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• Sheki (mother of Albanian churches)
• Sheki caravanseray
• Sheki Khan’s Palace
• Sheki Khan’s ladies
Place of meeting and return
A pair of fortress gates (Gosha Gala), (Old City of Baku)
Your hotel or specified address in Baku (for private tours)
Group tour: 09:00
Private tour: from 09:00 to 12:00
The city of Sheki is located 380 km to the west of Baku close to Georgian border. Sheki is set in a picturesque mountain area rich in narrow gorges and green valleys, springs, purest rivers, water falls and mineral water springs framed by dense woods and alpine meadows. Not far from Sheki in one of the most beautiful and picturesque places of the country is the Markhal Resort.
Archeological data testify that the city can be considered one of the oldest settlements in the Caucasus; many finds on its territory are dated as old as 2,500 years.
The city can boast many historical and architectural places of interest, but its pride is the ancient majestic royal palace of Shekin khans erected in the 18 th century without a single nail (!) with magnificent wall paintings and tracery windows in the stone citadel. Very attractive are Gemsen-Geresen fortress (8-9 th centuries), numerous caravanserais, house of Sheki Khans, Djuma Mosque (18th century), the Gileilin Mosque minaret (18th century), and medieval baths.
Sheki is a major center of crafts. Here you can buy jewels and engravings by local craftsmen. Sheki has its own theatre, a historical museum, the house-museum of the Azerbaijan writer and philosopher M.F.Ahundov.
In Sheki’s vicinities numerous unique monuments of history have survived. Among those are “kyumbazi” towers (18th century) in Kutkashen, Sumug fortress and a mosque (18th century) in Ilisu, a fortress and Kish Mausoleum, a fortress in Ukhary -Chardahlar (4th century BC – 5th century AD ), a tower and a temple in Orta -Zeizit, a mausoleum in Babaratma, a fortress in Kaha (16th century), the ruins of Shamil fortress near Zakatala.
Sheki mother of Albanian churches
The village of Kish, in which the church of St. Elisey, is located a few kilometers from Sheki and is closely connected with this ancient Azerbaijani city with its history and culture.
The Sheki area (Shaki) was one of the left-bank gavars – the regions of the Caucasian Albania, occupying the foothills, bordering the regions of Kabala, Cambissena and Lpinia (1, p. 96). In the works of ancient authors who left information about Albania, the left-bank regions occupy a rather large place. As you know, here near the borders of Iberia was the temple area of Selena. The capital city of Kabala, according to historical sources and archaeological excavations, was one of the largest developed cities in the Caucasus. In this part of Albania, the most significant monuments of art in the early medieval (pre-Arab) period have been preserved: the Kuma basilica, Lekite and Mamrukh temples, the monastery complex of Eddi Kilse and others. Archaeological excavations in Kabala revealed the remains of the buildings and fortress walls of a large city, located near the trade routes connecting the Black and Caspian Sea. Immediate neighborhood with the capital region of Kabala in the pre-Christian period created favorable conditions for the development of Sheki. And it is no coincidence that it was Sheki’s territory that was chosen by St. Elisha for preaching Christianity and building the first church.
Compared with the city of Sheki, the village of Kish has a more favorable geographical location. The mudflows that flow along the bed of the Boyuk-tea River did not cause much damage to the village on the hill. The surrounding mountains and gorges created favorable defensive conditions. There is evidence that the rulers of Sheki during the enemy invasions took refuge in the Kish fortress. The famous church, the fortress “Gyaryarsyan goryarsyan”, the remains of defensive walls, which are seen in different parts of the village, testify to the rich history of the village. The name of the village – Kish (Guish, Guis.), Which is repeated in other countries of the East, is also interesting.
Modern Kish is divided into a number of mechheles. Interesting are the names of the mehallela associated with the historical past of these places: Gyavyan, Hantamar, Maflar, and also Laiishlyar, Chour, Dohun and others. The church is in Maflar mehollesi. The name Maflar, a local philologist and historian Vagif Aslan, considers the magician – zoroastrian priest to be what happened from the word, he gives a similar interpretation to the name “gyavyan”.
The church in the village of Kish has a special status among Albanian monuments. It has value not only as an architectural monument, but also has an outstanding historical value. The history of the origin of the church is connected with the history of the spread of Christianity in Caucasian Albania. The presence in the historical sources of information about the construction of the church by the apostle Elisha, is an irrefutable evidence of the apostolic origin of the oldest in the Caucasus independent Albanian church.
Eastern inns, in which tired travelers spent their nights dusting along the Great Silk Road for years – perhaps one of the most interesting sights of Azerbaijan. The name, moreover, they are very exotic – caravanserais. Many centuries ago rich merchants and slaveholders stayed here, tying their camels at the stalls, unloading precious priceless silks, fragrant spices and fluffy bellows in their cellars under their own rooms, so that they could start again on the next morning, trade and light on two continents – Europe and Asia. Unfortunately or happiness, but today most of the Azerbaijani caravanserais turned into hotels, a pleasant exception is the inn in Sheki: part of the building is given for a hotel, but the second can be viewed by all mere mortals – it’s a kind of museum.
Constructed from a powerful stone in the form of a fortress with one huge gate that could always be closed in case of danger, Sheki caravan-saray makes an impressive impression. Walking on his paved floor, touching the walls that remember thousands of fates, tragedies and stories, enjoying the atmosphere of comfort and peace in a shaded courtyard closed on all sides, one can say with full confidence: yes, now I have experienced the real East.
And this despite the fact that this caravan-shed can be called relatively young – it was erected around the end of the 18th century and remained practically in perfect condition. The complex includes two buildings – “Yukhary” (“Upper”) and “Ashagy” (“Lower”) caravanserais.
Sheki Khan’s Palace
The palace of the Sheki khans (Azeri Şəki xan sarayı) is the former residence of Sheki Khans, located in Azerbaijan, in Sheki, now a museum. The monument of history and culture of world significance, which is a part of the state historical and architectural reserve “Yukhary Bash”. The building of the palace, built in the XVIII century in the Persian style, is located in the elevated north-eastern part of the city in a territory enclosed by fortress walls.
The palace, about 30 meters in length, consists of two floors with a total area of about 300 m², has 6 rooms, 4 corridors and 2 mirrored balconies. The facade of the palace is decorated with plot drawings depicting scenes of hunting and war, as well as geometric and plant patterns. In the center there is a huge window-stained glass window from a multicolored glass mosaic. The windows of the palace are collected from pieces of colored glass and taken with openwork stone gratings.
The palace, also carrying features inherent in the people’s residential architecture, is considered one of the best examples of the palace architecture of the XVIII century in the Caucasus and one of the pearls of the Islamic East. Along with the historic part of the city, the palace is a candidate for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.