Ganja, Azerbaijan

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"Gəncə" redirects here. For the village in Goygol rayon, see Gəncə, Goygol.
"Ganjak" redirects here. For places in Iran, see Ganjak, Iran.
"Gandzha" redirects here. For the village in Iran, see Gandzha, Iran.
Ganja
Gəncə
City & Municipality
From top left: Azerbaijan State Agricultural Academy, Shah Abbas Mosque, Chokak Bath, Javadkhan Street, Khan Bagi, Ganja Archeological Museum
From top left: Azerbaijan State Agricultural Academy, Shah Abbas Mosque, Chokak Bath, Javadkhan Street, Khan Bagi, Ganja Archeological Museum
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 (2009)census data[1]
 • Total 313,300
 • Density 2,848/km2 (7,380/sq mi)
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 around 313,300.[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.

History[edit]

Origin of the name[edit]

Even though some sources from medieval Islamic time attribute the building of the town to 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]

Pre-1500[edit]

Shah Abbas Mosque.

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]

Public park in Ganja city

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]

Mayoralty of Ganja

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.[25] For many years the 104th Guards Airborne Division of the Soviet Airborne Troops was based in the town.

21st century[edit]

Panoramic view of Ganja's mall

A construction boom is dramatically transforming the urban face of Ganja as 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]

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) [27]

Administrative organization[edit]

Ganja is divided into:

Economy[edit]

City centre of Ganja

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.[28] 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.[25][29]

Buildings, landmarks and museums[edit]

Chokak Bath

In the 11th century, a local blacksmith named Ibrahim produced the well known Gates of Ganja.[25]

  • Nizami Mausoleum, built in honor of Nizami Ganjavi, stands just outside the city of Ganja, Azerbaijan. It attracts nearly 35000 visitors per year.[30]
  • Shah Abbas Caravanserai, At present it is in use of the Ganja State Humanitarian college
  • Juma (Shah Abbas) Mosque, the mosque was under construction in 1606 under the project of Sheikh Baahaddin Mahammad Amilin mosque and currently is biggest mosque of the city.
  • Khan Bagi. The 17th century built garden
  • Chokak Bath, center of the applied art
  • The European bath of 19th century.
  • The former Armenian Church. Built in the 19th century and currently, it is unused.
  • Caucasian Albanian Church. Built in the 15th century and currently, it is in use of the Ganja State Philharmonic Chamber.
  • Russian Orthodox church.

Changing of historical landmarks in Ganja[edit]

"The Azeri government has changed all tiles with Persian inscription in Nezami Ganjavi’s mausoleum located in Ganja, the second largest city in Azerbaijan, in an attempt to change the Persian poet’s identity, reports say. According to reports, Nezami’s Persian poems had been inscribed on the tiles inside the mausoleum. The inscribed tiles were removed under the pretext of restoration work in the mausoleum. The Azeri government has been waging an extensive campaign to change the identity of the renowned 12th-century Persian poet (1141-1209), whose formal name was Jamal ad-Din Abu Muhammad Ilyas ibn-Yusuf ibn-Zakki. In 2012, Heydar Aliyev Foundation, which is run by Azerbaijan’s first lady Mehriban Aliyeva, paid Rome City Municipality 110,000 euros to install a monument of Nezami in Villa Borghese Park in the Italian capital. The Italian inscription on the monument claims Nezami to be an Azerbaijani poet. Iranian expatriates in Italy and Italian scholars have protested the move."[31][32][33]

Education[edit]

Ganja is home to four major institutes for post-secondary education.

Transportation[edit]

Air[edit]

Ganja International Airport is the only airport in the city.[34] 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]

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.

Demography[edit]

Ethnic groups in Ganja
Year Azerbaijanis  % Armenians  % Russians  % Others 1  % TOTAL
1886 [35]
11,139
54.9
8,914
43.9
131
0.6
110
0.5
20,294
1892[36]
13,392
51.8
10,524
40.8
1,842
7.2
25,758
1897 [37]
17,426
51.8
12,055
35.9
2,519
7.5
1,625
4.8
33,625
1926[35]
30,878
53.8
16,148
28.1
4,470
7.8
5,897
10.3
57,339
1939 [38]
49,755
50.3
27,121
27.4
16,992
17.2
4,626
4.7
98,494
1959 [39]
63,258
54.5
32,371
27.9
16,545
14.2
4,039
3.5
116,122
1970[40]
122,973
64.9
40,588
21.4
22,022
11.6
3,929
2.1
189,512
1979[41]
167,251
72.4
40,354
17.5
19,822
8.6
3,639
1.6
231,066
1988/1989 [42]
40,7412
14.7
278,006 [43]
1999 [44]
294,876
98.5
32
0.01
2,814
0.9
1,620
0.5
299,342
2009[45]
311,813
99.5
6
0
895
0.3
535
0.2
313,249
1 Georgians, Jews, Ukrainians etc.
2Just before the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict [46]

Ganja is the second largest city of Azerbaijan after Baku with about 313,300 residents. The city is also inhabited by large number of Azerbaijani refugees from Armenia and IDPs from the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas. Their number is estimated to be 33,000 in 2011.[47]

Historic Armenian community[edit]

In addition to Persian- and Turkic-speaking Muslims, the city has had a numerically, economically and, culturally significant Armenian community.[48][49] Among the Armenians, the city is known as Gandzak (Գանձակ)[50][51][52] The name Gandzak derives from gandz (Arm. - գանձ), the loan word from Old Iranian, which means treasure or riches.[53][54] The city's historically important Christian figures include Kirakos Gandzaketsi, author of the History of the Armenians[55]), Armenian[56] philosopher Mkhitar Gosh[57] author of the Code of Laws that was used in Armenia, Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and Armenian diasporan groups in Europe,[58] 13th century polymath Vardan Areveltsi[59] 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,[60] secretary of the Armenian SSR Communist Party Askanaz Mravyan,[61] and the Olympic champion Albert Azaryan.[62]

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.[63]

Sports[edit]

The city has one professional football team, Kapaz PFK, currently competing in the top-flight of Azerbaijani football, the Azerbaijan Premier League.[64] It has three Azerbaijani league and four cup titles.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Ganja is twinned with:[65]

City Country
Moscow[65] Russia Russia
Rustavi[65] Georgia (country) Georgia
Olomouc[65] Czech Republic Czech Republic
Kutaisi[65] Georgia (country) Georgia
İzmir[65] Turkey Turkey
Derbent[65] Russia Russia
Kars[65] Turkey Turkey
Bursa[65] Turkey Turkey
Ankara[65] Turkey Turkey
Elâzığ[65] Turkey Turkey
Newark, New Jersey[65] United States United States
Dnipropetrovsk[65] Ukraine Ukraine
Dushanbe[65] Tajikistan Tajikistan
Eskişehir[65][66] Turkey Turkey
Konya[65] Turkey Turkey
Ordu[65] Turkey Turkey
Vũng Tàu[65] Vietnam Vietnam

Notable natives[edit]

Gallery[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)
  4. ^ Encyclopedia Iranica, "Ganja", C. Edmund Bosworth Archived 23 August 2011 at WebCite
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  7. ^ V.Minorsky. A History of Shirvan and Derbent.
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  13. ^ Ak Koyunlu. (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 17, 2007
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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