One of the most ancient settlements and cultural centers of Azerbaijan, Sheki was founded more than 2700 years ago on the southern slopes of the Big Caucasus Mountains Chain (370 kilometers to the north-west from Baku). Now the town of Sheki is the major town of the Sheki-Zagatala region, one of the most ancient and beautiful towns of Azerbaijan. During its millennial history the town had been devastated numerous times, so the majority of the historic and architectural monuments currently preserved are dated to the XVIII-XIX cc. A magnificent Royal Palace of Sheki Khans (Kings), constructed in 1762 without a single nail, is one of the most marvellous monuments of its era, which the Shekians are particularly proud of. The Palace of Sheki Khans is a rare example of combination of folk architecture (wood engraving) with the traditions of Oriental palace architecture (varnished and wall paintings). With their magnitude, the Ashaghi and Yukhary caravanserais XVIII cc.) are evidence of the advancement of trade in the Middle Ages. Several years ago the medieval Yukhary Karavansaray was perfectly restored as a modern hotel complex. Near Sheki, in the Kish settlement located the most ancient surviving in the Caucasus Albanian Christian church, "Mother of Churches of East", built in the period of stay in the Caucasus of the Holy Apostle Elisha (the original construction of the basilica is assigned to the I-IV centuries., reconstruction and restoration of the temple took place in VII-IX centuries. and in the XVIII-XX centuries). On the west bank of the Kish River remaine ruins of the ancient fortress “Gelersen-Gorersen” (come and you will see); the name suggests that the defenders of the fortress were confident in its unassailability and in their determination not to let the enemies pass. For many centuries Sheki has been famous as the basic center of silkworm-breeding. Even today Sheki residents have not lost their original traditions and ancient lore. Silk shawls (“kelagai”), which are exported to the Middle Asia countries to be used there by local craftsmen for silk paintings, as well as wooden chests with special Sheki paintings are, also produced here. Works of Shekian jewelers, potters and engravers have been famous not only in Azerbaijan but far abroad as well. The town is also known for the production of caps and musical instruments and also Shebeke (open-work wooden grates with inserts of colored glass, usually used in windows and door frames). The House of Craftsmen is one of the places of interest the visitors may enjoy while being in Sheki.
Kish settlement -one of the oldest of Azerbaijani villages, is well known for the unique ancient Christian temple- antique temple named " Mother of Eastern Churches".It is valuable not only as an architectural monument but also because of its outstanding historical significance. The official date of its birth is the 1-st century AD . Historians assume that the temple was founded by apostle Elise who brought Christianity to Caucasus Albania.
|Direction and distance from Baku in km.|
By auto road : by buses , minibuses or passenger cars.
Distance: Baku - Shamakhy - Ismayilli - Gabala - Oghuz - Sheki = about 310 km.
Length of routes within the region:
a) Sheki ( bus station) - Oghuz (center) = about 50 km.
b) Sheki (bus station) - Gabala (airport) = about 90 km.
c) Sheki (bus station) - Kudurlu (railway station) = about 15 km.
d) Oghuz (city center) - Gabala (airport) = about 50 km.
e) Oghuz ( city center) - Kudurlu (railway station) = about 55 km
From Baku by rail: Baku-Yevlakh-Sheki is about 9-10 hours
Flights and transfers
The flight: Baku - Gabala = about 40 minutes
Transfer by car:
a)Gabala (airport) – Oghuz city center = about 1 hour
b) Gabala (airport) – Sheki city center = about 1,5 hours
|Monuments of history and architecture|
1. The city walls and towers (XVIIIv.) in Sheki"
2. Palace of Sheki Khans (Kings), constructed in 1762
3. Medieval inns hotels "Ashagy Caravanserai" and "Caravanserai Yukhari» (XVIII-XIX centuries).
4. Mosques in Sheki city:
- Cathedral "Juma mosque”(X1X c.) and Medrese in the city center
- An old Khan mosque / "Khan meschidi» / (XVIII c./
- Mosque "Omar Effendi" (X1X.c.)
- Minaret "Gedyak" in the quarter "Agvanlar", etc.
5. Christian churches in Sheki city and its surroundings:
- Early medieval round church /VII-XIX centuries/.
- Christian church / X1X c. /
- The remains of the church in the old part of the city above the area of "Cagney Bazaar"
6. A medieval Christian Albanian Temple/ I – IV centuries / - “Mother of Eastern Churches” " in Kish village
7. Albanian Christian sites of Oghuz (2 temples and 1 church)
1. Exotic Trees "plane tree"
- (sycamore) in Oghuz region:
- a tree with a coffee-tea house on a tree trunk
- a tree with multiple trunks / over 10 / coming out of the beam
2. Natural sights are (artificial ponds, springs,wooded mountain slopes and panoramic river gorge Kishchay) in the rest zone "Marhal"
3. Garden "Mustafa Bey Bagi" - a local recreation area on the outskirts of Sheki city
|Museums and exhibitions|
1. Museums in "Sheki Galasi":
- Palace of Sheki Khans ("Khan Saraiy" or house "Mushtag") - summer residence of Huseyin Sheki Khan
- Museum of applied art in the Round Albanian temple
- History and Local Lore Museum named after R.M.Efendiev and the former residence of the governor of the city (XIX c.)
