Thursday, May 31, 2007


Today is 31st of May, last day of spring :( spring flew away so fast :( pity…I am thankful though for another beautiful spring in my life :)

Going back to posts....

I had earlier posts on Sheki
Caravanserai. Here is another photo taken at the entrance hall of it…you might have noticed 8-angle shaped pool at the entrance, river stone pavement and walls and shebeke that I have mentioned before. I want to draw your attention to the dome of the entrance this time. Here is a closer shot of it. Quite a nice brick work, don’t you think?

Enjoy summer :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fathers and children...

First of all here is better photo of earlier post kindly forwarded to me by my friend Turkan. Unfortunately I do not have more information on meanings of the mirrors etc of the Palace at the moment…maybe sometime…

Pausing on the posts on Khan Sarayi for now…

Today I am posting a photo that I called “fathers and children”.

You can see two people on this photo, father who is counting/turning beads that are called “tesbeh” in Azerbaijani……usually older sometimes younger men too do it when thinking or idle…my father counts beads when he is thinking…that puts his mind and soul in piece…“tesbeh” has religious meaning as well I think but I don’t know the details very well so will not elaborate on that now….the other person is my little sister she is playing with the mobile…looking for some MP3 song I am sure…that is something that puts her in piece…the photo is taken on a picnic where families go to enjoy nature, make kebabs and also rest in the woods…the kind of pillows that you see on the picture are what we call “mutekke”, home made oriental pillows that are used when taking a nap or having a rest, one can also lean against them…

here they are…different generations enjoying life the way they choose to… someway similar…someway different…

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Artistic gatherings...

Below information is given to me by my friend Turkan. Her former students prepared the information earlier and she shared it with me. Thanks to everyone!

Sheki Khan Sarayi was built in 1761-62 by grandson of the founder of Sheki Khanate Hachi Chelebi Khan, Huseyn Khan Mushtaq. One of the main reasons of construction of the Palace was that Huseyn Khan was also a poet and wrote poems under nom de plume Mushtaq and loved artistic gatherings very much. Therefore Khan got built such a magnificent Palace and used to invite poets and scholars to it. Prominent Azerbaijani poets Molla Panah Vaqif and Molla Veli Vidadi can be mentioned among the invitees to Khan Sarayi. Khan Sarayi is an ornamental miracle that can be compared to richly ornamented Azerbaijan carpet.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fable or not...

Since Sheki Khan Sarayi is so fairy there are many mysterious fables about it. One of them is that there is a water system installed inside the walls of the Palace and that is why conversations held in one room can not be heard in the other.

As Khan Sarayi is so magic numerous historians are still attracted to it. Even nowadays they are trying to discover its enigmatic secrets…

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

View from Sheki Khan Sarayi

...and of course Khan had to have the best view.

Here is the view from his Palace overlooking at Khan's estate, Sheki. (you can see it far in the picture) The view starts with the garden of the Palace...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Frescos miniatures

As I mentioned earlier the whole Sheki Khan Sarayi is decorated by frescos miniatures that describe/mean something. Here is a small piece that decorates part of the wall in one of the rooms describing some battle where most probably Khan gained a victory. Historians know the meanings of those flags and are able to tell long stories looking at just this one piece. Colors used in drawing those fresco miniatures are totally natural and able to display their beuty even now since they were drawn in XVIII century.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bride & Groom

Today I am posting a photo of a couple that is getting married and came to Sheki Khan Sarayi to take their photo. Everyone would agree that on a wedding day if not the groom then the bride is sure that this is the day when she is the most beautiful woman on Earth. This is her day. Well maybe the groom thinks the same I am just not sure. And of course she wants the pictures to be taken in the most beautiful spots. Naturally in Sheki they came to take their photo in front of Sheki Khan Sarayi. God bless.

The brides’ head-dress is not typical for Sheki. As a matter of fact there is no general style at the moment and every bride’s veil is as she chooses. Red ribbon on her waist means that she is a virgin…this tradition came from earlier times and is still very much obeyed to...tradition of not only wearing the ribbon but also actually being a virgin until getting married…

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Very often I am upset when I see that a person before me is not as sincere as he/she could be…he/she is playing…trying to be smart…make an impression…hurt…prove something either to me or himself/herself…I cant relax then and enjoy communicating…it is unpleasant…

When I am looking at this picture that I called “reflection” I know exactly that it is beautiful…I wish there was this kind of a tool at looking at oneself when doing something…that would show to a person that for example he/she is not pretty (as a personality) when being insincere…but then tastes differ…

This is a photo of a reflection of a tree in the pool in front of Sheki Khan Sarayi.

Friday, May 18, 2007


This is another photo of Sheki Khan Sarayi. You can see here underside of the roof. Modern person could think “Who pays attention to underside of the roof, why to bother and waste time, money and energy on decorating this part as well…” I don’t know if Khan or his architect or designer had second thoughts when decorating this part of the Palace but they did an excellent job. I am supporting their perfectionism here…To be honest with you I might have not noticed this if not Teymur who has an excellent eye for noticing the details...

