By Amina Nazarli
Shamakhi, the ancient capital of Azerbaijan located 122 km from Baku, will turn into the tourism hub, as the city will enjoy new tourism facilities soon.
This statement was made by President of State Oil Company of Azerbaijan SOCAR Rovnag Abdullayev at the meeting with local businessmen, representatives of executive authorities and municipalities.
Hailing the contraction and overhaul works carried out here and amazing nature of the region, Abdullayev said that Shamakhi enjoys every opportunity for the tourism development.
SOCAR’s president said, taking into account each region’s economic potential and employment figures, the government have prepaid more than 150 investments projects amounting to 1.5 billion manats (about $95 million) for the upcoming years.
He noted that these measures are targeting to neutralize the possible negative impact of the global crisis and unstable trend in the world’s economy on Azerbaijan’s economy.
The history of Shamakhi, which is replete with shady forests and green meadows, dates back to the 5th century BC.
The city has a rich heritage, providing the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence. For centuries, Shamakhi was one of Azerbaijan's most prominent cities, an important cultural and trading centre and the royal seat of the Shirvanshahs (9th to 18th centuries). Furthermore, it is known as the root of Azerbaijani literature.
Today, the city is well known for wine-making and carpet weaving. To meet craftsmen, weaving famous carpets such as "Shirvan", "Gobustan", "Shamakhi", "Israfil" and "Ardzhiman" tourists can visit village of Jangi.
Exceptional and flamboyant nature and mild climate adorn the city and its suburbs, having all the conditions for skiing in winter and horseback riding in summer.
Shamakhi is interesting not only for its rich nature, but also ancient history. Despite the numerous earthquakes in the region, Shamakhi still preserved many historical monuments.
The "must see" attractions in Shamakhi are Juma mosque with its two minarets built in the 10th century, the mausoleum of Shahihandan and Diri-Baba, the tomb of the Shirvan Khans, the ruins of the Gulistan citadel and the Gala-Bugurt fortress.
One of the most renowned places in the city is the Juma Mosque also called the Friday Mosque of Shamakhi that dates back to 734-744. Considered the landmark of Shamakhi, it is the only building that withstood giant earthquakes.
Another picturesque area of the city is "Girkh-Bulag"(forty springs), well-known for its impressive springs. To protect the beautiful nature of the region a reserve "Pirkuli" covering 1,521 hectares was established.
The largest astrophysical observatory in Azerbaijan and the whole Caucasus is also located in Pirkuli, Shamakhi. The observatory named after famous Azerbaijani architect, astronomer, mathematician and philosopher Nasreddin Tusi is equipped with modern facilities and one of the largest in the CIS telescope with a mirror diameter of 2 meters.
Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @amina_nazarli
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