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Dagestan –the Land of Myths and Legends. Compiled by E. Yakubov, Director of the Сity Library in Khasavyurt. www.daglegenda.blogspot.com Translated by M. Nokhov
Many legends and epics are scattered about the land of Dagestan like gold seeds and placers of precious stones. They preserve the people’s wisdom, their love to home place. They depict in their particular way the life, family life, traditions and customs of our ancestors.
Tzada different heavenly bodies and meteors. There preserved oaths to the “Heavens which are above us”, “to the Land”, “to the Sun”, “to the Moon”, “to the Star”, which are sure to be the relics of the pagan religions as according to the canons of IslamIn spite of centuries-old influence of one can swear only by the nameideology and culture of monotheistic of the Allah. Pretty girls werereligions (first Christianity compared with the Sun, the Moon, the Stars and the Heaventhen, starting from the XVIII century – “As beautiful as theIslam) there have preserved a lot of Sun”, “Moonfaced”.pagan characters of the former People believed that thepantheon in home life and culture of treasure was hidden in the placethe villagers of the mountainous where the ends of the rainbowvillage of Tzada which is situated in were. The grown ups sent theKhoonzakh region. The oldest girls there to look for golden scissors. Some marks were
If the red color prevailed in the rainbow that meant that the summer would be droughty, the blue color meant that there would be heavy rainstorms, the green meant a good harvest. Up till now people believe that if you set a wish when the rainbow appears in the sky it will come true. If the rainbow is spread above somebody’s house all the sins of its inhabitants will be forgiven. “Mother wind” personified the wind for the Tzadies. The people believed that there was “The Mother wind, a woman with long flowing hair inside the hurricane, who usually tries to saddle the windy horse and ride to the sky on it. By the way if there was a tornado or whirlwind they would also say that it was a dragon who was going out of the earth and trying to reach the sky. More over they scared the children saying :”Mother wind is coming. Quickly run home –she is angry”. In spite of the damage brought by the strong wind they didn’t scold it but took as God’s prescription. The wind was considered to take away all misfortunes and troubles.
The old women seeing the beginning of the strong wind would always say “to the good” or “to the happiness”. They addressed the God with the following words: “Oh, Allah, give patience to the wind which obeys your will”. The lighting was fancied as a flying fire ax. They believed that they could find a gold ax in the place where the lightning stroke. “The Rainy donkey” was a personified God of Rain who was usually performed by a masked boy in the custom of calling the rain. He was decorated with bushes branches in the form of a hut tied with the rope. He was going from house to house accompanied by the children and teenagers where the people poured water on him and gave the accompanying crowd different kind of cereals. After they visited all the houses in the center of the village they went to a roads crossing or to the nearest spring, made a fire and cooked the ritual porridge from all the cereals they had been given. All the passers by and the participants of the ritual tasted it. In the evening the
Dyurk. Many famous scientists and writers wrote about this cave. There is a poem devoted to it written by Dagestan poet Abumuslim Dzhafarov. The cave is shrouded in the mist of mysteries and there are many legends about it. . Some legends say that the cave was the place of living of the Worshiping of the mountains ancient people . Other legends – is a widely spread say that the sword of the first phenomenon, which derives spreader of Islam in the Southern Dagestan – Arabian its roots from pre- military leader Masalama is monotheistic religions. The still kept there. According to Tabasarans (nation in the the old residents the people Caucasus) consider the called “the erellers” lived in it mountainous cave Dyurk and only godly people could which is situated near the go there as the others hadn’t village of Khustil the most been able to come as the
They say that previously the cave consisted of seven living quarters situated one above another. Up till now only two have preserved, the rest were filled with the stones during the earthquakes which are very often there. The floors are covered with thick layer of carpets and rugs brought by the pilgrims. The kerosene lamps standing in the corners of the cave illuminate it. You can get into the other room using a narrow staircase. According to the local people’s words if you listen attentively you can hear the roaring of the river flowing beneath the cave. The cave has got one more peculiarity: sometimes in a calm weather it starts roaring and the roar is heard in the far away villages. On hearing it the people say that the cave demands sacrificing. And they really sacrificed to propitiate the spirit of the cave. Even now the Dyurk is a sacred place for the people not only in Dagestan but in the neighboring Azerbaijan too. People come here to pray and ask for recovering of their close people, the sterile women pray for becoming mothers, etc. During the disasters – a long drought or heavy rainfalls earthquakes and hails, people come here and pray in large groups. They perform the Muslim ceremony, the so called “Zikr”, kill the sacrificial bull and distribute charity. People bring the carpets, rugs and
