Juma Mosque of 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. 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. 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.