The legacy of the monarchical past of Azerbaijan

Baku, January 11, AZERTAC

The lands of Azerbaijan in different periods of history fell under the influence of various empires, were part of various principalities and armies, and were divided into khanates. Many material evidences of the monarchical past - palaces, fortresses, gardens, tombs have survived to this day. Some are in excellent condition, and from others only ruins remain.

All of these sights are of interest, not only for historians, but also for tourists who want to touch the magnificent history, frozen in a stone of architectural masterpieces.

Complex of the Palace of Shirvanshahs

To see how the Azerbaijani rulers lived, no need to go far. In the very center of Baku, in the Old City - Icherisheher, behind the high walls there is a medieval complex of the Palace of Shirvanshahs - the last residence of the Shirvan rulers. After the earthquake in Shemakha in 1191, the capital of the state was moved to Baku, where the palace complex was erected. The palace was founded in the 12th century, and its final construction was completed in the 15th century.

The palace complex occupies three courtyards, located on different levels. The Palace itself and the tomb of Shirvanshah Farrukh Yasara (Divankhana) are located in the upper courtyard. In the lower courtyard there is a palace mosque and “turbe” - the Shirvanshahs' tomb. The tomb was built on the orders of Shirvanshah Khalilullah for his son and mother.

Below this is the site where the bath and the indoor well - "ovdan" are located. All three courtyards make up a single complex, surrounded by a fortress wall.

The only monument of the XVI century in the complex is the "Murad's Gate", the inscription on which states that they were built in the year 994 AH (1585-86), in honor of Sultan Murad III.

In addition, “Bayil stones” are stored in the Shirvanshah Palace Complex. These stone slabs with relief inscriptions and images carved on them are the remains of the Bayil castle, which served as the defensive fortress of the Shirvanshahs. Stones were discovered during archaeological excavations around a fortification on a rock. Monuments belong to the XIII century.

The palace complex fascinates visitors with harmony and architectural completeness. The ensemble of the Palace of Shirvanshahs, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Fund, is rightly dubbed the "Baku Acropolis". "The complex of the Palace of the Shirvanshahs" was declared the State Historical-Architectural Museum-Reserve. The museum exposition allows you to plunge into the atmosphere of the past and learn a lot of interesting things about the palace life of that period.

Sheki Khans Palace

Sheki survived many attacks and at different periods of history was part of various state formations: it was part of Caucasian Albania, the Arabic Caliphate, fell into dependence on the empire of Tamerlane, the Iranian state of Safavids. At the end of 1743 - the beginning of 1744 an independent Sheki khanate was established, headed by Chelebi-khan.

The city has preserved many historical and architectural attractions, the most famous among which is the Khan's Palace. The Palace of Sheki Khans, unique in architecture, was built in 1762 by Huseyn Khan.

The palace has its own special original construction techniques. It is enough to point out, for example, that every square meter of shebeke (windows made of small wooden parts with colored glass filling them) consists of five thousand parts interconnected without using nails.

The composition of the main facade of the palace is characterized by a combination of three elements: an ornamented wall, openwork shebeke of Venetian glass and spatial portals. In the interior of the palace, paintings from floral ornaments, filling all planes of walls and niches, are of great interest. The openwork interior doors and fireplaces in the halls of the palace attract attention.

The palace was located inside the fortress - the Khan's citadel and was part of a complex of buildings, of which now, apart from the palace itself, only the pool is preserved. In front of the main facade of the palace, there are two old Chinara (plane tree), each over 30 meters high, planted here in 1530, that is, long before the construction of the palace itself.

The palace of the Sheki khans is rightly considered a summer palace-pavilion, and the building that served as the winter palace was probably located among residential buildings grouped in fortresses around the gardens.

The palace of the Sheki khans was erected in the period of the decline of the construction business in Azerbaijan. However, it is this building that demonstrates that the masters who kept the traditions of the past were still able to create works of a high artistic level. Leo Tolstoy admired the beauty of the Sheki palace, as well as Alexander Dumas the father, who described the Khan's palace in his notes about the Caucasus.

Nowadays, the monument of architecture has been carefully restored and protected by the state.

Dynastic tomb in Shamakhi

Emerged in the V century BC, the city of Shamakhi, in different periods of history was the capital of the Medes state, the Shirvanshahs state and the Shamakhi Khanate. Despite the frequent earthquakes in Shamakhi, many architectural landmarks have been preserved, of which Yeddi Gumbez, the Shirvanshahs' tomb, is of particular interest.

Translated from the Azerbaijani "Yeddi Gumbez" means "seven domes." The monument is named after the number of mausoleum tombs of the Shirvan rulers, built here in the 18-19th centuries. To be more precise, the remains of the last representatives of the Shirvanshah dynasty, members of the family of the last Khan Shemakhi, Mustafa Khan, rest in 7 tombs. In each tomb 3-4 graves with massive gravestones.

The name of the architect Usta Tadzhi Memar was carved on a stone above the entrance to one of the tombs, where Mustafa Khan's mother was buried in 1810. Although the domes and walls of one or two mausoleums have almost collapsed, the rest are well preserved and have attracted tourists for many years. In addition to the mausoleum tombs of the Shirvan rulers in this cemetery, you can find many ancient tombstones - some no less than a thousand years. On the stones blackened by time, Arabic script is guessed.

The monument of antiquity is protected by the state.

Khan's garden of Ganja

Another Azerbaijani city, Ganja, was also repeatedly tested, becoming the object of foreign invaders raids or being in the epicenter of a devastating earthquake. But, despite all the hardships, the city was revived again and again, more than once becoming the capital of various principalities and khanates.

It is in Ganja that the Khans garden - “Khan Baghy", is preserved to this day. This Culture and Recreation Park is one of the oldest parks not only in Azerbaijan, but in the whole Caucasus.

This park was founded in 1700, and in 1804 it was named “Khan Baghy” in honor of the last ruler of Ganja - Javad Khan. From 1840 to 1847 the garden was called "Sardar Baghy" ("Garden of Sardar") or Governor's Garden. Until 1850, only fruit plants grew in the park. Since 1860, ornamental plants were planted here, and the territory expanded to 6 hectares. According to official data, about 100 species of trees and bushes grew in the park.

In 2010, the park was carefully reconstructed. Today, representatives of both local and foreign flora, brought from different parts of the world, are growing here on a total area of 7 hectares. Among the dense foliage of the park trees there are squirrels. The park has fountains, a water channel with bridges - a local Venice, an artificial lake, a Green Theater, a café, and children's attractions. Another highlight of the park - the original, antique-made phaetons upholstered in glossy fabric, decorated with ribbons and light bulbs. Phaetons give the park a special flavor of antiquity.

In the park you can also see the remains of the walls of the city fortress of the XVI century.

Instead of an afterword

These are just a few of the numerous evidences of the monarchic past that have survived in Azerbaijan, when in the palaces surrounded by lush gardens, the country was ruled by shahs and khans.

Emil Eyyubov

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