Key words: Ganja, Azerbaijan, metal-making trade, Middle Ages.
The carried archeological digs and historical sources refer the history of Ganja to the VII century B.C. Since the X-XI centuries A.D., the glory of Ganja, the city outliving the period of its economic and cultural development, flourishing and becoming mighty, spread from Kiev Russia to India, China and the whole East. The high-level organization of the defence system of Ganja with 300 thousand people of its population is a proof of rise of a level of its development.
Ganja is the second largest city of Azerbaijan in terms of population. The city is located in a rich area with a lot of potential for agricultural in the South of the rivers Ganja and Kur.There are different opinions about the formation of Ganja as a city.
Some historians date the city in the period B.C. while others to the beginning of the Middle Ages. When it comes to the history of the city we should first of all mention the fact that the city has been a social-economic and cultural centre. Alike other cities of our country (Gabala, Nakhchivan, Sheki, Shamakhi) Ganja was inhabited earlier in a beautiful geographical site and was later formed into a city. During the first part of the 7th century, Ganja was ruined by the Iranians and in the second half of the same century by the Arabians. In the late 7th century, Ganja was turned into a battle field during the war between the Arabians and the Khazars. Azerbaijan continuously suffered attacks that had also a great repercussion in Ganja city that was also attacked and ruined. Until the 11th century — when Ganja lost to Seljuk Turks- it was the centre of Christianity of the Caucasus Albania. Due to the earthquake that took place in 1139, the original city that was established in the 5th century was destroyed and rebuilt in the 12th century a bit more East of the former location.As the Arabian Caliphate was establishing, it subjected the Southern Caucasus to its influence. In order to rule over regions, the Caliphate used the Emirate system. In various periods, governors were called by various titles. The Arabian Caliphate called a governor as Amir. In order to rule Tiflis and surroundings, another emirate was established.
Historical facts show that exactly in this area — in Eastern Georgia, majority of the population consisted of Azeri Turks. One of our most ancient sources "Kitabi — Dada Gorgud" proves this fact.
At the same time, Tiflis Moslem Emirate kept close relations with the State of the Shaddadis existed in Azerbaijan at that time.
Being a Turkish-Islamic Union, the State of the Shaddadis (an ancient Azeri state) including the Seljugs (a Central Asian empire), prevented the conquest of Western Azerbaijan lands by Georgia and its protector — Byzantium for a long time.
In 1054, after conquering Azerbaijan, the Seljugs feudalized both the State of the Ravvadis and the State of the Shaddadis. Ganja also became a vassal of the Seljugs. The well-known Ganja Gate was prepared in the period when the State of the Shaddadis was a vassal of the Seljugs. Afterwards, as a result of the collapse of the Caliphate, the Tiflis-Moslem Emirate became independent. This emirate existed up to 1122, when David IV (a Georgian tsar) put an end to it.
In 1122, after the collapse of the Tiflis-Moslem Emirate, the present Western Georgia practically fell under the government of David IV. After David IV, Demetri I, who came to power, became a ruler of those lands. The most prosperous period of Ganja as a city is the period of governing of the Shaddadis. In 1063, a representative of the Shaddadis' dynasty — Shavur, with a strategic goal built a stable fortress around the city and mounted a two-door gate in it.
Historical sources prove that the first of these statements is the most realistic one. Information about utilization of another half of the gate during repair of the monastery in XVIII century is found most often.
The statement about corrosion and decay of one part of the gate is unlikely. In this case another half of the gate would also subject to corroson and decay because both parts of the gate had been made from the same material and at the same time.
Imadaddin al-Isfahni's statement about the restitution of the gate to Ganja people by the Arranian ruler Gara Songur is refuted by other historical documents and presence of the gate itself in Gelaty monastery.
The statement about taking one half of the gate away not to Georgia but to Derbend is also proved to be mistaken and is refuted by many historical facts. The last statement itself shows that both parts of the gate were carried away to Georgia and one of them disappeared in XVIII century.
The gate made by the blacksmith Ibrahim ibn Osman Angaveyh, known in our history as Ganja gate, a symbol of immovability of the city can be included into the row of our metal memorials reflecting elements inherent to the Islamic Culture. Within the framework of our people's medieval craft samples reached our era and adorning many world museums, our artistic metal work and incrustation attracts attention most of all. One of the factors stimulating its development was availability of iron resources, which were abundant around Ganja.
The basis of one half of the Ganja gate kept in Gelaty monastery consists of a big bolted iron frame. The frame is divided into 7 partitions in heught. Each of the partitions has 9 parts in breadth. All the parts are bolted to each other. On the top of the gate, on the II and III partitions there is an inscription. The inscription was enchased on the surface of the gate. It proves the high-level craftsmanship of the blacksmith Ibrahim ibn Osman Angaveyh, and, at the same time, his master's aptitudes towards artistic metal and incrustation work.
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