Shaki or Sheki, city (1989 pop. 56,223), N Azerbaijan, on the southern slopes of the Caucasus. It is a silk and manufacturing center in a district that grows fruit and rice. Until its annexation (1805) by Russia it was the capital of a khanate under Persian sovereignty. Shaki was formerly known as Nukha. The summer palace of the khan still stands outside the city.

Shaki (Şəki; until 1968 Nukha, Azerbaijani: Nuxa; also, Nucha, Shäki, and Sheki) is a city in North-west Azerbaijan, in the rayon of the same name.

Shaki is situated in northern Azerbaijan on the southern part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, 325 km (200 miles) from Baku.The population of Shaki is 63,000


According to the Azerbaijan Development Gateway, the name of the town goes back to the ethnonym of the Sakas, who reached the territory of modern day Azerbaijan in the 7th century B.C. and populated it for several centuries. In the medieval sources, the name of the town is found in various forms such as Sheke, Sheki, Shaka, Shakki, Shakne, Shaken, Shakkan, Shekin.


There are traces of the large-scale settlements in Shaki that date 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 lads in the 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.

Shaki was one of the biggest cities of the Albanian states in the 1st century. The main temple of the ancient Albanians was located there. The kingdom of Shaki was divided into 11 administrative provinces. Shaki had been one of the important political and economic cities before the Arab invasion. But as a result of the invasion, Shaki was annexed to the third emirate. An independent principality was established in tames of a weakened Arabian caliphate. She was also managed by Georgian Kingdom, Atabegs of Azerbaijan and Khwarezmid Empire before Mongol invasion. After the collapse of the Hulakis in the first half of the 14th century, Shaki gained independence immediately after the states of Shirvanshahs and the Orlat dynasty came into power. Shah Tahmasp put an end to the independence of Shaki in 1551 and annexed it to Safavid Iran except Ottoman administration between 1578-1603 and 1724-1735. Then the Shaki khanate was established in 1743, and was one of the strongest feudal states among the Caucasian khanates.

As a result of the flood in the river Kish, the city of Shaki was partially ruined and the population was resettled in the present day city. The Shaki khanate became a vassal of the Russian Empire in accordance with the second Kurekchay Treaty of 1805. The area was fully annexed by Russia by the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813 and the khanate was abolished in 1819 and in its place the Shaki province was established.

During its history, the town was devastated 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 as the basic center of silkworm-breeding. Originally located on the left bank of the river Kish, the town sited 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 became also known as Nukha, until 1960 when it reverted back to the name Shaki.

Shaki is famous for the 18th century Khan's palace and caravanserai.


Shaki's possesses a small silk industry and relies on its agricultural sector, which produces tobacco, grapes, cattle, nuts, cereals and milk.


Shaki residents are known for their sweet tooth. Delicious sweets, like halva are made from old and secret recipes, which the residents keep well guarded. Residents of Shaki speak a little different which causes other Azerbaijanis to smile upon hearing them talking and is regarded as a likeable accent and intonation of the words . Shaki also has specific words like yaraf and yelpenek that do not exist in other districts of Azerbaijan. Probably the most famous feature of Shakinians are their comic tales. Shaki's comic tales hero Haci Dayi is the subject of nearly all jokes here.


Shakki is surrounded by mountains and oak trees. During the Soviet period, many ascended to Shaki to bathe in its numerous mineral springs. Because of its natural beauty, Shaki is one of the towns with the greatest tourist potential in Azerbaijan.

Sister cities

Famous people

A number of famous representatives of Azeri culture, education and science were born and grown-up in Sheki.

External links


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