Saturday, December 18, 2010

Life - November 1958 - Taming the River

"A woman labor gang, observed by sport-shirted male onlookers and working mainly with shovels, repairs the crest of one of the dikes which protect the city of Kazan. Diking here is necessary because a hydroelectic dam downstream at Kuiybyshev has raised river level. Heavy labor by women has been common in the U.S.S.R. but in recent statements Krushchev has talked of taking women off jobs requiring hard manual labor."

Life - December 1943 - In Sinkiang

"Tatars from European Russia are, with the Uzbeks, most exclusive people in Sinkiang, rarely marry other races. They have high social rating, many are rich. This Tatar is Latif Yuivashev".

Greek Tatar-English Glossary

This is a partial preview and seems to be Kirim Tatar vocab.

Tatarska Jurta

More from Tatars in Poland!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Muzyka Tatarska

Here is a new CD called “Yazcite” which was released in Poland in July 2010.

The music draws much of its inspiration from the old chants of the Tatars. The melodies are derived mainly from the regions of Kazan and Ufa, however there are self-created melodies inspired by tatar music as well. There are used etnical music instruments.

Polish people do associate the Tatars mainly with the violent and wild tribe plundering the country and making its inhabitans prisoners. Nonethelles their significant presence on Polish lands is a 600-years old tradition. Today this etnical group numbering about 5,000 live mostly in Podlasie (Podlachia) region near Bialystok and Sokolka.

This is first project in Poland reviving music of polish Tatars !,prod58305592,muzyka-p

This was submitted by Hanna Turonek.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Halida Dinova - Pianist

Halida Hayrutdinova aka Halida Dinova - Kazan born famous pianist, ethnic Tatar

Concerto for piano and orchestra in F minor Op 114(1910) Exposition of the 1st Movement piano solo by Halida Dinova

Halida Dinova performs Balakirev "Islamey." Live recording June 23, 2010 from Chang-Sha China.

Rapsodie sur un theme de Paganini Op43
State Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Fouat Mansourov - conducting

One review notes, ' This recording was rated five stars on and was described by critics as "a bold, deeply poetic reading, marked by a technical command that many pianists couldn't muster..." "Her sheer poetry, her passion, and above all, her incredible tone would do credit to any pianist of any age or stage of musical insight...'

Halida Dinova

Polonaise Op. 21 - Halida Dinova Plays ... - 2009 - 6:39
Sonata No 10 Op 70 - Halida Dinova ... - 2009 - 13:21
Poeme, op.41 - Halida Dinova Plays Scriabin - 2009 - 4:37
Étrangeté, Op. 63 - Halida Dinova ... - 2009 - 2:22

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Advance of the Turks

The Advance of the Turks and the Crusade in the Late Middle Ages

In the early fourteenth century the Byzantines lost western Anatolia to the Turks, of whom the most successful were the Ottomans, who established themselves opposite Constantinople. This blocked further expansion until 1354, when involvement in the Byzantine civil wars allowed the Ottomans to establish a bridgehead at Gallipoli. This became their base for the conquest and settlement of Thrace, completed with their victory in 1371 over the Serbs at the battle of the Maritsa. Turkish expansion has been attributed to the ghazi-ethos, i.e. the Turks were warriors for the faith bent on extending the frontiers of Islam. They were also pastoralists seeking new lands for their flocks. They fed on the weakness of their opponents. In 1387 Thessalonica, the second city of the Byzantine Empire, voluntarily submitted to the Ottomans. In 1389 the Serbs were defeated at Kossovo and became their tributaries. In 1393 the Ottomans entered Trnovo and annexed Bulgaria. They were also taking over the Turkish emirates in Anatolia, including in 1397 Karaman. Constantinople only survived because of Tamerlane who invaded Anatolia and in 1402 defeated the Ottomans at Ankara. They needed nearly twenty years to recover from this defeat, but under Murad II (1421-51) almost all the losses in the Balkans and in Anatolia, Karaman excepted, were made good. Murad also put Ottoman power on a sounder basis by regulating recruitment into the janissaries, the slave troops who formed the core of the Ottoman army. It was left to his son Mehmed the Conqueror (1451-81) to take Constantinople in 1453, thus endowing the Ottomans with a worthy capital, capable of holding their territories together and of enhancing the authority of the sultan. Mehmed rounded off his territories by annexing the remnants of the Byzantine Empire in the Peloponnese (1460), Trebizond (1461) and , the Karaman (1468). Already a major power, the Ottomans were poised for the mastery of the Mediterranean.

