Gabala

Qəbələ / Kebele

Gabala is a city in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The city was known before as Kutkashen, but after the Republic of Azerbaijan’s independence, it was renamed in honour of the much older city of Gabala, the former capital of Caucasian Albania, the archeological site of which is about 20 km southwest.

Gabala was occupied by Amir Timur in 1386, Safavid shah Tahmasib I in 1538 and by Nader Shah in 1734. The city was able to preserve its culture and identity. After the death of Nader Shah in 1747, the region split into independent khanates and sultanates and Gabala became a Qutqashen Sultanate.

After the region was annexed from the Qajar dynasty by the Russian Empire in 1813, through the consequences of the Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813 and the resulting Treaty of Gulistan in 1813. The Russians conducted administrative reforms and in 1841, the khanates of this region were terminated and the territories were incorporated into governorates. Gabala area was added to Nukha uyezd of Elisabethpol Governorate. Due to archeological finds in Gabala, it was declared a National State Reserve in 1985.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Gabala embarked on a process of restructuring on a scale unseen in its history. Thousands of buildings from the Soviet period were demolished to make way for a green belt on its shores; parks and gardens were built on the land reclaimed by filling up the foothill of Gabala. Improvements were made in the general cleaning, maintenance, and garbage collection, and these services are now at Western European standards. The city is growing dynamically and developing at full speed on a north axis along the shores of the Caspian Sea.

As of the 2010s, Gabala is emerging as a magnet for events, such as the summit of Turkic Council in 2013. In 2013, the city was declared the Cultural Capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States, in recognition of its long contribution to the history of Azerbaijan and the region.

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