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Introducing Qәbәlә

Formerly called Qutqaşın, this bustling market town was renamed in 1991 to honour the region’s most historic city, though the site of the original ‘Old’ Qəbələ was actually more than 20km further east. Qəbələ town isn’t a great attraction but there are attractive picnic spots and streamside restaurants 4km north. Many more appealing villages lie in the surrounding valleys from which you could hike into the high mountains.

Qəbələ’s centre is the junction of Heydar Әliyev küç and Qutqaşınli pr, a point unanimously known as Saat Yanı. That means ‘beside the clock’, though the clock tower for which it was named has since been replaced by a globe-on-a-stick monument. One block east is the colonnaded 19th-century mosque (Heydar Әliyev küç). Around 500m south is the new Historical Museum (Tarix Muzeyi; Qutqaşınli pr; admission 40q; 10am-6pm Tue-Sun). It displays finds from Old Qəbələ but its most intriguing feature is the fake Stone Age–style swing gate through which one enters. Next door is a typically grand, wordless Heydar Әliyev Museum (Qutqaşınli pr; admission free; 10am-6pm Tue-Sun).