The threat from the Turks gave a new lease of the life to the crusade which had lost its purpose after the fall of Acre in 1291. The Knights Hospitallers led the way. In 1308 they seized Rhodes from the Byzantines and used it as a base against Turkish piracy in the Aegean. Their success encouraged crusading activity which suited Venetian commercial interest and pandered to nostalgia for the glories of the crusade. There was a fashion for the creation of chivalric orders dedicated to the promotion of the crusade. The main success came with the crusade of 1344, which conquered Smyrna, handing it over to the Knights Hospitallers. The initiative thus wrested from the Turks in the Aegean the focus of the crusade now became Cyprus, where Peter I was preparing a crusade against the Mamluks of Egypt. Alexandria was stormed in 1365, , but any further progress was dampened by the Venetians who feared for their trade with Egypt.

The Ottoman advance into the Balkans shifted crusading interest to Byzantium. In 1366 Amadaeus of Savoy went to the rescue of his cousin, the Emperor John V Palaiologos. The survival of Constantinople was a matter of urgency for the Hungarian King Sigismund, if only to divert the Ottomans from his frontiers. He was able to tap the crusading idealism of the French courts, already exploited in 1390 by the Genoise with Louis of Bourbon's crusade against Tunis. The new crusade was led by John the Fearless, the son and heir of the duke of Burgundy. The French met the Ottomans at Nicopolis in 1396 and were hopelessly defeated. This disaster effectively ended French participation in the crusade, although the Burgundian court continued to pay enthusiastic lip-service to the ideal. The crusade against the Ottomans became very much a Hungarian preserve. It came to grief in 1444 at Varna where a Hungarian crusade marching to the relief of Constantinople was defeated in a desperate two-day battle. Thereafter the crusade was relegated to the realms of wishful thinking. The Ottomans had proved too strong.


A friend had recently asked many questions about Turkey and Tatars and Greek history. The history of Turkey is rather complex, with many layers of history, conquest, empire, and tides of religion and power. I didn't have many of the answers to his questions.

I told him Tatars are Turkic and not Turkish.

That was a start.

He asked why all the best Greek ruins are in Turkey. He asked many questions about Turkey's concept of its place in the modern world. Most Americans ask about the film "Midnight Express".

Ortelius 1570

Abraham Ortelius is the original publisher, Antwerp 1570. Antwerp was a dynamic, thriving merchant city and was a major center for printing and graphic art. Kazan is marked as "cazane".

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rail Davletbayev

A Holiday
Rail Davletbayev


Nurkhatim Bikulov

Preparation for a Holiday
Nurkhatim Bikulov


Kazan from Lonely Planet

pop 1.1 million

Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan, home to the descendants of the nomadic Turkic tribe that wreaked particular havoc in ancient Rus. The atmosphere of this intriguing autonomous republic is redolent of Central Asia. The spires of many mosques dot the skyline - including the grand Kul Sharif Mosque inside the historic kremlin.

Nationalism is strong here - as evidenced by the bilingual signposts and the ubiquitous green, white and red of the Tatar flag. Ethnic pride was particularly passionate during 2005, when the city celebrated 1000 years since its founding. Many parks and buildings received a massive makeover in anticipation of the celebration, so the city centre is looking better than ever.

