Continuing our visit to the Circassian village of Kfar Kama in the Galilee (starting with yesterday's post) . . .
Here is a modern map showing the Caucasus.
But back in the 19th century when the Circassian tribes were slaughtered and driven out by the Russians, most of the area bordering the Caucasus was the Russian Empire.
Ibek, our guide in Kfar Kama, told our group that just last year Georgia became the first country to recognize the genocide of 1.5 million Circassians.
Most of the one million Circassians who survived the expulsion and the massacres ended up in the Ottoman lands, as the Turkish Sultan saw them as experienced fighters and thus encouraged them to settle in sparsely populated areas of the Ottoman Empire, including the Galilee.
The new mosque in Kfar Kama is so unusual, don't you think?!
Maybe because its architect is Jewish!
I read this in the Jerusalem Post :
"The original mosque had closely resembled a Circassian church, said Tehowha [head of the museum]. He told us that Circassians had been Christians until they converted to Islam in the 17th century. Then, instead of building mosques for their prayers to Allah, they continued worshiping in churches. Not surprisingly, when they came to this country, they erected mosques that resembled the Circassian churches. In 1970, however, the [more than one hundred year old] mosque here was torn down and this structure put up in its place. "
Our own guide, Ibek, said the shape of the doors of the new mosque recalls the shape of their former houses of prayer.
He said the white stones in the minaret make it visible in the night.
And the 5-daily calls to prayer are done by a real human, not by a recording.
Please click once or twice and enlarge the photos to appreciate the details.
The mosque is Mamluk style.
The majority of the leaders of the Mamluk kingdom were of Adyghe origin.
(Adyghe, meaning "noble," is what the Cherkessim, as they are known in Hebrew, call themselves. )
We spent several hours in the village and in the museum but this is the only woman I saw the whole time, and I'm glad I did.
The Circassian World News Blog, in an interesting post on Kfar Kama, says
"The village's older ladies are dressed traditionally, while the younger generation is modern to the point of being Yuppified."
(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday.)