Where does the name of come from?

Azeri Observer - - Azeri Observer - BY NATIQ PENAHLI AZ­ERI OB­SERVER CON­TRIB­U­TOR

heki is sit­u­ated in north-west of the south­ern slope of the Greater Cau­ca­sus Moun­tains, 632 me­ters above sea level. It has plenty of wa­ter, nor­mal bal­ance of mois­ture, fer­tile soil and rich for­est cover. Grey moun­tain for­est, brown moun­tain for­est, meadow for­est, gray-brown soils are wide­spread. Forests of oak, beech, wal­nut trees are dom­i­nant. Rich in wildlife. Thanks to pro­tec­tion of charm­ing na­ture, unique his­tor­i­cal and ar­chi­tec­tural mon­u­ments, so­phis­ti­cated crafts­man­ship, with a rich his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural her­itage Sheki has be­come an im­por­tant tourism re­gion of Azer­bai­jan.

The his­tor­i­cal place of lo­ca­tion of Sheki was noted Shaki, Shaka, Shakka and so on in the sources of Mid­dle Ages. Sheki city was named Nuha for a long time. Name of Sheki as­so­ci­ated with the name of Sak tribes mov­ing through Der­beint pas­sage of the north­ern coast of the Black Sea to South Cau­ca­sus, and then to Asia Mi­nor in the sev­enth cen­tury BC. They oc­cu­pied on the best soils in the South Cau­ca­sus and named these places Sakasena. Shaki was yet an­other area in­hab­ited by Saks. To­ponyms like Sakhalin penin­su­lar in the Far East, Re­pub­lic of Sakha in Siberia are trages of saks – an­ces­tors of an­cient turks. They were set­tled down on the best lands of South­ern Cau­ca­sus, and called these lands Sakasena. To­ponyms Sheki, Za­gatala are changed form of “Sak” eth­nonym. Sounds [s] and [sh] are in­ter­change­able in Turk­ish lan­guages. Azer­bai­ja­nis say “bash” (bash), “besh” (five), but kaza­khs pro- nounce them as “bas” and “bes”. (This is the same in the other world lan­guages. Com­pare: shay­tan - satan). In fact, there are three cities with one and the same name. one of them – Saki, is in Crimea. The se­cond shaki city in Azer­bai­jan is lo­cated in the south, in Zangazur re­gion, which was the part of the ter­ri­tory of Azer­bai­jan till 20-ies of last cen­tury. At that time soviet Moscow has given Zangezur re­gion, whole peo­ple of which are Azer­bai­jani Turks, to Soviet Ar­me­nia, un­der the pre­text that ter­ri­tory of Ar­me­nia is too small. Sheki which was a trade cen­ter of Zangezur was de­clined, and in XX cen­tury be­came a town­ship with a de­creased num­ber of pop­u­la­tion. Af­ter crash of Soviet Union pop­u­la­tion of Sheki in Zangezur be­came refugees and moved to Baku.

There are some in­for­ma­tion about Sheki in mem­oirs of Turk­ish his­to­rian and trav­eler of Mid­dle Ages E.Cheleby. Ac­cord­ing to him, Sheki tower was built of a stones and is ris­ing on the

hill. There were two gates – Shir­van and Ganja in the tower. Thou­sands of houses, seven mosques, sev­eral car­a­vanserais – ho­tels, bath and small bazar, were in Sheki city. Silk man­u­fac­tur­ing en­ter­prises and ex­ten­sive gar­dens, were lo­cated out of the Sheki tower walls.

As to Chelebi, there have lived 20 thou­sand peo­ple in 3 thou­sand houses. Fa­mous French writer Alexan­dre Du­mas trav­elled to Azer­bai­jan, first he vis­ited Baku, then to the an­cient She­makha and Sheki. He was amazed of il­lus­tri­ous Khan Palace. When Rus­sian army oc­cu­pied Sheki in 1828, they de­stroyed Khan Palace.

Alexan­der Du­mas wrote about guns in the hands of Azer­bai­ja­nis, fal­con hunt­ing, rams bat­tle, melee of wrestlers (“Pehle­vans”), de­scribed ev­ery place vis­ited by him. Writer spoke about silk­worm breed­ing which made Sheki fa­mous in the whole world: “Main trade prod­uct of Sheki is silk. There is only one fab­ric and it is not weav­ing, but spin­ning one. This fab­ric is pro­duc­ing raw ma­te­ri­als for six mil­lions per year. The part of amaz­ing trees, which cov­ers city houses with shade, are mul­ber­ries. Their satin like leaves, feeds bil­lions of co­coon worms. When 15 months be­fore, three quar­ters of co­coon worms in Pye­mon and Mi­lan prov­inces of Italy were ex­ter­mi­nated by the epi­demic, sev­eral ital­ian mer­chants came to Sheki to buy worm seeds. But they were re­fused to sell seeds. It was con­nected with ri­valry”. Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion of year 2007, there live 62499 peo­ple in Sheki city.

