Shapsug's expedition (Part 1)

Hello! This is the first video of the series devoted to the results of the expedition conducted by us in the autumn to the Shapsugs of the Black Sea Region, to the Circassians-Shapsugs The Shapsug expedition took 24 days, of which we spent two days in a flood in Tuapse, and the rest were all productive An extra day was spent at Tsypka village separately At the end of November I made a trip there, did not have time before because of the flood, and finished shooting What are the results? We drove through 13 auls, we surveyed more than 70 informants The questions concerned both the historical part – the history of the Shapsugs, the histories of the villages, the history of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the present situation, the modern life in the villages And somehow it happened by itself that there was quite a lot of information on generic histories and generic connections All this information has been collected and will now be analysed, a competent description will be made in the book, which, I hope, will be released next spring and will be accompanied by a photo exhibition This is a separate question Here and now, in these videos, which will now be published here, we will talk about how this expedition took place, and mark the main interesting moments from the history and life of the villages You will see all of them, as they look from the inside People and events, photos and everything else, as we agreed, when our crowdfunding company dedicated to the Shapsug’s expedition started in the summer So, in order not to delay too much, we go to the point of the matter In the first video we will focus on the question of who are the Circassians- Shapsugs, their history and culture, in order to give an introduction, make it clear to those who are not familiar with this culture, or add some information to those who are familiar, but not enough to Shapsugs and then we will proceed to separate series about each aul So, Circassians-Shapsugs of the Black Sea region Shapsugs are a subethnos of Circassians, the indigenous people of Krasnodar Territory with their unique culture Today Circassian-Shapsugs live compactly in 13 auls of the Tuapse district of the Krasnodar Territory and the Lazarevsky district of Sochi, that is, within the city district of Sochi, as well as in 4 auls of the Republic of Adygea and total about 10 thousand people Maybe in Adygea some more will be added, but these are different Shapsugs The Shapsugs of Adygea and Shapsugs of Black Sea shore in the Krasnodar Territory, despite a lot of similar, are mentally different Shapsugs also live separately in other cities and towns of the Krasnodar Territory and Adygea, although most of them are in the diaspora abroad, mainly in Turkey Until 1864, the Circassians-Shapsugs constituted one of the largest Circassian tribes south of the Kuban, divided into the Major and Minor Shapsugia They lived along river valleys and mountain slopes Auls in the modern sense then the Circassians did not have, in principle They lived by family estates (farms), between which there were gardens, fields and pastures, which shared the family estates They represented the home of the ancestor (master), next to which stood the homes of his sons and their families, unmarried daughters That is, this is a family estate with a large family, up to cousins, second cousins

Between the estates there were large gaps and so the settlements — Kuaje or Habl’, stretched for many kilometres along the slopes of the river valleys and mountains According to one version, the Circassians-Shapsugs received their name from the Shapsuho River, 5 kilometers east of Dzhubga (the modern village of Lermontovo) From the Circassian language the name of the river is translated in different ways For example, “Shygapsy” – tamed a horse or a tamed horse; “Sha-psy- g’u” – milk-river-near, that is, a resident of the valley of the milk river; “Shcha psy g’u” – a resident of the three rivers; “Shypseunhy” – living by the sea There are many variations and each can claim the truth Shapshyho, apparently, from “Shapsyg Psykho” – Shapsug’s Valley The valley of the river was located almost in the middle of the old Big Shapsugia, was its center Therefore, many cite such an anthroponymic version of the origin of the name from the generic name “Sha” – the Valley of the Sha family Presumably in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Circassian surnames of Nadkho (Natkho), Netaho (Netkhodo), Koble (Koblev), Shapet (Shopte) and Sotah (Sevatoh) formed a single new community The first two genera served as the basis for the formation of the later Natukhai subethnos, which occupied the lands of Jane and Hegaik from Dzhubga to Anapa and Taman The remaining three clans, settling first in the valley of the Shapsuho River, formed an independent tribe, named for this river Shapsugs According to another legend, Circassians-Shapsugs left the Tuba region to the west of the Lago-Naki plateau before the appearance of the Circassian sub-ethnos Abadzekhs there This legend has been preserved and it is also reflected in the name of the streets of some auls It is possible that both versions are correct, since by the middle of the 19th century, the Circassians-Shapsugs were already divided into 8 main genera: Natkho, Nataho, Goago, Yemts, Koble, Shapete, Sootokh and Goya At the same time, Goye always stood out, they were not completely dissolved in the Shapsug world Until now, this family name is preserved, and these people remember where they lived in the valley of the Psezuapse river, but this is a separate topic Moreover, these genera were divided, in turn, into many small and large divisions Thus, the Natkho clan branched into 28 clan divisions, the Koblev clan consisted of more than 50 divisions, and the Pseuzuapse Goaye had 17 clan divisions This speaks of the inclusion of the genera of the neighbouring gorges and the active inclusion of migrants from other subethnos into their society Especially large groups of such migrants were free peasants from the lowland princely tribes of the Circassians – Jane, Khatukai, Temirgoi Because of this, the first two tribes virtually disappeared by the 19th century, being assimilated The peasants left the power of the princes to the free societies of the mountain Circassians-Shapsugs But not only migration allowed the society of Circassians-Shapsugs to expand rapidly The fact is that, according to the archaeologist Dmitriev Alexander Vladimirovich, the territory of the Major and Minor Shapsugia is the territory of the dolmen’s culture distribution at the Bronze Age surprisingly coincides with the Circassians-Shapsug’s territory of the settlement in the 18-19 centuries It is likely that the Shapsugs kept in their memory the historical continuity to their ancient ancestors, perceived this land as the land of their ancestors, and this united them with all the inhabitants of these territories, regardless of what subethnos of the Circassians they then belonged to Dolmen culture participated in their ethnogenesis The ancestors of the Shapsugs were most likely medieval Zikhs and the ancient Achaeans they had conquered, but not to confuse them with the Achaeans of ancient Greece Even the initial data of population genetics point to a certain feature of the Circassians-Shapsugs In favour of this version, data written by ethnographer Leonid Lavrov in the beginning of the 20th century that the Circassians-Shapsugs called themselves Aguhicps in the past in the sense of “people with an iron soul” and the Circassians of the plains called them Sosruko descendants born of stone Very many dolmens are genetically connected with metallurgical production; specialists find primitive forges and metal slag next to them From the valley of the Shapsuho river to the 19th century, the Circassians-Shapsugs spread along the coast from the Pshada river to the Shahe River Over time, the coastal valleys became cramped for them, and they moved across the Caucasus range, to its northern side, into the valley of the Psekups river, as well as between the Adagum and Supsa rivers in the Seversky district of the Krasnodar Territory Thus, the Circassian-Shapsugs were divided into Major Shapsugia north of the mountains and Minor Shapsugia on the coast The center of Major Shapsugia was located in the area of the modern village Ubinskaya,

