Ganja

The Georgians say that “Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan and Ganja is the capital of Azerbaijanis”. It is Azerbaijan’s second largest city. Plane trees adorn the city. The number of persimmon trees along the road attracts attention. As you walk along the street in Ganja in autumn, you can help yourself to persimmon. There used to be 70 streets here. Ganja, which has houses built from red bricks and tiles and a rich past with its own special architecture and historical monuments, is home to genius personalities. It is the first capital of the Azerbaijan People’s Republic which was the first democratic republic in the East and in the Muslim and Turkic world. In a word, Ganja is a must-see destination to discover Azerbaijan.

Note

The distance between Baku and Ganja is 365 km. It is located at the northeastern foot at the Small Caucasus Mountain Ridge, on the Ganja-Qazakh plain and on the bank of the Ganja River. The historical Ganjabasar region stretches on a vast territory from Yevlakh to Qazakh. The territory is still known under this name. The fact that Ganja, which is known as a regional centre, is located at the intersection of the Baku-Tbilisi caravan route, has allowed it to establish trade links with large trade centres of the East beyond the Caucasus. The distance from Ganja to Tbilisi is only 120 km.

These mountains which stretch from the west to the east are so high that the snow which begins to fall in October remains on the peak until the middle of June. The highest peaks are Murovdag – 3,440 meters, Qoshqardag – 3,362 km and Kapaz – 3,066 meters. It is possible to have a nice view from the top of these mountains. There are wonderful underground waterfalls near Kapaz, Goygol and Maralgol that stretch from Kapaz to Maralgol, from Maralgol to Goygol and from Goygol to other places.

The Ganja River

The Ganja River is the right branch of the Kura and begins at a height of 2,314 meters on Mount Murovdag. It enters Ganja on the 66th kilometer.

Ganja plain

It is the short name for the Ganja-Qazakh plain. It is located between the northeast foot of the Small Caucasus Ridge and the Kura River. It joins the Kartli plain in the northwest and the Karabakh plain in the southeast.

Nizami Ganjavi (1141-1207)

Ganja is the birthplace of Nizami Ganjavi, one of the luminaries of world classical literature. His real name was Jamaladdin Ilyas ibn Yusif. The medieval Azerbaijani poet was born into a craftsman’s family in Ganja. He lived and was buried here. During his lifetime, he was known as a sheikh and was loved by the people. Although he refused to be a court poet, he wrote poems at the request of rulers and praised them. Nizami began his activity with lyrical poems and his works are known as Khamsa (The Five). It includes five poems. There are many places named after the genius poet in Ganja.

Nizami mausoleum (13th-14th centuries)

The mausoleum is located at the entrance to the city 6 km from the city centre. The first sepulcher was built in the 13th-14th centuries. Sheikh Nizami’s sepulcher was once refurbished by Mirza Adigozal bay Qarabagi and Asgaraga Gorani. In 1947, a new sepulcher was built on the poet’s grave. In 1990-1991, it was restored. The 20-meter high mausoleum is covered with delicate marble. Behind the sepulcher, there are iron statues depicting some episodes from Nizami’s famous Khamsa.

Nizami poetry theatre (17th century)

The poetry theatre named after Nizami is located in the city centre. Performances based on the motives of Khamsa are staged in the open air in the garden of this theatre which is based at the 17th century Zarrabi Mosque. The word Zarrabi means a jeweller. Zarrabi Street was known as a street of jewellers and craftsmen in the past.

Nizami home museum (1980)

It is a typical medieval Ganja house. It is the pavilion where the main episodes of the film “Nizami” were shot on the occasion of the 840th birthday of the genius poet in 1980. The scale model was not dismantled after the filming was completed. It is protected as Nizami’s home museum.

