Few travellers to Azerbaijan look beyond the capital, Baku. What they miss is the charm of Sheki, a city swaddled in the foothills of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, and a significant stop on the Silk Route.
In July 2019, Sheki’s historic centre along with the Khan’s Palace was anointed as UNESCO sites. It takes a day spent in its cobbled alleys, silk and spice bazaars, weaving in-and-out of its red-tiled homes, to unravel Sheki's stories.
Sheki’s superstar is Xan Sarayi, or Sheki Khan’s Palace, perched on a hill at the northeast end of the town. Shaded by chinar trees, the two-storey structure was built as a summer palace for the ruler in 1762. The facade itself is quite the stunner, with turquoise, cobalt and ochre tiles studded on the walls, and wooden latticework windows. It is also the only fully restored building in the fortress complex which houses the Khans’ residences and a winter palace.
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