Located in the northwest of Azerbaijan, the city of Sheki has been a pivotal point in the connection of civilizations since ancient times, welcoming merchants from the Silk Road, and thus becoming a vital center for the exchange not only of goods and merchandise, but of ideas, customs, religions and cultures. In this context, the 18th-century Sheki Caravanserai used to be a roadside inn where travelers and their animals could rest and recover from the day’s journey. A key heritage to understanding the history of the city.
The building has a rectangular shape (100 x 80 m) with a large inner yard (75 x 55 m) and an entry in each corner. The objective of the project is to turn the building into a 5-star hotel, thereby maintaining its historical function and adapting it to the 21st century. The hotel includes 74 rooms, a restaurant, a health center and spa, a gym, a wine cellar, a library, shops… Due to the extra area required by the new program, the main strategy of the project is to excavate a new basement floor under the existing building. In this way, the original volume above the zero level keeps its traditional aspect. The execution on site involves a unique construction process and important works of underpinning that should fully respect the existing building. On the other hand, the inner courtyard is also excavated in order to build the basement floor, above which will be the garden (at the original level of the courtyard). Also in the courtyard, two huge concrete ‘pots’ are built around the great 17th-century trees in order to preserve them.
The design and execution of the project is in compliance with European regulations and standards.