Ganja, Azerbaijan

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"Gəncə" redirects here. For the village in Goygol rayon, see Gəncə, Goygol.
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Ganja
Gəncə
City & Municipality
Public park in Ganja Mausoleum of Nizami Ganjavi Leyli and Majnun monument Fortress of Ganja Khan's GardenGanja montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article.
About this image
Official seal of Ganja
Seal
Nickname(s): Red City
Ganja is located in Azerbaijan
Ganja
Ganja
Coordinates: 40°40′58″N 46°21′38″E / 40.68278°N 46.36056°E / 40.68278; 46.36056
Country  Azerbaijan
Government
 • Mayor Elmar Valiyev
Area
 • Total 110 km2 (40 sq mi)
Elevation 408 m (1,339 ft)
Population (2014)census data[1]
 • Total 1.054.962
Demonym Ağali,Lələ,Küçəli
Time zone GMT+4 (UTC+4)
 • Summer (DST) GMT+5 (UTC+5)
Website www.ganca.net

Ganja (Azerbaijani: Gəncə) is Azerbaijan's second-largest city with a population of just over 1.000.000 .[1][2][3] It was named Elisabethpol (Russian: Елизаветпо́ль, tr. Yelizavetpol; IPA: [jɪlʲɪzəvʲɪtˈpolʲ]) in the Russian Empire period. The city regained its original name Ganja in 1920 during the first part of its incorporation into the Soviet Union. However, its name was changed again in 1935 to Kirovabad (Russian: Кироваба́д; IPA: [kʲɪrəvɐˈbat]) and retained it throughout the later Soviet period from 1935. Finally in 1989, during Perestroika, the city regained the original name.

Etymology[edit]

Even though some sources from medieval Islamic time attribute the building of the town to a Muslim Arab ruler, modern historians believe that the fact that the name Ganja (گنجه / Ganjeh) derives from the New Persian ganj (گنج: "treasure, treasury") and in Arabic source the name is recorded as Janza (Middle Persian: ganza: treasure, treasury") suggests that the city existed in pre-Islamic times and was likely founded in the 5th century.[4] The area in which Ganja is located was known as Arran from the 9th to 12th century; its urban population spoke mainly in the Persian language.[5][6]

History[edit]

Feudal era[edit]

Shah Abbas Mosque is one of city's most known landmarks.

According to medieval Arabic sources, the city of Ganja was founded in 859-60 by Mohammad b. Khaled b. Yazid b. Mazyad, the Arab governor of the region in the reign of the caliph Al-Mutawakkil, and so-called because of a treasure unearthed there. According to the legend, the Arab governor had a dream where a voice told him that there was a treasure hidden under one of the three hills around the area where he camped. The voice told him to unearth it and use the money to found a city. He did so and informed the caliph about the money and the city. Caliph made Mohammad the hereditary governor of the city on a condition that he would give the money he found to the caliph.[7]

Foundation of the city by Arabs is confirmed by the medieval Armenian historian Movses Kagankatvatsi, who mentions that the city of Ganja was founded in 846-47 in the canton of Arshakashen by the son of Khazr Patgos, “a furious and merciless man”.[8]

Historically an important city of the South Caucasus, Ganja has been part of Sassanid empire, Great Seljuk Empire, Kingdom of Georgia, Atabegs of Azerbaijan, Khwarezmid Empire, Il-Khans,[9] Timurids,[10] Jalayirids,[11] Qara Qoyunlu,[12] Ak Koyunlu,[13][14] the Safavid, the Afsharid, the Zand and the Qajar empires of Persia/Iran, but often ruled locally by the khans/dukes of the Ganja Khanate. Ganja is also the birthplace of the famous poet Nizami Ganjavi.

The people of Ganja experienced a temporary cultural decline after an earthquake in 1139, when the city was taken by king Demetrius I of Georgia and its gates taken as trophies, and again after the Mongol invasion in 1231. The city was revived after the Safavids came to power. City came under temporary occupation by the Ottomans between 1578–1606 and 1723-1735.

16th-19th centuries[edit]

For a short period, Ganja was renamed Abbasabad by Shah Abbas after war against the Ottomans. He built a new city 8 kilometres (5 miles) to the southwest of the old one, but the name changed back to Ganja during the time[15] During the Safavid rule, it was the capital of the Karabakh (Ganja) beylerbey,[16] one of the four such administrative units and principalities.[17] In 1747, Ganja became the center of the Ganja Khanate.

