Gala State Historical-Ethnographic Reserve was established in the historical part of Gala settlement by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated April 18, 1988, No. 135. The area of the reserve is 81.5 hectares. There are 228 architectural and archeological monuments in this area.
The oldest monument discovered was an ancient settlement of the 3rd millennium BC. So, for 5,000 years, people have lived in the territory of Gala village. Among the architectural monuments on the territory there were 5 mosques, 3 baths, 4 reservoirs, underground kahrizs, the remains of the castle, mausoleums, tombs and dwellings.
Tower — castle
The monument was erected in the oldest residential area of the village. Archaeological excavations around the castle began in 2009 and revealed that the castle dates back to the 10th-12th centuries. One part of the castle and the remains of the wall have survived to the present day. The fortress was restored in 2009 by the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and built in its original form.
«Muhammed mansion» mausoleum
The mausoleum «Muhammad mansion» was built in 1624-1625. At the entrance of the monument, in six parts of the architrave, there is an arabic inscription written in Arabic in Naskh script: «This building was built during the reign of the invincible Shah Abbas Heydar and al-Hussein Haji Muhammad al-Kalai. The tomb was constructed in 1034 by his order (1624-25). » The presence of the word «mansion» on the tomb and its construction on ancient routes indicate the possibility of its use as a public building.
Archaeological-Ethnographic Museum Complex
“Gala” State Historical-Ethnographic Reserve was established by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan No. 135 of April 18, 1988 in the historical part of Gala settlement. The castle is an ancient settlement that dates back 5,000 years ago.
Archaeological Ethnographic Museum Complex was established in 2008 on the initiative and under the leadership of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in the open-air area of the Gala Reserve.
Archaeological architectural monuments that are typical for Azerbaijan, especially Gala settlement and Absheron peninsula, have been collected and restored in the territory of the museum complex.
In this area, mounds of III-II millennia B.C, archeological monuments, settlements of that period, medieval settlements and other architectural samples, etc.have been built in their original appearance. In accordance with the requirements for the protection of modern museums and monuments, amenities have been created to see the historical pearls of Absheron on an area of 1.5 hectares.
«Blue Dome« Tarakama district mosque
The Blue Dome Mosque, built in 1911, located in the Tarakama district, was restored and used for religious purposes. The mosque has a central dome facing south and west. The eastern facade is lined with lime and decorated.
At the entrance in the form of a crown, moon and eight-pointed star are depicted. The main facade of the mosque, which is the architectural dominant of the district courtyard, overlooks a small backyard. Stone bowls and a pool in the courtyard complete the construction of the mosque.
The main facade of the mosque is lined with Rustic stone and has a beautiful cut-off effect created by the stone. Built to highlight the front door, the «pilasters» that replace the portal border the semicircular arched door on both sides.
Balaverdi mesjidi, located in the eastern part of the village of Gala, is a public place of worship in the neighborhood. The mosque, which dates back to 1864, is said to have been built by Suleiman Karbalai. The epigraphic stone inscription of the entrance door was erected after the restoration of the mosque by a wealthy man named Balaverdi, and the building has since been renamed the «Balaverdi Mosque».
The mosque is located on the right «arm» of Gala street, the main street of the village, in contrast to the low houses, and is distinguished from a long distance by its spatial resolution. Its central position in the district courtyard emphasizes the architectural nature of the mosque’s spatial environment as a key factor. The main facade extending horizontally is solved asymmetrically.
The three windows, which opened at the same height as the entrance door, were placed in accordance with the interior plan of the mosque. In order to highlight the entrance, the door is surrounded by a frame that will replace the portal, and the facade is surrounded by a «cornice» from above.
Unfortunately, the stone inscription that was once placed inside the frame and provides information about the date of construction of the building is now out of place.
The epigraphic inscription of Bayramali bath shows that it was repaired in 1881 by a well-known local resident Bayramali. Currently, the bathhouse is in the functioning and relevant ethnographic ceremonies are held here.
According to the inscription engraved on its facade, the history of the district mosque dates back to 1842-1843. As stated by the local people the mosque is older.
