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Gala State Historical and Ethnographic Preserve

General (Azerbaijan)

Natural context

Absheron peninsula in late Bronze and Iron Age epochs represented contemporary landscape-semidesert with uplands, seldom reaching 300-400 m in height. Southwestern part at present time has more disjoint relief, which is connected with different lithologic composition of bedrocks- clay, sand, sandstones, and limestones of tertiary age. 

Absheron peninsula is washed by the Caspian Sea from three sides and is protected by massive mountains of the Caucasus ridge from the west. A peculiar subtropic climate of Absheron is formed under the influence of the whole number of factors.  Hot breath of Caspian and Kur steppes, entrance of cold air masses from the north-west and northeast make Absheron the arena of enormous shift of air currents. Absheron is a mountainous area.  Folded mountainous structure of the surface is very well seen in the western part of the peninsula, in the eastern part mountains are cut off with abrasion and blocked with its deposits.   Here, plain relief was formed. This whole area is covered with ancient Caspian and contemporary deposits. To the extreme eastern zone of this lowland directly adjoining the shore of the Caspian Sea sand dunes are characteristic, which run almost continuously along the shore of the Caspian Sea up to Absheron peninsula.


Archaeological context of the site

As is known, the most ancient monuments of Absheron date back to no earlier than the III millenium B.C.  Data on the spread of aurochs in Caspian regions of Azerbaijan are largely supplemented by the materials of numerous accumulations of rock carvings. In Dubendi grotto in Absheron peninsula, depictions of wild aurochs. In ancient art of people of Azerbaijan, according to stylistic manner of carving pictures it is possible to didtinguish 2 isolated areas. It is a territory of Absheron, petroglyphs of which differ in plots - prevalence in subjects of images of people, household, and cult scenes, and Small Caucasus area, for rock  art of which half-nomadic cattle breeding («summer pasture») cult-magic subjects is peculiar. Images of animals prevail. As to petroglyphs of Absheron that are met on megalithic stones and rocks of Absheron, the whole complex of monuments is dated to approximately the end of Bronze Age epoch.

Brief description

The petroglyphs demonstrated in our museum are the ones found in the territory of Absheron. The oldest examples of them were described by the ways of engraving, scratching and chipping.

The most of these petroglyphs are dating back to 3rd- 2nd millennium, B.C. The content and structure of images has great importance. Themes and topic of Absheron petroglyphs are different. General ideological views were presented by though these images. The stages of hunting, sacrificing humans, holy marriage, etc. were demonstrated on these images. The main character in these paintings is goddess of woman. She is represented in detail-upright and hands rose.

As a result of comparison colorful plot legends (myths) there are created ancient types with the fundamental and universal mythological themes and reflected on tribal art of different people living in different regions. Deer occupied an important place on religious beliefs and ceremonies of ancient tribes settled in the territory of Azerbaijan.

Cronology: 1 st and 2 nd   half past of 3 rd and 2 nd millennium B.C.  

Brief description of Museum or Interpretive centre

A numerous archeological monuments peculiar to Azerbaijan (particularly to Gala and Absheron peninsula) were collected and restored in the territory of Museum complex. The barrows archeological monuments dating back to 3rd - 2nd  millennium BC, settlements dating to the same period, residential and other architectural models dating to the middle ages, etc. were constructed in their original form in this territory. In accordance with the current requirements towards protection of museums and monuments the favorable condition for observing historical masterpiece of Absheron has been established in the 1,5 hectares territory. The museum includes the map, plan, scheme where monuments, historical places of Absheron peninsula and our monuments located of Absheron are described. The foundations of houses belongs to the Medieval ages were discovered during the archeological excavations in the time of establishing the museum. In the territory also have Archaeological gallery where have different artifacts that found during archaeological excavations      and houses belongs the 16th-17th and 19th centuries with interior of that time.

