Sheki is a city in Azerbaijan that is steeped in history, culture, and architecture. This beautiful and unique city has so much to offer visitors, from its well-preserved landmarks to its bustling markets and lively cultural scene. In this blog post, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to Sheki, offering insights on the best places to stay, eat, and explore, as well as tips on how to get there and when to visit.
Sheki has a long and fascinating history that dates back to ancient times. The city was an important stop on the Silk Road. The historical roots of the city of Sheki, located in the northwest of the Republic of Azerbaijan, date back to the 6th century BC, during the period of Caucasian Albania. With the establishment of the independent Sheki Khanate in 1743, new historical opportunities were created for the development of the city, but in 1772, the city of Sheki, located in a flat area, was completely destroyed as a result of the flooding of the Kish River. After this event, the residents moved to the mountainous area and settled in the village of Nuxa, where the foundation of the present-day city was laid.
The best time to visit Sheki is during the spring and fall seasons, which offer mild weather and lower tourist crowds. The months of May and October are particularly good times to visit, as they offer comfortable temperatures and a range of cultural events and festivals. In the summer months, Sheki can be quite hot and crowded, while the winter season is often too cold and snowy for most visitors.
Sheki is a city located in the northwestern region of Azerbaijan, nestled in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. It is situated approximately 325 kilometres west of Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, and about 60 kilometres east of the border with Georgia. The distance between Baku and Sheki is around 4-5 hours by car, and there are also several bus and train services available that take around 5-6 hours. For those travelling from Tbilisi, Georgia, Sheki is approximately 180 kilometres away, and the travel time is around 3-4 hours by car or 4-5 hours by bus or shared taxi.
In addition to visiting the city’s top attractions, there are many other things to see and do in Sheki. For example, you can go hiking in the nearby mountains, explore the city’s vibrant markets and shops, or attend one of the many cultural events and festivals that take place throughout the year. Additionally, Sheki is home to many unique and off-the-beaten-path experiences, such as visiting traditional carpet weavers or learning how to make traditional Azerbaijani sweets.
By Air: If you’re short on time or want to avoid a long journey by road, you can fly to Gabala International Airport, the closest airport to Sheki, from Baku. Here are some bullet points to consider:
By Bus: If you’re looking for a more affordable option, taking a bus from Baku to Shaki may be a good choice. Here are some bullet points to consider:
By Train: If you prefer to travel by train, there are two trains a day from Baku to Shaki. Here are some bullet points to consider:
By Car: If you like the freedom of having your own vehicle, you can rent a car in Baku or hire a driver to take you to Shaki. Here are some bullet points to consider:
Sheki is home to several must-visit tourist attractions, each with its own unique charm and character. Among these are the Sheki Khan’s Palace, a stunning 18th-century structure that showcases traditional Azerbaijani architecture and design, the Shaki Caravanserai, a well-preserved historic inn that was used by merchants travelling along the Silk Road, and the bazaar, a bustling market that is known for its wide range of local crafts and products. These attractions are a must-see for anyone visiting Sheki, and we recommend planning your itinerary around them.
Sheki is famous for its unique and delicious cuisine, which blends traditional Azerbaijani flavours with local ingredients and influences from the Silk Road. Here are some must-try dishes and sweets to enjoy during your visit:
Piti: One of the most popular dishes in Sheki is piti, a hearty stew made with lamb, chickpeas, and chestnuts, which is traditionally cooked in a clay pot and served with a side of bread.
Dovga: Dovga is a refreshing yoghurt soup with herbs and vegetables that is perfect for hot summer days. It’s a local favourite and can be found at many restaurants in Sheki.
Halva: Sheki is known for its delicious halva, a sweet treat made with sesame seeds, sugar, and nuts. It comes in many different flavours, such as walnut, almond, and pistachio.
Bakhlava: Bakhlava is another popular sweet in Sheki, made with layers of phyllo dough and filled with chopped nuts and honey syrup. It’s a perfect dessert to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee.
Qutab: Qutab is a savoury pastry filled with minced meat, cheese, or herbs, which is cooked on a griddle and served hot. It’s a popular street food in Sheki and can be found at many local markets and food stalls.
Sheki Kebab: Sheki kebab is a local speciality, made with marinated chunks of lamb or beef grilled to perfection. It’s usually served with a side of grilled vegetables and bread.
In conclusion, food in Sheki is an important part of the local culture, and visitors should take the time to sample some of the delicious and unique dishes and sweets that are available. From savoury stews to sweet treats, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
There are many great options for accommodations in Sheki, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses and hostels. Some of the best places to stay in Sheki include the Sheki Saray Hotel, a beautiful and well-appointed hotel that is located in the heart of the city, the Sheki Palace Hotel, a traditional Azerbaijani-style hotel that offers comfortable rooms and excellent service, and the Sheki Guest House, a charming and affordable guesthouse that is perfect for budget-conscious travellers.