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Azerbaijan builds on silk heritage

Azerbaijan is expected to increase its silk production two or three times this year. In 2016, Azerbaijan produced 71 tons of silk. The history of sericulture in Azerbaijan dates back to almost 1500 years. When it comes to silk in Azerbaijan, the first place that comes to mind is the ancient city of Sheki, which was once considered the largest center for the production of silk and silk farming in the Middle Ages. Delicate fabrics, beautiful clothes, and colorful kelagayis (silk headscarves) manufactured by Sheki craftsmen from raw silk were exported to foreign countries, so the city became famous for its silk throughout the world.

In the Soviet period, Azerbaijan ranked second after Uzbekistan for the production of silk cocoon, but was considered first in fiber quality. The country annually produced 7,800 tons of raw cocoons in 1960 to 1970.

Azerbaijan's Shirvan region started becoming known for its silk industry as early as the ninth century. By the 11th and 12th centuries, the silk produced in Shirvan was already famous throughout Russia and Western Europe. Silk cloth was exported to Italy by Venetian and Genoese merchants who maintained commercial offices along the shores of the Caspian.

There are three main species of mulberries - white, red and black – and all of them are widely cultivated throughout Azerbaijan.