Historical organization of Chechen society – Chechnya (like Ingushetia) didn’t have social classes or feudalism. It was governed by council of elders and practiced a pagan religion centered around the solar cult.
Nakh people were organized in “teips” (family clans). Each family clan had their own defensive structure, mostly represented by Nakh towers. The villages and regional subdivisions of today still hold the names of their “teip” (ex. Sharoy, Chatou etc).
In times of danger, the family clans united under a “tukum” (political-military union), lead by a chosen military chief .
The towers had different purposes (combat, residential tower etc) and were around 7 stories high.
The typical Chechen/ Ingush towers (Nakh towers) developed as response to repeated foreign invasions, especially the Mongol invasion of the XII century.
The teip had a few common features:
* The right of communal land tenure
* Common revenge for murder of a teip member
* Exogamy (marrying a member outside the clan was mandatory)
* Election of a Council of Elders and equal right of all members
* The right of the teip to depose its representatives
* Representation of women by male relatives
* The right of the adoption of outside people
* The transfer of property of departed to members of the teips
* The teip has a defined territory and a traditional mountain
* The teip had its own Godhead (pagan beliefs before the adoption of Islam)
* The teip had specific festivities, customs, traditions and habits
* The teip had its own cemetery
* A common teip hospitality (hospitality in general is highly regarded in the Caucasus)
Here are a few of the Nakh-Chechen towers which survived the XIX century wars, the Soviet destruction and the recent Russian-Chechen conflicts.
During the 1990’s wars, dozens of ancient Chechen towers were attacked by Mi-24.