The window is done in shebeke style that I mentioned earlier.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sheki Khan Sarayi (Sheki Khan Palace)

If Khan saw me in his Palace he would say “How dare you strange woman, step into my mansion. Guard, take her.” If a museum keeper saw us taking photos (it is prohibited to take photos in the museum) she would say “Stop breaking the rules or I will call the security.” As a matter of fact I always imagine impression of Khans, Princes, Kings if they saw all those people visiting their Palaces, walking through their rooms where once nobody was allowed to enter or see….I guess they would feel very offended and commit suicide (after punishing all the visitors of course).

This is the view of one of the rooms of Khan Sarayi. Of course all rooms are ornamented and every ornament has a meaning behind it, every flower, leave, animal, any drawing, illustration is describing something: some belief, thought, event, something that happened to Khan or his ancestors or historic event of Sheki. Although Azerbaijan is not a poor country the Palace still wasn’t restored totally as it used to be in Khan’s times unfortunately. For example Khan had carpets which ornament repeated the ornament drawn on the ceiling…Now the floors are naked… Is it possible that floors of Khans’ Palaces’ are naked and not covered with rich and thick carpets? Well maybe in XXI century….


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sheki Khan Sarayi (Sheki Khan Palace)

Today I was busy at work and caught myself thinking that it is quite possible and most probably true that a person can get caught under work laud, routine and cares and forget that there are things like hobbies, love, enjoyment…it is also true of course that a lot depends on the personality and attitude…anyway…

Hello to everyone!

Today I am starting cycle of posts that would be devoted to one of the main prides of Sheki, Sheki Khan’s Palace or as we call it in Azerbaijani Sheki Khan Sarayi (Saray in Azerbaijani means Palace). This is the Palace of early XVIII century built for Khan (ruler of Sheki). To build the Palace no nails or glue was used but only the principle of “locked lock” was used. Also it is said that during its construction eggs were used as gluing material. This is summer residence of Khan. It was nice and cool high in the mountains so he and his family enjoyed staying in this beautiful Palace.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


When I visit the museums I am always stunned to see how much attention and importance was always given in ancient times to every detail when building a Palace. Maybe that is what made a Palace a real Palace…The construction then usually took ages but the results are pieces of art that are enjoyed even today. Yes those palaces were built with sweat and blood of people and I am not sure if it was worth it…I wouldn’t want to be the builder but I am very happy as a museum visitor :) …anyway…enough bla bla :)

Going back to yesterday’s subject, today I am posting another piece of art, shebeke of a verandah window of the Palace of Sheki Khan. It is magnificent. In a sunny day the room is filled with all the colors of the rainbow. In any case shebeke has an ability to turn any room to a majestic place to be. Enjoy :)

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Another characteristic feature of Sheki is its art called “shebeke”, small wooden (walnut) pieces (from the simplest 20 to the most complex 5,000 (!) pieces work) assembled to one piece. No nail or glue is used to assemble the pieces, all hand made. It could have colorful glass pieces in it, or just be wooden. The technology of the work is very complicated and known to very rare people. The family that is engaged in this art keeps the knowledge in deep secret and passes it from generation to generation. Everything is hand made and really beautiful. Shebeke is used in decorating the windows and walls of the houses but it is a very expensive pleasure.

This photo is taken in the studio of above mentioned family. You can see ready shebeke pieces and some pieces in preparation stage.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Welcome to spring

It would be great to be able to reborn into a young, fresh and blooming person each spring just like the flora of the nature. (Well at least couple of times in a life time:) Spring has come late this year to Azerbaijan but birds are singing cheerfully even if some days are rainy.

Sheki women are usually very hard on themselves and most of them compete in having not only the cleanest house but also the neatest garden. During semi annual spring cleaning they not only lick clean their houses from the roof to the basement but also clean their gardens thoroughly. The scene of cleaned garden is amazing because it looks like as if the garden, the nature is saying “I am ready to welcome the spring, new life”. People are equally happy because cold mountain winter tired them all…

Unfortunately I don’t have the photo of a kind of naked, empty and neat gardens in spring anticipation but I have a photo that shows into what one of those naked gardens turns as a result of amazing force of nature. Enjoy :)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Dedicated to blessed memory...

Today is 9th of May, the day when the World War II ended in 1945.

In year 2007 at the age of Internet and comfort it is not easy to imagine the war that was going on for 4 years and took the lives of more than 20 million people. (according to different sources this figure is from 20 to 40 million). Just looking around and counting 10 people might give some perspective of what 20 million (!) means…

Today is a public holiday in Azerbaijan also and we are paying tribute to everyone who gave his life in that war. There were no military operations at that time in Azerbaijan because it was highly defended as a petrol supplier to all Soviet arms. Nevertheless more than 250,000 Azerbaijanis went to the front and never returned home.

Today’s post is dedicated to veterans and every victim of World War II, the victims and veterans of Azerbaijan’s current
Nagorny Karabakh conflict and all the other people that sacrifice their lives for peace on the Earth.

I will mention one of the heroes of Sheki today.

