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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.

Gabala is the ancient capital of Caucasian Albania. Archaeological evidence indicates that the city functioned as the capital of Caucasian Albania as early as the 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 the 4th – 3rd centuries BC and up to the 18th century was one of the main cities with developed trade and crafts. 

Qabala 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 Qabala 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 Qabala 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 "Qabaland" amusement park, an ice skating rink and a Greek-style theatre, built especially for outside concerts. Gabala also has several shopping malls. 
Qabala 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.