Palace of Shaki Khans

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Palace of Shaki Khans
Azerbaijani: Şəki xanlarının sarayı
Şəki xan sarayı.jpg
External view of the Palace
General information
Type Palace
Location Shaki, Azerbaijan
Construction started 1789/1790[1]
Completed 1797
Renovated 1848-51, 1955-65, 2002-2004
Design and construction
Architect Abbasgulu (presumably)[2]
Interior of the Consultation Room

The Palace of Shaki Khans (Azerbaijani: Şəki xanlarının sarayı) in Shaki, Azerbaijan was a summer residence for the Shaki Khans. It was built in 1797 by Muhammed Hasan Khan.

The Palace of Shaki Khans was nominated for List of World Heritage Sites, UNESCO in 1998 by Gulnara Mehmandarova[3] — president of Azerbaijan Committee of ICOMOSInternational Council on Monuments and Sites .

Preservation and restoration[edit]

From 1955 to 1965 restoration was carried out in full under the supervision of Niyazi Rzaev. Two talented architects, Kamal Mamedbekov and Nikolai Utsyn, were involved in this work creating measurement and restoration drawings, the restoration workshop was established in the ceremonial hall on the second floor of the palace, and the rooms flanking the hall were used to accommodate the architects. The drawings developed by Mamedbekov and Utsyn formed the basis of the restoration project for the entire palace complex. Execution of the restoration work based on the drawings was entrusted to the artist F. Hajiyev and the shabaka master A. Rasulov.

The last total and complete restoration from 2002 - 2004 supported by the world bank and executed under leading of a German restoration team (Uwe Henschel, Dietrich Wellmer, Elisabeth Wellmer, Andreas Lessmeister) from company "Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg GmbH" (today "Neumühler Bauhütte GmbH").


Along with its pool and plane trees, the summer residence is the only remaining structure from the larger palatial complex inside the Sheki Khans' Fortress, which once included a winter palace, residences for the Khan's family and servants' quarters, it features decorative tiles, fountains and several stained-glass windows. The exterior was decorated with dark blue, turquoise and ochre tiles in geometric patterns and the murals were coloured with tempera and were inspired by the works of Nizami Ganjavi.[4]

Measuring thirty-two meters by eight and a half meters on the exterior, the summer residence is a two-story masonry structure elongated on the north-south axis and covered with a wooden hipped roof with long eaves, the layout of both floors is identical; three rectangular rooms are placed in a row, separated by narrow, south-facing iwans that provide access to the rooms. The floors are accessed separately to accommodate their public and private functions. Entered from the south through the two iwans, the ground floor was used primarily by clerks and petitioners. Two stairways attached to the northern façade gave access to the first floor, which was reserved for the khan's family and their guests.

The summer residence is renowned for the lavish decoration of its exterior and interior. Large portions of the residence's facade, including the entire southern elevations of the central halls on both floors, are covered by a mosaic of colored glass set in a wooden latticework (shebeke) that was assembled without nails or glue. Muqarnas hoods crowning the four iwans are highlighted with gold on the lower level and covered with mirror fragments on the first floor. Remaining surfaces on all façades are decorated with floral tile panels and tile mosaics.

The interior walls of the residence are covered entirely with frescoes painted at different times during the eighteenth century. Many of the frescoes feature flowers in vases, while a series of paintings on the first floor halls depict hunting and battle scenes. Signatures on frescoes list the names of artists Ali Kuli, Kurban Kuli and Mirza Jafar from Shemaha, Usta Gambar from Shusha, and Abbas Kuli, who may also have been the architect of the summer residence.


  1. ^ Adalat Tahirzade.,23
  2. ^ Azerbaijan Soviet Encyclopedia (1987), vol. 10, p. 502
  3. ^ "Sheki, the Khan's Palace". Официальный сайт ЮНЕСКО. 2001. Archived from the original on 2012-05-15. 
  4. ^ David C. King. Azerbaijan, Marshall Cavendish, 2006, p. 99

Coordinates: 41°24′N 47°02′E / 41.400°N 47.033°E / 41.400; 47.033