A stands for Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan) which cannot remain unmentioned when speaking about Ganja. In the world as we know it today, Ganja is a city which belongs to Azerbaijan Republic. However, Ganja (Gəncə) has actually existed way before the appearance of Azerbaijan and has changed its name several times under the different rulers. Founded in 859 this place in South Caucasus has been a part of the Sassanid Empire, Kingdom of Georgia, empires of Persia/Iran, and other larger geo-political units. Known as Elisabethpol in the times of the Russian Empire and Kirovabad in the Soviet Socialist Republic, the city’s claimed its ancient name back only in 1991.
I have only known Azerbaijan from a small little fraction of a personal history brought to me by my dad who has served in the Soviet army somewhere near Baku. Except of that, the “Land of Fire” (as the name translates from the modern Persian) is and still remains the land of the unknown to me, so rich in history, culture, and color that it’s still hard to process the impressions of those brief glimpses into it.