The firs t plant comes to mind say­ing Shaki ...

Say­ing Sheki the first build­ing came to mind is Sheki Khan Palace. The Palace of Sheki, is the main his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ment of not only Sheki, but Azer­bai­jan as a whole. Not sur­pris­ingly, the well­known Turk­ish poet Nazim Hik­met walked around ev­ery inch of Sheki Khan Palace and said: “If there were not for the other an­cient build­ings, in Azer­bai­jan, it would be enough to show Khan Palace to the world.” Today, the Khan's palace is in­cluded in UNESCO's “World Her­itage List”.

Khan's Palace was built in 1761, dur­ing the reign of Mo­hammed Hus­sein Khan the grand­son of Haji Cha­l­abi - the founder of Sheki Khanate. Khan Palace was used as a sum­mer res­i­dence. Its length is 32, width 8 and height 8 me­ters, there were not used glue, nails and ce­ment in the con­struc­tion of the palace. Walls were brought up from slant­ing, burnt soil and eggs.

Two-storey house con­sist of 6 rooms, 4 and 2 mir­rored hall­way to the bal­cony. Build­ing has 4 doors. The first room is wait­ing room for of­fi­cers. Of­fi­cials were wait­ing for be­fore to be adopted by Khan.

The se­cond room is rem­i­nis­cent of the mod-

ern par­lia­ment, called “Di­van­hana” and there were given decisions, and or­ders.

The third room is chan­cellery. It had been done pa­per­work there. The thick­ness of the ceil­ing of the chan­cellery room thicker than oth­ers: 50-60 cm. This was so be­cause ladies room is lo­cated on the se­cond floor and, ac­cord­ing to Mus­lim rules, men shouldn’t hear voices of women. On the other hand, the ceil­ing was in­su­lated to en­sure that women have not heard the state se­crets.

The fourth room be­longed to Khan’s wife. She re­ceived here her fe­male guests; the ladies came from the other khanates, talked with them. It should be noted that Hus­sein Khan was the only khan who did not have harem. The Fifth Room is guest room. Huseyn khan who wrote po­ems un­der the pseu­do­nym of The “Mus­taq” or­ga­nized lit­er­ary par­ties here.

The last - sixth room is a pri­vate room of the khan. Ceil­ing of the court-house room does not have an ana­logue in the world. This ceil­ing has been cre­ated by pass­ing 5524 lit­tle wooden pieces to each other. Ceil­ing has not been re­stored for 250 years.

The pic­tures drawn on the wall and ceil­ing is not painted by oil-colors. There were used tem­pera paints – made of de­ter­gents from the lo­cal dye plants, egg yolk, and vine­gar. Artists have rubbed but­ter­milk to the plas­ter of the wall be­fore draw­ing.

90 per­cent of ev­ery­thing in the palace is orig­i­nal. Only 10 per­cent of the build­ing has been re­stored. of two pla­tan khans rises in the en­cir­clement of the his­tor­i­cal pool in the yard of the palace. Both of the trees have been planted in 1530. The di­am­e­ter of the body of 34 me­tres height tree is 11.5, but di­am­e­ter of body of 42 me­tres height tree is 13.5 me­tres.

Al­ba­nian Tem­ple in Kish

This tem­ple is be­lieved to have been founded I cen­tury AD and lo­cated in the vil­lage of Kish in Maflar block. Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ex­plo­ration has proved the struc­ture of the tem­ple foun­da­tion is in the form of cash or in-wa­ter part of the ship. Very strange but the Egyp­tian pyra­mids built on the same foun­da­tion. Up­side of the hall ad­ja­cent to the tower cov­ered by large grind­ing fur­row stones. The walls of the tower has the na­ture to at­tract metal­lic money from 3 side. It ex­plains by mois­ture, layer of paraf­fin sink to walls be­cause of long time burnt can­dles and flow of air in­side the tower.

