The Legendary Adyghes

The Circassians are a people native to the mountainous north-western region of CAUCASIA.
They live in three republics in the Russian Federation: in Karachai-Cherkessia, which borders Georgia to the south, where about 80,000 Circassians live; in Kabardino-Balkaria, which lies to the east of Karachai-Cherkessia, in which about half a million Circassians reside; and in Adygeya, where about 200,000 Circassians live.
There is a sizeable Shapsugh community on the Black Sea shore near Sochi, but their territory enjoys no political status as yet. There is also a considerable Circassian diaspora in Turkey and the Middle East, which numbers more than one million.
The Circassian language belongs to the north-western Caucasian group, which also includes the extinct Ubykh and the Abkhaz-Abaza language, which, though mutually unintelligible with Circassian, is related it.
Christianized in the 6th century, Circassians gradually converted to Islam starting from the 17th century due to Turkish missionaries. After the signing of the Treaty of Adrianople In 1829, the Turks were forced to rescind all their unfounded claims to Circassia, and the Russians were given a free hand in the North-western Caucasus. There ensued a terrible war of attrition that decimated the Circassian nation. The Circassians were finally defeated in 1864 and Russian rule was established in Circassia. Many Circassians were subsequently forced to emigrate, settling in Turkey, the Balkans, and the Middle East.


In Ottoman society Circassian women were admired for their beauty.

Kabarday attack on Cizarist forces 1790 - Women Div


Caucasia is a region between the Black Sea on the west and the Caspian Sea on the east.

It is dominated by the CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS, one of the world's great mountain ranges.

Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe, is located in the northwestern CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS, on the border between Russia and Georgia. An extinct volcano formed during the Tertiary Period, it has two cones rising to 5,642 m (18,510 ft) and 5,633 m (18,481 ft) in height. Its glaciers feed the Kuban, Malka, and Baksan rivers.

Circassians call it Waschha-Maxwe "The Mountain of Happiness".
Elbrus was first conquered in 1829.
A Kabardinian called Kullar Khashirov climbed the eastern face of Elbrus in that year. In honour and memory of that achievement two Iron tablets written in Russian and Arabic were erected.

Kabarday Warrior 18th Century

The mountain system was formed near the edge of the Alpine Geosyncline, about 25 million years ago. Its more than 2,000 glaciers cover a total area of 2,000 sq. km (772 sq. mi). The Greater Caucasus, the main range, separates temperate and subtropical climate zones. The cold slopes facing the Black Sea may receive 2,540 mm (100 in) of precipitation annually; the Kura-Araks Lowland on the Caspian Sea is semidesert and receives only 200 to 400 mm (8 to 16 in). The Kura, Sulak, Terek, and Kuma rivers rise in the Caucasus Mountains and flow into the Caspian Sea; the Rioni and Inguri rivers rise in the Caucasus and flow into the Black Sea; and the Kuban River rises in the Caucasus and flows into the Sea of Azov.


The name Caucasia, which was first recorded by the ancient Greeks, has a disputed derivation. Caucasia, which gave its name to the white race of humankind, has apparently long served as a centre of human settlement and is distinguished by ethnic complexity.

About 40 languages are still spoken in the region, many of them in the so-called Caucasian group of languages. They include Abkhaz, Circassian, Chechen, Lezghian, and Georgian.

Hattukhwaie Abzach 19th Century


Mineral resources include petroleum, natural gas, manganese, copper, tungsten, and molybdenum. Livestock is raised on the heavily forested slopes. Wheat is grown in the northern piedmont and citrus fruits, cotton, and tea in the warmer valleys. The Caucasus has been a natural refuge for persecuted people for centuries. More than 40 different languages are spoken among the region's inhabitants, who reflect a broad ethnic pattern.



This people group is a minority and composes only about 2 percent of the population of Jordan (4,200,000). They came to Amman in 1878. They own large areas of the city and are, in general, well-to-do people. They have very good relations with the royal family, and the Royal Guards are all from this people group.


Caucasus Folk Dance



The national sword of the Circassians. this weapon consists of a slightly curved. single- edged blade fitted into an unguarded hilt. The scabbard is made of wood covered with black leather.



The Legacy of Two Adighas


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