Stories from the Land of Fire:2
Originally published on http://karabakhfoundation.com/heritage-center-online/blog/
Sheki is the seventh largest city in Azerbaijan and houses a tiny population of just over 50,000, located at the foot of the Greater Caucasus Mountains it is a leisurely and visually stunning retreat. My first impression of the town was at around 10:30 at night, in the pitch dark and pouring rain, being tossed off a bus in front of an unfamiliar and un-navigable assortment of cabins, children’s amusements (a deflated blow up castle, a child-size statue of Shrek the ogre), strings of Christmas lights, and mud that was our accommodation for the night. Without instruction or warning, I was ushered into a huddle of about ten people under a large golf umbrella shivering in our shorts and t-shirts. Room keys were hastily doled out, vague directions pointed across the grounds, and we were left to fend for ourselves. About an hour later the rain had stopped and we were all gathered, of course, around food. The unfortunately outdoor restaurant had been lavishly prepared for the nearly 100 foreign guests that descended on this idyllic (in the light of day, I'm sure it really was) resort, and I think all of our mouths watered at the heaping piles of bread and fruit already on the table in traditional Azerbaijani fashion and the smell of spices and simmering fat coming from the kitchen. The cold mountain air combined with our still damp clothing to gnaw into our bones with an unexpected viciousness, but nothing could deter us when the waiters gleefully brought out the main course. Steaming masterpieces of beautiful Sheki-style shakh (crown) plov.
|Shakh Plov <3|
|Central America anyone?!|
Needless to say, the next day we were all drained, and for most of the morning I barely shuffled around Sheki’s beautiful historical sites- the Caravansarai, Sheki Khan’s Palace, and a Soviet-era museum to name a few. By lunch time we were all feeling a little better, faced with another mouth-watering spread of food and a gorgeous view of the town to boot! The mountains here were closer and more reminiscent of tropical Central America than anywhere else I visited and the history just oozes from the cobblestoned streets, Sheki is a definite recommended destination!