If you are looking for a place to rest in nature, then Gabala is probably one of the best choices. It is place where you will fall in love with nature. It is- Gabala, the greenest place in the Caucasus. The Gabala City is located about 225 km far west from the capital Baku, on the ridges of Greater Caucasus.
The city first became known some 2400 years ago. But there are strong evidences of early settlements even before that. An ancient catacomb dating back to 6000 years ago was discovered in Gabala. This is the most ancient catacomb discovered in Europe and the Caucasus. Furthermore, the archaeologists also discovered a human skeleton along with hundreds of jewelries in Dizakhli village. Starting from the 3rd century BC, Gabala was the capital of ancient Azerbaijan state- Albania.
The name of the city was first mentioned by ancient authors- Pliny the Elder (1st century) and referred as Kabalaka, while Ptolemy (2nd century) called the city Khabala. The ruins of the ancient town are laying in 15 km south-west of the modern site of Gabala, in the village of Chukhur Gabala on the territory between Garachay and Jourluchay rivers. Here you can find the ancient walls and towers.
The strategic location of Gabala on the 2,500-year-old Silk Road turned the city in an important hub between Europe and Asia. Therefore the city has always been a target for various Empires and armies. In the 60s BC, Roman legions attacked Caucasian Albania, but did not succeed in capturing the Gabala territory. Afterwards, the city was under attack by the Arabs, Shirvansahs state, King David IV of Georgia, Mongols, khan Timurleng, Safavids, Nader Shah and finally, Russian Empire. But, despite all the invasions, this ancient city was able to preserve its culture and identity.
Due to its historical importance, there are tens of historical and cultural landmarks preserved here. The most outstanding of places to visit are defense tower (9-11th centuries), Juma mosque , Imam Baba mausoleum (18-19th centuries), Nij Church and Museum of Historical Ethnography that involves thousands of historical articrafts of the city.
Nature of Gabala
The nature of Gabala is as rich as its history. The Caucasian Mountains surrounding the region, create very specific environment in Gabala.. Mountains here are one of the greenest mountains you can ever see. If you will ever visit Gabala, there are several places that you have to include on your “must see” list. Yeddi Gozel (Seven Beauty) waterfall is one of those marvellous places. It takes some time to reach to waterfall, but what you will experience there is definitely, worth to it. A beautiful landscape along the way is just as amazing as the waterfall itself. Finally, when you arrive there, the view of spectacular waterfall show you the colours and beauty of Caucasus.
Next hub for nature lovers here, is Nohurgol Lake, which is one of the most beautiful parts of Gabala. It is located among the mountains with an outstanding view around. While there, you can take a gondola tour on the lake to have a romantic moment and to enjoy colorful scenery of the nature. Additionally, Gabala is home to Tufandag Skiing Complex, one of the biggest ski resorts throughout the whole Caucasus, which serves up to 3,000 ski lovers a day. From Tufandag complex, you can observe the beautiful Caucasian mountains.
Gabala in Modern Days
Just like in the past, nowadays, Gabala is one of the regional hubs for international and local events. The city is the second popular destination of Azerbaijan after capital Baku. In 2013, the city was declared as the Cultural Capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
International Music Festival
If you are a music lover, Gabala has something to offer you as well. Starting from 2009, every summer Annual International Music Festival is held here. Musicians from Europe, the U.S., Israel, as well as from republics of the former USSR come here to perform in the open air. Apart from that, the contest of young pianists, jazz and mugham evenings are organized during the musical festival. Another festival held here is Jam Festival started from 2013. Masters from Turkey, Russia, Iran, China, Ghana, Northern Cyprus, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, confectioners from 26 regions of Azerbaijan gather together to demonstrate their abilities and share the best jams them make with the visitors.
Given all these activities and events, the area is a highly popular tourist destination. Currently, the city is able to keep the tourists busy and entertained. For example, the largest entertainment park under the open sky in Azerbaijan – Gabaland operates here. Visitors can use with extreme kinds of attractions, ice arena, carting, sports fields, theater, convenient parking, great food in restaurants and cafes. In short, modern Gabala manages to combine both ancient greatness and modern development.
Want to learn more about this city? Join to our Gabala tour to explore the city and its surrounding with us.