18 September 2008

Tracing Turkish history in Crimea

We have been taught in history lessons during our boring schooling years that once the Ottoman Empire ruled over all known seas (Mediterranean and Black Sea) and had dominions far far away such as those in Crimea (now part of Ukraine).

Sultan Mehmed II (The Conqueror of Constantinople) also ruled over Evpatoria and probably enjoyed the girls brought from the notorious local slave bazaar to the harem

This year, my traditional summer post-Soviet Union journeys took me to the town of Evpatoria in western Crimea, where me and my comrade Saim Refig (ex-supermodel, the inventor of Refi-Yoga and a fellow invader in Moscow) had unique opportunity to experience the real soviet holidaymaking and check what our ancestors have left in this forgotten corner of Black Sea.

The high-times of Evpatoria seaside..beautiful weather and hazardous sea

As it stood out that nothing much has been left by centuries of warfare (there was a big battle in Evpatoria during Crimean War between Turkish and Russian Imperial troops, where Turkish prevailed and losing to the inferior Ottomans led to the tsar's early death)

Evpatoria (Kezlev (in local Tatar language) or Gözleve (in Turkish)) is now a peaceful seaside resort town with an unbeliavably pleasant weather and dirty (semi-radioactive) sea water. We were said that a lot of Tatar/Ottoman heritage remains in the town but we could only see the synagogue(Karaimskie Kenassy) of Karaim people (Jewish Turks) which was an impressive piece of architecture.

The Karaimskie Kenassy...the Kenassa (Karaim Synagogue) has the same Aramaic root with Beit Knesset (Synagogue in Hebrew)

The town has a typical Slavic nightlife that is based on endurance drinking of vodka/beer and then a greasy shawarma as a desert. The ones looking for a better entertainment do not waste time in local clubs playing 90's Russian Pop but gathers in a neighboring village of Popovka for the legendary Techno festival of Kazantip (Republic Z) for a month of free love and nonstop dance.

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