Ganja architecture

The large administrative building, which is left over from Soviet architecture and is decorated with wonderful columns, and the music fountain in front of it create a special atmosphere here. While wondering Ganja, you feel like in an ancient oriental city. Old buildings, ancient bridges over the Ganja River, the Dar us-Saltanat Palace (10th-12th centuries), mosques and caravanserais are protected by the state. One of the most beautiful buildings of the city, the 19th century Ziyadkhanov building, houses a history museum. One of Albanian mosques belonging to the time of Caucasian Albania houses a mosque and another – the Ganja State Camera Orchestra, where concerts are staged every Saturday. You cannot see enough of the city just by wondering it and learn all its history just by listening.

Glass house

A two-storey residential house which attracts everyone’s attention in Ganja is regarded as the strangest building in the city. The owner of the house built if from 50,000 bottles in 1960-64. This house, which Ganja residents call a “bottle house”, is on the list of historical monuments.

Ancient Ganja

It is located at a distance of 6-7 km from the city centre. This place was a mountainous territory in the past. Ganjabasar, which is located on a neighbouring height and has a rocklike relief, used to be one of the most seismically active districts of the Caucasus. 1122, 1139 and 1235 saw earthquakes measuring nine with their epicentre in the old city. After the strong earthquake of 1139, the city was totally destroyed. This natural calamity claimed about 300,000 lives. The survivors did not leave their homes and founded a new settlement nearby. The site of the previous city is known as the ruins of Ganja. Like all medieval cities, Ganja was also built as a fortress in the 9th century on the right bank of the Ganja River.

Ganja Gate (9th century)

The Ganja Gate was made by the blacksmith Ibrahim Osman oglu in 1063 under the rule of Al-Fazri’s son Shaddadi Abul Asyar Sayir. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in 1139. Taking advantage of this, the Georgians plundered the city and stole the large gate. In response to the Georgian attacks in the 12th century, the Seljuk army invaded Georgia, but failed to get the gate back.

This is how the historian Al-Isfahani described this historic event:

“The city and region of Ganja were left under the ground. It was destroyed so badly that it seemed there was no such city on earth. The city which was destroyed by an earthquake was plundered by the King of Georgia Demetri. As he left, he took the city gate to his own country.”

Since that time, the Ganja Gate has adorned the Gelati Temple and the sepulcher of King Demetri’s father David the Builder in the Georgian city of Kutaisi. The gate is 172 meters wide and 3.33 meters high.

Ganja Fortress (16th century)

A small fragment of the fortress – the fortress wall – is located in the city centre near the Khan Garden. The intact wall of the fortress is the remains of the Shiralibay Tower. In the 16th century, the Ganja region was a battle field for Ottoman-Safavid wars. At that time, it was necessary to build a strong fortress. Ganja Fortress, which was known as “a shield that all Asians relied on”, was built by the commander of Turkish troops in the Caucasus, Ferhat Pasha, on orders from Ottoman Sultan Murat III. The total length of the wall was 3.6 km and height – 8.5-9.5 meters.

For its favorable geographic position, Ganja was always regarded as a place of special military-strategic importance. This is also proved by the letter that General Tsitsianov had written to the civilian governor of the Caucasus, Garparov, saying that “the position and seizure of Ganja Fortress, which keeps all of Northern Azerbaijan in fear, is of special importance to Russia”.

In 1868, Ganja became a regional centre. According to the new general plan drawn up by the regional architect, Ignatiy Ivanovich Krzyntalowicz, and approved by Emperor Alexander II, the historical centre of the city underwent drastic changes. The fortress was destroyed and a European-style quarter was established.

Ganja tragedy

Ganja Fortress which existed until the 1880s houses a military garrison. Some 3,700 people were killed while defending the fortress which was totally destroyed by the Russians. The city became totally deserted after the fortress was seized. Whole families, generations and quarters of the Turkic Muslim population left the city. Therefore, some villages were totally erased from the map. The population fled to Karabakh, Iran, Samukh and Nukha. There is still a quarter of Ganja residents in Sheki. After the Russian occupation, a lot of things changed in Ganja. 3 January 1804 went down in history as the Ganja tragedy.

