Snoozing amid green pillows of beautifully forested mountains, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's loveliest towns. It has a rich history and is one of the few places in the country where tourism can be described as even vaguely organised. Even so you probably won't see more than a handful of fellow travellers here, even during summer.
Sheki's foremost 'sight' is the two-storey Sheki Khan Saray (The King's Palace), which was finished in 1762. It is located just up the hill from the Caravansaray, with a decent view over the city and is set in a walled rose garden behind two huge plane trees supposedly planted in 1530. The walled grounds (free entry) hold several building all belonging to the one time Khan of the land, and various other occupying forces. There are couple of museums that are generally not recommended for visit.
The stunning exterior of the Palace is masterfully decorated with dark blue, turquoise and ochre tiles in an array of geometric patterns, magnificently setting off the intricate wood-framed, stainedglass windows known as shabaka. You'd think that alone would be a reward, but it's TOTALLY worth it to pay the 2 manat (or so) to go in the Palace. A skillful tour guide (no extra charge) shows you around the fabulous interior, explaining the meaning of the magnificent murals, which cover the walls and even the ceilings. Easily one the most impressive building in Azerbaijan that you could see.
As of 18th century, five big Caravanserais (Isfahan, Tabriz, Lezgi, Ermeni and Taze) were active in Sheki but only two of them have survived. The upper and lower Caravanserais were built in 18th century and used by merchants to store their goods in cellars, who traded on the first floor, and lived on the second. Both Caravanserais includes view of all convenience and safety of merchants and their goods.
Even if you don’t stay here, peep inside the wonderful Karavansaray (MF Axundov kuch), an historic caravanserai with a twin-level
arcade of sturdy arches enclosing a pretty central courtyard. A caravansary was a roadside inn in years gone by. A place for wary travellers to rest and eat. Caravansarys supported the flow of commerce and information on trade route stretching from Asia to the Middle East to Eastern Europe. This large 2-storey example has been superbly rebuilt to reflect it's former glory.
Rooms are simple, but all have western toilet and hot water.
The historic atmosphere of the hotel is certainly worth the modest 30 Manat per room. Even if you decide not to stay here, the tea garden is great way to experience the culture and still great some great photos of the hotel. Stride through the somewhat daunting wooden gateway door and if questioned say you're heading for the restaurant in the garden behind, a lovely place for a cuppa with a slice of Sheki's signature halva (pastry with nuts).
Shaki is surrounded by snowy peaks of the Greater Caucasus, in some places reaching 3000–3600 m. Shaki's climate includes a range of cyclones and anticyclones, air masses and local winds. The average annual temperature in Sheki is 12 °C. In June and August, average temperature varies between 20 and 25 °C.
The mountain forests around the area prevent the city from floods and overheating of the area during summer. The main rivers of the city are the Kish and Gurjhana. During the Soviet rule of Azerbaijan, many ascended to Shaki to bathe in its prestigious mineral springs.