Ganja (Azerbaijani: Gəncə) is Azerbaijan's second-largest city with a population of around 313,300. It was named Yelizavetpol in the Russian Empire period. The city regained its original name—Ganja—from 1920–1935 during the first part of its incorporation into the Soviet Union. However, its name was changed again and called Kirovabad during the later Soviet Union period from 1935 to 1991. Finally, the city regained the original name after Azerbaijan's independence in 1991.
Modern historians believe that the name Ganja (گنجه / Ganjeh) derives from the New Persian gan and suggests that the city existed in pre-Islamic times and was likely founded in the 5th century A.D. The area in which Ganja is located was known as Arran from the 9th to 12th century; its urban population spoke mainly in the Persian language.