near the sacred Circassian mountain Papay To the north, Shapsugs bordered the Bzhedug on the Kuban River From the east with the Abadzekhs, and on the east coast of the Black Sea with the Ubykh tribe, the conditional boundary of which was the Shahe River The most common surnames of Shapsugs living now within the Major Sochi are few and do not exceed two dozen In order of prevalence, these are the last names: Napso, Sizo, Shabo, Tlyf, Teshev, Bowus, Khakho, Heishkho, Koble, Chachukh, Khusht, Bgano, Shkhalakho, Khlechas, Achmiz, Sazho, Khapiy, Nibo and others It should be noted that the most active are Shkhalakhov’s family and the most common in the Tuapse region This family has more than 100 clans today, some say even 300 Not long ago, they held clan assemblies, they celebrated a clan holiday together, to which all members of the Shkhalakhov families, which could come from abroad, from Adygea, from other places, came Circassians-Shapsugs lived in the mountainous and foothill areas, they did not have their own princes There were aristocrats of their own — warks, but the society was ruled by the people’s councils of the oldest and most experienced people — through the Khase — congregations Relations between free peasants and aristocrats deteriorated, leading to social conflict at the end of the 18th century, the expulsion of warks and the subordination of the remaining to the Khase authorities Until 1829, the Ottoman Empire conducted an active policy in the coastal zone of the Krasnodar Territory through its centers in Anapa and the Sujuk-Kale bay (now Novorossiysk) But it failed to subjugate the local tribes to their power, which remained independent until the very end of the Caucasian War After losing control over the North Caucasus after the Russian-Turkish war of 1828-29, the Turks increased their religious influence on the Circassians Previously, this issue did not concern them much, since the majority of the population was perceived as a potential commodity for the slave trade Islam prohibits the sale of co-religionists to slavery, so there was enough conversion to the leadership of the top societies Despite all efforts, the majority of simple Circassians-Shapsugs preferred to follow a mixture of native pagan, Christian and Muslim faiths, which is largely preserved in traditions even today Since 1829, the Russian Empire began the process of systematic conquest of mountain and coastal Shapsugs From 1831 to 1838 a number of military fortresses were built on the Black Sea coast, the purpose of which was to isolate the Shapsugs from the outside world Referring to the Adrianople Peace Treaty with Turkey and considering this part of its coast, Russia established a trade blockade and arranged an interception of merchant ships attempting to get to the northern shore of the Black Sea Salt was especially in demand among Circassians Salt was needed not only for food, but also for feeding small cattle, which died without it And salt was in short supply This policy caused a number of serious attacks on the fortress in 1840, some of which were destroyed In fact, the fortress was under siege, because they could not effectively control the coast In addition, natural factors – the lack of roads, especially in winter, the detrimental climate in the lowlands, scurvy due to the lack of a constant supply of fresh products – all this led to a huge mortality in them This situation persisted until 1855, when during the Crimean War, Russian garrisons left the fortress and left the coast beyond the Kuban River After the end of the war, the Russian Empire finally conquered the Eastern Caucasus with the capture of Imam Shamil by 1859 The military plan of solving the issue of subordinating the Circassians south of the Kuban prevailed Troop’s mass attack on the south in three directions began to squeeze the local population to the coast An ultimatum was proposed – to go to the marshy shores of the Kuban, or to sail to the Ottoman Empire Most accepted the second option By October 10, 1862, Russian troops reached Dzhubga, Krinitsa, and Pshada, and by the beginning of 1864 most of the remaining Shapsugs were forced out into the modern Lazarevsky district of Sochi Here they massively sank on ships and sailed to Turkey This process was accompanied by great losses among the local population, which remained in the memory of Circassians by the great tragedy of the people Circassians-Shapsugs were finally subdued by May 21, 1864, when a parade of Russian troops took place on the territory of the modern village of Krasnaya Polyana on the end of the Caucasian War Even within ten years after the war, part of the Circassians were hiding from punitive detachments in the mountains, in the region of the Khakuchinsky Pass Previously, there was one of the Shapsug societies, but this time there were mixed representatives of various subethnos, of those who managed to escape, including some of the Ubykhs, most of who went to Turkey The other part, from those who surrendered to the Russian troops, chose the first option and were settled in the auls of the modern Takhtamukaysky region of Adygea, the settlements Mezmay and Dakhovskaya (Aseretkh-Khabl) and in the aul Hadzhimukohabl (now the village Dondukovskaya) The overwhelming majority left the Caucasus In the 1870-1880s, the Russian Empire allowed Circassian-Shapsugs remaining in Russia to return to their native places on the coast, but limited the settlement zone

They were allowed to settle between Russian military settlements in the river valleys, or with them, but no closer than 7-12 kilometres to the Black Sea Thus, the villages of Bolshoi and Maliy Kichmai, Hadzhiko, Kalezh and Lygotkh, Thagapsh, Bolshoe and Maloe Pseushkho, and Najigo appeared In the place of the officers’ possessions of Mukhortovo and Karpov, the Circassian-Shapsugs of the future villages of Shhafit and Aguy-Shapsug respectively settled There is a certain anomaly here, as the aul Shhafit and aul Aguy-Shapsug are close to the sea, but they were not considered auls It was the officer’s farm in which the workers lived and worked – came from auls The position of the auls of the Circassians-Shapsugs changed in 1924 with the advent of a separate Shapsug national region The story of its appearance is an example of the struggle of the local population for their autonomy with the support of Moscow and the resistance of the authorities of the Kuban region National district came after the failure of Circassians-Shapsugs in joining the Adygea autonomy Its whole history turned out to be very difficult – the territorial dispersion and the presence of large territories inhabited by different ethnic groups, and in most Russians, in the intervals between auls constantly