Yelizavetpol

The Yelizavetpol military district is a military-administrative unit established after the conquest of the Ganja Khanate in 1804. Unlike the khanates that were incorporated into Russia through the signing of bilateral interstate political agreements, the khanates that put up armed resistance to tsarist troops were immediately abolished. In their stead, units called military districts and ruled by tsarist officers were established.

The Ganja Khanate was abolished and reorganized into a region. The region was renamed Yelizavetpol on the initiative of the commander-in-chief of the Caucasus, General Tsitsianov. He personally read out the tsar’s decree to rename the city Yelizavetpol from the minaret of Ganja’s Friday Mosque to people who had gathered on Shah Abbas Square on 2 March 1804. The city was renamed after the wife of Emperor Alexander, Elisabeth. This was a punishment aimed at making the residents of Ganja forget the historical name of the city. According to the decree, those who used the word Ganja were fined one silver coin (20 kopecks). It is believed that after this historic decree, the obstinate people of Ganja visited tsarist officials, deliberately said Ganja and gave the Russian officials one coin. In all official documents until 1918, Ganja is mentioned as Yelizavetpol.

The name of Ganja, a city that has a history of 2,500 years, has changed several times in the course of historical events. After Shah Abbas seized the city in 1606, the city was called Abbasabad for some time, in 1804-1918 – Yelizavetpol, in 1918-1935 – Ganja and in 1935-1990 – Kirovabad in honour of the communist leader S. M. Kirov.

Place-name

The word Ganja means a treasury or a warehouse in Persian. Because of the city’s geographic relief, the word is also interpreted as “spacious”. It is also believed that the name is derived from the name of the Ganjak tribe. Ganjak was one of the 24 Oguz-Kipchak tribes mentioned by the historian Mahmud Kashgari. The historian Mahmud Ismayilov believes that Ganja was founded by them.

Ganja’s previous names – Gauz is a Median word, and Gunisa means “a land of women” in Greek. Probably, it is about the legend about Amazonian women living in the Caucasus, which was common among ancient Greeks. In the past, it was also called Gancha (Kanche). The first part of the word “gan” (kan) means a ruler or a military chief in some Turkic languages, while cha means a place or home. It means a khan’s home.

The traces of actions by the rulers who took control of Ganja at various times are still living in the city. Let’s talk about some of them.

The Shahsevans

The west of the city, the east of Quru Qobu, is populated by the Shahsevans whom Ganja residents call “Shahsoyans”. There is a street, mosque and square. It is the name of a famous Qizilbash tribe. It is a Turkmen tribe that had taken the oath of loyalty to the shah. They propagated their ruler everywhere they lived. This tribe emerged under the rule of Shah Ismayil Khatai (1501-1524). Isgandar Munshi recorded in his famous work “Tarikh-e Alam – arayi – Abbasi”:

The Agqoyunlu ruler Alvand Mirza, who fought the Qizilbash, imprisoned Seyid bey Kanuna, a close associate of Shah Ismayil. However, he was soon liberated by a group of the shah’s soldiers. After this event, those soldiers of Shah Ismayil were called

Shahsevans.

The arrival of the Shahsevans at Ganjabasar is linked to the name of Shah Abbas I. In 1606, 200 Shahsevan families were resettled here. By resettling the Shahsevans in Ganja, the Safavid ruler aimed to create a stronghold for himself in this city of military-strategic importance which he had retaken from the Ottomans.

Shahsevan Mosque (1882)

This mosque, which was known as the Khazina library under the Soviets, was built by two Iranian workmen at the expense of the local people in 1880. It is an ancient sample of oriental architecture. This building was in fact constructed on top of an Albanian historical monument which belongs to the pre-Islamic period. In the early days of Islam, the temple operated as a centre inviting to Islam. Under Caliph Umar ibn Khattab, its scope of operation was even broader. As a result of Islamic propaganda in Azerbaijan, some Albanians adopted Islam. At that time, local Albanians rebuilt the Christian temple and turned it into a mosque. It used to have a five or six meter high roof.