Russian expansion into the South Caucasus met strong opposition in Ganja. In contrast with spreading suzerainty over Christian Georgia and Sunni Daghestan, military attack on the khanate in 1804 led by Pavel Tsitsianov was seen as a direct challenge to Iran being an incursion into a mainly Shia-populated territory. Some western sources assert that "the capture of the city was followed by a massacre of up to 3,000 inhabitants of Ganja by the Russians".[18] They also claim that "500 of them were slaughtered in a mosque where they had taken refuge, after an Armenian told the Russian soldiers that there might have been "Daghestani robbers" among them".[19] Thosaunds of Azeris left Ganja and fled to Iran following the capture.[citation needed]

According to the October 1813 Gulistan Treaty, the Ganja Khanate, together with most of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Dagestan, were recognized as part of the Russian Empire after Persia's defeat in the Persia-Russia wars except Persian occupation between 1826-1827.[20] It was renamed Elisabethpol (Russian: Елизаветполь) after the wife of Alexander I of Russia, Elisabeth, and in 1868 became the capital of Elisabethpol Governorate.[21] Elizavetpol was an uyezd of Tiflis Governorate before 1868.[citation needed] The Russian name was not accepted by Azerbaijanis who continued to call the city Ganja.[22]

20th century[edit]

National Assembly building of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic after it was moved to the city.

In 1918, Ganja became the temporary capital of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, at which point it was renamed Ganja again, until Baku was recaptured from the British backed Centrocaspian Dictatorship. In April 1920, the Red Army occupied Azerbaijan. In May 1920, Ganja was the scene of an abortive anti-Soviet rebellion, during which the city was heavily damaged by fighting between the insurgents and the Red Army.[23] In 1935, Joseph Stalin renamed the city Kirovabad after Sergei Kirov.[24] In 1991, Azerbaijan re-established its independence, and the ancient name of the city was given back. For many years the 104th Guards Airborne Division of the Soviet Airborne Troops was based in the town.[25]

21st century[edit]

City centre of Ganja

A construction boom is dramatically transforming the urban face of Ganja as the city has seen a boom in the construction sector in recent years. This boom has inevitably led to dramatic changes in the city's urban development, transforming the old Soviet city into a hub of high-rise, mixed-use buildings.[26]

In 2008, Ganja Mausoleum Gates were built on the basis of sketches of ancient Ganja gates made by local master Ibrahim Osman oglu in 1063.[27][28]

Geography[edit]

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Ganja
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.5
(43.7)
6.8
(44.2)
11.9
(53.4)
19.2
(66.6)
23.4
(74.1)
27.9
(82.2)
31.4
(88.5)
29.9
(85.8)
26.0
(78.8)
19.3
(66.7)
12.6
(54.7)
8.3
(46.9)
18.6
(65.47)
Average low °C (°F) −2.3
(27.9)
−1.2
(29.8)
2.2
(36)
7.7
(45.9)
12.2
(54)
16.3
(61.3)
19.5
(67.1)
18.3
(64.9)
15.2
(59.4)
9.2
(48.6)
4.5
(40.1)
0.0
(32)
8.47
(47.25)
Precipitation mm (inches) 10
(0.39)
17
(0.67)
32
(1.26)
30
(1.18)
42
(1.65)
46
(1.81)
23
(0.91)
18
(0.71)
16
(0.63)
32
(1.26)
14
(0.55)
18
(0.71)
298
(11.73)
Avg. precipitation days 4 5 5 6 9 7 3 4 3 6 3 4 59
Source: World Meteorological Organisation (UN) [29]

Administrative divisions[edit]

Mayoralty of Ganja

Today, Ganja is divided into 2 rayons (administrative districts).[30] The mayor, presently Elmar Valiyev, embodies the executive power of the city.[31][32]

Demographics[edit]

Ethnic groups in Ganja
Year Azerbaijanis  % Armenians  % Russians  % Others 1  % TOTAL
1886 [33]
11,139
54.9
8,914
43.9
131
0.6
110
0.5
20,294
1892[34]
13,392
51.8
10,524
40.8
1,842
7.2
25,758
1897 [35]
17,426
51.8
12,055
35.9
2,519
7.5
1,625
4.8
33,625
1926[33]
30,878
53.8
16,148
28.1
4,470
7.8
5,897
10.3
57,339
1939 [36]
49,755
50.3
27,121
27.4
16,992
17.2
4,626
4.7
98,494
1959 [37]
63,258
54.5
32,371
27.9
16,545
14.2
4,039
3.5
116,122
1970[38]
122,973
64.9
40,588
21.4
22,022
11.6
3,929
2.1
189,512
1979[39]
167,251
72.4
40,354
17.5
19,822
8.6
3,639
1.6
231,066
1999 [40]
294,876
98.5
32
0.01
2,814
0.9
1,620
0.5
299,342
2009[41]
311,813
99.5
6
0
895
0.3
535
0.2
313,249
1 Georgians, Jews, Ukrainians etc.

