Euroasian Jewish News
First ever Mountain Jews museum to open soon
The world's first Museum of Mountain Jews is preparing for opening in the Krasnaya Sloboda (Red Village) settlement of Azerbaijan’s Guba region.
The ideologists and investors of the cultural project are businessmen God Nisanov and Zarakh Iliyev, who were born in Krasnaya Sloboda, and STMEGI International Charitable Foundation.
Krasnaya Sloboda is one of the rare places in the world densely populated by the Jews. The Jews living in this village, which is sometimes referred to as "Israel of the Caucasus", have been keeping their traditions for many years.
The religious community and the center of the national culture of the Jews are functioning here. Azerbaijan's Community of Mountain Jews is one of the largest of the Jewish communities of the Caucasus, going back to the Jews of ancient Persia who are believed to have settled in the region 1,000 years ago. They speak Juhuri, a mixture of Hebrew and Farsi.
The idea of a museum which would contain artifacts, national clothes, books where history and traditions of the community would be preserved, appeared several years ago. The project started in 2017. One of the seven synagogues preserved in the village, Karkhog synagogue, was chosen as the museum building. The investors decided that the main exhibit should be the building of the synagogue itself, restored in accordance with the original sketches.
The building is square in shape with a height of over five meters. To arrange as many exhibits as possible, two tiers are arranged there. In addition to the exhibition halls, a conference room, a library and storage rooms are equipped in the basement.
One of the first unique exhibits of the museum is a tallit (fringed prayer shawl) of the 19th century. The image of this shawl was used in the creation of the flag of Israel. Tallits were also used as wedding baldachines.
The museum has many different books and documents, such as Ketubba - formal Jewish marriage contract. It is considered an integral part of a traditional Jewish marriage, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom in relation to the bride.
Many old editions in the disappearing Juhuri language are presented in the museum.
By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade