The Sheki bazaar is a great place to mingle with locals and see how Azeris shop and live in the country. Like in Georgia, bazaars are where most people do their daily shopping. An amazing variety of goods is on display, and there are designated sections for shoes clothing,
toiletries, electronics and, of most interest for visitors, food. Azeris eat a lot of mutton, which looks to be slaughtered halal style and is very fresh and delicious. Unlike in Georgia, we saw many whole sheep carcasses hanging for sale. Next to the lamb is fresh produce grown by locals. In October, we were treated to large fragrant quinces, vibrant persimmons, pomegranates bursting with juice, luscious green figs, and bunches of local varieties of basil, tarragon, sorrel, and countless other herbs - all produce that would be considered fairly exotic in California.
What I find most interesting about Caucasian bazaars is that they embody what American farmer's markets are trying hard to be: filled with organic, locally grown produce and handmade cheeses, free range meat from livestock slaughtered the same morning, and a variety of other speciality foods. Most shoppers are as particular as the yuppies who frequent our farmer's markets, carefully smelling fruit before buying and tasting where they can. Yet in these countries, it is considered prestigious to purchase imported (and inferior) produce, frozen meat, and rubbery packaged cheese at inflated prices from the few supermarkets in the cities. The bazaars are left to locals who can't afford the mass produced goods, locals who know better, and tourists like myself.
Tip for visitors: the meat hanging unrefrigerated in the bazaar may seem unhygenic to some, but I have never gotten sick from it. The tiny, spartan bazaar cafes are some of the best places to dine on cheap, delicious shashlik and kebabs.
The dried sour plums and sour plum rolls - tklapi- are even better in Azerbaijan than in Georgia, in my opinion. They are nice to take home to reproduce some of the delicious dishes that you've enjoyed on your trip, such as kharcho and plov. If you see preserved walnuts - they're black and in a sweet brown syrup - give them a try. They are delicious, and nearly impossible to make or buy elsewhere.
Albanian Church is located in Kish (kis) it;s not so far away from Sheki, It is possible to take the number 23 or 15 bus from the new bazaar in Sheki. It costs .2 AZN or get a taxi which cost 5-6 AZN. This church is fabled to have been started by the first century apostle Eliseus, who converted the site from a pagan temple to an apostolic church. The sites around the church were excavated from 2000 until 2002, and the remains of bodies found within the present church walls, which date back to the 5th century, are on display in the church courtyard.
The Palace of the Khans is an absolute must-see for any visitor. Tour guides will gladly show you around and it's necessary to take a guide since they explain everything very well and provide you with useful information. Magnificent Royal Palace of Sheki Khans (Kings) constructed in 1762 without a single nail is one of the most marvellous monuments of its epoch which the Shekians are particularly proud of. One of the most striking architectural features of the residence is its wooden framed stained glass windows known as "shabaka." Shabaka is a combination of hundreds of hand-crafted pieces of wood so carefully crafted that they fit together firmly without the use of a single nail. For a closer look at how shabaka is made, there is a local workshop adjacent to the palace and they offer it for sale.
Besides the palace, the fortifications of the “ Gyalyarsan - Gyorarsan ” fortress, together with a round place for praying and other subsidiary buildings, some transformed in museums and workshops and some in ruins, can be seen.
Sheki Khans' Palace was built between 1761 – 1762, a period of economical and construction decline in the rest of Azerbaijan, by the order to Hussein Khan, (also well known as a poet under his pen-name Mushtag).
The building of Sheki Khans' palace according to its expressive architectural structure, without a single nail, numerous shining walls which decorate the interior, the riches of graceful wooden works, magnificent frescos inside and exquisite stained glass work, can be considered a rare architectural work.
If someone goes in the Western Azerbaijan, Sheki is a place to visit… If I remember correctly this place used to be the residence of Shah (or Sultan)… This is an interesting place to visit – a palace, museum, wall, Albanian church transformed into museum… And I should also mention very friendly and nice people…
There were 5 caravansarays (inns) running in Sheki in its’ glory days. Now only 2 still stand – one is abandoned, while the other was completely restored and transformed into a charming hotel.