Circassians in photo-session made by photographer Ahmed Nagoev, named “Adygea”
The Balkars and Karachay are a Turkik people who arrived and settled in Central Caucasus around the XII century. Although having their own Turkik languages, they adapted to local Caucasian culture – dressing, dance, customs; also, values like hospitality and honor, prevalent throughout the Caucasus, are essential part of Karachay-Balkar culture.
Karachay-Balkar language is divided in 2 dialects: Karachay-Baksan-Chegem and Balkar. The Kumyks, their ethnic cousins who speak the same language live in today’s Dagestan.
The Balkars live in Kabardino-Balkaria republic, mostly in the high mountainous regions which are also some of the highest in the world.
The Karachay live in neighboring Karachay-Cherkessia, at the foothills of the Caucasus mountains.
The Karachays and Balkars are followers of Islam.
Both the Karachay and Balkars were deported in 1943-1944 at Stalin’s order, together with the Ingush, Chechens and Digor people (muslim minority of North Ossetia). Like all other deportees, many perished due to unbearable conditions (cold, starvation, hard labor, lack of medical help etc). The survivors were allowed to return in 1957 after Stalin’s death.
A particularly bloody episode took place in 1942, when over 1.500 villagers were killed in Upper Balkaria by NKVD – Stalin’s secret police.
TV report on the Balkar people
Karachay dance called “Abezek”
Dance ensemble “Balkaria” live performance
Balkar dance (couple)
Arsen Kurbanov is a Dagestani artist born in 1969, in Makhachkala, Dagestan’s capital city.
He graduated from Dzhemal Art College, Makhachkala and I.E. Repin Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.
His specialization is portrait painting in oil.