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Ganja (city)

From Academic Kids

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Azerbaijan-Ganca.png
Map of Azerbaijan showing Ganca sahar

Ganja (Azeri: Gəncə) is an ancient town in Azerbaijan. Throughout its history, Ganja has had different names, including Elizavetpol (during Russia's rule) and Kirovabad (during the Soviet Union's rule). Ganja is the birthplace of the famous classical Azerbaijani and Persian poet Nizami.

The city was most likely founded in the 5th century AD. To explain the etymology of "Ganja", people refer either to the Persian word of ganj (گنج: "treasure, treasury", of Persian origin), or to the Kurdish/Turkic word of ganj ("young"). The first theory is considered more probable and is mentioned in the related historical texts, and the supporters of that theory tell that the theory points that there having existed a much older, pre-Islamic town there.

People of Ganja experienced cultural decline after an earthquake in 1139 and the Mongol invasion in the 1231. The city was revived after the Safavids came to power. For a short period of time Ganja was being called Abbasabad, which it was renamed to after shah Abbas I. In 1747, Ganja became the capital of the independent Ganja khanate. In October 1813 by the Gulistan Treaty, the city was transferred to the Russians after Persia's defeat in the Persia-Russia wars. It was renamed to Elizavetpol after the wife of Alexander I of Russia, Elizabeth.

In 1918 Ganja became a tempopary capital of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, until Baku was recaptured from the communists. In 1920 the Soviet Union conquered Azerbaijan and renamed it back to Ganja in 1924, but later in 1935, Joseph Stalin renamed the city to Kirovabad after Sergei Kirov. In 1991, Azerbaijan became independent, and the ancient name of the city was re-established.

Today Ganja is the second largest city in Azerbaijan. The population is about 300,000. It has an airport, and is home to the Nizami Mausoleum, built in 1991.

External links

de:Gnc et:Gəncə ja:ギャンジャ sk:Gyandzha sv:Gandja

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