Ganja City and Goygol National Park
Ganja – the second city in Azerbaijan. Visit to the mosque of “Shah Abbas”, medieval caravanserai, museum of miniature, “Bottle house”, mausoleum of the Great Azerbaijani poetry Nizami Ganjavi. Visit to the local bazaar. Visit Hanlar and Gol Gol. The area has been cultivated for centuries and a picturesque 12th-century bridge still crosses the river at the precipitous western edge of the village. But the village itself was only founded (as Helenendorf) in 1819 by German winemakers. The village of Xanlar has an unusually agreeable atmosphere. Although no Germans remain, Germanic key-stone inscriptions appear above picturesque gateways, the old church now houses a small museum and several houses on the tree-lined streets are very photogenic.
There was a settlement here as early as the Bronze Age. An extensive cemetery was excavated in the 1990s, with many bronze weapons (swords, daggers, axes), some jewellery (rings, bracelets, necklaces), and clay black dishes with the geometric designs, some of which are on display at the local museum.
Xanlar has a small history museum (usually closed) and an attractive music school. The simple 1854 German church has been converted into a volleyball court, sit in the organ loft to watch the game. If he's sober enough, one of the delights of a visit is encountering octogenarian Viktor, Xanlar's last ethnic German inhabitant. His house is an unkept but delightful shrine of 1930s Europhilia. The German population was deported, 1935-1941, to Siberia on Joseph Stalin's orders. Traces of the German settlement can be seen in the school buildings and the parish church built in 1854.
Hotel Koroglu, housed in Herr Forer's typical balconied wooden house, looks attractive but has no heating or hot water and has yet to repair bullet holes fired into the ceiling by some unruly guests back in 1993. The town was renamed to Khanlar in 1938 in honor of the Azerbaijani labor organizer Khanlar Safaraliyev. It was renamed in 2008 after a nearby lake, Goygol.