Trip TO Azerbaijan – Magnific Land of Fire!Trip TO Azerbaijan – Magnific Land of Fire!

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Activities in Ganja

Imamzadeh

It is located on the territory of ancient Ganja after the village of Aznixi 7 km northeast of the city on the right bank of the Ganja River. A stone inscription on the 8th century sepulcher says that it was built on the grave of Ibrahim, the son of Imam Mahammad Bagir, and was restored on the initiative of the comman­der of the Russian army’s second Muslim cavalry regiment, Major-General Israfil Yadigarzada (1878-79). For its architec­tural style, it is believed that it was built in the 14th century and the surrounding complex in the 17th century. Around the sepulcher, there is a religious complex of small mosques, caravanserai-like ho­uses, a gate and auxiliary buildings. The height of the sepulcher is 12 m, while the height of the dome is 2.7 m and diame­ter – 4.4 m. The dome is covered with blue tiling. The phrase The Blue Imam Sepulcher which is more common is due to the blue mosaic. The complex which covered a larger ter­ritory before turned into a shrine in the 17th century. Imamzada is more visited during religious holidays, especially du­ring the month of Ramadan. All Imam­zada sepulchers in Ganja, Nakhichevan, Barda and Nardaran were built in honor of the imam’s family. Each of them has its own history.

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Jomard Gassab sepulcher

It is called Ganja’s “historical card”. Jo­mard Gassab’s grave was discovered du­ring archaeological excavations carried out in the 1940s. The sepulcher indicates that Ganja was a large city in the middle of the 7th century. The sepulcher is loca­ted on the right bank of the ancient Gan­ja River, one kilometer away from the ancient Ganja wall and south of the cur­rent train station. The octagon-shaped sepulcher was built from burnt bricks. It was destroyed in the 1970s and was fully rebuilt in its previous form in 2004.

Who is Jomard Gassab?

There are a lot of stories about Jomard Gassab who lived under Caliph Khalid Ali ibn Abu Talib who ruled in 656-661. It is believed that when the population of the city was pagan, Jomard adopted Islam. Without using scales, the butcher pro­nounced “Ya Ali” and cut meat so that no-one complained that he gave him less meat. Historical sources describe Jo­mard Gassab, who was known as a sup­porter of the law and an honest person who was loyal to Hazrat Ali, and was no­ted and loved for his clean conscience.

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German church

It is one of the most beautiful monu­ments of architecture in Ganja. The Ger­man émigrés resettled by the tsarist go­vernment in Ganjabasar built the church mainly from tufa. After its handover to the Orthodox Church in 1915, it was cal­led the Alexander Nevskiy Church. The building now houses the Ganja State Puppet Theatre.

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Shahsevan Mosque

This mosque, which was known as the Khazina library under the Soviets, was built by two Iranian workmen at the ex­pense of the local people in 1880. It is an ancient sample of oriental architectu­re. This building was in fact constructed on top of an Albanian historical monu­ment which belongs to the pre-Islamic period. In the early days of Islam, the temple operated as a centre inviting to Islam. Under Caliph Umar ibn Khattab, its scope of operation was even broa­der. As a result of Islamic propaganda in Azerbaijan, some Albanians adopted Is­lam. At that time, local Albanians rebuilt the Christian temple and turned it into a mosque. It used to have a five or six meter high roof.

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Shah Abbas Square

The Safavid ruler Shah Abbas (1557- 1628) seized Ganja in 1606. After his as­cent to the throne in 1587, he did a lot of work to expand, strengthen and deve­lop the country. At the same time, Shah Abbas, who was a very cruel ruler, took brutal steps to maintain his power and even killed his loved ones and his son for the sake of power. Shah Abbas Square in the city centre is 400 years old. There used to be a mosque, a caravanserai (17th century), the Chokak bath, the Haji Baghir underground water pipe and a khan’s graveyard here. Its se­cond name was Market Square. The mar­ket square, which was characteristic of all medieval cities, operated as a public and trade centre. Since it was too big for its structure and size, it was also called the Big Square. The square was surrounded by 40-45 meter high plane trees. Legend has it that when a new city was estab­lished, Shah Abbas told gardeners, who planted plane trees around the square, “genja-genja basdirin” (plant them away from each other) so that these long-lived and big trees do not get in each other’s way. It is believed that the city was called Ganja for this reason.

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Shah Abbas Mosque

This mosque, which was built on the ba­sis of a project by the well-known ori­ental architect Sheikh Bahaddin Muham­mad Amili, is known as a Friday mosque. A double minaret was attached to this building in 1776. The mosque, which was built by the Safavid ruler Shah Abbas I in 1606, was refurbished by Javad Khan twice in the 17th century. There are 12 cells built in honour of the 12 imams in­side the mosque. A madrasah operated here previously. One of the remarkable features of the mosque is that the sha­dow which falls on the western wall of the building disappears in the afternoon. This means that it is time for the afterno­on prayer. There are similar mosques in Ardabil, Isfahan and Gazvin.

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Chokak Bath

It is attached to the Shah Abbas Mos­que. It was built on the basis of a project by Sheikh Bahaddin Muhammad Amili. The building has a dome. It is no longer used as a bath as the sewage system was damaged during refurbishment work in Soviet times. Those who visit Shah Abbas Square can familiarize themselves with works by Ganja craftsmen and pieces of applied arts on china dishes. The Chokak Bath houses a centre for decorative arts. One of the most important monuments on Shah Abbas Square is the sepulcher of Javad Khan. Although the sepulcher was built in 2004, its history goes back to the 19th century. Javad Khan’s story is a ballade of heroism for Ganja.

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Javad Khan office

It is an office where all documentation was carried out under the rule of Javad Khan. It is a house where the Georgian poet Nikolaz Baratishvili took refuge later. Very important events and documents of that period were recorded at the office which now operates as a museum. Some of them, including Javad Khan’s four rep­lies to Tsitsianov’s letters full of threats sent in 1803, are exhibited here.

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Khan Garden

This historical monument related to the Ziyadkhanli family is a park frequently visited by Ganja residents and guests coming to Ganja. It is regarded as one of the largest parks in the Caucasus. Its construction began in 1700. It has rare kinds of plants brought from various parts of the world. Under Javad Khan, the park was renovated and trees were planted here. After that, the park was called the Khan Garden in his honour. After the Russian invasion, it was rena­med the governor’s garden. The Khan Garden was laid out on an area of 51 ha belonging to the khan’s family and is also known as the Sardar Garden.

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Ganja Fortress

A small fragment of the fortress – the fortress wall – is located in the city cent­re near the Khan Garden. The intact wall of the fortress is the remains of the Shiralibay Tower. In the 16th century, the Ganja region was a battle field for Ottoman-Safavid wars. At that time, it was necessary to build a strong fortress. Ganja Fortress, which was known as “a shield that all Asians relied on”, was built by the commander of Turkish troops in the Caucasus, Ferhat Pasha, on orders from Ottoman Sultan Murat III. The total length of the wall was 3.6 km and height – 8.5-9.5 meters. In 1868, Ganja became a regional cent­re. According to the new general plan drawn up by the regional architect, Igna­tiy Ivanovich Krzyntalowicz, and appro­ved by Emperor Alexander II, the histo­rical centre of the city underwent drastic changes. The fortress was destroyed and a European-style quarter was establis­hed.

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