Ahmadiyya Jabrailov, the late veteran of World War II from Sheki fought all 4 years in the war as a brave partisan. He fought together with
Charles de Gaulle, 18th President of France, and as Sheki people love to give nicknames, after Ahmadiyya returned from World War II and until his last day his nickname was De Gaulle Ahmad. French awarded him with an order of the Hero of France.

The painting of Ahmadiyya Jabrailov that you see on this post is painted by National Artist of Azerbaijan, now the late
Jahangir Rustamov, uncle of my husband.

You can find the photo of Ahmadiyya Jabrailov


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Three in one

Today I realized that I tend to think/believe that miracles (unexpected fortunate events that happen without the person's direct influence/input) mostly happen to young people. Well maybe mostly, yes, they do happen to young people but to older people miracles happen as well of course. And its unbelievable that I could think otherwise...
Above has nothing to do with my today's post. It was just my thought of the day which I shared with you. Hope you don't mind.
Today's photo is called "Three in one" because it unifies ceramic roof tiles, river stone fences and mountains of Sheki that I mentioned in my earlier posts. Although experts say that one shouldn't believe to "2 in 1" products I think it doesn't apply here :). Meet my husband, Teymur, who has taken all the photos of this blog so far.

Monday, May 07, 2007

River stone walls

I mentioned before that there is no sea in Sheki…but there are rivers…small and big…mountain and valley rivers.

People use river stones when building their houses and fences. Usually they start building with river stones and then continue building the same wall with bricks. Its more difficult to build with river stones therefore more and more people are building with bricks.

This is a photo from Sheki Caravanserai (please see my earlier post on Caravanserai). As you can see river stones were partially used to build the walls of it (bottom part). As for me I think river stone walls are much more beatiful and peculiar if compared to walls built with other materials.

I want to thank all of you for your support to my blog. It is very motivating for me. Thank you!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pools of Sheki

A person is not able to choose a place of birth although religious people would argue that everything has a reason including the place of birth...I am not going to continue this thought since it will get too complicated…

Today’s post is about pools in front of every house in Sheki. Traditionally every house in Sheki has a pool in front of it. This is not a swimming pool but a pool where the family would keep water. They wouldn’t drink that water or wash their dishes but would only wash their hands turning on its tap or water their garden or pump that water into the water tank of their bathrooms for example. Usually the builders of those pools are the same people. I don’t know if this is the reason (or some other) of the same shape of the pool in every yard. Usually it is eight angle shape pool.

Anybody who knows Fenshui (Chinese philosophy) would remember that according to it there must be a water pool or some water in front of every house for better energy etc.

I think that in addition to some convenience and necessity reasons there could be a similar reason for Sheki pools as well…because history shows that whatever our ancestors did in the past had a good reason and was well thought through during centuries…

This is a picture of my uncle’s house and the pool that you see in front of it is the kind of pool that I am talking about…you would find pool like this almost in every home in Sheki.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Silk festival

It is an egg and chicken situation but I am not sure if Silk Route was passing through Sheki and that is why Sheki started producing silk or that silk was produced in Sheki and that is why Silk Route started to pass through Sheki. Will have to check this with historians.

During Soviet times most of the population of Sheki was either breeding silk worm or working in silk producing factory. I visited once the factory and saw that it is a very hard job I must say since smell caused by processing is awful and worms are put in a very hot water so it is very hot and unpleasant in the workshops…But the result - silk is amazing of course...

…starting last year Sheki is having silk festivals where craftsmen are exhibiting their works and tourists visit Sheki to buy silk scarves or even silk carpets. This is the photo that we took last year.
Those girls are wearing silk scarves made in Sheki. They and the other boys are also wearing national costumes because they are dance performers. Usually native Sheki people are very shy and it took us a while to convince them to take a group photo. They got very excited at the end and even their instructor joined us for the photo….


Thursday, May 03, 2007


Another peculiarity of Sheki is its location. Sheki is situated on the Silk Road. Historically caravans were passing through Sheki. For those who are not sure caravanserai is a place where caravans stopped, people rested and camels got fed.
Sheki Caravanserai is turned into a hotel now. I will post more photos and information about the Silk Route and Caravanserai of Sheki on this blog...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

300 years old oak trees of Sheki

I will continue writing about nature of Sheki.

Someone very wise planted two oak trees in front of "Sheki Khan" Palace. They were planted in early 1700…Trees now turned into impressive, great and respectable if I may say so examples of Mother Nature.

Khans came and went, regimes replaced each other, XXI century arrived but the oaks stand there proclaiming the greatness of nature…
More photos of those two gorgeous oak trees are here, here and here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ceramic roof tops of Sheki

One of the other peculiarities of Sheki is its red ceramic roof tops. Historically all the roof tops of the houses in Sheki were done in red ceramic (am I repeating myself?:) Ceramics-makers have always been working in Sheki and continue doing so today. Clay, material used for ceramics making is available in Sheki therefore it was more affordable to use ceramic roof tops. Also triangular shape of the roof tops was convenient during rainy and snowy seasons.
It is not very easy to tile the roof top with ceramics therefore nowadays many people go for modern material and unfortunately do not at least choose the colour that would blend with general beautiful and peculiar bird's-eye view of the city.
More photos here and here.