Azerbaijan’s hazelnut capital has a lovely location at the confluence of wide mountain rivers descending steeply from the high Caucasus mountains. It’s a pleasantly presented place, with an attractive new mosque, a small Historical Museum (30 Heydar Әliyev Pr; 9am-1pm & 2-6pm) and a pretty little old town square featuring some 700-year-old çinar trees. Hidden close by is the maudlin ruin of a once-fine Russian Church. Directly above, Zaqatala’s Russian fortress(military use, no entry) was built in 1830 and guarded against attacks from the Dagestan-based guerrilla army of Imam Shamil. In more recent times, the fortress imprisoned sailors from the battleship Potëmkin, whose famous mutiny at Odessa in 1905 foreshadowed the Russian revolution.
The best web connection is in the rear of the Hotel Zaqatala (per hr 60q; 9.30am-midnight). Xalq Bank (Nizami küç) has an ATM. So does the IBA (104 Heydar Әliyev pr), which also changes money.