By Amina Nazarli
Azerbaijan's ancient city, Ganja and Iran’s picturesque Tabriz city will become sister.
The decision was made during a meeting between Ali Alizada, Consul General of Azerbaijan in Tabriz and Mohammad Tagi Pakzad, Deputy Governor of the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan.
Speaking at the event, Alizada noted that Azerbaijan is ready to expand cooperation with Iran in the field of science and technologies. “We are ready to use all out opportunities in this issue,” he said.
He added that Head of Ganja’s Executive Power is going to visit Tabriz soon. As part of the visit the agreement on sister cities will be signed between the two sides.
“Both sides are interested in development of their relations. We hope that we could gain significant success in this issue,” Alizada said.
Pakzad, for his turn, noted that the East Azerbaijan province is ready to expand cooperation with Azerbaijan in science field. “The province has great potential in the field of science and technologies. Great work was conducted in the field of nano- and biotechnology, as well as agriculture,” he said.
“Soon, a special scientific and technological area, which contributes to the development of relations between the neighboring countries will be established in Tabriz,” he said.
Ganja is the second largest city in Azerbaijan after Baku with about 313,300 residents.
The city was established in 659-660. It was named Elisabethpol and Kirovabad during the Russian Empire period. The city regained its original name Ganja in 1989.
The city has many amenities that offer a wide range of cultural activities, drawing both from a rich local dramatic portfolio and an international repertoire. The city is known for its famous metal handicrafts industry during the Middle Ages. The most notable works of that period includes Gates of Ganja and Ancient Ganja Gate.
It is one of the science and education centers of Azerbaijan. The city has four public higher education institution including Azerbaijan State Academy of Agriculture, Ganja State University, Azerbaijan State University of Technology and Ganja branch of Azerbaijan Teachers Institute.
The economy of Ganja is partially agricultural and partially tourist based, with some industries in operation. Ore minerals extracted from nearby mines supply Ganja's metallurgical industries, which produces copper and alumina. There are porcelain, silk and footwear industries.
The city has one of the largest textile conglomerates in Azerbaijan and is famous for a fabric named Ganja silk, which received the highest marks in the markets of neighboring countries and the Middle East.
In 2016, Ganja will be the European Youth Capital, an event with a budget of 5.7 million euros that is projected to boost tourism by about a fifth.
Tabriz is the most populated city in the northwest of Iran and the present capital of East Azerbaijan Province with a population of 1.5 million people. In the main part of the city, most of the population is Azerbaijanis, which are followed by the Persians, Kurds and other ethnic groups.
The city has a long and turbulent history with its oldest civilization sites dating back to 1,500 B.C. It contains many historical monuments representing the transition of Iranian architecture in its long historical timelines.
From 1375 to 1468, Tabriz was the capital of Kara Koyunlu state of Azerbaijan, until the defeat of Kara Koyunlu ruler. Ak Koyunlus selected Tabriz as their capital from 1469 to 1501. Some of the existing historical monuments including the Blue Mosque belong to the Kara Koyunlu period.
In 1501, Shah Ismail I entered Tabriz and proclaimed it the capital of his Safavid state.
Carpets occupy a special place in the culture of Tabriz, which is famous for its great rugs throughout the world.