- Exhibitions and Art Show
2. House-Museum of the famous playwright and philosopher Mirza Fyatyali Ahundov (1812-1878 gg.) in Sheki city
3. House-Museum Shekihanov (XVIII c.) in Sheki city
1. Museum of Archaeology Society "Ojag" famous
Local archaeologist Nasib Mukhtarov in center Sheki city
2. An underground museum with burials of various historical and archaeological eras "Labyrinth", on the eastern outskirts of Fazil village in Sheki region
3. The archaeological excavations on the site of "Malikh galasi” in Oghuz region
4. The ruins of the settlement "Ag Pyalikyand" in the mountains and forests in Sheki region
5. The ruins of the fortress "Gelersen-Gorersen" (XV c.)
|Ethnographic villages, handicraft workshops and shopping centers|
1."House of Crafts" and workshop for making stained glass windows national "Shebekya" in Sheki сity
2. Craft shops and stalls on the ground floor of the hotel "Yukhari Caravanserai" and in place of the Old Bazaar
3. Pottery in the quarter, "Duluschu"
4. New orient market "Tyazya Bazar"
5. "Udin quarter" in Oghuz city -landmarks and inspection period of Caucasian Albania, as well as familiarization with the way of life, way of life and language "Udin" - one of the indigenous aboriginal peoples of the Eastern Caucasus
6. "The Jewish Quarter" of the Oghuz city and familiarization with the way of life and language of Azerbaijan (Shirvan) Jews, and visit the synagogues
7. Mountain village of Shin - a place of compact resettlement of East Caucasian nationality "Rutul" - descendants of one of 29 tribes of the ancient state of Caucasian Albania
|Tours and excursions|
1. Ruins of the Albanian Christian temples in Kungutchay river’s gorge in Sheki city:
- In 1 km to north-west from Bideiz settlement;
- On southwest suburb of Bash Kungut settlement;
- Ruins of “Yarym Kilse” on a watershed of ravines Mijegin deresi and Bideiz deresi.
2. The rests of a medieval Albanian fortress “Geur Gala” / “Hazrat Ali Galasy”.
3. The Albanian Christian temples in Orta Zeyzit settlement in Sheki area:
- The rests of a temple on east suburb of settlement.
- Ruins of church on southeast suburb of settlement.
4. Ruins of “Gelersen-Gerersen” / “Jelesen-Joresen” fortress.
5. A memorial complex “Chelengez” (in memory of victims in 1918 for freedom and independence of Azerbaijan of turkish soldiers).
6. Christian temples in Sheki city:
- An early-medieval round temple (now – the Museum of national-applied creativity) in the warehouse part of the city “Sheki Galasy” (in the place of “Yukhary Bash”);
- A medieval temple (now – archive-warehouse of a regional military registration and enlistment office) in the center of the city in Jalganbulag street;
- The rests of church in an old part of the city;
- Ruins (the base) of a chapel on southeast suburb of the city, on an old Christian cemetery.
7. The Albanian Christian temple “Mother of East Churches” in Kish settlement.
8. Natural excursion objects (artificial ponds, springs, woody hillsides and a panorama of Kishchay river’s gorge).
9. The rests of medieval settlement Gaynar (in the past place of settling of the Dagestan nationality “Rutul” - descendants one of 29 Albanian tribes).
10. A sanctuary-pir (a place of residing and the sermon of Muslim sufist monk).
11. Excursion in family of the hero of the French Resistance Ahmediya Jabrailov (the period of the Second world war).
12. Excursion in the Olympic sports center.
13. Excursion on Sheki silk factory.
14. Excursion “Sheki – city of handicraftsmen”.
15. A sanctuary-pir “Mohammed Efendi” in Silk factory area on crossing of Bagbanlar and Sharbablar streets.
16. Excursion in ancient east baths of Sheki city (“Dere hamam”, “Goch Ahmed”, “Agvanlar”, “Abdul Salam”, Abdulhalyg hamamy”, “Yeralty hamam” and others).
