Ganja is the second largest city of the Azerbaijan Republic or North Azerbaijan and the fourth largest one in Transcaucasus, the motherland of the Great Poet Nizami Ganjavi.
Until 1804 and from 1804 to 1935 was named Ganja, from 1804 to 1918 Yelizavetpol and from 1935 Kirovabad. In 1989 its historical name Ganja was returned to the city.
The city is situated on a foot of the Small Caucasus , on the road between Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, and Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia. Estimated territory is 197 square kilometers. Ganja administratively divided in two districts: Kapaz and Nizami. Average temperature in January is 1,1C and in July is 25,4C.
The name Ganja means wide derived from a word "gan" (wide). Ganja is an ancient city of Azerbaijan which is settled in the fifth century. The reference to Ganja could be found in the book "Kitabi Dada Korkut" ( the historical literature work of Oghuzs, the ancestors of Azerbaijani turks.)
Location on the Great Silk Way, connecting the West with East played a significant role in the development of economy and culture in ancient Ganja having made the city one of the beautiful and prosper in the world. In the six century Ganja was seized by Arabs and became area of fighting between them and Khazars. In the 10th century Ganja became the capital city of the Salarilar state and in 970 having been captured by Sheddadilar became their capital city. In 1088 a commander of the Saljuk sultan Malikshah called Bugan captured the city. From then Ganja became in the possession of the Saldjuk Empire.
In 1139,18th of September terrible earthquake happened in Ganja. The city was destroyed tremendously, about 300 thousands of people were killed in that disaster. Top of the mountain Kapaz fall on flow of the river Aksy having created a lake named Goy-Gol.
After the awful earthquake Ganja regenerated soon and in the 11th and 13th centuries Ganja became again the prosper and richest city known everywhere in the east . The quantity of population achieved 500000. Especially Ganja was famous by its cotton fabric named Al-Ganjavi.
In 1231 Ganja was captured by Mongols. In 1259 Ganja was included in the state of Ilkhanids. And after that became in the possession of the Karakoyunlu state and later on belonged to the Akkoyunlu state. In 16th century Ganja became the capital city of Karabakh province belonging to the state of Qizilbashs( Safaviís state). Transformation of Safavi state from turk one to Persian one made Azerbaijan depend on Persian nobles.
By 18th century when azerbaijani small states named khanats became independent, Ganja with the lands surrounding it became an independent state as well ruled by the dignitaries from Ziyadogly dynasty.
In 1804 after the unequal battle between Ganja khanat military home guard and troops of the Russian Emopre in the place named Quru Qobu, Ganja was besieged and captured . In despite of the suggestion made by the Russian commander to a ruler of Ganja Khanate to surrender, Javad khan refused and kept defense of the city one month until he died in 3rd of January. His great statement "Oldu var, Dondu jokh"( Lets die but not turn back) inspired defenders of Ganja and influenced future generation of azerbaijani people in struggle for independence from Russian and Iranian empires.
Again in the beginning of 20th century Ganja had a tremendous role in the history of Azerbaijan. In 1918, 27th of May Ganja became capital city of the first republic in the Moslim world until Baku was liberated from bolsheviks and the government moved there.The advance of Soviet troops in Azerbaijan meet resistance in Ganja and was cause of the Famous Ganja Uprising when azerbaijanis showed again their wish for independence and took part in the unequal fight with the invaders.
In nowadays Ganja remains the second important city of North Azerbaijan.