The national congress of the Crimean Karaites took place on Friday in Simferopol in the castle. The main task for this small nation is to survive, because in the whole world of the Crimean Karaites there are only about two thousand people left. On Saturday, the participants of the congress with their families left for Mount Chufut-Kale - this is where their ancestors lived many centuries ago.
For more than two thousand years, the Karaites have been living in the Crimea: they are truly an indigenous people. Their ancestors founded the city of Juh Kale on a mountain in the area of modern Bakhchisarai. It was here, to their small historical homeland, that after the end of the congress, its participants and their families arrived.
Some went on a tour of the ancient city, others attended worship in the most ancient kenassah - the so-called Karaite temple. It dates from the 17th century, but, most likely, according to tradition, it was built on the very spot where the very first kenassa in the Crimea stood. Ilya Feruz - one of the young Karaites, who adhere to the religion of their ancestors.
“I am from Simferopol. For many years, I began to visit the Karaite temple. First in Evpatoria, then in Simferopol.
A. Babadzhan, Gazzan of the Simferopol kenassa:
“In fact, the congress adopted a program of action for all societies of the Arab castles. There were representatives of St. Petersburg, Moscow and various cities of the Crimea. A program to revive our culture, traditions, people. This plan is a new step, a step forward along the path of the revival of our people. One of the key things is to ensure that we are included in the list of small peoples of the Crimea. Another of the points is to help Karaite families, young people, first of all, to somehow increase the number of Karaites. ”
Karaites - one of the ancient peoples of the world. Genetically, they are of Turkic origin, and their religion is based on the Old Testament.
“We have gathered and resolved the most important issues. To not confuse us with anyone. We respect all nations, but don't confuse us with anyone. ”
On the eve of World War II, about 14 thousand Karaites lived in the Crimea. Now it remains, according to various estimates, from five hundred to nine hundred people. It is impossible to call the Karaite community closed, and inter-ethnic marriages are welcome in it. Although the majority of the Crimean Karaites clearly feel their belonging to a small disappearing people and closely communicate.
A. Polkanova, Deputy Chairman of the Regional National-Cultural Autonomy of the Crimean Karaites of the Republic of Crimea:
“In fact, we are a little more than the census. About 800 people live on the peninsula. We all gather, we have a society - the national-cultural autonomy of the Crimean Karaites, there is the youth sector. I am just the deputy chairman of the national-cultural autonomy in the youth sector. We organize events, meetings, holidays, scientific readings, lectures. We try to revive the culture and save the people "
Recently, the Karaites returned the temple in Simferopol, for which they have fought for the past 25 years. Now Karaites expect to receive the status of a small indigenous people of Crimea.