The beautiful city of Ganja is sometimes referred to as Azerbaijan's 'First Capital of Independence', in recognition of its early role in the country's struggle for independence from pre-Soviet Russia. This is only one of a number of occupations that the people of Ganja have had to put up with over the centuries, however, and people there are understandably proud of their city's resilience. It is a medium-sized city of around 315,000 with a historic center, a certain amount of which is pedestrian only, and a number of attractive landmarks and sights for expatriates living in Ganja to see. The Bottle House, for example, is an incredible sight – it is quite literally a house entirely made from bottles – and the Tomb of Nizami is a contentious monument at the center of a dispute between Azerbaijan and Iran, both of which claim Nizami Ganjavi, a twelfth century poet, as their own. While the records show that the poet was Persian by origin, expats living in Ganja may like to give locals the benefit of the doubt.
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Expats moving to Ganja can fly directly into the Ganja International Airport from a few countries (namely Russia, Ukraine and Turkey), so travelling to the city will usually involve travelling through one of these destinations. There is also a railway line running from east to west through Azerbaijan, which passes through the city. The InterNations website has a good collection of articles and information available to expatriates moving to Ganja, which cover general expatriation topics ranging from expat finance and insurance to cross-cultural communication and living abroad, and is available in our online Expat Magazine. We also have a number of pieces written by other InterNations members on their own experiences of expatriate life. These are often a good way to get expatriation tips and advice, as well as a more in-depth picture of the ups and downs of moving abroad.
Expatriates working in Ganja can enjoy both the gentler pace of a smaller city with the buzz and cultural life of their host country's second city. The local economy is mixed, with agricultural, industrial and tourism sectors as well as copper mining nearby. The city's luxury goods industries – silk, footwear and porcelain – are well regarded at home and abroad, with Ganja silk fetching a particularly high premium. Expats working in Ganja can get in touch with other global minds and expatriates in Ganja through the InterNations website – our forums, discussion groups and private messages are the easiest way to do this, with meet-ups and international networks frequently organized in this way around the world. As an expatriate in Ganja, you'll already be in a diverse city with a number of identities and groups, so you shouldn't have much trouble finding the international community or, for that matter, settling in as a local resident.