As of 2020, it has a population of 68,400. The center of the city and the Palace of Shaki Khans were inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2019 because of its unique architecture and its history as an important trading center along the Silk Road.
Shaki was founded in the 8th century BC. It was one of the biggest cities of the Albanian states in the 1st century. The main temple of the ancient Albanians was located there. The kingdom of Shaki was divided into 11 administrative provinces. Shaki was one of the important political and economic cities before the Arab invasion.

In 2010, Shaki was visited by 15,000 foreign tourists from all around the world.

Shaki has one of the greatest density of cultural resources and monuments that include 2700 years of Azerbaijani history. The city boasts a lot of houses with red roofs. In pop culture, probably the most famous feature of Shakinians are their nice sense of humor and comic tales. Shaki's comic tales hero Hacı dayı (Uncle Haji) is the subject of nearly all jokes in the area.

Shaki has always played a central role in Azerbaijani art and more generally in the art and architecture of Azerbaijan. Under the name of Nukha, the city is the scene of much of the action in Brecht's play The Caucasian Chalk Circle. 
In the second half of the XIX century. Nukha was ranked second in terms of trade and industry development. New types of city and county schools were created.

According to the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijani SSR No. 97 of March 6, 1968, the 'Yukhary Bash' area in Nukha was declared an architectural reserve. 

In 1975, the construction of the drama theater building was completed in Shaki.

In 1983, the Shaki craft Museum opened.