TODAY.AZ / Arts & Entertainment

Sheki becomes one of UNESCO's creative cities

01 November 2017 [16:14] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Aygul Salmanova

Sheki, one of the most ancient cities of Azerbaijan, is now a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, an association supporting the formation of a network with the aim of promoting international cooperation between cities.

The city has been added in the City of Crafts and Folk Art category of the network.

Some 64 cities from 44 countries have been designated as UNESCO Creative Cities by Director-General, Irina Bokova.

“These new designations showcase an enhanced diversity in city profiles and geographical balance, with 19 cities from countries not previously represented in the Network,” declared the Director-General. She added, “The cooperation framework proposed to foster candidate cities from the Africa region – a UNESCO Global Priority – has been a true success with 9 African cities now joining the Network.”

Inclusion of Sheki in the City of Crafts and Folk Art category of the network is not a coincidence. The city has long been illustrated as the center of crafts and folk art in Azerbaijan owing to alluring handicrafts made by the local craftsmen.

The ancient roots of craftsmanship in Sheki are associated with the fact that this land has always been rich in fertile valleys, cool mountain pastures. Since ancient times, forge, weapon, jewelry and copper business, pottery, tanning, tailoring craft, silk and carpet weaving, carpentry and shebeke art have developed in the city.

The local jewelers create complex compositions of gold, silver and precious stones, which are mainly made for women. Gold earrings, bracelets, belts, rings, chest decorations, necklaces, buttons and other precious products glorify the jewelry workshops in the city.

Since the ancient times, Sheki has been famous for its sericulture and especially for “kelagai” - silk kerchief with colorful scarves for women. Sericulture played a big role in the lives of urban artisans. In addition to silk weaving, dyeing of fabrics, production of chisels, embroidery developed here.

Tekelduz, the art of tambourine embroidery with silk threads on black and red velvet or a thin woolen bosom, is also an impressive field of craftsmanship. Despite the fact that in the last century only men were engaged in Tekelduz in Sheki, today women became the successors of this tradition.

Ancient Sheki is famous for its historical monuments, one of the most mysterious, charming features of which is the wide coverage of “shebeke” art (stained-glass art) in most of these buildings. The art of Shebeke is truly unique. There are many beautiful samples of stained-glass art in the world, but the secret of creating them without a single nail and glue is stored only in Sheki.

Tinning - coating of copper products with tin to protect the surface from oxidation, is also widely spread in Sheki. After heating the copper product in the oven, tinsmiths rub it with ammonia and cover it with tin.

The city still has street names that indicate the ancient fields of craftsmanship – Duluzchular (potters), Zargarlar (jewelers), Halvachylar (confectioners), etc.

More than 100,000 tourists visit the city, located on the picturesque hillsides of the Caucasus Mountains in the background of snowy peaks.


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