questioned its expediency In addition, almost 60% of the local population fell under the repression of the 30s and group expulsions to Kazakhstan For twenty years, the capital of the district has constantly changed, as well as its borders In 1944, while the majority of the active male population of the Circassians-Shapsugs was at the front, the district was eliminated and included in the Lazarevsky District, the future district of Sochi By the way, among the small people of the Circassians-Shapsugs – 3 heroes of the Soviet Union, coastal Shapsugs In the 90s, Circassians-Shapsugs tried unsuccessfully to restore the area It was not restored, but Adygs-Shapsugs succeeded in including themselves in the minority peoples of the Russian Federation, with all legal rights within the framework of federal legislation, achieved restoration of monuments to Circassians who died in World War II and the Caucasian War A surprising feature of Circassian society was a set of rules of ethics and philosophy – Adyghe Habze or a broader concept – Adygheism These rules were oral, but everyone knew them – from the child to the old man Scientists compare this system with the Japanese bushido code or with the Chinese dao, but Adyghe habze remains original It was believed that the observance of these rules will allow after death to appear before ancestors with honor Or, on the contrary – in disgrace, if they do not comply True, in the second case, in disgrace, they could have been expelled from the community if serious crimes were committed The meaning of Circassian’s ethics consists of five constancies: Humanity The very first commandment and a bright feature of Adygheism This quality of a person was manifested through helping one’s neighbour in any situation, the lack of separation between rich and poor, respect for the guest and responsibility for his life and well-being; Respectfulness First of all, she refers to education, modesty, delicacy, good manners, respect for elders, mother and father (including adoptive, atalyk), respect for etiquette at the table; Mind Adygheism is impossible to imagine without a large and moral mind This ability to speak well in public, a sharp mind, respect for morality in his speech, a sense of proportion, a sense of humour; Courage This is not only military prowess and courage, but also justice, delicacy, tolerance, warrior’s modesty, lack of fear of death, respect for brothers in arms, resistance to pain, the nobility of the fight and respect for your enemy It was considered a shame to boast of exploits – for this there were bards-dzheguaco, who glorified the merits of noble horsemen; – Honour, conscience and reputation This triad meant decent behaviour, rejection of criminals, strict adherence to the rules of Adygheism The modern world has greatly influenced society and many norms of Adygheism have been lost However, even today, among the Circassians, many rules are preserved; any decent person considers it obliged to observe them, respect the world in which he lives, people and his own honour and dignity All the buildings of the Circassians were made of wattle, covered with clay and covered with straw or reed In the steppe part, moss still lay on top At the same time, the buildings of the rich differed from those of the poor only in their large size and comparative purity, while retaining the same character in essential features Never – at least in later historical time – Circassians did not make buildings of stone Even Interiano in the XVI century, noted that the zikhi (Circassians) do not have a single settlement, fortified by walls “Their houses are made of straw, reeds and wood, it would be a great shame for a prince or nobleman to build a fortress or a house with stone walls, because it would show fear and inability to protect and protect themselves.” Today, such houses are rarely seen

Already at the beginning of the 20th century, the houses were stone, and their roof was laid out with shingles The interior was also becoming the all-Russian sample The usual manor consisted of three courtyards, surrounded by a common fence, with one gate on the side of the road and several climb-overs or wickets, depending on the needs In the main courtyard the central place was always occupied by una – the dwelling, which is placed sideways to the external entrance in the courtyard from the street All the outbuildings were located in the same yard: a bakery, a chicken coop, wicker barns for storing grain, a canopy for agricultural utensils in one of the corners The cattle yard with a shed and wicker manger for forage and a hamish yard for threshing and drying hay adjoined the main yard Both of these courtyards were communicated with a gate to the main courtyard, but there were no openings in the outer fence The location of the courtyards and buildings in the Circassian manor had their reasons related to the peculiar structure of the dwelling itself Saklya (hut) consisted of two halves with two separate entrances: for men and for women Accordingly, located and outbuildings Closer to the male half were the outer gates and the entrance to the hay yard; from the female half there were: a bakery, a chicken coop, barns and an entrance to the barnyard A feature of the houses of the Circassian-Shapsugs was the presence of an apiary and a house with legs for storing grain These houses can still be found in the coastal villages In addition to the listed buildings, almost every family had a separate building specifically for receiving guests This building, called Khachesh, Khadzhichizh or Kunatskaya, was located in a prominent place in front of the courtyard, was often surrounded by a special fence and had a small courtyard For a married son, a separate hut was also built in one room, usually several behind a hut In this hut, the newlyweds lived until the complete isolation and construction of their own manor The hearth was located in one of the corners of the hut, sometimes adjacent to the partition that divided the male and female halves The fire was laid out on the mud floor and, in order to prevent the wall of the hut from burning, a thickening of the clay plaster was made in this place A copper or cast-iron cauldron on an iron or wooden chain mounted on a ceiling beam was suspended above the hearth The smoker was woven at the same time as the walls of the dwelling; it had a round or quadrangular cross section Up the chimney gradually narrowed and emerged above the roof with a low pipe, which was often covered by a gable wooden canopy among the Black Sea Circassians Inside, the entire chimney was smeared with clay, and outside only from the bottom, as well as part of the pipe that went outside Directly at the hearth there was a low adobe bed-sofa, reinforced on the sides with boards The ceiling and the attic have never done in hut Wicker-woven shields were laid on the ceiling beams, on which smoked cheese and bread were kept Pegs were hammered into the walls to hang the arms and harness Very often they were the only decoration of the walls of the house The floor in the hut was always made with clay and smeared with clay mixed with manure on top A small clay step was arranged along the walls near the floor in order to prevent water from entering the dwelling Widespread among the Circassians had hospitality Each person could stay as a guest in any Circassian dwelling He met the most cordial welcome Nothing contributed to the popularity of a person in Circassia to the same extent as his hospitality It was already noted above that the Circassians had a special