TODAY.AZ / Society

Sheki, unique, magical monument of history

18 April 2018 [17:04] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Janay Mammadova

We are incredibly fortunate to live in the 21st century, in the era of transparent borders and endless opportunities to explore the world through our own eyes, experience other cultures and make friends around the globe. More and more people appreciate traveling. Azerbaijan's customs of hospitality are very revealing of the culture and the spirit of the world in which its people live since old times. The local population is following their traditions. They treat tourists with great respect since they are considering them as the honorable guests.

If you eventually made up your mind for a trip to this beautiful and prosperous country, then we have a brief selection of sights you will not want to miss. Everyone is able to find the right place in the light of their interests. It is possible to start the journey from the semi-desert and finish with subalpine meadows since there are 9 out of 11 types of climate in the country. By arriving you will immerse in an unusual atmosphere of the West and the East that are closely intertwined.

The first place to mention is the ancient city Sheki that has been named 'cultural capital of the Turkic world' in 2016. This place is a perfect fit for lovers of nature, art, history and to satisfy the sweet tooth as well. Sheki is located in the west of Baku (four hours drive) close to the Georgian border. It is a picturesque mountain area with green valleys, purest rivers, springs, waterfalls and mineral water springs framed by dense woods and alpine meadows.

Immediately upon arrival, there is a chance to enjoy the stay at Yukhari Karvansaray that was built in the 18th century. Tradesmen traveling along the Silk road from the farthest  lands were coming here to take a breath.

A positive travel experience is filling souls with beauty and spirituality that is so essential. Discovery of exotic places brings a lot of excitement to people's lives. The Sheki Khans' Palace stands out on our list. It was built in the 18th century and used to be a summer residence. All the walls and ceilings are painted with miniatures with special meaning. For instance, on the one hand, the male part of the palace is decorated with scenes of hunting that symbolize the power of the khan; on the other hand, female part is decorated by flowers and birds - the symbols of fertility and noble origin. Since the colors retained their brightness during 230 years, they have never been restored. Moreover, shebeke (stained glass) draws attention with its very bright colors and unusual patterns. The most amazing is that not a single nail or glue drop was used for creating shebeke. Geometry knowledge and accurate calculations were the true tools of the masters.

If desired, such a masterpiece in miniature is available for purchase as a souvenir or a memory of this fabulous city. Masters have adapted to create various items that would decorate flats, e.g. small lamps.

The next destination is Caucasian Mother of Alban churches in Kish or Holy Mother of God Church. It is one of the oldest churches in Caucasus, completed in 1 AD. Locals believe that people with clear soul can make a wish and attach a coin to this plaster. If the coin sticks to the wall, then the wish will come true. But the coin of the sinner never sticks to the stones of ancient sanctuary. In the yard, you can find an ancient burial places covered with glass so you can see the ancient people's bones. Holy people who had deserved the right to be buried at the foot of the church - the House of the God - are believed to be buried here. The length of each skeletons reaches to two meters.

Exigent gourmets will be delighted by the cuisine. As Peking duck has always been associated with China, pasta with Italy and sushi with Japan, piti is Shaki’s signature dish. The key to real piti flavour lies in the earthenware pots in which it’s cooked during 8 hours.

Concerning sweets lovers, Sheki pakhlava leave anyone indifferent. It is made of rice flour, nuts and sugar-honey syrup. Rice flour is made by themselves on an ancient mill. Some retailers offer to observe and participate in the process of pakhlava cooking.

Sheki used to be the largest city of trade. So, since ancient times the city has been famous for its silks and silk items - "kelagai" - colorful women's scarves. There are myriads of their kinds, thus nobody will remain without some souvenirs.


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