17. Excursion “Mosques and minarets of Sheki city”:
- Cathedral mosque “Jume” and medrese in the center of the city;
- Ancient Khan mosque / “Khan meschidi”;
- shiit mosque “Gul Gary”;
- “Omar Efendi” mosqu;
- A minaret “Gedek”;
- Octahedral minaret / “Sekkiz uzlu minare” /;
- A minaret “Gilehli” / “Gulehli”;
- A mosque in Gyshlag area;
- A mosque in Dody area;
18. Museums in an old serf part of Sheki city:
- Shekikhan Palace (“Khan Sarayi”, “Mushtag” house, the summer residence of Huseyn khan “Mushtag” / literary pseudonym of Huseyn Khan Shekinski/);
- A museum of national-applied creativity in the Round Albanian temple;
- Historico-study of local lore Museum named by R.M.Efendiyev in a former residence of the imperial governor of city;
- Other sights in a fortress (exhibition-art interior, the Crafts House, a workshop on manufacturing national stained-glass windows “Shebeke”, fortifications and towers).
19. Other Museums and sights of Sheki city:
- A museum of archeology of “Ojag” society / under a management of known local archeologist Nasiba Mukhtarova /;
- Mustafabek Garden (“Mustafa bey bagy”);
- Original architecture of ancient apartment houses and streets in a medieval part of the city (blocks: Gilehli, Yukhary Bash, Genjeli, Duluschu, Agvanlar, Kegne Bazar, Sharbabchi, Bagbanlar, Dodu, and others.
- Mirza Feteli Akhundov’s house-museum;
- Medieval coaching court yard-hotels “Ashagy Karvansaray” not restored /and “Yukhary Karvansaray” /it is restored under operating hotel /; - A garden and cafe named after Yuri Gagarin;
- A potter\'s workshop in “Duluschu” area;
- Shekikhan’s house-museum;
- R.M.Efendiev\'s house-museum;
- Drama theatre named after Sabit Rakhman.
- “Dash Piri” sanctuary (a meteoric stone in area of an old brick-works, there was only high factory pipe /;
- Restaurants “Tebriz”, “Leziz”, “Karvan”, “Menzere”, “Soyug Bulag”, etc.
- Craft workshops and a bench on a ground floor of “Yukhary Karvansaray” hotel and on a place of the Old Market / “Keyne Bazar”;
- The new city market “Teze Bazar”;
- M.F.Akhundov garden in the center of the city on Memmed Emin Rasulzade avenue;
- M.F.Akhundov garden at crossing Salman Mumtaz with Nukha street;
- Memorial Avenue “Shehidler Hiyabany” and garden-panorama Nagorniy in area of city stadium and a radio-television tower;
- Shopping centers and supermarkets in the center of the city at garden named after Fizuli.
20. An auto-safari excursion from area of recreation zone “Markhal” (950 m) to the territory Beyuk Chelengez (1950 m.) where nomads road in area of peak of Hanyaylagy mountain (2086 m.) – the Panorama of mountain ravine of Kishchay river, Sheki city and Alazan-Heftaran valleys.
21. Excursion on a horse farm (local riding breed of horses – "Dilboz") of Dashuz buffalo facilities and in local horse-sports school.
22. Places of archeological excavations.
23. Agrichay water reservuare and a dam at merge of Murdarchay and Agrichay rivers.
24. A sanctuary "Pir Baba".
25. Haji Murad’s tomb - one of significant participants of national-emancipating war of mountain people of Caucasus with Russia in XIX century under direction of Sheikh Shamil.
26. Ruins of a small fortress "Gyz Galasy" on a mountain spur.
27. Lake Ajinour in the center of one-nominal plain.
28. Excursion in the western and central part of Turianchay reserve.
29. A place of archeological excavations in Kilsetepe tract.
30. Excursion in winegrowing facilities in settlements Sheki and Jeirli in tracts "Turut" and "Dolg".
31. Ancient burial places in mountain district in Gebirlidag tract.
32. Places of archeological excavations on ancient parking of people in Damarchinchay river's gorge.
33. Excursion auto-rally in a route: Sheki city – Оguz – Kerimli – Yagublu – Sheki plateau – Saryja – Chay Garagoyunlu – "Turut Yolu" tract – Suchma – Beyuk and Kichik Dekhne – Jeferebad - area of railway station of Sheki.
|Tour program Baku-Sheki 5 nights|
|Day 1||Breakfast in hotel
11:00 - 14:00 - Sightseeing walking tour in Baku with visiting and viewing of the historical and architectural monuments of the city. You will see a panoramic view of the city and Baku Bay from the Mountain Park, viewing the medieval part of the city "Icheri Sheher" / "Inner City" /, fortress walls, the main gate of the city "Gosha Gala Gapi"/ Pairs Gate/, "Shirvanshakh Palace", the temple tower "Giz Galasi" / "Maiden tower "/, medieval baths, caravanserais, handicraft workshops, carpets and antique shops and other places.