room for guests – Kunatskaya All the best in the owner’s house belonged to the guest T. Lapinsky wrote from his personal experience: “The best quality of the Circassians is hospitality A traveller can travel through the whole country without a penny, and he will not be detained anywhere, and in every yard where he goes, he will find shelter, bedding and food for himself, a stall and food for his horse” The owner did not ask the guest who he is, where he came from and why There was a whole ritual for the guest, when he showed the host how he wanted to hang on the wall of the horse whip, how much he intended to stay with him The host for the first three days had to silently entertain the guest and not ask questions, and such symbolism allowed him to understand the guest’s intentions If the guest called himself and did not make a secret of his arrival, then soon the family members of the host and his neighbours came to Kunatskaya They entertained the guest and sought to serve him The owner always stood and had no right to sit down When the guest ate – the owner left the room Young people sometimes danced to entertain a guest The best food was put on the table for the guest The owner ensured the personal safety of the guest and the safety of his property A person who robbed or offended a guest was severely punished by society In the past, the custom of the kunaking was also spread among the Circassians According to this custom, two persons belonging to different clans, tribes and even ethnic groups entered into close friendly relations with each other and provided each other with all kinds of help and assistance Kunak and the one who arrived under his protection were firmly connected, and no one could offend the latter without incurring the revenge of the kunak The guards by the host-kunak of the guest contributed to the fact that in the conditions of feudal civil strife that existed in Circassia in the 16th and first half of the 19th centuries, kunaking became a very important institution It combined with hospitality made possible the development of diverse economic and cultural ties between the Caucasian peoples over the centuries Kunaking was used by foreign merchants to establish trade with the inhabitants of Circassia

In folklore, the main place among the Circassians is Nart legends, heroic and historical songs, songs of lamentation about heroes The Nart epic is multinational and spread from Abkhazia to Dagestan – among Ossetians, Circassians (Kabardians, Circassians and Adygeans), Abkhazians, Chechens, Ingush – which indicates the common culture of the ancestors of many peoples of the Western and Northern Caucasus Researchers believe that the Circassian version stands out from the general Nart epic as a complete and independent version It consists of many cycles dedicated to different heroes Each cycle includes narrative and verse texts-legends (pshinatle) But the most remarkable thing is that the Circassian version – the singing epic, which was performed by the Djeguaco singers – is a kind of wandering bards, the word of which was law for everyone and they were inviolable In addition, Djeguaco participated in the fighting, encouraging warriors with battle songs The traditional plots of the Nart epic of the Circassians with their song variations are grouped around their main characters: Sosruko, Bataraz, Ashamez, Badinoko, etc Folklore includes itself, in addition to the Nart epic, a variety of songs – heroic, historical, ritual, love-lyrical, household, mourning, wedding, dance, etc .; fairy tales and tales; proverbs; riddles and allegories; ditties; Tongue Twisters The ancient religion of the Circassians is monotheism with a harmonious system of worshiping the One God Tha or Thashkho, but mixed, hybrid, that is, a mixture with Christian or Muslim elements This religion is part of the philosophical and ethical teachings of Adygheism or Khabze, which regulates all aspects of the life of the Circassians, and which determines the relationship of man to man, to the world around him, to God Tkha – the source of world laws, which gave a person the possibility of their knowledge, which brings a person closer to God Tkha does not interfere in everyday life, giving a person the freedom of choice, he does not have any image, he is omnipresent, his presence is scattered throughout the world In general, this religion is somewhat similar to the main features of Druidism (especially in rituals in sacred groves) and Taoism (in terms of the rules of conduct in the life of a true Circassian, on the basis of which the soul either bliss or is tormented by conscience before ancestors in the afterlife An important element of adygheism is faith in the souls (“pse”) of ancestors, who see and appreciate the deeds of descendants There was no concept of physical suffering or pleasure in the afterlife In the Circassian language, the dolmen sounds like the house of the soul – “Psy Une” The souls of the ancestors were organized commemorations consisting of: funeral feasts, animal sacrifices and preparation of commemorative food, distribution of food for remembrance These traditions are intertwined with Christian rites For performance of ceremonies existed tribal castes of priests And even today, after the funeral, feasts are held for 40 days and a year In the coastal Shapsug auls in the 1930s, ethnographers mentioned “thapisho” – a special person who reads a prayer at the Circassian celebrations The priests were people from the Tkaku clan, which is also mentioned by the Turkish traveller Evliya Celebi A similar story with the genus Shogen, based on the word “shogen” which means the priest of the Greek Christian church The basis of the mythology of the Circassians is the Nart epic – a collection of fairy tales and legends in the form of prose and poems found among different peoples of the Caucasus It is based on stories about the birth and adventures of heroes – the narts The plot of the legends of the Nart epic takes place in the Nart society, which has no historically real example and is mythological Today, no direct analogies have been found between the events of the epos and the real facts from history In terms of the content of the epos, the narts were preceded by giants -inшzhi, and later people came The era of narts is a special time of the golden age of the Circassians Moreover, the formation of the world in the epic occurs simultaneously with the birth and growth of the main character – Sosruko (Circassian “Sausyrykwo”), endowed with features of mythological characters Sosruko – the main character of the Circassian’s Nart epic He was born out of stone, which fertilized the shepherd, experience the passion to the mother of Narts – Satanay At her request, the celestial blacksmith Tlepsh drew a red-hot iron boy from a stone and dipped it seven times into the water: only the hips (or knees) grasped by ticks were left unhealed This episode is controversial because it is very similar to the myth of the birth of the Greek Achilles Sosruko returns fire and millet seeds to the narts, stolen by the evil giants, which is also similar to the Greek myth of the return of fire by Prometheus, but Sosruko is not chained to the mountains He acts by cunning and magic Sosruko and his horse Tkhozhey are killed by Narts who have learned about his vulnerable places through the old woman Barambukh (“Warsar”) She turns into a golden helmet (or lash), which Sosruko lifts on the road and puts on

