Circassian Association of California
Adyghe Khasa



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

 


Q: Where is Circassia?
A: Circassia, historic region, encompassing roughly the area between the Black Sea, the Kuban River, and the Caucasus, now largely the Krasnodar Territory of SE European Russia.


Q: Who are the Circassians?
A: The Circassians, whose Russian name is Cherkess, are known internally by their native name of "Adyghe". They are now officially classified as three peoples: the Kabarda, in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic; the Circassians or Cherkess, in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic; and the Adyghe, in the Adyghe Republic.


Q: Who does the term Circassian apply to?
A: The term Circassian has sometimes been incorrectly applied to all the mountain peoples of the North Caucasus. Known in antiquity, they inhabited the western side of the Caucasus and the Crimea and were known to the Greeks as the Zyukhoy.


Q: When were the Circassian Christianized?
A: They were Christianized in the 6th cent. AD but adopted Islam in the 17th cent. after coming under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. In 1829 the Ottoman Turks were forced to cede Circassia to Russia. At this time the Circassians occupied almost the entire area between the main Caucasian range, the Kuban River, and the Black Sea.


Q: What happened to the Circassians after the Russians arrived in the Caucasus?
A: In the many Russo-Turkish wars in the first half of the 19th century, the Circassians bitterly fought against the Russians.  However, after their defeat in 1864, millions were forced into exile. About 400,000 Circassians migrated to Turkey (1861-64).


Q: Can you name the tribes that make up the 12 stars of the flag?
A: >>Click here


Q: What Circassian city is named after its famous apples?
A: MAIKUP


Q: What coastal city will be the site of the “planned” 2014 Winter Olympics and is the historic home of the Wubikhs and the location of the final Circassian battles with Russia?
A: SOCHI


Q: What is the name of the river that flows from its source at Mt. Elbrus to the Sea of Azov?
A: KUBAN


Q: What great mountain near Nalchik translates as “to the highest limit” in English?
A: OSHHA MAKHWA


Q: What is the Circassian name of the natural rock formation in Adyghe that looks like a warrior face and represents the God of the forest?
A: MEZIT THA


Q: What Circassian deity from the Nart epics was quenched in water when he was a baby to harden him like steel?
A: SAUSIRUKO


Q: What is the name of the dance troupe founded in 1936 and is based in the Republic of Adygeya?
A: NALMES


Q: What is the first Circassian language to become extinct with its last known speaker recently dying?
A: WUBIKHS


Q: What is a name of a Circassian song genre that denotes mourning and lamenting?
A: GHIBZA


Q: To commemorate the tragedy of 1864, many Circassians don’t eat fish from which body of water?
A: THE BLACK SEA


Q: What is the name of this song which was written for the Circassian exile?
A: ISTANBULAKO


Q: What are the names of two Turkish port cities that took in the first Circassian refugees?
A: SAMSUN & IZMIT


Q: What is the name of the Russian General who paid money to Cossacks to cut the heads off Circassians and bring them to him?
A: GENERAL ZASS


Q: What is the name of the legendary female pshinawa (accordion player) who created a distinctive style of playing that is replicated often today?
A: ABIDA OMAR


Q: What is the name of the world famous Circassian conductor who is currently the music director for the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Conductor Laureate for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London?
A: YURI TEMIRKANOV


Q: What is the name of the legendary Circassian military hero who had a prominent role in the establishment of the Turkish republic and was later falsely called a traitor by the ungrateful Ataturk?
A: CHERKESS ETEM


Q: Ahmed Mohir Pasha, a Circassian, was prime minister 4 times between the years 1936 and 1952 of what country?
A: EGYPT


Q: What is the name of the legendary Shapsough warrior who fought during the mid 19th century and was known as the “Lion of Circassia”?
A: HAJI GUZBEK


Q: Who is the Professor of Anthropology at McMaster University who published the Nart Sagas in 2002?
A: JOHN COLARUSSO


Q: Who is the German philosopher, economist, and revolutionary, as well as the founder of communism, who was among several prominent writers who supported the cause of the Caucasian freedom fighters in the mid 19th century?
A: KARL MARX


Q: What is the name of the Egyptian ruler who effectively ended Circassian Mamluk domination of Egypt in 1811 when he invited 500 of their leaders to a celebration in the citadel and massacred them?
A: MUHAMMED ALI PASHA


Q: In his “Letters on the English” and other works, who is the 18th century French philosopher that described the incomparable beauty and the condition of Circassian women?
A: VOLTAIRE


Q: What British author spent the years 1837-1839 in the Caucasus and published “Journal of a Residence in Circassia”?
A: JAMES STANISLAUS BELL