Shah Abbas Square

The Safavid ruler Shah Abbas (1557-1628) seized Ganja in 1606. After his ascent to the throne in 1587, he did a lot of work to expand, strengthen and develop the country. At the same time, Shah Abbas, who was a very cruel ruler, took brutal steps to maintain his power and even killed his loved ones and his son for the sake of power.

Shah Abbas Square in the city centre is 400 years old. There used to be a mosque, a caravanserai (17th century), the Chokak bath, the Haji Bagir underground water pipe and a khan’s graveyard here. Its second name was Market Square. The market square, which was characteristic of all medieval cities, operated as a public and trade centre. Since it was too big for its structure and size, it was also called the Big Square. The square was surrounded by 40-45 meter high plane trees. Legend has it that when a new city was established, Shah Abbas told gardeners, who planted plane trees around the square, “genja-genja basdirin” (plant them away from each other) so that these long-lived and big trees do not get in each other’s way. It is believed that the city was called Ganja for this reason.

Shah Abbas Mosque (1606)

This mosque, which was built on the basis of a project by the well-known oriental architect Sheikh Bahaddin Muhammad Amili, is known as a Friday mosque. A double minaret was attached to this building in 1776. The mosque, which was built by the Safavid ruler Shah Abbas I in 1606, was refurbished by Javad Khan twice in the 17th century. There are 12 cells built in honour of the 12 imams inside the mosque. A madrasah operated here previously. One of the remarkable features of the mosque is that the shadow which falls on the western wall of the building disappears in the afternoon. This means that it is time for the afternoon prayer. There are similar mosques in Ardabil, Isfahan and Qazvin.

Chokak Bath (15th century)

It is attached to the Shah Abbas Mosque. It was built on the basis of a project by Sheikh Bahaddin Muhammad Amili. The building has a dome. It is no longer used as a bath as the sewage system was damaged during refurbishment work in Soviet times. Those who visit Shah Abbas Square can familiarize themselves with works by Ganja craftsmen and pieces of applied arts on china dishes. The Chokak Bath houses a centre for decorative arts.

One of the most important monuments on Shah Abbas Square is the sepulcher of Javad Khan. Although the sepulcher was built in 2004, its history goes back to the 19th century. Javad Khan’s story is a ballade of heroism for Ganja.

Javad Khan (1786-1804)

Javan Khan is a representative of the Ziyadoglu family and the last khan of Ganja. Under Javad Khan who ascended to the throne in 1786, Ganja became stronger. The khan who pursued an independent foreign policy differed from other Azerbaijani khans during the then complex historical events. In the face of the imminent danger, he managed to some extent to forge an anti-Russian alliance of Azerbaijani, Dagestani and Georgian rulers. But he was left on his own as no-one helped him at the decisive moment. In 1803, Ganja Fortress was totally surrounded by the Russians. The fortress was attacked at five o’clock in the morning on 3 January 1804. After fierce fighting, the Russians broke the resistance of the city. The khan and his son Huseynqulu, who remained under siege for more than a month, fought and died as heroes, which was acknowledged even by his enemies. Thus, in response to a letter full of threats from General Tsitsianov, he said “you can take Ganja over my dead body” and remained loyal to his words. Admiring Javad Khan’s courage and bravery, Prince Tsitsianov ordered that the khan be buried as a ruler and that the flag of Ganja be wrapped around his coffin. Javan Khan and his son Huseynqulu Khan were buried at the khan’s graveyard on Shah Abbas Square. The khan’s graveyard was abolished in 1925. Javad Khan’s bones were buried at the Gorani sepulcher at the graveyard of the Sabzkar district. Finally, the khan’s bones were returned to the previous place in 2004 and a sepulcher was built for them. The famous flag that was wrapped around his coffin is kept at the local history museum.

