Gabala (Azerbaijani: Qəbələ, also known as Qabala), is a city in the Republic of Azerbaijan and the capital of the Qabala Rayon. The municipality consists of the city of Gabala and the village of Küsnat. Before the city was known as Kutkashen, but after the Republic of Azerbaijan’s independence the town was renamed in honour of the much older city of Gabala, the former capital of Caucasian Albania, the archaeological site of which is about 20 km southwest.
The geographical position and mountainous relief of the city greatly influenced on formation of complex climate conditions in vertical droughty area, as well as on density of river network and richness of soil-vegetation cover. Relief and humid climate conditions of Gabala region led to formation of a thick river network in the area. The rivers of the city refer to the left branches of Kura basin and runs directly into Kura or the rivers of Shirvan zone.
The city is rich with chestnut and hazelnut trees. Flora and Fauna of the district is rich. Deer and mountain tours, wild boar, hare, bears, wolves, foxes and numerous birds – pheasant, grouse, francolin, etc. can be found in the woods. These features attract hunters.
Tourism and shopping
Gabala is a tourist destination due to the combination of its spring climate, mountainous landscape, and diverse fauna. There are many world class hotels and resorts, most part of the Qafqaz chain. Natural climatic conditions of the region create opportunities for the development of both summer and winter tourism in the region. The northern side of Gabala belongs to the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, the central part to Alazan-Haftaran valley, the southern part to Ajinohur upland. Furthermore, the highest mountain peak of the republic- Mount Bazarduzu (4466 meters) is situated in this region.
Also located in Gabala is Yeddi Gozel Waterfall. The name means ‘seven beauties’ due to the seven stages of the falls but also reflecting a classic Nizami Ganjavi story. The waterfall, situated in woodlands west of Vandam, is climbed by thousands of people each year – the lower levels being accessible by stairways.
The city contains “Gabaland” amusement park, an ice skating rink and a Greek-style theatre, built especially for outside concerts Gabala also has several shopping malls.
Gabala is home to the Tufandag Ski Complex, rated the best ski resort in Azerbaijan and one of the foremost in the Caucasus. The complex serves up to 3,000 people a day.