamic architectural examples (Khan Mosque, Omar Efendi Mosque), a 12th-century ancient Albanian church, an age-old hamam, and several caravanserais, with the 18th-century "Upper Caravanserai" now serving as a cozy hotel.

City Highlights

Nine of Sheki's eleven districts are dedicated to craftsmen. Streets here are named after professions, such as Duluzchular ("Pottery Doers"), Zargarlar ("Jewelry Doers"), and Halvachilar ("Confectionery Doers"). Sheki's halva, a multi-layered delicacy of rice flour dough, ground nuts, sugar, syrup, honey, and spices, passed down generations, is a must-try. Another local specialty is Sheki piti, a soup with chickpeas and mutton, cooked in clay pots over charcoal. Sheki's historic importance as a major stop on the trade route is mirrored in its enduring silk production, with the colorful silk kelagai shawl, a popular souvenir and UNESCO Intangible Heritage List inductee in 2014, being a symbol of this craft.

The Craftsmen's City

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