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Sumgait, Azerbaijani: Sumqayit, is the third-largest city in Azerbaijan, located near the Caspian Sea, about 31 kilometres (19 miles) away from the capital, Baku. The city has a population of around 265,000, making it the third-largest city in Azerbaijan after the capital Baku and the city of Ganja. The city has a territory of 83 square kilometres (32 sq mi). It was founded on November 22, 1949. Two settlements are within the city administration: Jorat and Haji Zeynalabdin; a settlement named after oil businessman and philanthropist Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev. It is home to Sumqayit State University.
During the Soviet rule of Azerbaijan, Sumgait was believed to have the longest and cleanest boulevard in the republic. The Culture and Leisure Park was laid on 23 hectares (57 acres) of Sumgait coastline in 1967. On August 17, 1978 the park was given the name of a distinguished Azerbaijani poet Imadaddin Nasimi. The same year, the city administration raised the Peace Dove sculpture and monument in the middle of the park assigning the city a symbol of peace.
The flora of the park includes 39 types of trees. Events of the 1990s, such as the Black January tragedy and First Nagorno-Karabakh War, led to establishment of Stars (Ulduzlar) and 20 January Monument monuments in the park. In the eastern section of the park, Shehidler Khiyabani, similar to Martyrs' Lane in Baku, was established as a burial ground for thousands of soldiers from Sumgait who died during the war. According to the Decree No. 132 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan dated August 2, 2001, the park was given the status of national historical importance. Its current size is 80 ha.
In addition to Nasimi Culture and Leisure Park, the city administration built Ludwigshafen Park in 1997 in celebration of the 20th anniversary of twin-city relations between Ludwigshafen and Sumgait. In 1999, Heydar Aliyev Park and Luna Park were built in the rapidly growing city.
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