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UNESCO Considering Inclusion of Azerbaijan's Sheki City in World Heritage List

By Mushvig Mehdiyev December 14, 2016


Sheki city panorama

During its World Heritage Convention, UNESCO added Azerbaijan’s city of Sheki on its tentative list of sites for possible inclusion on its World Heritage List. In Paris, on December 12th, officials from Azerbaijan’s Culture and Tourism Ministry discussed world heritage status with UNESCO’s member states.

Sheki has roots dating back to 7th century BCE. Situated in Eurasia, it reflects Azerbaijan’s blend of Oriental and Occidental origins. According to the Smithsonian Institute, it is the third most ancient cultural and historical city of Azerbaijan. Proponents of the nomination stated,

“Sheki has preserved its ancient city-build structure and it is rich in beautiful architectural monuments.”

One such building is the Khan’s Palace built in the 18th century. The building was built as a “puzzle” consisting of 5,000 wooden pieces, a colorful glass façade and a uniquely decorated interior with no usage of glues and nails. The palace, currently serving as a museum, is among the must-see touristic destinations in Azerbaijan.

Also built in the 18th century, the Caravanserai complex, originally provided lodging and respite for travelers along the Silk Road.  Sheki also boasts the oldest church in the Caucasus, the Albanian Kish church, dating back to the 1st to 12th centuries.

Architectural Heritage of Sheki

If Sheki is listed on the World Heritage List, it will be the third location in Azerbaijan to be included. The other cities listed are Icherisheher, a medieval city in the heart of capitol Baku, and Gobustan, an ancient settlement famous for its prehistoric rock engravings.