his head From the conversation with Sosruko horse, the old woman learns the secret of his vulnerability When Sosruko comes to the place of the competition (“Harama-mountain”), the Narts offer him to repel with his knees (thighs) the wagon they roll off the mountain Sosruko puts his knees, and the cart cuts them Narts bury Sosruko alive in the ground (or finish off the wounded man), but he continues to live there Every spring, Sosruko seeks to get out into the earthly world in order to destroy everyone who perpetrates injustice on earth The healing waters of the Caucasus are the tears of Sosruko crying because of the impossibility of escaping from the ground The important role played by the forest in the life of the Circassians led to the emergence of a special kind of religious perception of the forest Forest cults persisted in the Caucasus until the 19th century, and elements of this culture are visible today They are manifested in the worship of the sacred oaks, which were struck by lightning Or the graves of people killed by lightning, which is separately visible Especially honoured status was received by the patron of the forest Mazyth, later transformed into the feminine spirit Mazitha Through the sacred groves, people turned to spirits and the Great God – Tkha Huge trees or groves burnt from lightning, beautiful panoramas, picturesque meadows – all these forms of natural beauty were considered a special expression of God’s will and were perceived as natural temples and sacred places where God is closest So he manifests himself through these creations Some breeds of Circassian apples and pears could live for 150–200 years, and even more oaks Therefore, groves existed for centuries and played the role of patrons not only for individual genera, but also entire subethnos As a rule, they were designated by the word Kodesh or Kodes On old maps, this name is often found, for example, at the mouth of the Shahe River Today Cape Kodosh near Tuapse bears this name, preserved from an ancient grove Sometimes the grove was called Thacheg – that is, “under God.” A very careful attitude to trees, to the living world, to soil and water was part of religion and the Circassian upbringing This form of religious rites led to the emergence of a complex culture of horticulture and land use, traditional medicine and a particular structure of society It was a religion of tribal clans that did not need a polity Faith did not require the construction of temples, bringing ornaments, expensive vestments for the priests It did not have a church structure and a church chapter; it did not need writing and holy books Respect for the tree was manifested in the fact that every man, if he went into the forest, took a cutting to plant it and from there took the plant to the garden Men every hike in the forest was converted into mandatory planting of trees Therefore, the highlands, where the Shapsugs used to live, are full of old fruit trees and a vineyard, which was woven around the tree as a base Special was the perception of the Circassians, who knew that they would be buried in a sacred place All human life took place in deep connection with the forest, as a living organism, a vessel of higher principles and a temple at the same time At a certain period, Circassians even practiced the funeral rite of air burial – the dead were hung up on trees in wooden decks and buried only a year later, after complete mummification The rite of sacrifice of the horse was an integral part of such a ceremony Probably, this ceremony has very ancient roots and it could be used by builders of dolmens who buried mummified bodies in dolmens Notable people were subject to such burial, as well as those killed by lightning, who were considered holy Only men were buried in decks, indicating that there is a connection between the feminine beginning of the earth and the male beginning of the sky or the sun in the views of the Circassians There is information about the use of honey bees, stuffed in hanging coffins It was believed that the bees were turned up in the graves of those dead who lived by the rules of the Adygheism and fell into the upper heavenly world A special place in adygheism was occupied by the spirit of Shibla (Shyble) – literally “lightning.” The funeral rites of those killed by lightning did not speak about the strength of the “god” of Shibla, but about the majestic element of lightning and the fear of a person before it Death from lightning was considered the mark of Tkha, the dead were buried at the place where he was struck by lightning A feast was held at his grave for 7 days, and if an animal died – 3 days If lightning struck a tree, then he was credited with the property to heal fevers A piece of such a tree was sewn up in a shred of matter and put on the patient’s neck, the rest of the matter in the form of coloured nodules was attached to branches Killed by lightning was considered holy, as was his whole race Subsequently, representatives of the clan in which someone was killed by lightning played a key role in the rituals of calling for rain In the first half of the 15th century, travellers described how the Circassians laid the body

of a person killed by lightning into a coffin and hung it in a tree Relatives and neighbours gathered around the tree, made sacrifices with bulls and sheep, and distributed some of the meat to the poor The celebration lasted for three days each year, until the body was completely turned into a mummy or a skeleton The Circassian mythology included other spirits similar to the brownies or leshi of Slavic mythology For example, Ahyn was considered the protector of cattle The name Thaguakho, translated as “the shepherd of God”, at a certain time led to a protected grove in the upper reaches of the Shahe River (about where today Solokh Aul) Ahyn’s cow and tied pieces of bread and cheese to her horns Locals accompanied the cow into the grove, then slaughtered, separated the meat and feasted She walked by herself, and people followed her She passed through villages and various places and stayed in this grove where she lay down Of the heroic figures of the Nart epic, the most esteemed was the celestial blacksmith Tlepsh, who, among the Circassians and the Ubykhs, was in line with the general cult of the patron of blacksmithing, which is very respected by the people They celebrated his cult in the spring – they made libations on the iron plow (ploughshare) and on the ax After the ceremony, having fun and resting The main fun was shooting rifles at the target In the ritual of chapsh, songs are sung over the bed of a sick or wounded person, in which Tlepsh’s help is cited The forge also served as a place for curses, cleansing oaths, washing of new-borns and oath On the wedding day, the bride, when she first crossed the threshold of her husband’s house, was held “under the iron,” that is, daggers were crossed over her head to cleanse her of sins Some customs of adygheism still exist today These include the custom of planting trees on the graves of holy people killed by lightning The trees themselves are also revered as sacred, their branches tied with coloured shreds, just like today’s tourists do Women get up before dawn and after dark go to the holy grave As a sacrifice, they take along ritual cheese pies The eldest reads prayers at the grave, makes requests, and then everyone returns to the village and distributes pieces of ritual food to relatives and neighbours In the case of a serious illness or in difficult life circumstances, a goat is used as a victim One of these revered holy graves is located a few kilometres from the village of Najigo, near