Kazan, one of Russia's oldest Tatar cities, dates back to 1005. Capitol of the Kazan khanate in the 15th and 16th centuries, it was famously ravaged in 1552 by Ivan the Terrible, who forced the Muslim khan to become Christian. St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow was built to celebrate Kazan's downfall. The city later flourished as a gateway to Siberia.

During Soviet times, Kazan became the capitoal of the Tatar Autonomous Republic. In autumn 1990, this oil-rich region (now renamed Tatarstan) declared its autonomy from the rest of Russia, launching several years of political warfare with Moscow.

Kazan's city centre is flanked in the north by the Kazanka River and in the west by the Volga; the train station is on the east bank of the Volga. About 500m east of the Volga shore, a canal bisects the town centre, separating the train station and surrounding gritty residential area from the principle commercial area. The main drag, ul Baumana, is just east of the canal, running from the kremlin in the northwest down to busy ul Pushkina. South of the canal, ul Pushkina changes name to ul Tatarstan and continues south to the bus and river stations.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Volga Watershed with Kama

Tatars of Kazan

A lithograph representing the Tatars of Kazan. F. K. Pauli, Description ethnographique des peuples de la Russe (St. Petersburg, 1862)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Young Tatars in Japan - Kobe

There was a Tatar school next the Mosque in Kobe.
These pics are from the late 1940's, early 1950's.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Aksu Media Production Studio

Aksu Studio Kazan

This is the page of a media production company in Kazan that does concert sound and video and audio production. The link above is a page of streaming Tatar songs.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ATTA New Website

We're happy to announce that the ATTA in Burlingame California has a revamp of their website. You should take the time to investigate it as it's very well done with loads of content, and slick!

naked peremech

Peremech on a white paper plate.
These "naked" peremech (peremeches?) are begging for a condiment.

I always taste the first one plain. These ones were skillfully prepared by ladies of the ATTA for Kurban Bayram.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tatars from Crosswalk Outreach

Location: While most of the Tatar people live in Volga region of Russia, there are sizeable colonies in every republic in the former Soviet Union.

Population: There are approximately 5,416,000 Tatar people in Russia. Around the world, there are approximately 6,719,000 Tatar people.

History: The Tatar have had a strong civilization since the tenth century. Their culture survived the Mongol invasion of the thirteenth century and the Russian conquest of the sixteenth century. In the 1800′s, Tatar cities ranked among the greatest cultural centers of the Islamic world. Today, the Tatar are a settled people, mostly peasants and merchants, who have completely lost their traditional tribal structure. Many of those in the Volga region work on community farms where they raise grains, hemp, legumes, and other fodder crops.

Culture: “Among the Tatar, the father is the legal head of the household. He is also in charge of the family income and how it is spent. The women usually cook, carry water, wash clothes, and tend to the livestock, while the men do more strenuous labor in the fields. Most Tatar are well educated. There are 1800 libraries in Tatarstan, having over 20 million books in Tatar. The Tatar people enjoy the arts – especially theatre, the orchestra, opera, and ballet. Although the Tatar are primarily Islamic, many still observe sabantuy, or “rites of spring.” This is an ancient agricultural festival that is celebrated simultaneously with the anniversary of the founding of the Russian Tatar Republic on June 25. These celebrations have their origins in Shamanism (the belief in an unseen world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits). The younger generation of Tatar wear contemporary city-style clothing. However, the older, collective farm members wear traditional dress. Many Tatar will identify themselves as Muslims before they will identify themselves as Tatar. Unlike devout Muslims, however, 25% of the Tatar will eat pork, and very few observe the prescribed Islamic fasts.” (see below)

Language: They speak Tatar, however, in urban areas more than 30% of them primarily speak Russian.

Religion: Most are Hanafite Muslim. Some beliefs in supernatural powers such as the “evil eye” still exist from their pre-Islamic days. Islam has had a stronghold on the Tatar people since the ninth century, but their beliefs are typically much more liberal than Orthodox Muslims of Central Asia. Some examples of this are that prayer times are modified in some places so as not to conflict with work schedules, and women are sometimes encouraged to join men at the mosques for prayer.

march 30 2010

Florida Ismagilova - Kuz Timasen-Флорида Исмагилова

Ете кыз (original) - Башкортостан "Башклип"

Bashkir Personal adornment and costume is so beautiful.

