Kyiv Hosts the First Ever Crimean Tatars Festival
Kyiv, May 28, 2012. The first Crimean Tatar Festival took place near Kyiv showcasing the colorful spirit and culture of Crimean Tatars through traditional dance, song, art, and food. Hundreds of visitors attended the event, exploring the wonders of the Crimean Peninsula residents and their lavish and mesmerizing traditional outfits, intricate embroidery, multi-instrumental Eastern music and dance, ancient architecture, and amazingly delicious foods. The festival featured works of art by 50 Crimean Tatar artists and each conducted a master class in their specific skill.
Crimea is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying the Crimean peninsula. The territory of Crimea was conquered and controlled many times throughout its history by Cimmerians, Greeks, Scythians, Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Khazars, Byzantine Greeks, Turks, Mongols, Golden Horde Tatars and many other nations. Given its dynamic history, Crimea is called home by a variety of different ethnic groups. Mixed within are the Crimean Tatars who formed themselves as an ethnic nation between the 15th and 18th centuries and still exist to this day, although considered an ethnic minority making only 13 percent of Crimea’s total population. Although so small in number, the Crimean Tatars have managed to preserve their rich, original, and multifaceted culture. “We organized this festival with the idea to ask Crimea Tatar people to showcase their culture and traditions, in order to demonstrate the mosaic of different cultures that exist in our multicultural Ukraine,” said Dmytro Zaruba, General Director of the Crimean Tatar Festival.
Despite the general globalization trend the Crimean Tatars keep their traditions and promote their own culture while making their contribution to the treasury of world culture.. The essentials of their national culture are the art, embroidery, jewelry, architecture, food and the sort.
A cornucopia of booths showcased the unique and dazzling art of Crimean Tatar artists. Everything from painted ceramics to wool-knit clothing was presented and sold at the event. Artists conducted master classes in looming, embroidery, clay molding, and taught the festival patrons how to use a kiln. The event glimmered with action. Artist Rustem Skibin was delighted to share his unique knowledge in polychromatic painting on ceramic articles, “a traditional ornament has deep roots in its semantic meaning. All of the elements involved in an ornament may symbolize many things, a family, or a young girl who must supply a dowry to her future family. Today the combination of symbols I’m using has a special message. The message carries wishes of healthy longevity and well-being for this young bride’s [points to ceramic piece] future family.”
Crimean Tatar kitchen cuisine is legendary and rich with hearty meats and freshly harvested summer vegetables. The Crimean Tatar national dish chebureky (a hand tossed half-moon-shaped dough filled with meat and fried in oil) has had a lot of influence internationally, becoming an adopted dish in a number of other nations’ cuisines. At the festival, patrons were able to feast on chebureki, a variety of slow-roasted meats, dolma (grape leaves stuffed with summer harvested vegetables), sarma (savory chard leaves stuffed with minced meat), samsa (a baked pastry with spiced potato and onion filling), and loads of national salads and soups.
Hidden in a narrow strip between the Burun Mountains and the Black Sea, lies the ancient ruins of old Crimean Tatar architecture that very few people know of. Three architects of the Architect Projection Group Crimea Tatar, Yunusov Emil, Halilov Sayran, and Kerimov Edem explore the unknown corners of Crimean Tatar design through architectural modeling and pictures. “We have a huge project in the making. We are going through negotiations where we will make an ethnographic village, designed in the old-styled architecture in the Bilogorsk region of Crimea. It’s a means of preserving and educating tourists about the Crimean Tatars,” said Yunusov Emil.
The Crimean Tatars go to great lengths to preserve their beloved and uniquely beautiful culture. Although such a small ethnic group in the large country of Ukraine, it shows that even the smallest of cultural details are important to maintain and protect. “About 3,000 people visited our festival today. The attending artists are extremely happy with this. Showcasing their culture, here in Kyiv, is very much important to them,” concluded Zaruba.