Gəncə / Gence
Ganja is a historically important city of the South Caucasus, Ganja has been part of many empires, including the Great Seljuk Empire, Atabegs of Azerbaijan, Khwarezmid Empire, Il-Khans, Timurids, Qara Qoyunlu, Ak Koyunlu, the Safavid, the Afsharid and the Qajar dynasties of Iran. Following Nader Shah’s death, it was ruled locally for a few decades by the khans of the Ganja Khanate, who themselves were subordinate to the central rule in mainland Iran and were a branch of the Turkic Qajar family. Ganja is also the birthplace of the famous poet Nizami Ganjavi.
The city was revived after the Safavids came to power in 1501 and incorporated all of Azerbaijan and beyond into their territories. The city came under brief occupation by the Ottomans between 1578–1606 and 1723-1735 during the prolonged Ottoman-Persian Wars, but nevertheless stayed under intermittent suzerainty from the earliest 16th century up to the course of the 19th century, when it was forcefully ceded to neighbouring Imperial Russia. The capture of the city was followed by a massacre of up to 3,000 inhabitants of Ganja by the Russians. It was renamed Elisabethpol after the wife of Alexander I of Russia and in 1868 became the capital of Elisabethpol Governorate.
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. Joseph Stalin renamed the city in 1935 Kirovabad after Sergei Kirov. In 1991, Azerbaijan re-established its independence, and the ancient name of the city was given back.
Places of interest
Building of the People’s Republic
Shah Abbas Caravanserai
Ughurlu khan Caravanserai
Tomb of Javad khan