Ganja is the second largest city of Azerbaijan after Baku with about 313,300 residents. The city is also inhabited by a large number of Azerbaijani refugees from Armenia and IDPs from the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas. Their number was estimated to be 33,000 in 2011.[42]

Historic Armenian community[edit]

In addition to Persian and Turkic-speaking Muslims, the city has had a numerically, economically and, culturally significant Armenian community.[43][44] Among the Armenians, the city is known as Gandzak (Գանձակ)[45][46][47] The name Gandzak derives from gandz (Arm. - գանձ), the loan word from Old Iranian, which means treasure or riches.[48][49] The city's historically important Christian figures include Kirakos Gandzaketsi, author of the History of the Armenians[50]), Armenian[51] philosopher Mkhitar Gosh[52] author of the Code of Laws that was used in Armenia, Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and Armenian diasporan groups in Europe,[53] 13th century polymath Vardan Areveltsi[54] and Grigor Paron-Ter, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem. Among the modern time's prominent Armenian person's of the city were Russian-Armenian architect Karo Halabyan,[55] secretary of the Armenian SSR Communist Party Askanaz Mravyan,[56] and the Olympic champion Albert Azaryan.[57]

The founder of the Hethumid dynasty, Oshin of Lampron was an Armenian nakharar and lord of a castle near Ganja who fled to Cilicia in 1075 during the Seljuk invasion of Armenia.[58]

Religion[edit]

The urban landscape of Ganja is shaped by many communities. The religion with the largest community of followers is Islam. The majority of the Muslims are Shia Muslims, and the Republic of Azerbaijan has the second highest Shia population percentage in the world after Iran.[59] The city's notable mosques include Shah Abbas Mosque, Goy Imam Mosque, Shahsevenler Mosque, Qirikhli Mosque and Qazakhlar Mosque.[60]

There are some other faiths practiced among the different ethnic groups within the country. The other faith worshipping places include Alexander Nevsky Church, German Lutheral Church, Saint Iohann Church and Saint Sarkis Church.[61][62]

Economy[edit]

The economy of Ganja is partially agricultural, partially tourist based, with some industries in operation. Ore minerals extracted from nearby mines supply Ganja's metallurgical industries, which produces copper and alumina.[63] There are porcelain, silk and footwear industries. Other industries process food, grapes and cotton from the surrounding farmlands.

The city has one of the largest textile conglomerates in Azerbaijan and is famous for a fabric named Ganja silk, which received the highest marks in the markets of neighboring countries and the Middle East.[64][65]

Tourism and shopping[edit]

Panoramic view of the mall based in the city.

Traditional shops, modern shops and malls create a mixture of shopping opportunities in Ganja. Javad Khan Street is the traditional shopping street that is located in the old town.[66] In 2013, the construction work started to built Ganja Mall, which is expected to be the city's largest mall.[67]

In 2016, Ganja will be the European Youth Capital, an event with a budget of 5.7 million euros that is projected to boost tourism by about a fifth.[68][69]

Culture[edit]

Ganja Ethnographic and History Museum.

The city has many amenities that offer a wide range of cultural activities, drawing both from a rich local dramatic portfolio and an international repertoire. The city is known for its famous metal handicrafts industry during the Middle Ages. The most notable works of that period includes Gates of Ganja and Ancient Ganja Gate.[70][71][72]

Ganja Ethnographic and History Museum is the oldest museum in the city, with over 30,000 artifacts.[73] The city is also home to Nizami Ganjavi Museum, which was built in 2014.[74] The museum contains a research section, a library, a conference room, and corners for guests and tourists’ relaxation.[74]

As of 2012, the city along with Baku and Lankaran participates in Earth Hour movement.[75][76]

Architecture[edit]

