BAKU, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Azerbaijani leaders lauded the inclusion of the country's historic city center in the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) here on Sunday, according to the state-run news agency AZERTAC.
The historic center of Sheki with the Khan's Palace was added to the World Heritage List at the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Baku.
In a congratulatory message to the nation, President Ilham Aliyev described the event as the international recognition of the country's contribution to universal culture.
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva also congratulated the nation, saying "our country has made great strides in ensuring recognition of our national culture, traditions and historical heritage in the world".
Azerbaijan now has three sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and 13 elements listed as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.
"The historic city of Sheki is located at the foot of the Greater Caucasus Mountains... Its historic center, rebuilt after the destruction of an earlier town by mudflows in the 18th century, is characterized by a traditional architectural ensemble of houses with high gabled roofs.
"Located along important historic trade routes, the city's architecture is influenced by Safavid, Qadjar and Russian building traditions. The Khan Palace, in the northeast of the city, and a number of merchant houses, reflect the wealth generated by silkworm breeding and the trade in silk cocoons from the late 18th to the 19th centuries," according to an introduction published on UNESCO's website.
The World Heritage Committee's 43rd session runs from June 30 to July 10.