Inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list as an important city along the historic Silk Road, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan’s top destinations for visitors seeking history. Sheki is a true travel gem with much to offer and sits in a picturesque setting in the rolling, thickly forested foothills of the Greater Caucasus. Feel the relaxed pace of life here as you stroll along the city center’s historic leafy cobblestone streets lined with traditional buildings with high gabled roofs that house colorful sweet shops, bathhouses, tea houses, craft shops and workshops. Two must-see attractions include the Caravansarai which accommodated travelers along the Silk Road during the 18th and 19th centuries, and the Palace of Sheki Khans, an exquisitely decorated summer palace that belonged to the ruling family. Also be sure to sample the local confection called halva, similar to baklava, which is famous around the country.
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Palace of Sheki Khan
Built in 1797 as the summer residence for the Sheki Khans, this palace exemplifies the top of luxury and taste of Persian architects at that time. The palace and complex are located above the city in a walled enclave; its ornately decorated façade is richly painted with drawings as well as intricate geometrical and plant patters. There is a total of six rooms, four corridors, and two mirrored balconies - all built over ten years and without the use of nail or glue.
Caravanserai are roadside inns where travelers took rest and historically were built all along trade routes, most notably the Silk Road. The caravanserai complex in Sheki is made of two caravanserai, and upper and lower. The lower caravanserai comprises of 242 rooms and has been renovated for use as a modernized hotel since 1988. The upper caravanserai remains a historical and architectural monument that is open for sightseeing.
The traditional art of shebeke is Azerbaijan’s answer to European stained glass. Some of the best shebeke artwork is found in Sheki and there are many craftsmen who proudly specialize in this craft. At the workshop of a master craftsman, watch him demonstrate his impressive skill which is typically passed on from father to son. Then, try your hand at creating a small piece which you can take as a souvenir.
Albanian Church in Kish
A common day-trip destination from Sheki, the nearby small village of Kish is most known for its “Albanian Church.” It is said that the current church, built in the 10-12th century, sits on top of the site of the original church built by St. Elisha, one of the first leaders of Christianity in the Caucasus. Caucasus Albania, not to be confused with contemporary Balkan Albania in Europe, was the Roman designation for the northeastern Caucasus, roughly today's Azerbaijan. Caucasus Albania remained a cohesive, mostly Christian, political entity for about half a millennium, from the 3rd to the 8th centuries A.D.
Situated at the foot of the Caucasus, the small city of Shemakha (also Shamakhi) was a key town along the Silk Road known for its silks. It was also famous for its carpets and other artistic products including copper craft, pottery, tailoring, woodworking, and blacksmithery. Another popular stop on the route between Sheki and Baku, visitors to Shemakha can easily explore the town on foot.
Sheki has been a major center for silk product for centuries, a coveted product traded along the Silk Road. Today, Sheki’s silk factory is located just outside of the city center and makes silk carpets, shawls and scarves. Visitors can see the factory and browse the adjoining store.
This quaint mountain village is a common stop for those traveling along the road between Sheki and Baku due to its famed enduring handicrafts traditions. In the past, over 40 different crafts were practiced including hat making, leather production, shoemaking, blacksmithing and carpet weaving. Today the most important of the skills is copper work. Examples of historic Lahij copperware can be found in some of the world’s top museums. While in Lahij, take stroll down its antique cobbled streets and admire the work of the craftsmen on display and pay a visit to the museum.
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Azerbaijan Goes Well With
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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