Yuxarı Keçid

Sheki

SHEKI-1Sheki, one of the oldest cities in the entire Caucasus, has been known for many centuries as Nukha. In the 7th-9th centuries Sheki managed to adequately repel the raids of Arab troops, which managed to conquer all of Azerbaijan. Later, already in the XV century, Sheki briefly fell under the rule of the infamous emperor Timur, who was notorious for his cruelty.According to scientists, this city was founded 2600 years ago, it is located on the famous Silk Road, along which merchant caravans from China and India went to Europe. In those distant times in the city there were a lot of caravans – sarays, where, traditionally, camels and horses rested on the first floor from the distant road, and merchants and traders on their second masters.SHEKI-2There were several quarters of artisans in Sheki: weavers, carpenters, jewelers, potters, copper craftsmen, woodcarvers. All of them gathered daily in the big city market square, where they sold their goods, they simply communicated with each other. True, the Sheki merchants still have their own, in many respects very specific manner, to sell their goods. So, according to the memories of the trip to the city of Alexandre Dumas, each of them held out as if they had no interest in selling their goods. “Here is my product, take it, pay for it and take it if you like it.Otherwise, pass by, I can completely do without you, and if I open a shop in the street, it’s to stay in the air and the sun and calmly smoke my pipe, looking at passers-by, and not at all for you Or to sell, “the famous Frenchman wrote about Sheki merchants.SHEKI-3In 1772 Sheki suffered a terrible flood of power, after which the city was actually rebuilt. In the then Europe, Sheki was glorious above all with its amazingly beautiful embroidered silk with golden impregnations, which was appreciated among the fashionable women there as the most desired eastern wealth. Once upon a time in the markets of distant Venice Sheki silk was valued more expensive than silks from Japan and China. More than 15 thousand families from Sheki were then engaged only in the cultivation of silkworms, and large silos of raw silk were sent to distant countries by camel caravans. In the XIX century, women of Saint Petersburg and Paris appreciated not only silk, but also unique Sheki jewelry – earrings, bracelets, chains, and especially, outlandish brooches. Also performed in those years by order of local craftsmen and fantastic in the fineness of the work daggers, cutlery, glasses of silver and copper. It should be noted that the Sheki Khanate was one of the eighteenth century’s most powerful and influential in Azerbaijan. Then there were built numerous mosques, madrassas, public buildings, such as baths and shopping arcades. SHEKI-4And the unique architectural symbol of those times was, undoubtedly, the famous Palace of Sheki Khans. It was built by order of Hussein Khan inside the city walls in 1762 and is the most famous architectural monument of the surrounding places. Particularly distinguished in the composition of the khan’s palace are carved window wooden frames-stained-glass windows. Their individual details are so skilfully and meticulously adjusted by the craftsmen that they seem to be whole. Such Shebeke frames are called, and they can count up to 14 thousand individual finest elements per 1 square meter of area. It is interesting that these elements were not fastened with any composition or nails. Usually the masters sawed out separately every openwork wooden detail and colored glass, and then manually made an inimitable stained glass pattern. It is no coincidence that the Palace of Sheki Khans received an unofficial status among scholars of oriental studies – “a mirror of the medieval Azerbaijani architecture”. Speaking about its unbrushable beauty, the famous Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet rightly remarked: “Even if the Azerbaijanis did not have other architectural monuments, it would be enough for him to show the rest of the world only to the Sheki Khan’s palace.”SHEKI-5