Shamakhi (shäˌmäkhēˈ) [key] or Shemakha shĕmˌəkhäˈ, city (1989 pop. 24,681), E Azerbaijan, at the foot of the Caucasus. Its chief product is wine. Known since ancient times, Shamakhi was an important silk center in the 16th cent., trading especially with Venice. It was the capital of the khanate of Shirvan until the 17th cent., and it passed to Russia in 1805. Its importance as a silk center declined after an earthquake in 1902. The city has ruins of the tomb of the Shirvan shahs and many other historic sites.