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Ganja is Azerbaijan's second largest city, with a population of around 332,600. It was named Elisabethpol in the Russian Empire period. The city regained its original name, Ganja, in 1918 when Azerbaijan declared its independence. However, after incorporation into the Soviet Union its name was changed again in 1935 to Kirovabad and retained that name through most of the rest of the Soviet period. In 1989, during perestroika, the city regained its original name.
Traditional shops, modern shops and malls create a mixture of shopping opportunities in Ganja. Javad Khan Street is the traditional shopping street that is located in the old town. Constructed between 2014 and 2017, Ganja Mall is considered as the city's largest mall. Other shopping centers include Khamsa Park, Taghiyev Mall and Aura Park.
Ganja is one of the famous tourist destinations in Azerbaijan with its historic buildings such as Nizami Mausoleum, Ancient gates, Juma Mosque, Imamzadeh, Tomb of Javad Khan, Chokak Hamam, Shah Abbas Caravanserai and Ugurlu Bay Caravanserai.
Other tourist and entertainment spots include Javad khan street, Triumphal Arch near Heydar Aliyev Center, the Bottle House, Flag square, Hajikend resort zone. Goygol National Park with the sceneries of lake Goygol, lake Maralgol, Mount Kapaz and Mount Murov are located near Ganja.
In 2016, Ganja was selected as the European Youth Capital by the final decision of international jury at the General Assembly of the European Youth Forum. Ganja became the first city to win the title of European Youth Capital among the former Commonwealth Independent States (CIS) and non-EU cities. It was an event with a budget of 5.7 million euros, projected to boost tourism by about one-fifth.
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