14:00 - 15:00 Lunch at local restaurant (paid by guests)
15:00-18:00 - A walk along the main shopping streets and squares of the city: Fountain square, Nizami street, book passage
You will enjoy the boat excursions (1 hour) on the sea in Baku Bay (under favorable windless weather), splendid panoramic view of Baku from the sea, as well as the walking along the seaside boulevard and the central part of the city.
18:00-21:00 Free time, shopping
Return to hotel
|Day 2||Baku - Sheki
08:00 Breakfast in hotel, check out
09:00-15:00 Drive along the route Baku-Shamahany via Muganli pass - Ismaily-Gabala-Sheki / about 305km. /
On the way lunch at a local restaurant (included in price)
15:00 Arrival in Sheki, accommodation in the Issam hotel.
16:00-19:00 Sightseeing program in Sheki:
- Panoramic view of Sheki city from the mountain
- Survey of fortifications, caravanserai in the Old city (XVII-XIX c.c.)
-Visiting History Museum (entrance)
- Visiting “Sheki Khan's palace”-XVIII c. under UNESCO protection (entrance)
- Survey of the exposition of the National Applied Arts museum in the old round Christian temple (IX-XVI c.) and acquaintance with works of handicraftsmen on manufacturing
stained- glass windows -“shebaka” (network) in their workshops.
20:00-21:00 Dinner at the restaurant of Hotel “Yuxari Karvansaray”
Return to hotel
Breakfast in hotel
10:00-13:00 Travel to Kish settlement by bus (15 min.) Visit to the church and old Albanian castle (I-IX c.)
13:00-15:00 On the way back to Seki lunch at a local restaurant (included in price)
Free time for buying souvenirs
Lunch at a local restaurant in the Sheki (included in price)
Overnight at the hotel
|Day 4||Sheki - Baku
Breakfast in hotel, check out.
Moving along the route-Gabala-Sheki-Ismailly - Lagij (panoramic view of Greater Caucasus Mountains) - Canyon of river Girdimanchay- the mountain village of craftsmen Lagij.
13:00-14:00 Lunch at a local restaurant (included in price)
14:00-16:00 Acquaintance with the architectural monuments of the Historical-Ethnographic reserve “Lahij ”/IV-XIX c./ Architectural monuments, handicrafts and manufacture of carpets, workshops and benches of handicraftsmen: braziers, smiths, chasers, metal engravers, ancient mosques, baths, and also original architecture of streets and apartment houses of the ancient mountain settlement.
Return to Baku
20:00-21:00 Sightseeing night excursion by cars "Night lights of Baku". Itinerary - "Azadlig square" - Academy of Music - Palace named after Heydar Aliyev, R.Beybutov street, Bakihanov street, Inshaatchilar Avenue and Square named after Huseyin Javid, stopping near the monument of Nariman Narimanov to view panorama of evening Baku, Istiglaliyat street, Niyazi Street, Neftchilar (Oil Workers) avenue.
Return to hotel
Accommodation in hotel
|Day 5||Baku - Absheron
Breakfast in hotel, check out
11:00-13:00 Visiting the oriental bazaar to purchase sweets, spices, etc.
13:00-16:00 Further sightseeing tour in Absheron peninsula:
- observe natural gas outlets (Yanar Dag – "Burning Mountain")
- Atashgah Fire-Worshippers’ Temple (XVII c.) is located in Surakhany village ( 25 km from Baku). It is built on the site of the "eternal inextinguishable flames”. Tthese structures were built one after another for a century and a half, since the late XVIIth to the mid - XIXth c.c chapel, monastic cells, a small caravanserai, a central rotunda and other buildings.
Transfer to airport
- 3 lunches и 2 dinners
- Transport service
- Guide service
- Entrance fees
- Bottled water (0,5l.) during tour
|Marxal Hotel and Spa Complex|
Marxal Hotel and Spa Complex is 1080 above of the sea level surrounded by mountains in the mysterious corner of Sheki. The geographical location of the Hotel makes it unique and special.
The hotel is placed 80 km away from Gabala Airport, 300 km away from Baku International Airport, 14 km away from Sheki Railway Station and 4 km away from Sheki City Center.
Sheki- one of the oldest cities of Azerbaijan, is rightly called as conversation area of the country. Sheki Khan Palace (1762) is of special interest for tourists. It is known that no single nail was used during the construction of the palace. The coloured glass (national mosaic) called as network was brought from Venice.
You can still find the remainings of “Galarsan –Gorarsan (Come and See) Fortress (XV-XVII) in the North part of the city which was once impregnable. The famous Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl conducted a study a few times in Albanian temple in the village of Kish (I-II centuries) and his bust was erected in the village as of its confirmation .
Famous Shaki pakhlava, piti (meat and vegetables cooked in their own juice in clay pot), as well as residents with their sense of humour attract tourists.