Fachportal zur Geschichte und Kultur der Deutschen in Kaukasien

13. Village plan, city development

On Easter Tuesday the village was officially founded by 135 Swabian families. In honour of the Tsar’s sister, Jelena Pavlovn (wife of Friedrich Ludwig von Mecklenburg-Schwerin), the new colony was called “Helenendorf” (after 1916: “Elenio”, 1938-2008: Chanlar, since then: Göygöl).

The colonists received the following privileges:

  • 7,315 hectare community lands in order to use and pass on in their families
  • Financial support
  • Religious and military freedom
  • Autonomous administration

On July 28 1826, the village was destroyed - a casualty of the Russo-Persian war. From 1829 to 1831, the colonists suffered through plague and cholera. Only in the beginning of the 20th century could better hygiene and vaccinations put an end to epidemic diseases.

In the middle of the 19th century the villagers experienced financial and social improvement thanks to the success of their wines and carts. This success was echoed in the way they built their houses. After 1883, the Transcaucasian Rail connected Helenendorf to central Russia and Western Europe.

By 1916 Helenendorf offered a primary and a middle school as well as one for the deaf and mute, electricity, a central water supply system and phone lines.

From May 1918 until the sovietisation in April 1920 it was a part of the Azeri Democratic Republic. Helendorf’s Lorenz Kuhn was member of parliament, representing the German minority. The colonists even formed their own battalion in order to defend their country together with Azeri troops.

In the 1920s, the town experienced a second bloom, that came to an abrupt end with the dispossession of the “Concordia” collective in 1935/1936, as it destroyed the common economic, social and cultural of the German colonies. When Chanlar became a district town in 1938 about 4,000 non-German party and civil servants moved into the town with their families.

Between October 15 and 30 1941, the entire German population was deported, first to Gandscha and Baku, then by ship to Krasnovodsk and from there to Central Asia.