Xan Sarayı

Top choice in Azerbaijan

This ornate 1762 palace building features vivid murals and dazzling coloured light streaming through şəbəkə (stained-glass windows), making it Şəki’s foremost sight and one of the South Caucasus’ most iconic buildings. It was originally the Şəki Khan’s administrative building, just one of around 40 now-lost royal structures within the fortress compound.

You don't have to pay the entrance fee to enter the walled rose garden in which the palace is set behind two huge plane trees, planted in 1530. The facade combines silvered stalactite vaulting with strong geometric patterns in dark blue, turquoise and ochre. The petite interior is only one room deep, but lavished with intricate designs. Most are floral but in the central upper chamber you’ll find heroic scenes of Haci Çələbi’s 1743 battle with Persian emperor Nader Shah complete with requisite swords, guns and severed heads. No photos are allowed inside.