Pictures of Tatar Cuisine

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tatars and Soviet Architecture

"the building of the Kazansky Station, built in Moscow from Shchusev's design. Started in 1913, its construction was completed in the Soviet period, essentially by 1926. Combining the building's volumes, a delicate exercise resulting in a certain surfeit of contrasts, the effect is very much akin to that in Art Nouveau structures, although it was intended to imitate a group of buildings dating from different periods, a feature of old Russian architecture. This intention is borne out by the nature of the decor - prototypes dating from different periods were used for the structure's different components. The station's main tower is an accurate (accurate?) reproduction of the tiered tower of the Kazan Kremlin, intended, as it were to symbolize the final destination of a journey from this station. "

"the suprematist techniques of arranging the components of the building are, perhaps, even more in evidence in the composition of the Press House, which combines publishing and printing houses in the city of Kazan, built between 1933 and 1937 by the architect Semyon Pan (1897-1970). The symmetry of the overall arrangement is perhaps the only traditional feature of the building. The emphasized plasticity of its several heavy volumes, which adds dramatism to the composition, was characteristic of that period."

"Large circus buildings...were also multifunctional. There is a special expressiveness in the volume of the circus in the city of Kazan, a reinforced concrete lens hoisted onto a flattened, broadly glassed podium: built in 1967, it is the work of the architect Gennady Pichuyev, and the engineers I. Berim, and B. Rudny. The image here is created precisely by the expressiveness of the volume's form."

from "Russian Architecture of the Soviet Period. Ikkonikov 1988

Declaration On The State Sovereignty of the Republic of Tatarstan

on the state sovereignty of the Republic of Tatarstan

The Supreme Soviet of Tatar Autonomous Soviet Social Republic,
-realizing the historical responsibility for the fortunes of multinational peoples;
-expressing respect to sovereign rights of all peoples, inhabiting the Russian Federation and the USSR;
-realizing the incapability of the status of Autonomous Republic, and the interests of future political, economic, social and spiritual development of the multinational peoples;
-ensuring the inherent rights of Tatars, of the whole population of the Republic to self-determination;
-aiming at the creation of legal democratic state,
1. PROCLAIMS Tatar state sovereignty and reforms the Autonomous Republic into the Tatar Soviet Socialist Republic (Tatar SSR) - The Republic of Tatarstan.
2. The land, its natural resources and other resources on the territory of the Tatar SSR shall be the exclusive property of Tatar people.
3. Irrespective of nationality, social origin, belief, political convictions and other differences, Tatar SSR shall guarantee all citizens of the Republic equal rights and freedoms. Russian and Tatar shall be state languages and shall be equal in Tatar SSR, the maintenance and development of languages of other nationalities shall be ensured.
4. The official state name in the Constitution, in other legal acts and in state activity shall be "Tatar Soviet Social Republic" ("Tatar SSR" or "The Republic of Tatarstan"). Republic's Supreme body of power shall be named "The Supreme Soviet of the Tatar SSR" and its enacting acts shall be named: acts of the Supreme Soviet of the Tatar SSR.
5. The present declaration shall be the basis for Tatar Constitution, for Tatar legislation, for participation of Tatar SSR in drafting and signing the Union Treaty, for agreements with the Russian Federation and other republics. It also shall be the basis for the presentation of the most important questions of state formation of Tatar SSR, its relations with the USSR, with the Russian Federation and other republics for the consideration of its people. The Constitution and the acts of Tatar SSR shall be supreme on the territory of Tatar SSR.
6. Before the adoption of new Constitution of Tatar SSR, other laws and regulations of Tatar SSR, acting laws of Tatar SSR, of the Russian Federation and the USSR remain valid on the territory of Tatar SSR, unless they contradict the Declaration on the state sovereignty of the Tatar SSR.
The present Declaration shall come into force from the date of its adoption.