Church, con­sist­ing of a sin­gle room con­tains in­ter­est­ing de­tails of av­er­age pre-and post-con­struc­tion. Kish tem­ple was built of lime­stone. The in­ner part is dome-shade. Built-in dou­ble col­umns of the tem­ple di­vides it into 2 parts, the eastern part is smaller than the western part. There is no writ­ings on the walls of the tem­ple. The church walls have pro­tu­ber­ances in the form of horse­shoe, and there are 2 deep holes. Sanc­tu­ary is lo­cated in the cen­ter and has rec­tan­gu­lar form.

Sheki Tower - Naringala

Shaki Nar­inja tower is lo­cated in the north­east­ern part of the city, 710 me­ters from south to north 750 me­ters above sea level, in the pic­turesque area. The cas­tle was built in the pe­riod of the founder of the first in­de­pen­dent khanate in Azer­bai­jan - Shaki Khan Haji Cha­l­abi (1743-1755). The to­tal length of walls from the out­side is 1300 me­ters. Tak­ing into ac­count the im­por­tance of the pro­tec­tion and land­scape, the south tower is 8 me­ters high, and 4 me­ters down to the north. The thick­ness of wall up to 2.2 me­ters, in­creases sus­tain­abil­ity and majesty of tower. Cas­tle has 2 arched gates from South and North, tow­ers, and there are more than 1000 maz­gaları. The res­i­dence of Sheki khanate, “Khan Palace” is lo­cated in the east of the north tower.

Mu­seum of Ap­plied Arts

Mu­seum of Ap­plied Arts has been op­er­at­ing since 1985. The mu­seum is lo­cated in the an­cient Al­ba­nian tem­ple. The plant called “Round house” among the peo­ple and is re­ferred to the pe­riod of Cau­casian Albania. There are demon­strat­ing and pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion on fa­mous Sheki arts, from an­cient times since nowa­days, well-known artists of the re­gion, as well as works of art are dis­played in the mu­seum.

The mu­seum con­sists of 4 ex­hi­bi­tion halls. In the first hall are be­ing dis­played things found dur­ing arche­o­log­i­cal ex­ca­va­tions in the re­gion - clay ves­sels, jew­elry found in the women and men graves, spear heads. In the se­cond room,

pot­tery, car­pen­try, tekel­duz cop­per­ing, “she­beke”, ar­chi­tec­ture, hat­ting, such as works of art on dis­play. Sam­ples of the women's and men's cloth­ing, mu­si­cal in­stru­ments, silk­worm breed­ing are shown in the third room. The fourth hall called “Shaki room”, demon­strates in­te­rior of the Sheki house - shelves, niches, cush­ion, chest, face, wool, charg­ers and so on are or­ga­nized the ex­po­si­tion. There are demon­strat­ing more than 500 ex­hibits in the mu­seum as a whole.

Sheki cui­sine

Ev­ery re­gion of Azer­bai­jan has its own spe­cific cui­sine. One of the branches of na­tional culi­nary is Sheki cui­sine. Dishes and sweets in­clud­ing in this list dis­tin­guish with their de­li­cious taste, high qual­ity and di­rec­tions. No one can re­sist fa­mous Sheki piti (a kind of soup) and pakhlava which melts in the mouth. The smell of halva – sym­bol of Sheki hov­ers over the city. In the next is­sues we will talk about Sheki cui­sine in de­tails.

Folk Art

Pot­tery, tekel­duz (hand­made em­broi­dery), hat­ting and other sorts of an­cient folk art are widely de­vel­oped in Sheki.

The most beau­ti­ful pat­terns of crafts­man­ship – knit­ted with col­or­ful trac­eries – tekel­duz is saved in Sheki till nowa­days.

Tekel­duz is knit­ting on the black vel­vet or on the wool tis­sue just by one hand. But em­broi­dery style tapestry is em­broi­dered on cot­ton tis­sue. This pat­tern of art de­mands a lot of time and fine­ness. Some­times it takes 3 to 4 months, to fin­ish an art­work. There are also silk yarns used in tapestry. Es­pe­cially scull-caps, bags, pil­low cases, table­clothes are be­ing em­broi­dered.

Shep­herd's cap

Along with tekel­duz, for­eign tourists vis­it­ing Sheki of­ten buy shep­herd's cap. Most of all tourists like white, black, sil­ver caps sewed by master Agil Ka­ri­mov. It should be noted that there were 650 masters of shep­herd’s cap in Azer­bai­jan, 250 of which were in Sheki. But now there are just two masters of shep­herd’s cap in Sheki.

Sheki is also fa­mous for its funny sto­ries not only in Azer­bai­jan, but in the whole world. We will pub­lish ex­am­ples of them in the next is­sues.

Sheki Khan Palace

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