Site type: grotto, rock shelters, menhir, dolmen, cromlech, vault, barrow, tombstone

Address: Gala settlement, Khazar district, Baku city, Azerbaijan Republic

Telephone: (+994 12) 459 14 37

Fax: (+994 12) 459 51 73

Web: QALARESERVE.AZ  (now under the reconstruction)

E-mail: malahat@mail.ru


Region/land: Baku city, Absheron peninsula

Province/Department/County: Khazar district

Municipality: Gala municipality

Village/town: Gala settlement


Opening Times:

  • Days open to the public: all year round except January 1
  • Schedules: from  april 15 until october 15- 10:00-18:30/ from  october 16 until april 14 -   09:30-17:30

Booking and access:

  • Age restrictions: no
  • Disabled access: yes
  • Type of visits: guided or free
  • Areas visited: 1) Gala Archaeological Ethnographic Museum Complex, 2) Gala castle (Rock shelters, underground roads, remains of primary human settlement) 3) Dubendi Grotto,4) Archaeological monument of Eastern Absheron Peninsula 
  • Length of tours:1.5-2 hours (with local guide)
  • Maximun number of users per group visit: 25
  • Daily quota of visitors to the site: depend on the season, between 500-1000


  • Ticket prices: 4 AZN per each adult+ 5 AZN, 7 AZN, 10 AZN  guide service for group, (guide service prices depend on the number of group members);  0.60 AZN per each student + 3 AZN, 4 AZN, 5 AZN  guide service for group, (guide service prices depend on the number of group members); 
  • How to make reservations: by web site, by email or call
  • Advance ticket sales: no
  • Pre-sale system: no

Coming cultural destinations: 1) Gala Museum of  Antique Items, 2) Gala castle 12th-14th centuries, 3) Museum: “From Waste to Art”, 4) Mardakan Round Castle- 14th century ,  5) Mardakan Quadrangular Castle-14th century,  6) Ateshgah (Temple fire used by  zoroastrists),  7) Azerbaijan  Carpet Museum Address: 28 Mikayil Useynov Ave, the seaside Boulevard, 8) Old City known as a “fortress”- is a unique historical and architectural conservation area in the centre of Baku where also located  well-known historical monuments – The Maiden Tower ( 12th century) and Shirvanshah palace (the 13th-16th century)

Coming natural destinations: Salty lake (local people obtained salt for household and for sale in the Medieval ages ), three public bath houses:  1) Bath house “Gum” 12th-14th centuries, underground bath house; 2) the foundation and remnants salty bath house used for skin disorders,  19 th century, 3) public bath house using until todays.

Offer hospitality.

  • Hotels near: 

                     “Relax and Health centre Khazri”, Khazar district,Zugulba set.,Rasim Imanov str.  

                      40 Baku AZ1000, http://www.khazri.mia.gov.az fax: +994 12 4536333


                     “Jumeriah Beach  Hotel”,  94 Gelebe Street, Bilgah District,  AZ1094,Baku,   

                      Azerbaijan, Tel: +994 12 565 4000, Email:  jbbreservations@jumeirah.com


                     At the territory of Gala Reserve there are hostels. For detailed information

                     contact,please: aynur.zeynalova@yahoo.com

  • Restaurants near:

      “Gala Bazar” Baku, Gala road 46,  Tel:      (+994) (12) 559 29 99

                        (+994) (12) 559 29 92,  (+994) (50) 519 72 27, (+994) (50) 624 74 74,

                        (+994) (50) 240 66 00, Email: info@galabazaar.az  


      “Zeytun” +994 12 50 595 47 07 (Mr. Elshen), page on facebook


  • Craft shops, local food, souvenirs, etc. souvenir, carpets, antique shops and workshops of local handcrafts you may find in the Old City Baku. Also in the Gala settlement have different souvenirs made by local masters.


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11th May 2010 the Council of Europe granted the Mention European Cultural Route to the PRAT-CARP network.