Ganja (gänjäˈ) [key], formerly Kirovabad kēˌrəvəbätˈ, city (1989 pop. 278,000), in NW Azerbaijan, on the Ganja River. The largest Azerbaijani industrial center after Bakı, Ganja produces cotton and silk textiles, building materials, carpets, cottonseed oil, agricultural implements, copper sulfate, and wine. It was founded in the 6th cent., c.4 mi (6 km) east of the modern city, but was demolished by earthquake in 1139, after which the survivors settled on the present site. The medieval city was an important textile and wine center. It was destroyed by the Mongols in 1231 and recovered slowly. It was the seat of a khanate under Persian suzerainty from the 17th cent. until its conquest (1804) by the Russians, who named it Elisavetpol. It became Gyandzha (the Russian spelling of Ganja) again after the Russian Revolution, but in 1935 it was renamed in honor of S. M. Kirov. Ancient Ganja was the native city of the 12th-century poet, Nizami Ganjavi, whose tomb still remains. There is also a 17th-century mosque.
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