the bridge over the Makopse River in the Tuapse district Here, a man from the Shkhalakhov family was buried by the road, killed by lightning in the 50s when he was returning home from the army At present, after the construction of the road, the mound is almost equal to the level of the soil, the offerings are no longer made, but the place and the aul residents’ tree was enclosed with a fence so that cattle did not enter the grave In the summer of 1998, the “Hanzeguausha” (“Princess Shovel”) rite was held on this grave – a prayer for rain This rite is still common among the Circassians of all republics Usually they put a scarecrow in women’s clothes on a cross-bar, carry it through the aul and drown it in the river, while pouring water on each other Usually, children are involved in the ritual, although they can water even the elderly Children eat cheese pies In the village of Big Kichmay, the holy tomb of Koblev was revered, killed by lightning in 1953, when he crossed the hanging bridge over the river In this case, since the deceased could not be buried at the place of death, his grave was erected near the aul cemetery, but separately His daughter Marietta, as she was a little girl, during rainmaking necessarily thrown into the river These are the echoes of human sacrifices to the spirits of water All saints are considered as the representatives of the deceased from a lightning strike It is believed that the rituals of invoking the rain in their presence always achieve the effect In 1998 and 2013, the use of the rites described did not produce the expected effect and the rain did not start Then the Circassians-Shapsugs from the villages of Thagapsh and the Boloshoy Kichmai of the Lazarevsky District of Sochi applied the ritual revered by the most effective They chose and sent envoys to the high-mountainous lake Huko, located on the spur of the Main Caucasian ridge near the mountain Fisht, at an altitude of 1740 meters above sea level People were selected on the basis of decency and respect Only a person who is clean from sin can perform this rite Huko, literally, means “son of the sea”, “porpoise” or “dolphin” The Circassians consider the waters of this lake sacred Envoys collect water from it and return to the villages without spilling a drop If you pour water from the lake into the river, then when it reaches the sea, it will surely rain Thus, the father-sea sends its tears to the son-lake According to other beliefs, you only need to lower the bottle of water in the sea, but if the bottle breaks, there will be a terrible flood According to informants, the flood in the summer of 1991 occurred precisely for this reason There are different variations – for example, you can put a bottle in the river and return it to Lake Huko Such a ritual was described in one of the stories of the Caucasian Tales by Alexander Alexandrovich Bestuzhev (Marlinsky) in the 1830s, but among the Dagestan peoples In it, the saint from Derbent, Iskender Bek, and the townspeople chose to go to the mountain Shahdag for water from the snowy peaks He had to carry the water in a jug without putting it on the ground and pour it into the Caspian Sea Thus, people intended to cope with the drought and everything worked out for them Given the wide spread of such rituals in Eurasia, it seems that its origins go to the deep past of mankind, and the Circassians successfully preserved it to this day Such is the world of the Circassians-Shapsugs, rich and unique, continuing to exist today, despite the processes of globalization Now that you have become closer acquainted with this world, it’s time to dive into the details of the life of each of the existing villages of the Circassians-Shapsugs of the Black Sea region, which we will discuss in the next series

Hello! Today we are located near Psebe, it is very healthy here, very picturesque nature, around hills, forests, rivers Very healthy terrain And there are different stories about this aul, mainly related to its foundation period In the basic version, it is believed that this was the 1870s, when those of the Shapsugs who had to leave here at the end of the Caucasian War returned here They then went to the mountains (later in Tahtamukai), and in the seventies they were allowed to settle back here They returned and founded the already modern village of Psebe Prior to this, there were 30 villages in the valley of the Psebe Its name from the Circassian language is translated as “high-water” As they say, there are a lot of different kinds of streams, streams that were included in this river The river is so seemingly small, but it is said that it spreads very rapidly Behind me there are these picturesque hills covered with forest As local residents say, there was almost no forest here somewhere around 60 – 70 years ago There were pastures, fields, walked cattle along these fields, the gardens grew But all this over time has been overgrown with wood, the territory has not been used by aul as before The modern aul Psebe is not very big, but quite lively, active It even has its own dance ensembles for children That is, the youth here is growing There are about 400 families there Most of the young people left and live here, but work in the Novomikhailovsky village From here to reach the village not far, about 9 kilometers The place is interesting, tourists come here Perhaps even more will be if they will build an ethno-village here Here is a great place aul Psebe And more about his history and his family names further in the release Where there are forests, fields and the valleys, Where the mountains of Caucasus gray top, Where rivers flow into the Black Sea, Where there is joy, where there is grief Where checkers and daggers sparkled Where a lot of blood was shed, Where according to legend, a long time Lived twelve Circassian tribes My brother Ubykh, Abadzeh and Shapsug Brother natuhay, temirgoi and bzhedug, Egeruhay, Mamkheg, Cabartay Brother besleney, jane, hatukai 12 stars and three arrows On a marvelous background of green banner The symbol of our Circassian land In this our brotherhood, honor and courage The village is located in the northern part of the Tuapse region, on both banks of the Psebe river of the same name Today, more than 400 people live here Aul is located 14 km east of the administrative center – the village Novomikhaylovsky, up the river Psebe Today it is the most western aul of the Circassians-Shapsugs, the road to which goes along the picturesque valley of the Psebe river along the only yet gravel road Psebe is very closely associated with the village Novomikhaylovsky – where many of its residents work today Once they wanted to pave it, even in Soviet times there was even a small propaganda black-and-white film about it, but since then the question has not been resolved The road is long and difficult, but as gravel is good, you can drive on any car In the film “The Man from Psebe Village”, there were pictures of how the inhabitants of the village walked along narrow mountain paths and how the children crossed the river on special stilts that were in use until the middle of the 20th century to cross the river Historically, in the place of the village of Psebe, as well as in the upper reaches

