TODAY.AZ / Arts & Entertainment

World's first museum of mountain Jews to appear in Azerbaijan

11 October 2017 [18:00] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Laman Ismayilova

For centuries, Azerbaijan has shown the possibility of peaceful coexistence among diverse ethnic and faith groups. 

The Azerbaijani and Jewish peoples have a long tradition of tolerance and interaction. The friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Israel are built on centuries of shared Jewish-Azerbaijani existence. 

Mountain Jews had settled in the Caucasus more than two thousand years ago.

Located 165 km northwest of Baku, Krasnaya Sloboda (Red village) is home to the country's largest community of Mountain Jews and one of the largest Jewish populations in the former Soviet Union.

This Jewish settlement in Guba has been inhabited by Jews since the 13th century. Here the Jews have lived together with the Azerbaijanis for many years in peace.

The world's first museum of mountain Jews is being built in Azerbaijan. The decision was followed by an initiative of the mountain-Jewish patrons in the village of Krasnaya Sloboda.

The museum will open in the building of the historical synagogue "Karchogi",  Eurasia Diary  reported.

As the head of the executive power of the settlement of Krasnaya Sloboda, Peshakh Isakov, said that the synagogue was not used in Soviet times for its purpose.

"In this synagogue there used to be a warehouse of agricultural products. With the collapse of the USSR, the building was completely abandoned, so the idea of creating the museum helped us "kill two birds with one stone": on the one hand, we found place for the museum, and on the other - we can restore the house of prayer. In this, from the very beginning, we are greatly supported by our patrons of art - God Nisanov, Zarah Iliev and Herman Zakharyaev. A decision was made to restore the building of the synagogue in its original form and from the same materials which it was built of in the late 19th - early 20th century," Pesah Isakov said.

He also said that in the basement floor there will be placed a conference hall, a small library and a reserve fund for the museum.

"The very building of the synagogue is in the form of a square. To accommodate there many exhibits, it was decided to make two tiers. The architecture of the building allows it - the height of the room is more than five meters, which makes it possible to arrange two tiers provided that the western wall is preserved. The idea of creating a museum in the building meant that exhibit number one will be the old building of synagogue itself, and each visitor will be able to see how the synagogue looked before and what synagogues we had in general. Therefore, we preserved the original appearance, preserved the location of all the windows, the roof and the dome," he added.

The head of the executive power of the village of Krasnaya Sloboda stressed that the museum should display a variety of items reflecting the history of Mountain Jewry.

"Life, customs, rituals, clothes - all this will be presented in the museum's exposition. The STMEGI charity fund, engaged in decorating and filling the museum, appealed to people to bring things that survived in families and which are valuable to the museum. With God's help, the opening of the museum will take place next year," Pesach Isakov concluded.

Eurasia Diary presents sketches of a museum under construction in Guba.


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