The nondescript town of Ismayilly offers tourists nothing particular to see or do, but serves as a useful transit point for exploring the magnificent mountain country that lies behind. Almost everything that visitors are likely to need here is on the Shamaxa-Qabala road that bypasses the town along its northern edge.
Ismailly district was created with the center in the Ismailly village on November 21, 1931. Before the establishment of the district one of its part was within the Goychay province, another one within the Shamakhy province and the smallest part within the Sheki province.
The territory of the district like all the northern lands of Azerbaijan was part of the Albanian state in the 4th century B.C. Mehran Gyrdyman from the dynasty of Sasanies even created his own kingdom at the territory. Albanian rulers Varaz Grigor and his son Djavanshir (616-681) were also from the dynasty of mehranids. The Gyrdyman state was ruled by the most prominent ruler of Albania Djavanshir in 638-670. The ruins of the residence built by him on the Aghchay river 4 kilometers away from the Talystan village is still famous as the Djavanshir tower.
The district covers an area of 2074 km2. It borders on Guba in the north, Shamakhy in the east, Aghsu in the south-east, Kurdemir in the south, Goychay in the south-west and Gabala in the west.
The district includes 1 city, 2 settlements and 106 villages. The landscape of the district is mainly composed of mountains. The height of the lands hesitates between 200 meters up to 3629 meters (Babadagh) above sea level. The district has a rich nature. The forests are composed of oak, hornbeam, beech-tree, alder-tree, birch-tree, poplar, pear, spoke and other trees. Such representatives of animal kingdom as elk, mountain goat, chamois, deer, roe deer, bear, boar, lynx, fox, wolf, squirrel, coon, pheasant, partridge, eagle, falcon, tetra and others are found in these forests.
A number of settlements of the district especially Lahydj and Basgal settlements, Ivanovka, Galadjyg, Talystan and Diyarly villages are notable for their ancient history and special beauty. Lahidj and Basgal were declared the reserves of history and culture. The district accounts for a number of ancient historical monuments.