Welcome to Gəncə
Most proudly the town was home to Azerbaijan’s national bard Nizami Gəncəvi (1141–1209). However, it was leveled by earthquakes, razed by the Mongols in 1231 and rebuilt by Shah Abbas in its present location after the city changed hands several times in the 17th-century Ottoman-Safavid wars. As capital of a later khanate, in 1804 Gəncə put up a a suicidally brave stand to eventually victorious Russian forces, which renamed the city Elisavetpol and later Kirovabad. From a building that is now the city’s agricultural institute, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic first declared the nation’s independence in 1918. Gəncə served for a few months as the capital of that short-lived republic until Baku was recaptured from the socialist revolutionaries.