The crown of Icheri Sheher: Shirvanshah's Palace

Aydan Isayeva | Live the World

November 23, 2022

If you have seen modern Baku with its breathtaking architecture, and you want to smell the history of this beautiful city, you should visit Icherisheher. One of the most interesting tourist attractions in Azerbaijan is the crown of Icheri Sheher: Shirvanshah's Palace. This complex was built in the 15th century during the reign of Shirvanshah I Khalilullah, and it includes also the Divankhana, the Kiyqubad Mosque, the Shirvanshahs Tomb (1435-1436), the Shah Mosque (1441), the Tomb of Seyyid Yahya Bakuvi, the Murad Gate (1585) and the Palace Bath.

Together with the Maiden Tower, the Palace of Shirvanshahs forms an ensemble of historical monuments inscribed under the UNESCO World Heritage List of Historical Monuments.


The history of the Palace

The legend says: when it was planned to erect the palace, the pieces of meat were hung around the city. At the place where the meat stayed fresh the most, they began the construction because it meant that the environment there was clean and healthy. According to the historical sources, this magnificent monument began to be built in 1420 and was completed in 30 years. This great palace also experienced the tragedies of our history. It should be noted that from the beginning of the 15th century began the independence and development period of the Shirvanshah's state, which lasted about 100 years. Shirvanshah Khalilullah, who ruled for nearly 50 years, built fortresses, castles, fortified walls, palaces, caravansary and bridges for the prosperity of the country.


The structure of the Palace

The buildings are located in three courtyards with a height of 5-6 meters above each other. On the left side of the upper courtyard, there is a divankhana of the palace, and on the right side, there is a house of the king's family. The two-storied palace is the oldest building in the complex. There were 27 rooms on the first floor and 25 rooms on the second floor. The building draws attention with its laconic form, light interlocking on the stones and the magnificence of its portal.


On the 1st floor of the palace, you can see the big entrance, called the waiting room. There are 27-rooms here which belonged to the king's servants and slaves. Shah and his family members lived on the second floor. In the past, there were 25 rooms on this floor of the palace, but now there are only 16.

Divankhana and tomb

Through a small door, it is possible to get into the closed courtyard of Divankhana, in the centre of which there is an 8-sided rotunda-pavilion on a high stylobate. Divan-khane is a Persian phrase from {divan = court} and {khane = house} to describe a guest house usually for prominent people in the Middle Eastern society.


The building of the Shirvanshah's tomb, also called the "Turbe", is located the opposite of the entrance of the palace. During the excavations in the tomb, they found some fragments of tombstones, as well as a number of burials of members of the Khalilullah family.

So, when you are closely acquainted with the Shirvanshah's Palace complex, you will be convinced that this historical monument is really the crown of Icheri Sheher.

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