Javad Khan office (19th century)

It is an office where all documentation was carried out under the rule of Javad Khan. It is a house where the Georgian poet Nikolaz Baratishvili took refuge later. Very important events and documents of that period were recorded at the office which now operates as a museum. Some of them, including Javad Khan’s four replies to Tsitsianov’s letters full of threats sent in 1803, are exhibited here.

Khan Garden (1700)

This historical monument related to the Ziyadkhanli family is a park frequently visited by Ganja residents and guests coming to Ganja. It is regarded as one of the largest parks in the Caucasus. Its construction began in 1700. It has rare kinds of plants brought from various parts of the world. Under Javad Khan, the park was renovated and trees were planted here. After that, the park was called the Khan Garden in his honour. After the Russian invasion, it was renamed the governor’s garden. The Khan Garden was laid out on an area of 51 ha belonging to the khan’s family and is also known as the Sardar Garden.

Sardar Garden

In 1847, a city park was laid out on an area of 6 ha in the Khan Garden on the initiative of the tsar’s governor (commander) in the Caucasus, Prince Vorontsov. It was a place of recreation for the nobility. A wonderful red-brick building for the Zemstvo department was built near the garden in 1897. In 1918, this building, which was called the Duma House, housed the ADR government. Now it is the main building of the Agriculture Academy. The garden has fountains, a pond, a summer cinema, a summer concert hall and a zoo.

History

“Janza is a beautiful, rich and crowded city. The large population of the city stands out for its generosity, friendliness, scientists and respect for émigrés.”

Arab geographer Ibn Haukal, 977

“Ganja has five climates. This Islamic city was built in the 39th year of the hijrah (659). It is a beautiful and great city.”

Geographer Hamdullah Qazvini, 14th century

Based on his sources, Abbasqulu Bakikhanov recorded that Ganja already existed under Cyrus II, the king of Persia.
Some authors say that Ganja was founded at the time of Alexander the Great (336-323 BC) and others under the Sassanid ruler Qubad I (489-531).

Industry and trade took centre stage in the city which played an important role in international trade in the 9th century. Various products made by local and foreign craftsmen were sold at Ganja markets. In the Middle Ages, Ganja was a place frequently visited by caravans.

During archaeological excavations carried out in the 1940s, a settlement belonging to the pre-Christian period was discovered here. It formed as a city in the 5th century. In the 7th century, it was destroyed first by Iranians and then by Arabs. In 945, Ganja became the centre of Arran after the Russian attack on Barda. Following this, it became the most important city of northern Azerbaijan due to its geographic position.

In 895-1030, Ganja lived its strongest period. At this period when fortresses, palaces, bridges and caravanserais were built and coins were minted, Ganja’s territory naturally expanded. Industrial zones were established and trade, especially the sale of silk and silk products, increased. At that time, Ganja also turned into a religious centre. The centre of the Albanian catholicosate moved from

Barda to Ganja.

Beginning from the 10th century, Ganja started to strengthen its position as a centre. After the collapse of the Arab caliphate, it became the capital of an independent feudal state. At that time, fortress walls were built along the bank of the Ganja River to boost the security of the city.

“Now Ganja resembles a paradise”

Qatran Tabrizi

The rule of the Atabay state in the 12th century can be called a period of Ganja’s prosperity. It became so strong from an economic, industrial, military and cultural point of view that it was known as “the mother of Arran cities”. In 1231, the Mongols surrounded Ganja, but encountered strong resistance. They took the city and destroyed it. After that, the city was attacked by Amir Timur and became a vassal of the Safavid state in the 16th century. At that time, the city started to revive again. Although Ottoman troops encircled Ganja in 1723, they failed to take the city. The policy of Nadir Shah in 1736-1747 weakened the city again. One of the khanates that took shape after his death was the Ganja Khanate.

