Trip to Polish Tatars

On a beautiful, warm and sunny Sunday we resolved to set off to Polish Tatars. There are left only few villages where Polish Tatars still live – Bohoniki and Kruszyniany. Most Tatars after the II World War moved to towns and cities – Bialystok, Gdansk, Gorzow Wielkopolski, Warsaw, and many of them stayed at their homeland – near Nowogordek (presently Belarussia, before the WW II town belonged to Poland).

First Tatars were settled in Lithuania in the 14th century by the Great Prince of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – Witold (Vitaut, Vitautas). Here in Podlasie – in villages – Bohoniki, Drahle, Malawicze, Nietupa, Sanniki, Kruszyniany, Luzany, Studzianka, Lebiedziew, Ortel, Malaszewicze, they appeared in the 17th century. Polish king – Jan III Sobieski settled them in royal villages in exchange for money he should have payed them for their service in royal army, but because of lack of money in state treasury soldier’s pays could not have been paid. Tatars obtained many privileges – they could marry Chrisitan women, obtained nobility and were allowed to preserve their Muslim faith and tradition.

Today about 5.000 Tatars live in Poland, most of them in Bialystok (in the north eastern Poland) – about 2.000 – 3.000, they still confess islam. But it seems that many of them lost their Tatar features – not all have slanted eyes, black hair, olive complexion and high cheekbones. They perfectly integrated into Polish society, their islam is very gentle, moderate and peacful, we can say liberal. Tatar women have equal rights as men, they are not discriminated by their husbands, they can learn, study, work and have equal position to men. Their realtions with other national groups in Podlasie (Poles, Belarussians) apppear to be exemplary.

Below I am presenting pictures taken during last Sunday trip to Kruszyniany.

Mosque in Kruszyniany, bulit in the second half of the 18th century or in the first half of the 19th century.

Mizar in Kruszyniany. Mizar it is the name for Tatar cemetery. Many of tombstones come from the 19th century.

Beautiful pine in the mizar a few hundred years old, it may be as old as whole cemetery, which was established in the second half of the 17th century.


9 thoughts on “Trip to Polish Tatars

  1. YASSINE says:

    in real islam the women have right like men but only arabic cultur make women in secand place ,

  2. Thomas Song says:

    Thanks for this website. Before and during the World War II, I grew up among the Tatars, Jews, and Russians in Dairen, Manchuria.

  3. the sunrises says:

    I enjoy that my website may be important for other persons. I think that Yor story concerning Your life in Manchuria would be a very interesting tale. Wouldn’t You like to share it with otheres?

  4. Seems like you are a real specialist. Did you study about the topic? haha

  5. Thomas Song says:

    I am 80 years old and fled here alone merely as a boy; but where I grew up (Dairen, Manchuria) there were several Tatar families. The Japanese bundled all those peoples who lived under the Czar those day in the category “White Russians”.
    That merely denoted that they were not red but white.

    Among us boys then, our common languages were Japanese, Russian and English.


    • the sunrises says:

      And whom do you feel if I may ask?

      • Thomas says:

        Sorry for the long delay.
        Ethnically I am “Korean”, was born in Tokyo,
        spent my boyhood in Manchuria, fled there when the Soviet Russians came. I reached the U.S. in 1948 and have been here ever since. I was adopted by an Irish family, but married a Greek girl. I am an American.

    • the sunrises says:

      I am sorry I anwsered after so long time, but I had real problems and was not able to control my blog.

      At present I read a book devoted Manchuria – Igor Newerly “Leśne morze” (I think one can translate it to “Forest sea”), very interesting book about friendship, loyalty, betrayal, human independence and freedom. I strongly recommend it.

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