Museums of Karayim history and culture

The display of the museum acquaints visitors with religious and cultural traditions of Karayims, public and domestic life of Karayim society of Halych. Karayims - is a small ethnic group which combines of Judaic religion and Turkic language.

In the scientific world the dispute about the origin of Karayims does not calm down even nowadays.

The beginning of their history achieve the middle of the VIII-th century A.D. - when in Baghdad, on the territory of modern Iraq (in time of the Abbasid caliphate), Anan Ben David began the religious sermon of Anan. This man led widespread enough opposition motion in Judaism, the essence of which was a denial of the authority of Talmud. Later appendix to Ancient Testament, which unites verbal additions and interpretations of rabbis was called Talmud a Talmud. In middle ages Talmud became the basic statute of orthodox (to Rubunut- Judaism), the basis of Jewish erudition, was considered to be "Oral Tora", after authority practically equivalent "Writing Tora", or Five books. Objecting against the dominant influence of rubunut and appeared Talmud in the form of appeals to go back to the studding clean Ancient Testament. Except of the objecting of Talmud, the supporters of Anan imitated proclaimed by their teacher the principle of verbal construction of Saint Letter, and they also differed from the other Jewries Talmudists or, otherwise, Rubunuts by a number of religious practices and traditions.


First hall

Except for objecting of Talmud, the supporters of Anan imitated it proclaimed by their teacher principle of verbal construction of Saint Letter, and also differed from the other Jewries ("talmudiests " or, otherwise, " rubunuts") by a number of religious practices and traditions: in celebration of Shabatu (Holidays of Saturday), conducting of cutting ceremony, in the laws of sacral cleanness, possible degrees of domestic closeness at celebration of marriages, in time of conducting of the traditional Jewish holidays, in creating of synagogues (in Karayim tradition - kenaces) and liturgical rite.

The followers of Anana were called "ananitas", and somewhat later - Bene Mikra (Sons of Law). In the IX-th century the new term “Karayims” appeared (plural form from Jewis "punish") which represents basic description of this motion - honouring (or, word for a word, "reading") of Sacred Letter (that ancient Testament, whether Tanakh) as unique and direct authority of religious truth. The name of studies resembles from here – Karayizm or Karayimizm.

The things of cults and ceremonial of Karayim society of Halych and religious books, inventory of Karayim temple-kenaca, are presented in this part of display. Here you can see the prayer’s clothes and of prayer’s scarf of gazana, his seal and rubber stamp of the kenace. Alongside there is a memorable book from kenaca, guests who visited Halychyna society wrote down the impressions in this book. The book was begun on August, 21, 1926. There are the records of the members of Karayim conference which were devoted to the election of Gaham ( the supreme prayer of Karaiyim kenaca) and the records of Gaham of Serayi Markovich Shapshala, and also the professor of Turkic languages of Yagelonsky university of Tadeush Kovalsky (in 1934), members of the Italian anthropological commission in 1934 at the head with Korrado Dzhini; soviet scientist Kinesbaya Musayeva, who worked in Halych over the creation of grammar of Karayim language and many other interesting records.

The package of Tora is exhibited in this window too. A few packages, which belonged to different Karayim families which could order the making over the 50-meter handwritten parchment scroll and were saved in the Kenace.

The Karayim calendar counts 52 or 53 (in a leap-year) weeks, each of which has the name which originates from the initial words of certain section of Tora (Saint Writing). During Saturdays divine Service the proper to the name of week section was read in the Kenace. Gazan took out from Gehal a duty package and pronounced, that today Tora was read of this or that family, next Saturday read from other package and etc

The package of Tora was dressed in to two covers - overhead and put inside of it, which are named Tora-Uprak, and ware decorated by hatasams. On one the hatas we can read: "This tac (tray) endowed to the kenace of saint society of Lutsk (let saves her always Lord) mrs. Rakhel' (let lives long years), the wife of the respected Simkhi from Lutsk (let Eternal God will save him), in a year 5543 (1783) ".

There is yad it is a pointer for reading of Sainted Letter and a parohet it is a brise-bise above the Gehal-altar.

