Second biggest city in Azerbaijan. Located in the west of the country. The population is more than 330,000. Founded in the 5th century BC. One of the main economic and trade centres of Azerbaijan in the Middle Ages. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1139 and the Mongol campaigns. Revived during the Sefevid period (16-17th centuries). Renamed Abbasabad by Shah Abbas and Elizavetpol while Azerbaijan was part of the Russian Empire. Became capital of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. Named Kirovabad in 1935 during the Soviet time, however got its traditional name Ganja back in 1991. Nizami Ganjavi, the great Azerbaijani poet and a representative of the Oriental Renaissance was born in Ganja.