town government

NUKHA, a town of Russia in the Caucasian government of Elizabethpol (formerly of Baku), and previous to 1819 the capital of the khanate of Sheki, lies 173 miles east-south-east of Tiflis, at the foot of the main chain of the Caucasus, the cupola of the church in the fortress being 2454 feet above the sea-level in 41° 12' 18" N. lat. and 47° 12' 7" E. long. The fortress is a four-cornered enclosure 3000 feet in circumference, erected by Hosein Khan in 1765, and contains the palace, built somewhat i later in the original Persian style under the shadow of a splendid group of plane trees. The town contains four churches and thirty-one • mosques. Most of its 3000 houses are built of mud and roofed with reed-thatch, which is well suited for the breeding of silkworms, but apt to catch fire. In 1861 the number of silk-winding establishments was fifty, one of them with hundreds of basins in the European style, and worked by steam ; but owing to the ravages of gattine the silk industry has greatly declined since 1864. At that time the trade of the town amounted to from two to three million roubles. In connexion with the silkworm plantation of Tsar .bat (more than a mile long by 14 furlongs broad, and enclosed by a stone wall) there was a Government school of sericulture up to 1863. The population of Nukha was 22,618 in 1861, and 20,917 in 1873 (mainly Tatars, but 3500 Armenians). Besides the town there were in the district (1442 square miles) twenty-one villages each with more than 1000 inhabitants.

Nukha was a mere village up to the middle of the 18th century, when it was chosen by Hajji Tchelyabi, the founder of the khanate of Sheki, as his residence. The Russian occupation dates from 1807, though the annexation was not completed till 1819.

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