Ganja Khanate (18th-19th centuries)

The khanate was ruled by the Ziyadoglu dynasty. Shahverdi Khan (1740-1756) was the first khan of Ganja. The khanate minted its own money. During the Russo-Iranian wars for control of Azerbaijan, the Russians had a great interest in Ganja. The khanate was regarded as the key to the northern provinces of Iran. For this reason, the Russians seized Ganja Fortress and tried to use it as a military base.

Culture

Culture started to revive in Ganja from the first half of the 19th century. Although there was no national theatre, various performances and exhibitions were held, the Russian theatre staged performances here, and several libraries had been set up. A law on the city was adopted in 1870. Rich aristocrats started to invest in wine and brandy production. The Baku-Tbilisi railway was launched in 1883. The first women’s secondary school was opened at the Holy Nina Charity Society in Ganja in 1883. Children from wealthy families received their education here. As a result of the 1918 socialist revolution, local aristocrats migrated to Iran and Turkey and then to Europe and America. They got a chance to return only after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Historical monuments

504 historical monuments have been registered in Ganja. 288 of them are protected by the state. The great number of religious monuments attracts attention. Ganja, which is regarded as the stronghold of religion in the Ganjabasar region, is also known as the city of Imam Huseyn among Muslims. The city has 52 mosques. As a result of the 70 years of communist atheist rule, prayer houses were either destroyed or used for other purposes.

German church (19th century)

It is one of the most beautiful monuments of architecture in Ganja. The German émigrés resettled by the tsarist government in Ganjabasar built the church mainly from tufa. After its handover to the Orthodox Church in 1915, it was called the Alexander Nevskiy Church. The building now houses the Ganja State Puppet Theatre.

Russian Orthodox Church (1875)

It was built for the Russians living in the regional centre after the occupation of Ganja. The church has been active since the moment it was built.

Jomard Qassab sepulcher (7th-8th centuries)

It is called Ganja’s “historical card”. Jomard Qassab’s grave was discovered during archaeological excavations carried out in the 1940s. The sepulcher indicates that Ganja was a large city in the middle of the 7th century. The sepulcher is located on the right bank of the ancient Ganja River, one kilometer away from the ancient Ganja wall and south of the current train station. The octagon-shaped sepulcher was built from burnt bricks. It was destroyed in the 1970s and was fully rebuilt in its previous form in 2004.

Who is Jomard Qassab?

There are a lot of stories about Jomard Qassab who lived under Caliph Khalid Ali ibn Abu Talib who ruled in 656-661. It is believed that when the population of the city was pagan, Jomard adopted Islam. Without using scales, the butcher pronounced “Ya Ali” and cut meat so that no-one complained that he gave him less meat. Historical sources describe Jomard Qassab, who was known as a supporter of the law and an honest person who was loyal to Hazrat Ali, and was noted and loved for his clean conscience.

Imamzada (738)

It is located on the territory of ancient Ganja after the village of Aznixi 7 km northeast of the city on the right bank of the Ganja River. A stone inscription on the 8th century sepulcher says that it was built on the grave of Ibrahim, the son of Imam Mahammad Bagir, and was restored on the initiative of the commander of the Russian army’s second Muslim cavalry regiment, Major-General Israfil Yadigarzada (1878-79). For its architectural style, it is believed that it was built in the 14th century and the surrounding complex in the 17th century. Around the sepulcher, there is a religious complex of small mosques, caravanserai-like houses, a gate and auxiliary buildings. The height of the sepulcher is 12 m, while the height of the dome is 2.7 m and diameter – 4.4 m. The dome is covered with blue tiling. The phrase The Blue Imam Sepulcher which is more common is due to the blue mosaic.

The complex which covered a larger territory before turned into a shrine in the 17th century. Imamzada is more visited during religious holidays, especially during the month of Ramadan. All Imamzada sepulchers in Ganja, Nakhichevan, Barda and Nardaran were built in honor of the imam’s family. Each of them has its own history.

