Due to an earthquake which hit the area on 25 September 1139, parts of the Kapaz Mount collapsed and blocked the path of the Kürəkçay River. As a result of diversion of water flow, a lake with pure mountain water was created, hence the name given signifying the pureness of the water. The nearby city of Khanlar was renamed after the Göygöl Lake on 25 April 2008. The city founded as Helenendorf by first German settlers in Azerbaijan in 1819 and with considerable German minority until 1941 had been renamed to Khanlar in 1938. In 1941, German settlers were relocated by Soviet authorities to Kazakhstan and their homes were filled by Armenians by orders of Anastas Mikoyan. In 1925 the lake was incorporated into the newly founded "Goy Gol State Reserve" which was superseded as Göygöl National Park in 2008.
Greater Göygöl area is often split into 19 lakes, 8 of which fall into large lakes category, Maralgöl, Zelilgöl, Qaragöl among them. It is situated at 1,556 meters above the sea level. The complete length reaches 6,460 meters. The depth of the lake is 93 meters. Due to pureness of the water, one can see underwater life clearly 8-10 meters below the surface. The lake fauna is very rich. The Göygöl Trout has evolved from the river trout since the natural creation of the lake. The Göygöl area is known for dry winters and mild to warm summers. Rainfalls range from 600 to 900 mm.There is an Azerbaijani Army corps close to Göygöl. The lake is a major tourist attraction during the spring and summer seasons. In 2009, more than 4500 tourists have visited Goygol. Among the tourists, many are German nationals. In the vicinity of Göygöl, there are settlements populated by ethnic Germans, many monuments of German culture and an old German Lutheran church built in 1854.