To get in touch with history, gather useful information, and learn historical facts, it is not necessary to travel outside Baku. One can study Azerbaijan's rich history not only in textbooks, but also by visiting historical sites which are of great value, because each ancient building, every corner and every stone, may hold many mysteries and secrets.
If you simply look into the heart of the Baku city - the Old City, which is the oldest part of Azerbaijan's capital-, you will be amazed at the pearl of the country's architecture - the Shirvanshahs Palace.
It will certainly be hard to find a man in Baku who has not visited this historic complex at least once, as this place attracts others like a magnet, even if you have already visited it.
Opened recently after a major restoration, a new exhibition at the Museum of the Palace will not leave any history lover indifferent. There is a stand with a schematic image of the complex and a detailed description in three languages??, along with explanatory signs ??installed before each monument and exhibit.
NOTE: Construction of the complex, which was held in the period of 13th-16th centuries, has been associated with the transfer of Shirvanshahs' capital from Shamakhi to Baku, famous for its harbor. The Palace forms a complex, consisting of the residential building of Shirvanshahs, the second residential building (for servants), Divankhana, tomb, palace mosque built in 1441, the remains of the destroyed Key Gubad mosque, Murad's gates, hamam (bath) and mausoleum of famous scientist Seyid Yahya Bakuvi.
If you start searching the complex from the residential building, you will find yourself in a round-shaped room with two entrances that lead to inner chambers. There is a round opening in the middle of the room by which the Shah's family could watch what their servants were doing.
There is a huge layout of Baku in the next room, which allows you to look at the city from a bird's-eye view. The room's walls are decorated with pictures of the old city's architecture.
The room also features a large exposition of ancient weapons. There are also ancient copper plates, jewelry, coins, samples of Azerbaijani national costume, accessories, rugs, old embroidery patterns, skillfully-made caskets, all sorts of kitchen plates, pots, and so on.
The Throne Hall, a large room with a huge dome, has returned to life thanks to animated effects. The center of the room is covered with bright-patterned carpets, where pillows-mutakka are laid.
The building itself provides you with an incredible experience thanks to its massive columns, painted arches, and beautiful patterns. The Shirvanshahs Palace belongs to the Shirvan-Absheron school of architecture, which is characterized by two features: the use of natural limestone and the use of carved stone slabs.
NOTE: The palace complex was declared a museum in 1964, and taken under state protection. A unique architectural and cultural ensemble along with the Old City and the Maiden Tower, it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000. The pearl of Azerbaijan's architecture and culture, Icherisheher, including the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower, was awarded UNESCO's status of enhanced protection in 2013.
Going downstairs, you will find yourself in a second building where the servants used to live. Massive stones of the fortress with an inscription in Arabic and a small model of the Bayil fortress dipped into real water are also exhibited here.
A spacious atrium can be found after leaving the servants' quarters. Almost the entire perimeter of the atrium features stones of the fortress, each fragment of which a part of the inscriptions.
The Mausoleum of Seyid Yahya Bakuvi, teacher of Khalilullah I Shirvanshah's children and the court scholar who practiced medicine, mathematics, and astrology, will also attract your attention.
The Mausoleum is of an octahedral shape and covered with an octahedral marquee. It consists of ground and underground parts. The upper part of the Mausoleum served to perform cult rites, and the lower one housed the sepulchral vault. There are three small lancet windows with a stone bar - shabaka on the southern, eastern, and western verges of the Mausoleum.
There is also a fountain with goldfish in the center of the yard, where you can relax under a pistachio tree which is more than 300 years old.
While you're visiting the museum, you should see the ruins of the Shah hamam (bath). It consists of a maze of rooms, most of which destroyed by time.
There is no doubt that the new generation of Azerbaijanis will know their history, because the state does everything it can in this regard. Thus, after centuries, we can admire the splendor of the Shirvanshahs Palace, which remains one of the oldest symbols of Azerbaijan.