Sheki Azerbaijan Travel Guide A Vagabond Life
Sheki Azerbaijan Travel Guide
Sheki Azerbaijan is in northwestern Azerbaijan on the southern part of the Great Caucuses Mountain Range.
Once the seat of an Albanian kingdom, Sheki was invaded repeatedly by the Persian, Roman, Parthian, Arab, and Mongolian, Later it became the capital of the independent Sheki Khanate, during which the Khans Palace was built. Sheki’s independence did not last long; it was absorbed in the early 19th century by an expansionist Russian Empire.
The town of Sheki is very pretty and is big enough to have things to see and do in it but small enough to navigate easily.
Sheki is a great stop-off point on the way to/from Georgia.
Sheki Azerbaijan Table of Contents
Sheki Azerbaijan Map
Travel Tips Sheki Azerbaijan
From Baku By Bus Or Mini Van
The Baku Bus Terminal is on the top floor of a shopping centre.
To get there catch the excellent Baku Metro to the Avtovaghzal. Once off the train from follow the underground signs to the Baku Bus Terminal. (Shopping Centre)
The Baku Bus Terminal is a chaotic mass of people, traders and buses leaving for destinations all over Azerbaijan and beyond.
There are two different types of bus that run to Sheki:
Coach: A coach that travels the main highways. Coaches run daily with the current timetable leaving Baku at 9am, 11am, 12:20pm, 2pm, 4:30pm and 5:30pm.
The coach stops for lunch at a road side restaurant which has toilets. You will need to take toilet paper with you to the toilet.
Tickets from Baku to Sheki cost 8.40 AZN
Mini Van: A mini van which takes a more direct route through the mountains. A quicker option but perhaps not for those who suffer travel sickness.
While the coach is slower the bonus of getting to Sheki this way is that is is not packed to the gills as the mini vans are and there is somewhere for your luggage.
Both the coach and min-van arrive into the Sheki Bus Terminal which is in a central location. From there you can catch a local bus or taxi to your guest house.
Baku Metro Map
Sheki has an excellent bus system with mini vans or small buses shuttling people all over the town.
They are very easy to catch, simply stand at a bus stop and get on. You pay for your journey to the driver as you get off the bus.
The number 15 bus will take you to the nearby town of Kish, famous for its church.
Take the 3A bus to The Palace of the Sheki Khans and Caravansari
Eating In Sheki Azerbaijan
Sheki has numerous restaurants ranging from large family geared to more basic affairs aimed at workers.
Pilaf – Plov
Popular across much of the middle east Azerbaijan Plov is saffron infused rice cooked with aromatic herbs, meat and vegetables. The recipe varies from town to town and cook to cook.
Popular across the entire region a Kebab is (usually) seasoned meat on a skewer cooked over a BBQ or open flame often served with a salad and rice.
A traditional workers dish Piti is lamb or mutton with vegetables and chickpeas cooked in an earthen pot in the traditional way. Piti will often have a piece of mutton fat on the top.
Similar to Greek Dolmadies Dolma is minced lamb and rice infused with herbs and spices wrapped in either cabbage or vine leaves usually served with yoghurt.
Aubergine and Pepper Dolma
One of our absolute favourites, Azeri Aubergine and Pepper Dolma are a delicious mix of spiced lamb stuffed in roast peppers and aubergines.
Dovga is a soup traditionally made from plain yoghurt and herbs. It is delicious on a hot day.
Cucumber, tomato and fetta with olive oil. You will eat a lot of this dish while in Azerbaijan, it is served with just about every meal.
DELICIOUS… A type of pancake stuffed with minced lamb, cheese or spinach.
A specialty of Sheki, Azerbaijan Halva is different to the Halva of other middle eastern countries. Azerbaijan Halva comprises of chopped nuts sandwiched between thin layers of fried dough, normally eaten with tea.
For an experience stay at the Sheki Caravanserai other than that stay in one of the many guest houses that are in Sheki and experience wonderful Azerbaijani hospitality.
Things To See & Do In Sheki Azerbaijan
Sheki Fortress (Haci Calabi’s Nukha Fortress)
At the top of a hill sits the Sheki Fortress built in the 18th century by Sheki Khan Haji Chalabi (1743-1755).
Inside the fortress is the Palace, tourist office, a craft workshop and a cafe set in grassy fields. There is a great view of the valley from the fortress.
The number 3a bus drops off / picks up directly outside the fortress.
Palace of the Sheki Khans (Khansarai)
Palace of the Sheki Khans (Khansarai)
Taking pride of place in the centre of the forts walls is the Palace or Khansarai. During the city’s period of independence as the Sheki Khanate in the 18th century, Khan Hussein constructed the palace, its gardens, and fortifications to serve as the summer palace of the Sheki Khans.
Entry is by guided tour only, and photos are not permitted.
Just a short walk down the hill from the Fortress the Sheki Caravanserai now operates as a hotel and restaurant.
Back in the day travellers on the silk route would stop here to rest and trade before continuing on their journey.
The Shei Caravanserai consists of 2 caravanserai.
The lower one is a rectangular shape and sits around a courtyard with a pool in the middle. There are 242 rooms in the lower caravanserai. It is the lower one that is now used as an hotel.
The upper caravanserai is trapezium-shaped. and has about 300 rooms in it.
Tea In The Gardens
Tea In The Park
One day our wandering took us to Bəxtiyar Vahabzadə Park where men sit to drink tea, play backgammon and chat. Catching the bus to the park and drinking tea became an afternoon favourite.