M. Shaimiev,
Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Tatar Soviet Social Republic
Kazan, August 30, 1990

Another Peremech Recipe - UK

Tatar Meat Pies

These succulent meat pies are Tatar in origin, very much like the Kayakh belyashi enjoyed throughout Russia. These peremech, typical for a Tatar meal, should be eaten right from the frying pan, juicy and hot.
Makes 2 dozen meat pies.


6 tablespoons single cream
2 eggs, beaten
Pinch salt
4 fluid oz (120 ml) soured cream
Pinch sugar
10 oz (280 g) plain flour


1 lb (450 g) boneless lean beef chuck
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt

Beat the eggs until light, then beat in the soured cream, single cream, salt, sugar and flour. Knead until smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and refrigerate overnight before using.

In a food processor or mincer, mince all the filling ingredients together finely.

Prepare the meat pies: working with one-quarter of the dough at a time (leave the rest in the refrigerator), roll out each piece into a 12 in (30 cm) rope. Cut each rope into 6 pieces, then roll the pieces into balls between the palms of your hands. Flatten the balls slightly, and on a floured surface roll each ball out into a round 3½ - 4 in (9-10 cm) in diameter. Spread 1 tablespoon of meat mixture on each round, leaving 1 in (2.5 cm) around the edges.

To shape the meat pies, gather the dough in little pleats all the way around the patty, using an upward, folding motion. The result should be a round, flat pastry with a hole the size of a five pence piece in the middle. As each patty is made, place it on a linen cloth and cover with another cloth so that the pastries do not dry out.

Pour vegetable oil into a large frying pan to a depth of ½ in (12 mm). Heat it, and once it is hot add the peremech, a few at a time, hole side down. Cook the meat pies, turning once, for about fifteen minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Burlingame - California Tatars April 1979

Here's a nice pic from our archives. It's from our Tatar Din Dersler classes from 1979.
Shemsiye Apa and Tahir Absi our teachers.

Monday, October 18, 2010


The footage is of the funeral in 1969 of my uncle Hayrullah Absi, who was born in Japan and died in Turkey. He was in the military and served with the Turkish in the Korean War. I never met him but from what I'm told he was quite the kind man.
The singing is my grandmother, Zuhre Kirush. She was born in Penza, Russia and passed in Ankara, Turkey. The serious and sad song is dedicated to the memory of Gabdullah Tukay, who was a famous Tatar poet from the early 1900's.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Letters - Cyrillic - Latin

Lithuanian Tatars

Lithuanian Tatars

The ethnic group is simply called Tatars and the neighbouring people also refer to them as such. In literature they are more often referred to as the Lithuanian Tatars, Belorussian Tatars, Polish Tatars, Belorussian Muhammadans and Belorussian Muslims. Some Polish authors have used the term lipiki, and Turkish and Crimean Tatar sources of the 19th century have called them lupkalar or lupka tatarlar. The origin of lipki/lupka is not clear. As the habitat of these Tatars is mostly the former Lithuanian Grand Principality, they are primarily known as Lithuanian Tatars.

Population There has been no ethnic census of the Lithuanian Tatars under the Soviet regime, so their number is unknown. An approximate estimate of their number in Belorussia and Lithuania is 7,000--8,000. It is recorded that the overall number of Tatars on Lithuanian territory at the time of the 1897 census was 4,500 and in 1989, 5,100. Unfortunately it is not clear how many of them were Lithuanian Tatars.

Their Language

In the middle of the 16th century the Lithuanian Tatars apparently gave up Turkish language and started to speak Belorussian. Some intellectuals took up Russian and Polish in the middle of the 19th century.

