Ali and Ninowalking tour of Ganja city
First published in Vienna in 1937, the novel ‘Ali and Nino’ tells the story of a romance between an Azerbaijani nobleman (Ali) and a Georgian princess (Nino), set against a backdrop of major historical events: World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. The novel is mainly set in Baku, but also moves to Shusha, Ganja, Tbilisi, Dagestan and Iran, and covers the period from 1909 to 1920. Besides being extremely beautiful and moving, it’s also a useful guide to the complex ethnic and cultural contrasts of the Caucasus in the early 20th century. Meanwhile, the mysterious identity of the book’s author, writing under the pseudonym Kurban Said, adds an extra layer of intrigue.
This walking tour visits the main places in Ganja featured in the book. Ganja was a key city at the time of Ali and Nino as the first capital of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic. It is also where the story reaches its apogee and ends with the series of events following Ali’s attempts to save the ADR from the invading Bolsheviks. You’ll see the building that housed the ADR’s first government and stroll through the historic Khan’s Garden located opposite, before moving on to the nearby 17th century Juma Mosque where Ali seeks refuge. After visiting the informative History and Ethnography Museum, you’ll continue to the old Lutheran church, and finish up along the boulevard along the Ganjachay river at the touching monument of Ali and Nino embracing each other, symbolising eternal love. Overall, the tour is a great chance to discover Ganja’s rich history through the beloved story of Ali and Nino.