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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]

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