Ganja is primarily known for its Azerbaijani and Islamic architecture, but its buildings reflect the various peoples and empires that have previously ruled the city. During Ganja Khanate period, the Khans proceeded to make an indelible impression on the skyline of Ganja, building towering mosques and houses from red bricks.[77]

Among the oldest surviving examples of Islamic architecture in Ganja are the Nizami Mausoleum and Shah Abbas Caravanserai, which assisted the Shahs during their siege of the city.[78][79] The area around and inside the mosques, contains many fine examples of traditional architecture like Chokak Bath.[80]

Music and media[edit]

On 21 January 2012, president Ilham Aliyev laid the foundation of Ganja State Philharmonic.[81] The facility will include a 1,200 concert hall, an open-air cinema theatre, a drawing gallery, an urban center and an observation tower.[81]

The two regional channels Kapaz TV and Alternativ TV are headquartered in Ganja.[82]

The city is expected to host Türkvizyon Song Contest in 2015.[83]

Parks and gardens[edit]

Public park in Ganja city

Ganja has plenty of parks and gardens, mostly well maintained. Owing to the warm climate, parks and gardens are open all year long without the need of winter maintenance.

The Khan's Garden is the most scenic park and one of the city's most known landmarks.[84] It has an interesting landscaping, carrying wide variety of trees and plants in an open concept.[85]

Sports[edit]

The city has one professional football team, Kapaz, currently competing in the second-flight of Azerbaijani football, the Azerbaijan First Division.[86] The club has three Azerbaijani league and four cup titles.

Transport[edit]

Public transport[edit]

Ganja has a large urban transport system, mostly managed by the Ministry of Transportation. In 2013, Ministry of Transportation stated that city, along with Nakhchivan and Sumqayit will have new subway line within the framework of the 20-year subway program.[87][88] The city had trolleybus system, functioning from 1955 to 2004.[89]

The Ganja trams is expected to became operational in 2015. The city had been without a tram system since Ganja tramway network ceased in the 1980s.[90] Alstom is expected to participate in the reconstruction of the tram-line.[91]

Air[edit]

Ganja International Airport is the only airport in the city.[92] The airport is connected by bus to the city center. There are domestic flights to Baku and international service to Russia and Turkey.

Rail[edit]

Kars–Tbilisi–Baku railway will directly connect the city with Turkey and Georgia.

Ganja sits on one of the Azerbaijani primary rail lines running East-West connecting the capital, Baku, with the rest of the country. The Kars–Tbilisi–Baku railway will run along the line through the city. The railway provides both human transportation and transport of goods and commodities such as oil and gravel.

Ganja's Central Railway Station is the terminus for national and international rail links to the city. The Kars–Tbilisi–Baku railway, which will directly connect Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan, began to be constructed in 2007 and is scheduled for completion in 2015.[93] The completed branch will connect Ganja with Tbilisi in Georgia, and from there trains will continue to Akhalkalaki, and Kars in Turkey.[94]

Education[edit]

Ganja is home to four major institutes for post-secondary education. Ganja State University was founded as Ganja Teachers Institute after Hasan bey Zardabi in 1939.[95] In 2000, the President of Azerbaijan renamed the institute to Ganja State University.[95] The university includes 8 faculty departments and 10 offices.[95] The city also includes Azerbaijan State Agricultural Academy, Azerbaijan Technological University and local branch of Azerbaijan Teachers Institute.[96]

Notable residents[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Category:People from Ganja, Azerbaijan.

Because of its intermittent periods of great prosperity as well as being one of the largest cities in Azerbaijan and one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse in the Caucasus, Ganja prides itself on having produced a disproportionate number of notable figures in the sciences, arts and other fields. Some of the houses they resided in display commemorative plaques. Some of the many prestigious residents include: poet Nizami Ganjavi, Olympic champion Toghrul Asgarov, ruler of Ganja Khanate Javad Khan, poets Mirza Shafi Vazeh, Mahsati Ganjavi, Nigar Rafibeyli and Hakob Hakobyan, composer Fikrat Amirov, philosopher Vardan Areveltsi and prime minister of Azerbaijan Artur Rasizade.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Ganja is twinned with various cities.[98]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan
  2. ^ The Ganja State Historical-Cultural reserve
  3. ^ В Азербайджане численность населения достигла 8 млн. 922 тыс. человек (Russian)
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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°40′58″N 46°21′38″E / 40.68278°N 46.36056°E / 40.68278; 46.36056