Sheki 01

Sheki is an old town with beautiful buildings from the golden years of the Silk road. Rolling hills with lush green forests that beckon you to explore them. Delicious Azeri cuisine and local specialties hard to get elsewhere. Sheki has every reason to include it in a trip to the Caucasus, but few people visit this region.Maybe I should not write about Sheki and keep it a secret. Walking through the old town without any other tourists was part of its charm. Add friendly people and good food and I was hooked.The Caucasus has always been the battleground of different empires. Sheki once belonged to the Persians, Romans, Parthians, Arabs, Mongolians and Russians.

The result is an interesting combination of cultural influences. Most of the historic buildings in town nowadays are a legacy of the Persian rule of the Shirvanshah and Soviet Russia.


The Sheki Khan’s summer palace alone makes Sheki a worthwile place to visit and it is among the top things to do in Sheki. In fact, I liked it more than the palace of the Shirvanshah in Baku. The design and frescoes are outstanding. The typical Azeri shebeke windows give it a finishing touch. You can’t take pictures inside, but they won’t do justice anyway to the intricate detailed paintings that cover every inch of the walls and ceilings.
Close to the palace is a small history museum and a covered bazaar where they sell souvenirs. Not far from the summer palace is also a lesser known winter palace that is just being renovated.

Sheki 02



Even if you are not staying in the Karavan Seray hotel, it is a great place to visit in Sheki. You are free to enter the courtyard and walk around. I love exploring places on the old Silk road and nowhere did it feel so real as in Sheki. It was not hard to imagine how these places were full of traders with their camels or donkeys. The old Karavan Serai provided a secure place to sleep. If you look carefully you will still see the hooks where traders kept their animals.



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Sheki is the kind of town where just wandering around is pleasant enough. The strange mixture of Persian and Russian influences in the architecture is not something you will find in many places.





A bit outside of Sheki is an Albanian church or temple. I was a bit confused with the country Albania, but apparently the Caucasian Albanians are a mysterious old civilization that once ruled the area and are not at all related to the present day Albanians.

The temple was the center for religious traditions including animal sacrifices. It all sounded very interesting, but honestly I was more intrigued by getting a glimpse of Azerbaijans village life in Kish and the stunning mountains.

This short day trip was one of my favourite things to do in Sheki. Don’t miss the statue of Tor Heyerdahl and the accompanying story claiming that the Norwegian Vikings were actually from Azerbaijan.