Chambarakand district mosque has a small square-shaped capacity according to the architectural plan. The interior is divided into nine sections by four support systems in the center. The prayer hall of the mosque is based on a constructive form with a central dome and a cross. This plan was created under the influence of Albanian-Christian architecture. The arches created by the support systems act not only as load-bearing elements of the dome drum, but also as creators of two-story cells in the corners of the hall. The cells in the corners are of particular interest for their constructive solution.
Reservoir (Ovdan) was built in the 17th century, during the reign of Shah Abbas, in the area of cemetery. The epigraphic inscriptions of Reservoir are preserved as a valuable monument in the Shirvanshahs Palace Complex. The Arabic translation of the inscription is as follows: “This period belongs to the reign of Shah Abbas Safavid, a just king, the shadow of the great God on earth. May God make his rule permanent.
This reservoir was built in the village in 1665 by the order of Nurmahammad oglu Fulad. ” The surface of the reservoir, in accordance with the architectural traditions of Absheron, and the entrance is marked with a main arch. An inscription is engraved on the semicircular arch. There are 17 steps from the entrance to the underground basin.
Haji Ramadan Mosque
The mosque is the only monumental building of the district of the same name located in the northern part of the village. With a T-shaped plan composition the mosque dates back to the XVII-XVIII centuries. According to the date of construction, this district mosque, built after Juma Mosque, can be considered as the oldest religious building in the village. According to the composition solution, it was determined that the construction of the two-hall Haji Ramazan Mosque was carried out in two stages at different times.
Gala Antiques Museum
Gala Antiques Museum was established in 2011 on the initiative and with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation on the basis of a personal collection collected by Shahid Habibullayev, an engineer, restorer, philanthropist, invalid of the Karabakh war and awarded the «Azerbaijan Flag» order.
The rich collection, collected over many years, now covers about 3,000 material and cultural artifacts. The antiques created by Azerbaijani masters, which form its basis, have been repeatedly demonstrated at international exhibitions, including Paris, London, Washington, Berlin, Moscow, Cairo, Rabad, Bishkek, Tashkent and other cities, and have always been met with great interest.
Only 800 exhibits of the unique collection are displayed in this museum. On the 1st and 2nd floors of the museum, various pearls of decorative and applied arts created by the Azerbaijani people for centuries are exhibited.
The date of construction of the mosque dates back to the XVII century, but the date of its construction can be considered older, as the mosque was already restored at the same time. Architects have come to this conclusion as a result of several reconstruction and additions to the Juma Mosque. According to scholars, the oldest part of the mosque, along with underground structures, dates back to the early Middle Ages.
Gum (sand) bathhouse
The bathhouse, which has an architectural structure of the XII-XIV centuries, is popularly known as the «Sand Bathhouse.» In addition to sanitary facilities, there are rest rooms in the underground bathhouse. The bath is located at a depth of 1.5-2 m below the surface. It also plays a role in regulating and maintaining heat and cold water. In the back of the bath there is a boiler room. The heating of the bathroom is carried out by ceramic pipes laid inside the walls and under the floor. Archaeological excavations also discovered ancient water and gas pipelines.
Shor (salt) Bath
The «salt bath» was located in the southern part of the village, near Salt lake. The bath was supplied with water coming from the lake. Because the water is salty, this bath has a more therapeutic purpose. Only the base part of the bath, of which salt water was used for skin diseases, has survived so far.
Archaeological excavations carried out in the bath during 2012/13 proved that the bath was built and used in the XVIII century. The iron materials found here show that it was restored in the XIX and XX centuries.
The mausoleum is believed to have been built in the 18th century. However, there is no information about who owns it. This architectural monument, which has an interesting plan structure, is located on two floors. The room on the first floor, which has an area of 1,500 square meters, acts as a «pedestal» of the tomb. The room, covered with a roof-ceiling system, was built relatively below ground level. The windowless «yerlashka» is remembered for its naval and small door openings. Above the room, in the center of the second floor, is a square-based tomb.
In the interior of the tomb, the windows open to the north and east, and a small niche in the west wall draws attention. The mausoleum is covered with a hemispherical dome.
The two-story solution of the mausoleum is most likely intended to ask the saint buried here.