About Palace of Sheki Khans
The Palace of Sheki Khans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Azerbaijan. It was built in the 18th century with lavish decorations and a mosaic façade.
History of the Palace of Sheki Khans
The Palace of Sheki Khans was a residence for the Sheki Khans and was built in 1797 by Muhammed Hasan Khan. The Sheki Khans controlled the city of Sheki as governors of the Zand and Qajar Persian dynasties until their annexation by the Russian Empire in 1813.
The Sheki Khan’s Palace is a two-story structure covered with a wooden, hipped roof with long eaves. The façade is covered by a mosaic of coloured glass set in a wooden lattice work that was assembled without nails or glue. Inside, the palace’s rectangular rooms are lavishly decorated with gold, mirror fragments and floral tiles and mosaics.
Interior walls also feature frescoes which date to the 18th century. They depict flowers and also hunting and battle scenes.
The palace is located in the city of Sheki. Sheki is situated at the base of the Greater Caucasus Mountains in Azerbaijan and is run through by the Gurjana River. Its architecture is influenced by Safavid, Qajar and Russian building traditions.
The Khan Palace is in the northeast of the city, behind the curtain walls of the Sheki Fortress. Along with other merchant houses, it demonstrates the wealth generated by silkworm breeding and the trade in silk cocoons in the late 18th century.
Palace of Sheki Khans today
The palace is the main historical site in Sheki and in 2019 became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Following restoration work, the palace is in good condition. There is an English speaking guide to help visitors tour the small site, though taking photographs is not allowed inside.
Getting to the Palace of Sheki Khans
The Palace of Sheki Khans can be reached by a slightly uphill walk from the town centre. Taxi or minibus can be used to travel to Sheki from the capital city of Baku, which takes around four hours.