Sheki, the Khan's Palace
Azerbaijan National Commission for UNESCO
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Sheki has preserved its ancient city-build structure and it is rich in beautiful architectural monuments. Sheki was the main center of silk production in the Caucasus, and in XVIII-XIX centuries, being the capital of Sheki khanate, it developed and turned into the trade, cultural center of Azerbaijan. Old Sheki "-as founded in the southern part of Big Caucasus, relatively in a flat place and was on the main trade way of Neighboring East. But a strong high-flood in 1772 destroyed the city. After the natural disaster the city was transferred in a safe and relatively high place in Nukha. This place was mentioned in Ptolemy's "The Geographical Study". The mountains from three sides surround Sheki, and on its territory Gurjana and Deyirman rivers unite. Its relief and location on the slope of the mountain influenced the structure of the streets and squares. The winding, streets, the narrow by-streets and blind-alleys gave a complicate, but acceptable and also beautiful form to the building plan of Sheki. An ancient part of Sheki "Yukharibash" was declared an architectural reserve in 1968. There was discovered 13 blocks, which were formed according to the medieval city-building principles. In every block there was a mosque, a bath-house and a local square. The highest point of Sheki is Mahammadkhasan Khan stronghold was formed in 1743-1754 years. There are two gates (Ganja and Shirvan), which are surrounded by stronghold walls. The building of Khan's Palace, a round place for praying and other subsidiary buildings are the models of architectural beauty on its territory. The building of Sheki Khans' palace according to its expressive architectural structure, numerous shining walls, which decorate the interior and the riches of graceful wooden works can be considered a rare architectural work. On the Gurjina riverbank, there is a street of mastership and trade center. There are also the biggest caravan sheds (Yukhari and Ashagi Caravan sheds), shops, workshops, Friday Mosque and some patrimonies. The natural landscape, and unusual beauty, enriches the appearance of Sheki, and from an expressive background to its architecture. A lot of verdure and the old street, made of cobblestone, intensify connection between the city and nature. The mosques, the bath-houses, one or two-storied dwelling houses, which were built in XVIII-XIX centuries in Sheki blocks can be considered as an architectural monuments. The decoration of ancient houses of Sheki with bright colours, the ornament of wooden windows and the beautiful fireplaces confirm the medieaval traditions of the natural architecture. The best model of these houses is the house of Sheki Khan (XIX century). One of the interesting monuments of Shek is also a water-supply system.