Şəki

Shaki / Şeki

Shaki is a city in northwestern Azerbaijan. There are traces of large-scale settlements in Shaki dating back to more than 2700 years ago. The Sakas were an Iranian people that wandered from the north side of the Black Sea through Derbend passage and to the South Caucasus and from there to Asia Minor in the 7th century B.C. They occupied a good deal of the fertile lands in South Caucasus in an area called Sakasena. The city of Shaki was one of the areas occupied by the Sakas. The original settlement dates back to the late Bronze Age.

In the early 1500s, Safavid king Ismail I conquered the area, but the town continued to be governed by its hereditary rulers, under Safavid suzerainty. Ismail’s son and successor Shah Tahmasp (r. 1524–1576) put an end to this, and in 1551, he appointed the first Qizilbash governor to rule the town. Safavid rule was twice briefly interrupted by the Ottomans between 1578 and 1603 and 1724–1735. Shaki Khanate was established in 1743, during the reign of Nader Shah, and was one of the strongest feudal states among the Caucasian khanates. During existence of Shaki khanate, the local population of the city was engaged in silkworm breeding, craft and trade. As a result of a flood in the river Kish, the city of Shaki was partially ruined and the population was resettled in the present day city.

The area was fully annexed by Russia by the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 and the khanate was abolished in 1819 and the Shaki province was established in its place. Shaki province was merged with provinces of Shemakha, Baku, Susha, Lankaran, Derbent and Kuban in 1840 and Caspian Oblast was created. At same time Shaki was renamed as Nuha (Nuxa). The oblast was dissolved in 1846 and it was raion center of Shemakha Governorate. After the earthquake in Shemakha in 1859, the governorate was renamed as Baku Governorate. On 19 February 1868, raion of Nuha was passed to newly created Yelizavetpol Governorate with one of Susha. After founding of USSR, it was center of Nuha raion. Its one was abolished on 4 January 1963 and was bounded to one of Vartashen. Nuha one was founded again in 1965 and finally city and raion regained traditional name in 1968.

During its history, the town saw devastation many times and because of that, the oldest historic and architectural monuments currently preserved are dated to only the 16th–19th centuries. For many centuries, Shaki has been famous for being the center of silkworm-breeding. Originally located on the left bank of the river Kish, the town sat lower down the hill, however Shaki was moved to its present location after a devastating flood in 1772 and became the capital of Shaki Khanate. As the new location was near the village of Nukha, the city also became known as Nukha, until 1968 when it reverted to the name Shaki.

Places of interest

> Palace of Shaki Khans
> Shakikhanov’s house

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