of the rivers Psebe and Nechepsukho, there were villages of the Circassians-Shapsugs Many of them were engaged in blacksmithing The head of the Black Sea coastline from 1837 to 1841, Nikolai Rajewski (the son of the hero of the Napoleonic Wars) wrote: “For the smelting of iron, usually people of 500 or more are gathered By the way, such masters are on Nechepsukho, 12 versts from the mouth Iron is firm but fragile; there are many blacksmiths between them, although there are few good ones” Unfortunately, the former population of these places almost completely went to the Ottoman Empire at the end of the Caucasian War, and it is difficult to say exactly what names they belonged to without diaspora The present-day population of the Psebe aul is descendants of the Shapsug families who migrated from the village of Takhtamukai from 1883 to 1885 It is believed that living among bzhedugs impact on features rather coarse dialect of Shapsug language But this is a controversial issue All Achmizovs who live here in the village are descended from one person and four brothers These are brothers of my great-grandfather Uchuzhuk, there Umaf is his brother, Nahupsh and Hapako These are the four brothers, and their father was Hanys Uchuzhuk, from him already, from his first wife, whom he saved, he has five children – two sons – one my grandfather and his brother, and three daughters, and from the other wife 8 children and all of them were, as far as I understand from arithmetic, 13 children And here we were born from them and already from my grandfather 8 sons and one daughter, and from them we have already gone and thank God already more than 100 people are calculated from my father already in the clan So we are rich in our own way Of course, in parallel, the other Atchmizovs also developed and grew That’s just standing next to us, too Our great-grandfathers were brothers We are the entire same root, Achmizovs Another legend about the Koble Here Koblev I said, the family was one Well, here along the river of our Shapsugs, some lived up to the headwaters, then the present Aguy, the Kuibyshev people live now, the Naguchevs, the Shotokh surnames And then the villages starting from Novomikhaylovskaya Abadzekhs lived through the ridge They had a holiday gun at the end of September, the neighbours were invited to participate Shooting, jigiting (horse racing) There was a struggle We already knew that the Abadzekh had a strong fighter On the river, the cry was thrown, but we did not have such a fighter who could, and if you lose, inconveniently So they started, the auls held a meeting, the old people gathered Elder Koblev says – I do not know how to tell you, but I have such a daughter-in-law If anyone fights that fighter, then only she is Here, one time, he says, my son and I dragged a dry tree on the bulls Ice has happened The tree was frozen and could not pull out I go out early in the morning, and she looked around, one end pulled out and freed the tree Strong woman Once she milked the cow The little bull did not give rest She took him by the legs and slung over the fence The power is incredible, but how to say? Let’s say son But I will not say that the daughter will put

She was told about the decision and she agreed to be in the competition These auls, representatives, offered to give food, feed She refused, the family is fed normally, everything is there The time came, they put her in the cherkeska, put her hair under her hat and sent her to Abadzekhs through the pass We arrived, there Abadzeh – a powerful man It is necessary to fight He comes out and says – why did you send me a kid? The woman is neither a moustache nor a beard Why did you kid set to fight? Oh, let’s see Began to fight, she threw him on the shoulder blades He jumped up, surprised The second time again threw The third, when she threw him, he knocked her hat off with a hand and her hair disbanded Woman They raised such a howl, a woman, but ours are not fools They say – if you can’t fight with our women, where do you want men to stand? So she saved the honour of the villages, daughter of Koblevs I wrote, I have somewhere printed In 1905, there were 16 courtyards in the village In 1920, the number of households was already 44, with a population of about 300 people The word Psebe means in the Circassian language “high-water”, where “psy” is “water”, “river”, and “be (e)” – “a lot” Aul historically divided into several neighborhoods: Damkuatl – place of hazel Tfisatl is a place where a solid tree grows Kobletam – elevation of Koblev Alalekhabl – Allalev’s quarter Edidjokhabl – Edidzhokov’s quarter Like many villages of the Black Sea Circassians-Shapsugs, Psebe was a hard-to-reach place for a long time, until in the 1970s the way was not made However, the extended family and clan ties Shapsugian families continued to expand People walked along the mountain paths to Aguy-Shapsug (Kuibyshevka until 1991) and to the Pseushkho auls As elsewhere in the Shapsug auls, the main products of food and farming were honey, chestnuts, hazelnuts and cheeses Today, there are no masters of traditional arts or folk musicians left in Psebe, the only skill that still remains is weaving baskets for vegetables, fruits, and cheese On the way to the aul, the river turns sharply to the east and on its bend there is an old oak tree, which was struck by lightning This sacred oak, near it were held prayers and aul’s meetings held in the past Near the fenced old cemetery Today, the village has its own school and a rather active culture house Locals restored the memory board of the participants of the Great Patriotic War with photos Here, the young guys learn national Circassian dance under the strict guidance of a young choreographer Murdin Shkhalakhov, who remained in his native village, devoting himself to the good work of preserving national traditions Thanks to him, the interest in language and culture is shown by young people, who today are forgetting their customs and native language Already several generations have passed through his school, and groups successfully occupy high places in various Russian and even international dance contests If only a little more help in repairing and purchasing costumes and accessories for them – and everything would be perfect in the village of Psebe

Sound of voiced rattles is heard Harmony song does not subside Circassian village Aguy-Shapsug On the feast of all invites River is babbling, mountains around Let the flame never go out in the heart And above village Aguy-Shapsug, Let his banner soar In the same area there is a second aul of the Circassian-Shapsug, just east of it, called Aguy-Shapsug Today it is the largest aul of the Circassian Shapsugs on the entire coast It is home to almost 2,000 people It is surprising that it is only 3-4 km from the sea in the valley of the Agoi River, in the zone where was active ban on the settlement for the Circassians-Shapsug in the 19th century Apparently, the fact that they settled on the lands of General Karpov, issued to him after the Caucasian War, affected And because there was a village Karpovka before the Soviet era, and not the aul Later it was renamed Kuybyshevka and only in 1993 they assigned the Circassian name Agui difficult to translate into Russian Meretukov leads the translation options: guie – “bold”, “brave”; gu – “middle”, “heart”, e – possessive suffix, a – pointer of place – “aul, located in the middle of the mountains.” Khan Giray calls Aguy – “Akuya”, and Lulje – “Aguiye” Bell cites the name on the Aguia – Shapsugian unit who lived here in the middle of the 19th century The name is sounds close to the ethnonym Guaye – Shapsug tribe, lived in the Psezuapse Valley Sometimes the name is translated as valley-hand Before the formation of the village, on this place, on the terraces of the surrounding mountains, there were 8 villages, whose names are unknown