Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kfar Kama, a Circassian village

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ABC Wednesday's K is for Kfar Kama, a village in the Lower Galilee.
What makes it special is that Kfar Kama and Rechania are the only Circassian villages in Israel.

Ibek (sorry if I guessed the wrong spelling) took our group on a tour of his village and also explained fascinating things in their heritage museum (which I'll post about in the coming days).

In the oldest part of town, from Ottoman times, were solid houses and walls of the local black basalt stone.

The newer part of this village of about 2,800 Circassian Israelis looks not much different from a village of Jewish Israelis.

It is a long story about the Circassians and I'll tell you more of it in future posts.

Their language is ancient.
The people arrived here in the 1860s after being forced out of their native Caucasus Mountains, the region where Europe and Asia meet.

From paganism they converted to Orthodox Christianity in the 5th century.
Influenced by the Tartars and Turks they encountered along the Silk Route through their region, they became Suni Muslims in the 17th century.

Circassian men are the only Muslim group to do compulsory service in the Israeli army (as per the request of their leaders in 1948).

Kfar Kama has the most unique mosque I have ever seen.
They have amazing customs and traditions which they keep alive, perhaps more than many others in the scattered Circassian diaspora.
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11 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

Always interesting bits of history and culture. Or should it be Kulture...
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Dina said...

Roger, you remind me--we could have done Kulturkampf!

Robert Geiss said...

how wonderful it must be to travel through time and such places. thank you for this journey. please have a good wednesday.

Hels said...

How interesting... I don't think I even knew the name, Circassian. Just before they arrived from their native Caucasus Mountains, what nationality would they have been - Georgians?

Bergson said...

beautiful walls

cieldequimper said...

Learning something every day...

VP said...

An interesting story, they had a very forward-looking leader back in 1948.

Nathalie said...

I look forward to the continuing report in the coming days, Dina. This looks like a fascinating story.

Nathalie said...

Funny - in the general sense now circassien/circassienne in French means 'circus artist' with no reference to the community you are talking about.

Dina said...

Thanks, all, for your thoughtful comments.

Hels, I added maps in the next post. I think back then the Cherkessim were more of an ethnic group of 12 tribes, sort of overriding any nationality as we know it today.

Nathalie, circus artist?? Oi! Well, Circassian is just an anglicized way of saying Cherkess, I think. The people call themselves Adyghe.

Kay said...

This is so interesting. I've never even heard of Circassians.