In a lower window – there are Kiddush, that festive silvered vessels are made in the form of glasses, scissors for cutting the insides of candles and mezuga-the pray-preservation, which was hung at the anterance into the habitation.

There are memories, which decorated Halych kenace.

Karayim religious books are farther presented. One of them is printed in Venice in 1528 year. And a next window shows Karayim calendars. Karayims conduct the system of chronology from the creation of the world. This counting began in 3760 years before the birth of Christ. They accepted monthly calendar system. A year lasts 354 days, 8 hours and 48 minutes. Therefore a monthly year is shorter then the sun’s year for 10 days, 21 hour and 12 minutes. A month counts 29 or 30 days and begins with appearance on the sky of a lad (young Moon). This moment was determined by supervisions, and now - with the help of exact astronomic calculations.

There is a photo of Gehal in an overhead window - original altar from Halych kenace. During the closing of the temple it was secretly taken out and hidden in the house of Sabina Samuilivna Zayonchkovska. In 1994 years Gehal was passed to Evpatoriya society. And from 1999 year is kept in the Small Kenace of Evpatoriya. The four metres of wooden fretted altar consists of three parts. Basis of it’s contains of dohan a table for reading, on the reverse side of which the inscription certifies the date and place of making of the altar which was made in 2.07.1914. Stanislav, and also the name of a master. The middle part of it – is an aron gaccodesh (saint ark) – it is the largest part of the altar and serves as the depository of packages of Tora. The doors of the ark are hidden under the altar brise-bise. And the part is crowned with a crown and contains a few inscriptions-abbreviations.

The period of the Х-ХІ-th of centuries which is often named "golden age" in the history of the development of Karayim motion, is marked by the active missionary activity and distribution of Judaism in its Karayim interpretation which past scopes far beyondBaghdad and Persia. Karayim societies arise up in Palestine (with a center in Jerusalem), Egypt, Spain, on Caucasus and in Byzantium.

The most debatable is a question about the appearance of Karayims on the territory of the Eastern Europe, that was in the Crimea, and somewhat later in Lithuania and Poland. One of the versions links forming of Karayim ethnic origin from Khazar of Kahanat, considering Karayims the descendants of Khazars or one of tribes which included into the complex of Kahanat.

There is the other idea, which asserts that Karayims had appeared in the East of Europe already in the post Khazarian period, arriving to the Crimea from Bukhara and Cherkesia together with the Tatar khans. Getting out from the fact we studied, that Karayims were known as the talented merchants and artisans, scientists assume that they have got on the Crimean peninsula together with other merchants and artisans who were needed for supporting of the Tatars economic position of the “Gold Horde”.

Similarly debatable is a question about the appearance of Karayims in Halych. The Karayim tradition links this arrival with the reigning of Danylo Romanovich and tells, that in 1243 year prince Danylo during the negotiations with Batuc-khan conducted talks about permission on migration of Karayims from the Crimea to Halych. In 1246 year 80 Karayim families from Solkhatu, Mangupa and Kafi went out from the peninsula and settled in Halych, collecting their own colony on the privilege of Danylo.

On that ground it is possible to consider that Karayims from the Crimea formed in Halych the colony in the middle of the XIII-th century. However there is the other idea which consists of the existence of the Karayim society in Halych of the XV-th century In any case reliable information from history of this colony belongs to the XVI-th century, when they began to remember about it in documentary sources. In 1578 year the king Stephen Batoriy confirmed the local privilege of Halych Karayims and guaranteed them saving of ancient rights and customs. Pursuant to this privilege, Halych Karayims had the right of the free trading equally with other habitants of the city, right for the producting and sale of vodka, but in their street, etc. This privilege was confirmed in 1590 year by Sigizmundom III and in 1666 year by Jan Cassimyr.

With the establishment in Halych of Austrian-Hungarian power (in 1772 Karayims of Halych appealed to the government with a request about the improvement of their social life. And the Austrian government decreased the taxes for Karayims and evened them in with the rights of Christians. Karayim traded the cattle, beeswax, salt and followed the plough. Up to the 70-ths of the XIX-th century they were not taken to the military service, and then they served exceptionally in sanitary detachments.

In the next hall it is possible to familiarize with history of the Karayim society of the XX-th century.

