Diamond in the tourist crown of the East. Beauty of the Ancient World: Azerbaijan (Sheki)

Diamond in the tourist crown of the East. Beauty of the Ancient World: Azerbaijan (Sheki)
Diamond in the tourist crown of the East. Beauty of the Ancient World: Azerbaijan (Sheki)

Most tourists visiting the country mainly focus on its capital - Baku. However, Azerbaijan is famous not only for its metropolis. Sheki is often undeservedly overlooked. But this small town can rightfully be considered a tourist pearl of the Greater Caucasus. The settlement itself and its surroundings are full of historical monuments and artifacts. The city, located at an altitude of 700 m above sea level, is surrounded by picturesque gorges, valleys, alpine meadows and waterfalls. The beauty of ancient monuments, combined with wild nature, will make a truly powerful impression on a person, even one who is well acquainted with oriental culture.

History of the city

Azerbaijan Sheki

The first mention of Sheki dates back to the 8th century BC. e. Then this territory was called Sakasen (Sake) inhonor of the Iranian Saka tribe. Much later, it became part of Caucasian Albania, and the name of the place was transformed into Shaka. Having adopted a new faith from the Armenians in the 4th century, the Albanians left several monuments of Christian culture in the vicinity of Sheki.

In the 7th century, the army of the Caliphate occupied the territory that now belongs to the modern state known as Azerbaijan. As a result of the Arab-Khazar war, Sheki was repeatedly destroyed, up to the weakening of the power of the Arabs in the 9th century. But even then the city was either regained by the Albanian rulers, or seized by the Shirvanshahs, or by other conquerors. And only in the XVIII century the territory with the city of Sheki as the capital became an independent khanate. It was annexed to the Russian Empire in 1805.

Historical and architectural complex "Caravanserai" (XVIII - XIX centuries)

The city is located at the crossroads of trade routes. Overseas merchants stayed there for rest and visited local bazaars. For their convenience, a kind of hotel complex was designed and built, which is definitely worth a visit while seeing the sights of Sheki. Azerbaijan is a territory along which one of the highways of the famous Great Silk Road passed, so caravanserais were built in cities such as Baku, Shemakha and Sheki.

The lower part of the architectural monument is called "Ashagi" and is a large rectangular courtyard with a pool in the center. 242 rooms for guests were equipped with hatches through which merchants could go down to the warehouse and personally check the safety of theirgoods. Today Ashagi has facilities for tourists equipped with modern technology, deluxe rooms and a comfortable restaurant.

The upper caravanserai, "Yukhary", which has a more complex architectural design, has now become a museum. Three hundred rooms are filled with ancient exhibits, helping visitors to plunge into the atmosphere of antiquity.

Palace of Sheki Khans (XVIII c.)

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The summer residence, built on the orders of Magomed Hasan Khan, delights and attracts the eyes of foreigners who come to Azerbaijan for a long time. Sheki was once visited by Alexander Dumas, Leo Tolstoy, commander Nikolai Raevsky, French geographer Jacques Elise Reclus and other celebrities who admiringly described the palace as the greatest asset of the city.

The residence of the Sheki khans is one of the best examples of classical oriental architecture, which has always captivated the imagination with its magnificence of appearance and luxury of interior decoration. Everything is striking: the patterned facade of an architectural treasure, which is decorated with scenes of battles and hunting, huge mosaic stained-glass windows, openwork stone lattices.

Expressing his admiration, the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet argued that the Palace of Sheki Khans would allow people to be proud of such a value, even if the Azerbaijanis had no other outstanding architectural monuments.

Gelyarsan-Gerarsan Fortress (VIII-IX centuries)

sheki azerbaijan history

Another significant historic althe monument is the Gelarsan-Gerarsan fortress near Sheki (Azerbaijan). The history of the building explains the meaning of the translation of the name of the fortress: "you will come - you will see." Having rebelled against the conquest of his native lands by the Iranian Khan Nadirshah, the fighter for independence Haji Chelebi held the defense in the fortress. To the offer of the khan to surrender, he mysteriously replied "you will come - you will see." As a result, the Iranian army was defeated. The people remembered the bold words of their hero and immortalized them in the name of the stronghold. Today, the walls of Gelarsan-Gerarsan, under the influence of time, have lost their invulnerability, but they still look majestic.

Sheki City (Azerbaijan): Neighborhoods

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The small mausoleum of Babaratma-piri near the city of Sheki, located on the site of a centuries-old cemetery, became famous for its ability to heal diseases, therefore it is revered by pilgrims from all over the country.

Sumug fortress has been preserved in the vicinity of the city (Ilisu village). An old legend says that the battle tower of Sultan Daniyal-bek was built on the site of the execution of concubines who dared to be unfaithful to their master. The building has a rich history associated with real historical events.

Marhal mineral springs

Sheki Azerbaijan

Lovers of majestic mountain landscapes who come to Sheki (Azerbaijan) should definitely visit the village of Markhal located not far from the city. It gained fame in the 80s of the XX century due to its mineral springs that come to the surface. Here tourists are waiting for boarding houses and bases.relaxation, as well as crystal clear medicinal water.

In 7 km from the town you can admire another wonderful place. The high altitude Khan Plateau intoxicates with pure mountain air and the scent of flowers.

Ancient Albanian temple (I c.)

Azerbaijan Sheki

Church of St. Elisha in the village of Kish is a miraculously preserved Christian artifact of Transcaucasia. Historians believe that the apostle Elisha was the initiator of its erection. Until now, the church delights with its beauty. The air inside it remains cool even in strong heat, and everything around seems to breathe deep antiquity. In the courtyard of the temple there is an ancient burial place. Through the transparent dome that covers it, you can see the ancient bones. Apparently, these remains belong to Christian ministers and holy people who have earned the honor of resting within the boundaries of God's house. Lovers of secrets and mysterious stories will find confirmation of their theories within these archaic walls.

Sea, mountains, forests, favorable climate - nature has generously endowed Azerbaijan. Sheki is a special place that surprises and attracts with its special color, relaxed pace of life, cozy atmosphere, historical monuments, hospitality of the hosts and uniquely delicious cuisine.

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