today These auls were small, consisting, as a rule, of one genus According to the names: Abrejit, Shegeshtam, Yakoshtam, Khorokhotam, Hunettam, Chushkhabl, Heshkhabl, Koleho, we can assume that the first inhabitants of these places were the Shapsugs from the Abregovs, Shegyashevs, Khorokhovs, Yakvashevs, Chushkha, Heschik, Khunovs In the upper half of the modern aul, there was a picturesque glade called Susane L’egu, where, according to the teachings, residents of the neighbouring villages gathered to hold games, celebrations, competitions, etc In June 1872, at the present location of the aul, from Arkhipo-Osipovka (formerly Chepsi) arrived the Mafagel family from the upper river Psebe and Nebukh, the Naguchevs and Shkhalakhovs from the former large auls of the valley of the river Kuadje, near Djubga Settlement has been re-created And although it was prescribed for families, to settle compactly in the valley of the river, Circassians here also preferred to settle in clans in the “Khabl” quarters The aul is historically divided into 8 micro districts by the name of the Circassian clans, who once lived in these tracts: Abregitam – the hill of Abreg family Gonezhukay – place of Gonezhuk family Ecuashetam – the elevation of Ecuash family Hasichekhabl – the quarter of Hasich family Khorakhotam – the hill of Khorakho family Khunetam – the hill of Khun family Tsushkhebl – the quarter of Tsushkhe family Shagheshetam – the elevation of Shaghesh family The name of the village was named after the general of the tsarist army, an active participant in the Caucasian War, Karpov In June 1872, they arrived from the Arkhipo-Osipovka region (the former village of Chapsny) – the Mafagel family Settlement has been re-created By the end of 1872, there were 52 families in the village Before the October Revolution there were two mosques in the village The large mosque was located in the center of the village, and on the eastern outskirts of the village there was another mosque smaller After the October Revolution, the mosques were destroyed by the Communists, and the Effendi with the family was exiled to Siberia, for the continuation of their religious activities Now on the eastern outskirts of the village, where the old mosque used to be, a new mosque is being built

Among those who come from the village of Aguy-Shapsug, two figures stand out in particular Nuh Akhmedovich Tkhagushev – the first doctor of agricultural sciences, professor, honoured scientist, and not only in Shapsugia, on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus, but throughout Adygea The author of unique books about Circassian orchards – fruit apples, pears, vineyard and walnut He published two volumes Carefully and deeply, Nuh Akhmedovich studied the history of the creation and development of all fruit and nut crops and grapes of Shapsugia Legally and agronomically he proved that the basis for the development of gardening on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus was laid by Circassians-Shapsugs Professor Tkhagushev studied Circassian orchards in detail, summarized and systematized the centuries-old experience of the Adyghea fruit growing He did a great job of studying literature and archival materials on the history of the Circassian fruit growing and linguistic data in museums and archives of the whole Caucasus, collecting oral information from a large number of local Circassians As a result of these works, maps of the distribution areas of Circassian varieties of apple, pear, plum, cherry, hazelnut, walnut and sweet chestnut were made Based on the study of nut crops, he selected the best varieties and promoted them to the north He tried to expand their distribution to meet the needs of the food industry and the public in high-value food The second striking figure was Napso Yeboruk Khaneshevich – a skilful healer, a famous gardener, who left his mark on history at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries About his patriotism during the First World War 1914-1918, the Black Sea Governor reported to the office of the Caucasian viceroy, on the occasion of the Ottoman Empire entering the war in October 1914: «On the day of the bombing of the village of Tuapse, from the village of Karpovka, the sent Circassian, old man Ebruk Napso, rode up with a request to indicate whether the Circassians needed help and where to come for this» He is credited with the skills of a skilled physician and chiropractor, deeply aware of the art of healing Another active resident of the village was Mus Allalo It is known that thanks to him the first school appeared in the village During his long life, Mus had time to see a lot, to take part in all the major events of the country on the threshold of the 20th century, and even to be the chairman of the Shapsug National District He studied in Tuapse since childhood; the only boy from the villages was there, who did not know the Russian language and learned it in school Ease of language perception, learning – allowed him to successfully pass on knowledge to descendants Today the aul stretched along the picturesque valley and its numerous gorges for several kilometers Two huge sacred oak trees mark the road to the aul One is in the courtyard of a multi-storey building still within the village of Agoy, and the other is at the entrance to the aul Today, life is in full swing in the House of Culture of the village due to the enthusiasm and tireless character of the social activist Madin Yunusovich Shkhalakhov It was his efforts that repaired and equipped one of the best culture houses of the Circassians-Shapsugs on the entire coast Here young people learn to dance, learn their native language, hold exhibitions, including

for international delegations The second floor of the building is occupied by an excellent ethnographic museum, which contains rare exhibits of Shapsug life The family and ancestral trees of aul’s people and the history of the aul, compiled by Aslan Kambletovich Natkho, an enthusiast of the aul of the Aguy-Shapsug aul, were also published Today the village of Aguy-Shapsug is famous for the poems of the young poet Hassan Allalo, the great-grandson of Mus Allalo One of them he dedicated to his legendary great-grandfather Let the memory of you live, As long as I can breathe, After all, your blood is now flowing In my wide veins How to need your advice now! In you I found a friend You left your deep mark In the heart of great grandson Shapsug Grandfather Blepasao, father Shumaf, Son Mus Pshimafovich Allalo I will not forget the Shapsug temper Went through a lot of difficulties I was not yet two years old When left the mortal world My great-grandfather – Mus Leaving a mark in my soul, the ideal, the idol My great-grandfather, my Shapsug hero, Although you died a long ago You live with me to this day In the stories of friends and relatives You were born in Aguy-Shapsug In the Adyg House, as the Adyg And that house was lit up with happiness When it heard a child’s cry You grew up where the wind is free Walks in the mountains wooded Where the happy river Kolikho Flows under the clean pressure Where silent for centuries Sacred oaks stand Where every day leisurely Sunrise replaces sunset again Where is the Black Sea under the rocks Beating its mischievous waves Where to this day is the echo of daggers In the gorges is loud Where secrets lies in Dolmens of the ancient people Where in songs and poems sung Courage, pride and freedom Where on mountain Agoy far away The snowy hat sparkles Where a piece of paradise The gift of generous Allah