Who is Imam Muhammad Bagir V?

He was born in the city of Medina in the 57th year of hijrah. His parents belonged to the family of Imam Ali I. All historical sources of that period record that Imam Muhammad Bagir was famed for his knowledge and education throughout the Islamic world. The fifth Imam who lived under the rule of the Umayyads always tried to protect the religion by saying that rulers in fact do not believe the Islamic religion and use it only for their own purpose. There is no information as to how and when the imam’s son Ibrahim, who is buried in the city of Medina, came to Azerbaijan. But descendants of Muhammad’s family left for distant countries due to the hostile attitude of other Arab rulers towards them. It is reported that Mowlana Ibrahim who came here to avoid pressure died of an illness.
The area where his grave is located is called the Shykh plane. People walk around the grave covered with black curtains, pray and make wishes. Then they visit the graves of other seyids. They leave alms, light a candle and make a wish on the grave. Putting sweets there will make the spirit of the deceased happy. Depending on the wishes, it is possible to see some figures on the tree of wishes or on tombstones. For example, those who want to have children make a cradle out of a handkerchief, while those who want to have a car make an automobile and so on. It is customary to stick sugar to the wall of Imamzada. It is necessary to make a wish and stick the sugar to the wall. If the sugar remains on the wall after you loosen your hand, it means that your dream will come true.

Emblems of Ganja

This place has so many symbols and emblems that you can see them everywhere in the city and on all souvenirs and historical symbols of the city. You can get them as a keepsake of the city. The most popular one is the coat of arms.

Ganca coat of arms

It was created during the time of the independent Ganja Khanate. The sun depicted on the coat of arms symbolizes eternal life, the moon – eternal light and freedom, the eight-pointed star – Turkism, the oak leave – might, longevity and wisdom, while the green background symbolizes Islam.

Ganja basket

It is a local household utensil that is widely used after the southern zone and is always in fashion. You can buy it from the city market. It is woven from reed. For its size, Ganja residents divide it in jest into khan baskets and servant baskets. There are craftsmen who weave it in various parts of the city. The famous Ganja basket made from reed is good for storing food for a long time.

Ganja pakhlava

It is different from other types of pakhlava. One of its main particularities is that it is cooked in a copper tray and bonfire. The top and bottom of the real Ganja pakhlava is red and its filling is white. The number of layers is 23. It is so rich in calories that it is impossible to eat it at once. And the most important thing is that the real Ganja pakhlava can be stored for several months and does not spoil. The pakhlava is so difficult to make and is so expensive that it is very difficult to find it in shops. It is usually made for the Novruz holiday.

For the dough

The dough is made from the first kind of flour, sour cream and a pinch of salt and is kept for some time. Twenty-three 1-3mm thick layers are made.

For the filling

It is made from shelled walnut, sugar powder and a pinch of cinnamon. The walnut is soaked one day in advance and is peeled to make sure that the filling is white. One kilogram of walnut is minced and mixed with one kg of sugar powder.

For the syrup

The syrup is made from honey, a little amount of water, cardamom, clove and saffron and is left to cool.

Cooking

A copper dish is warmed up and greased. The first three layers are greased and laid over each other. Four or five mm thick filling is added between the following layers. When they reach the top layer, they cut out rhombs with a knife on the tray. After that, the top layer is painted with beetroot juice. A nut is placed in the middle of every rhomb and poppy seeds are scattered on the edges. To make sure that the pakhlava, which takes 1.5-2 hours to cook, does not burn, they keep an eye on it all the time. The tray is then covered and burning cinder is placed on the cover so that the top layer also cooks. Some time later, the syrup is poured on the pakhlava. If its bottom is red, it means that it is ready. Then, it is left to cool. After it fully absorbs the syrup and becomes cool, the pakhlava is taken out of the tray and placed on another dish. It graces the tea table and festive khoncha (tray filled with different sweets).

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