The origins of the Lithuanian Tatars are particularly interesting. According to their legends they are the descendants of the wanderers far from the Baltic coast - Nogays and Crimean Tatars- who were brought to Lithuania as prisoners of war. Indeed, in 1397 several thousand prisoners of war were taken and they settled in the Wilno(Vilnius) area and on the territory of the present-day Minsk and Grodno Regions. Tokhtamysh, the famous Golden Horde khan and thousands of his warriors, defeated by Tamerlane (Timur), fled to Lithuania a year later. He became the ruler of the present-day Belorussian town, Lida. In 1430 Prince Shvitrigalis of Lithuania summoned the Kypchaks and Nogays from beyond the Volga to his military service and 3,000 remained in his army.

The number of so-called Tatars continued to swell in various ways as prisoners of war or refugees. Their fate has been peculiar. As the newcomers were only men and there were no Muslim women in Lithuania, they had to marry Christians, although their descendants were considered to be Islamic. It was quite common for a husband to adopt the Christian surname of his wife. The elite of the migrants enjoyed equal rights with the Polish-Lithuanian nobility, other Tatars made up a special social entity of the Lithuanian Principality. They had certain obligations such as the 'Tatar Service', which meant that they were obligated to join the army, fully armed and on horseback, at the first call of the State. The Tatar military in return enjoyed certain privileges. Just like the nobility they were exempt from paying tax on the land they owned and they had complete religious freedom. In the 16th--17th centuries the nobility tried to curb their rights but the united Poland and Lithuania had to pay dearly for the folly. In the campaign against the Ukraine the Lithuanian Tatars fought on the side of the enemy. In 1659 the Lithuanian Seimas restored all their rights and privileges.
In 1775 the last discriminative restrictions were abolished and the majority of Tatars became full-fledged Polish-Lithuanian nobility. By that time mixed marriages had taken their toll and the Tatars spoke Belorussian. However, their Islamic faith had helped them to retain an ethnic identity. The Tatars had their own mosques and clergy. It is interesting to note that they resorted to Arabic script when writing Polish or Belorussian texts, adding some diacritical marks to denote the specific Belorussian sounds. All the ecclesiastical literature, the Koran included, was published in Arabic with parallel Belorussian translations. The Arabic script was widely known and it was taught at Tatar village schools. Islam set the rules and regulations for everyday Tatar life but, at least in the 19th century, they were not as rigorously followed and concessions were made for local peculiarities.
For example, the Tatar women were relativley free, the polygamy characteristic of Muslims did not exist, and the children attended co-ed schools. Although they did not eat pork, drink vodka and smoke tobacco which were prohibited for Muslims. They retained some characteristic eating habits and many Tatar dishes have been integrated into traditional Lithuanian cooking. The Tatars did not differ from other people in their dress or in their architecture but certain peculiarities could be observed at home. Mosques added an Eastern flavour to the Tatar settlements.
No noticeable changes in Tatar social status or in their fields of activity took place after the incorporation of their settlements into Russia. The martial arts had lost their importance but many Tatars preferred military service or work in the police to anything else. The rural Tatar population started to pay more attention to farming. They were also good at carpentry. In towns the Tatars were active in all spheres of life. In the second half of the 19th century and especially at the beginning of the 20th many Tatars became intellectuals.

After World War I the Lithuanian Tatars became citizens of one of the folowing three countries

* Soviet Union,
* Poland
* Lithuania.

The ethnic and religious undertakings of Tatars in Poland and Lithuania went on as before but in the Belorussian SSR things changed. The same same change occurred in Lithuania after the Soviet occupation of 1940.
The first mosque was reopened only in 1990.
Naturally the absence of all nationalist activities considerably damaged the ethnic integrity of the Tatars and they were assimilated by the Belorussians which was quite easiy there being no language barrier. The same happened in socialist Poland. The process was further abetted by intermarriages and a lessening of interest in national heritage, especially by the intelligentsia.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Aynur in Kazan - 1988

Baumann Street in Kazan had tables with flowers and Samovar nearby, a very civilized pause.
I couldn't think of a better place for a cup of tea.

Here's Aynur in 1988.