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Ganja (Azerbaijani: Gəncə) is Azerbaijan's second-largest city with a population of around 313,300. It was named Yelizavetpol (Russian: Елизаветполь) in the Russian Empire period. It is known as Gandzak in Armenian.

In the 1800's the population of Ganja was nearly half Armenian. There were over 40,000 Armenians living in Ganja in 1988 before the Armenian-Azeri war broke out. Today there are almost none left.


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In addition to Persian- and Turkic-speaking Muslims, the city has had a numerically, economically and, culturally significant Armenian community.[1][2] Among the Armenians, the city is known as Gandzak (Գանձակ)[3][4][5] The name Gandzak derives from gandz (Arm. - գանձ), the loan word from Old Iranian, which means treasure or riches.[6][7] The city's historically important Christian figures include Kirakos Gandzaketsi, author of the History of the Armenians[8]), Armenian[9] philosopher Mkhitar Gosh[10] author of the Code of Laws that was used in Armenia, Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and Armenian diasporan groups in Europe,[11] 13th century polymath Vardan Areveltsi[12] 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,[13] secretary of the Armenian SSR Communist Party Askanaz Mravyan,[14] Marshall Hovhannes Baghramyan,[15] and the Olympic champion Albert Azaryan.[16]

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.[17]

  1. Soviet Census in 1926-1979, Newspaper Pravda Press, Moscow, 1983
  2. According to the 1892 official data, 10524 of 25758 inhabitants of the city were Armenians, there were 6 Armenian Apostolic (Gregorian) churches", Elizavetpol article, Brockauz and Efron Encyclopedia (in Russian)
  3. "the union of Georgian and Armenian armies near Gandzak", Great Soviet Encyclopedia (BSE)
  4. "Mkhitar Gosh was born in Gandzak", Mkhitar Gosh article, (BSE)
  5. "Gandzak (Ganja)" [ The death of the last 'Abbasid Caliph': a contemporary Muslim account, by Boyle J. // Semitic Studies.1961; 6: 145-161
  6. Philological Society (Great Britain); Philological Society (Great Britain). (1956). Transactions of the Philological Society. Published for the Society by B. Blackwell.. p. 100. 
  8. Kirakos, Gandzaketsi, History of the Armenians, New York: Sources of the Armenian Tradition, 1986.
  9. "Armenian philosopher, literary and public activist", Mkhitar Gosh at BSE
  10. Mkhitar Gosh at BSE
  11. "Despite the code of Gosh hadnt official character, it used in Armenia, as in the foreign countries, where there were Armenian population". Code of Laws by Gosh at Great Soviet Encyclopedia (BSE)
  12. (Armenian) Hovhannisyan, P. «Վարդան Արևելցի» (Vardan Areveltsi). Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia. vol. xi. Yerevan, Armenian SSR: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1985, pp. 312-313.
  13. Alabyan at BSE
  14. Mravyan at BSE
  15. Baghramyan at BSE
  16. Azarian at BSE
  17. M. Setton, Kenneth; Robert Lee Wolff, Harry W. Hazard (2006-03-24). "XVIII: The Kingdom of Cilician Armenia". The later Crusades, 1189-1311 (A History of the Crusades, volume, II). Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 633. ISBN 978-0-299-04844-0.