- 12 hours
Three hours’ drive west of Baku, Gabala is a low-key yet stylish foothill resort town set in lush green woodlands that prove an enchanting counterpoint to the capital’s striking semi-desert surroundings. Patchworks of fields fill with spring flowers. Hills are thickly forested in oak, walnut and mature chestnut. And the soaring peaks of the High Caucasus stand sentinel on the northern horizon. It’s a majestic environment that is easy to appreciate using the cleverly conceived “Tufandag” network of cable car rides, whisking you up from an area of manicured urban parkland to a stylish ridgetop cafe, back down to a rustic valley and seasonal shepherd village then on through the woodlands to another view-restaurant with excellent wine selection and international menu. But Gabala is not just a well-conceived resort in a beautiful part of Azerbaijan, it also has a rich ancient history. A city known to the Romans as Kabalaka or Kabalah was for centuries the capital of a regionally important medieval state known as Caucasian Albania (no relation to today’s Balkan country). Though utterly destroyed in later years, small sections of the ancient urban site have been recently excavated. After lunch, we visit this ‘Old Gabala’ where the imposing main gate stumps of a once-vast city wall can be seen along with cross-sections showing cultural levels dating back through a whole series of historical epochs. The site’s brand new museum brings it all to life and on a clear day, there’s a majestic mountain backdrop too. Altogether Gabala is a truly special discovery, while the scenically varied journey to and fro is a delight in itself, with many fine views en route.
Tour price includes:
- Comfortable air conditioned transportation