Second hall

The Karayim society of Halych was never very large, but in the XX-th century its quantity was sharply shortened. At the beginning of the last century in Halych lived 167 Karayims, today remained them only two. Among the reasons of epidemic of typhus and cholera, numerous migration was during and after the second World war, mostly of young Karayims. In the post-war period there were Karayims mainly of senior age in Halych, and thus, the fadeaway of society became an inevitable process.

A period between two world wars is marked by the active development of cultural and public life of Karayims of Poland and, in particular of Halych. The Uniting of Poland assisted the rapprochement and collaboration of Halych Karayim society with societies of Trok, Vilno and Lutsk.

In 1919 year the authorities of the society were selected and its regulation was ratified. In 1925 year after ten years interruption of the activity of their school was opened again.

In 1934 years it was decided to build the Folk house which became the center of public-cultural life. There was the library and the unity Society of Karayim young people of "Revival" which was headed by Ibragim Samuylovych, and the Society of Karayim women, worked and guided Sabina Novakhovych.

In this hall it is possible to see things and documents which certify a professional employment of the members of Halych Karayim society, and the birth certificates, about marriage, certificates of schools, certifications and other personal documents were adopted as well.

Karayim magazines, which were published in the first half of the XX-th century in Lutsk, Vilno and Moscow are here presented as well. They were "Mysl of Karaims", "Karaj of awazy", "Karaims life". Halych Karayims were the active correspondents of these magazines, and the life of society was constantly lighted up on their pages.

In the post-war period public life of Karayim falls into decay. The soviet mode which preached atheism and leveling of national features, at the beginning of the 60th closed, and in 1985 year pronged the Karayim temple Kenace.

In 2000 year Karayims of Halych entered the Allukrainian association of the Crimean Karayim of "Krimkaraylar" as Halych territorial society which consisted of eight persons. Documentary confirmation of this event is in one of the windows.

In addition, in this hall there are many things which are directly related to the Karayim ceremonies and which partly illustrate preparation to celebration of Paskha.

The common rules of religious ceremonies obligate to keep the traditions of holidays. Karayims mark main holidays, set up by the Old Low and are closely associated with an annual cycle and settled agricultural life. A weekly day of the rest is on Saturday. Celebrate a new (young) Moon, Paskha, P'yatydesyatnytsya, the holiday Bushes, New Year, Day of Forgiveness, the Holiday of Saint Esfiry.

The observation of Lent period is obligated.

Marking of holidays is directly related to the set in ancient times calendar system pursuant to which days last from the sunset to the sunset, that is why every holiday begins and ands under in the evening.

One of the major holidays there is Paskha. It is celebrated with the first spring Moon of the religious year on the 14th day of the months of Nisan or Aviv, which must coincide with beginning of spring. Holidays last 7 days. It is called to remind about the liberation of Jewries from Egyptian slavery. Before an offensive the holidays they cleared up all house and all home tableware from kvass, baked oprisnocs from the unpicked dough, not laying salt to it. These oprisnocs were eaten instead of bread all week. They serve as flashback of those, that Israels were persecuted by Egyptians leaving Egypt, did not have time to prepare the pickled bread for a long way and were forced to bake the unpickled dough which was taken along with them like oprisnocs.

During the Easter holidays the used the, separate set of tableware. And for making of dough for the round the Easter loaves of bread - tymbyls - wooden bowls (tegines) were used. The dough mixed with the help of tulk and kysler. The tymbyls were decorated with the images of fishes, stars and flowers which were made by the wooden instruments - tsemevites.

Image Gallery

  • Image folder specified does not exist!



У 2000 р. була створена Комплексна науково-дослідницька експедиція Заповідника. Науковим консультант...

28 Mar 2011 Hits:3432

Read more


The Castle of Halych

The prominent historian, one of the researchers of ancient Halych A. Petrushevych considered, that t... Read more

05 Apr 2011 Hits:14944

Churches of the Karmelits

In the war-time in 1655 the church and the buildings of the monastery were blasted and emptied. The ... Read more

02 Apr 2011 Hits:14889

The Churche of the Nativity

Nobody of researchers was lucky enough to set the date of the constructions of the church, although ... Read more

02 Apr 2011 Hits:1419