Gala village is in the centre of the Absheron peninsula in the east of Azerbaijan, on a strategically important hill which dominated the area. The older part of Gala village was declared to be a historical ethnographic reserve in 1988 and encompassed 216 historical, archaeological and architectural monuments. The village has five mosques, the remains of a castle, three bathhouses, more than 170 houses, as well as mausoleums, vaults, storage lakes etc. Gala village is not, however, just a collection of monuments illustrating medieval architecture, but a complex simulating a town built in medieval Absheron. It is a rural metaphor for the Inner City and fortress at the centre of Baku.
Archaeological excavations conducted in the village and nearby have shown that Gala has been populated since the 3rd millennium BC. Finds of pottery and work tools tell us something about the permanence and power of the old settlement. These finds and the rock carvings that have been discovered in the village, support the theory that the majority of classical villages around Baku were built on older primeval sites. It should be mentioned that it is actually incorrect to call Gala a village or settlement; it was, rather, a small town. This is confirmed by evidence of urban civilization, such as water pipes and drainage, and craft/commercial activities, both within the population and in the archaeological remains.
Two ideas stood at the heart of the museum’s conception: firstly, to demonstrate within a relatively compact area the history, architecture and ethnography of the Absheron, and secondly, to create an interactive tourist attraction.