Distance from Baku 135 km
Population 95,3 thsd person
How to get to Auto transportation: buses Baku – Shemakha
Shemakha is an ancient city of Azerbaijan founded in the V century BC. In XI-XVI centuries it was a capital of the kingdom of Shirvan and a residence of Shirvanshahs. Shemakha was one of the most beautiful cities in the East. From the middle of XVIII century it was the centre of Shemakhan Khanate (if you remember Pushkin’s the Queen of Shemakha).
Natural conditions of Shemakha lands attracted people since ancient times. The unique nature, mild climate and mineral springs provide this district with special beauty. The climate here is temperate. Oak, beech and hornbeam forests in the highlands, green fields and bushes, caressing eyes green meadows give these places unforgettable beauty. More than 50 species of medical herbs grow here. The rich nature in forests provides with favorable conditions for birds and animals living there, for example deer, boars, bears, wild cats.
This area attracts a lot of tourists and vacationers all the year round.
At the distance of 10 km from Shemakha and at 850 m above sea level on the right bank of Pirsaat river is located a large village Chuhuryurt. Here live Molokans resettled from Russia. Chuhuryurt is famous for its potatoes, cabbage and sunflower oil. Local apples, pears, plums and peaches, mountain honey are in popular demand. Sulfur springs Badabag, Tufandag and Bazardyuzyu are easily observed from the surrounding hills. One of the favorite by mountain climbers peaks is Badabag where rivers Garachay, Velvelichay and Girdimanchay start.
The most favorite place of pilgrimage for tourists is the settlement Pirkuli which is located at the distance of 22 km from the centre of the district at an altitude of 1400 m. There are all conditions for skiing in winter and summer riding. There are a lot of springs in the popular picturesque place called “Girkh-Bulag” (“Forty Springs”). In order to protect the beautiful nature of this region the reserve “Pirkuli” was created here with the territory of 1521 hectares occupied.
The biggest astrophysical observatory in Azerbaijan and in Caucasus is also in the village Pirkuli. Obseratory named by Nasreddin Tusi is equipped with modern facilities and with one of the largest in the CIS telescope with a mirror of 2 m by diameter.
Shemakha district is interesting not only for its rich nature but for an ancient history as well. Despite the numerous earthquakes in Shemakha there are many historical monuments still preserved: the Juma mosque with two minarets (743rd year), the mausoleum Shahihandan (XV century), the tomb of Shirvan Khans – mausoleum Yeddi Gumbez (Seven Domes) (XVIII-XIX centuries), the mausoleum “Diri-Baba” built in 1402, the ruins of the Gulistan citadel (XI-XIII centuries). The list of sights of the Shemakha can be continued.
For a long time Shemakha was one of the main points in this area through which the Great Silk Road passed. The Caravanserai complex with underground baths built in the XIV century is also of great interest. Finally we should mention the ruins of the legendary fortress Gala-Bugurt (XV-XVI centuries) which is located near the mountainous village of Gala-Bugurt. In the XIII century Shirvanshah Shahrukh defended himself in this fortress against Persian troops. There is the Shah’s palace inside the fortress. There was a perfect system of water supply in the fortress: water tower, lead, stone reservoirs to store water that was fed through arched passageways hidden in the wall of the fortress.
And in addition to all above Shemakha is a literary city and a homeland of a number of Azerbaijani poets, philosophers and thinkers such as Khagani (XII century), Nasimi (XIV century, M. A. Sabir (1862-1911) and many others.
Today Shemakha is also a recognized center of wine-making and weaving. This district is famous for fine wines produced both at the wineries and by some private farms. Table and dessert wines from Shemakha were awarded numerous medals and diplomas at international exhibitions. Tourists could meet with masters weaving famous carpets “Shirvan”, “Gobustan”, “Shemakha”, Israfil”, “Ardzhiman” in the village Jangi located in the plain part of Shemakha. Families of shepherds also knit colored wool socks decorated with national ornaments.
In a word Shemakha deserves close attention.