Gabala (Azerbaijani: Qəbələ, Гәбәлә; Lezgian: Кьвепеле, Q̇wepele, قوهپهله), also known as Qabala, is a city in Azerbaijan and the capital of the Qabala Rayon. The municipality consists of the city of Gabala and the village of Küsnat.Before 1991 the city was known as Kutkashen, but after 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
Gabala is the ancient capital of Caucasian Albania. Archeological evidence indicates that the city functioned as the capital of Caucasian Albania as early as 4th century BC. Up to the present time there are the ruins of the ancient city and the main gate of Caucasian Albania. Ongoing excavations near the village Chukhur show that Gabala from IV – III centuries BC and up to the XVIII century was one of the main cities with developed trade and crafts.The ruins of the ancient town are situated 15 km from the regional center, allocated on the territory between Garachay and Jourluchay rivers. Gabala was located in the middle of the 2,500-year-old Silk Road, and was mentioned by Pliny the Younger as «Kabalaka», Greek geographer Ptolemy as «Khabala», Arabic historian Ahmad ibn Yahya al-Baladhuri as «Khazar». In the 19th century, the Azerbaijani historian Abbasgulu Bakikhanov mentioned in his book Gulistani Irem that Kbala or Khabala were in fact Gabala.
In the 60s BC, Roman troops attacked Caucasian Albania, but did not succeed in capturing the Qabala territory. In 262 AD, Caucasian Albania was occupied by the Sassanid Empire, but preserved its political and economic status. In 464, it lost its independence due to years of invasions from the northern nomadic tribes and had to move its capital city to Partava (currently Barda in Azerbaijan).
Gabala is considered a popular tourist destination due to the combination of a very good spring climate, woods along the mountains and excellent fauna was exploited by the construction of large numbers of hotels and apartments in city.Many sizable world hotel chains have a presence in the city. 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.Another landmark of Gabala is Yeddi Gozel Waterfall. The name of the waterwall means seven beauties. There are seven steps to go up the mountain. The waterfall is situated in the wood near the main road near West of Vandam. Although the waterfall is hard to climb, it is worth visiting. Each year thousands of people visit the waterfall.The city contains «Gabaland» amusement park, an ice skating rink and a Greek-style theatre, built especially for outside concerts.The Gabaland is a leading theme park in the Caucasus region with interesting rides and endless fun and Gabala Resort fantastical hotel. Visitors may enjoy comfortable and wide parking area, amazing mounting view, fresh air, delicious foods in a cafe, beautiful Flower Garden – and all this in Gabaland with area of 16 hectares .Gabala has several shopping malls. Gabala mall is the most famous center for shopping.Gabala is home to Tufan Ski Complex, one of the biggest ski resorts in Caucasus.The complex serves up to 3,000 people a day.
The district has rich cuisine as other Azerbaijani regions. The following dishes are famous in Gabala:
Gabala plov (rice)
Dolma with nut