The land is totally white here. Those who see it for the first time think it is snow. But they are wrong, because it is actually saline land, in other words, salt. Because of the salt, the land has changed its color and has become encrusted. As you touch the soil, it crumbles like sand. As soon as it rains, you are in mud up to your knees. If you soil your clothes, it takes a long time to clean them. One of the most remarkable pages in the history of the district is that the famous 416th Taganrog division was set up here during World War II. A memorial has been built in honor of the fighters of that division. Located below sea level on the Shirvan plain, Ujar hosts no historical-natural monuments or other artifacts that would attract tourists.
A story about the Shirvan plain, which is situated on the left of the Kura-Aras plain and the Kura River between the Mingachevir water reservoir and the Caspian Sea, says that after Alexander the Great conquered the whole world, he arrived here in order to take control of Shirvan. At that time, the ruler of Shirvan and all her servants were women. Alexander demanded that they pay a tax without bloodshed. The female ruler refused to pay a tax to the conqueror who threatened her. Alexander’s soldiers were killed in a battle. On seeing this, Alexander sent a message, saying that one fighter should come to the battlefield from both sides. The winner will have the final say. The female ruler herself decided to fight Alexander and defeated him in this duel. Alexander surrendered and left Shirvan with his troops. They say that since then, this area has been called Shirvan because that ruler fought like a lion (shir). That’s to say Shirvan is a land of those who fight like a lion.
The distance between Baku and Ujar is 234 km. The district, located at the junction of the Baku-Ganja and Goychay-Baku roads, is bisected by a railroad. The railway played a major role in its establishment as a district in 1939. Until that date, it was subordinate to Goychay. It is an agricultural district. Cotton-growing takes center stage here. There are tuqay forests in the district. Vegetation is typical of plains and semi-deserts. The district has a climate typical of semi-deserts and dry steppes. Summers are extremely hot here. The liquorice, which is a medicinal plant, plays the main role in Ujar’s flora. The liquorice is picked and exported from the district. The Goychay, Turyanchay and Silyan rivers are flowing through the district.
The river flows through Ujar and the Shirvan plain and is widely used for irrigation. It has received its name from that of a Turkic-speaking tribe. Researchers link these tribes to the Seljuk Oghuz tribes that migrated to the South Caucasus in the 11th century. This tribe is called Shiryan in sources. In Goychay, there is a lake called Silya. According to historical sources, the Shiryan Turkic tribes belong to Qayi tribes, a branch of the White Huns living in Western Turkestan.
In the Middle Ages, there were regions called Ujar or Uchar in Anatolia and Southern Azerbaijan. This ethnic place-name means a place inhabited by Ujs or a village belonging to Ujs. After assessing many meanings in Turkic languages, the place-name was interpreted as “tall, clean and brave man”. According to another theory, the oikonym Ujar is related to the name of Uj lands handed over to some military chiefs by Seljuk sultans for their exemplary military service in distant regions.
The village is located 10 km south of the Ujar district center, on the edge of the Ujar-Zardab road and on the Shirvan plain. It is regarded as the oldest and largest village in Ujar. It is said that the village was handed over to the South Caucasus Sheikh ul-Islam Mirfattah by the tsarist government in the early 20th century. The place-name should in fact be Qazian-Qailar, which means a winner or a conqueror in Arabic. In the Dada Qorqud epic, it is used as qazi-aran, which means “a brave man or hero”. Under Safavid rule, the word qazi meant a fighter or follower of a denomination, and they were given great privileges. Among the Qizilbash tribes, there was a tribe called Qaziyan. Places called Qazyan, which exist on the territory of Azerbaijan, are related to the name of this tribe. The place-name is derived from the name of the Kazan Turkic tribe, one of the ancient Bulgar tribes of Turkic origin.