Bai-Tobe The book written in Arabic language said: “ Once upon a time there lived two brothers. The younger brother owned the land in Bai Tobe and the elder one in Karanagai steppe. The young brother’s wife gave birth to a son. He informed his elder brother about this happy event. The elder brother hurried to To the East from the village of Dagestan to participate in the Aksai in Khasavyurt region there is feast. He took a small hill Bai-Tobe (a rich hill in horses, sheep, and valuable Turkish languages). The name of things as presents. There was this hill attracts attention of local a gold cradle for a newly adventures. The local teacher delivered baby among those found out that there was a things. But as soon as the manuscript in the neighboring brother arrived the baby died. village of Chagarotar in which there He was buried in a gold cradle. was some information about the That’s why the hill got the name hill. He visited the owner of the book but the latter said that he Bai-Tobe”. would give him the book in The teacher excavated the hill exchange for the cow. On hearing from top to bottom. He found
Shalbuzdag The legend says Shalbus was a name of Nadirshah’s much beloved wife, that’s why the mountain got its name. The scientists dealing with place- name study prefer another version: the word Shalbus stands in one row with the ancient place names with the root “Alp, Alb). Shalbuzdag is the main natural You can meet it in the name of place of interest in Dagestan. the ancient Caucasian state of This is one of the highest Albania, the name of the mountain picks in the South– mountain Alprus (Elbrus). east part of the main Caucasian mountain ridge. It is 4142 meters In comparison with other highest higher sea level. There are peaks in Dagestan Shalbuzdag several versions of the origin of stands by itself, being a lonely this name. According to one of pyramid crowned with a them - Shalbuzdag is a Turkish battlement. Thanks to such word which means Shalbus position Shalbuzdag makes an mountain. impression of being the highest mountain peak in the Southern
From the top of the mountain you can see a wonderful panorama of the Eastern part of the Main Caucasian ridge. In clear weather one can see the icy caps of Bazardyuzyu, Shahdag, Bogoss mountain range, Dyulydag and other peaks. At the bottom of the mountain in the valley of the Samur river there are numerous mountainous villages, surrounded by beautiful gardens and in the distance you can see the blue line of the Caspian Sea. The mountain slopes are covered with alpine and subalpine meadows. There are lots of different beautiful flowers of all colors here. For example: the blue-bonnets are white here, the lilies are yellow, the violets are light blue, and the camomiles are pink. Such flowers as rhododendrons, saxifrages, and buttercups have bright flowers too. The highest mountainous village in Europe Kurush (2560 meters above the sea level) is situated on one of the mountain slopes. Still in ancient times people went on pilgrimage to the mountain peak. During the last thousand years this pilgrimage
Edighe The lame Timur had wanted to get the falcons’ posterity for a long time and made a secret agreement with the khan’s falconer Kutly-kaya, who sold him secretly one falcon egg. Once the both khans went hunting. Timur’s young falcon There is a village of Edighe was much quicker in getting in a steppe Dagestan. It the prey. Taktamysh, having bears the name of Nogai understood the reason of his national hero, the legends of failure, ordered to chase away whose heroic deeds are Kutly-kaya from his khanate. spread from one generation He went to live in thick forests to another. One of them is but secretly returned to his the following: The last homeland many years later powerful khan of the Golden with his son Edighe. The boy Horde, whose name was grew up strong, clever, and Taktamysh, was famous for brave. his hunting falcons, which
Taktamysh gave him the job as a horse-herd, but having learnt whose son the boy was told his men to kill him. But luckily Edighe managed to run away from the khan’s palace. To escape Taktamysh’s anger Edighe and his nine friends decided to run to Timur’s khanate. On their way they met Alyp- batyr with his army that was coming back to their homeland after their raid on Timur’s territory. They had Timur’s daughter Akbilek as a captive. Using his strength and ruse Edighe gained a victory over Alyp –Batyr, set free his army and having taken the daughter of the lame man went on his way. Timur was very glad that his daughter returned home and let Edighe marry her. Fifteen years passed. During this period Edighe learnt the art of waging war, how to rule the khanate, keep a large house, and brought up his son Nuradin. Once when the boy won chuck-a-luck game he was insulted by his opponent who told him: “You play chuck-a-luck very well, but I wonder if you will be able to revenge Taktamysh -khan upon your father?” Nuradin told his father Edighe about this conversation. They began to muster a troop. Timur helped them too. And soon they started on their way. When they reached the Edil (the Volga) river the father and the son got off the horses
The son decided to follow the fugitive, and Edighe returned to his hometown Sarai which had been ruined and robbed by the enemies while the khan was away. Edighe punished the offenders, built a new town, raised a strong army, formed the Nogai Horde – the state with exactly defined borders. Some time passed and Nurudin returned to Sarai and brought Taktamysh–khan’s head. But evil people caused a quarrel between the father and the son. Then Edighe left the town and his son became the ruler of the khanate. It was difficult for the boy to rule the khanate as he lacked his father’s wisdom and living experience. He began to look for his father to apologize. Edighe excused the boy bu refused to come back to Sarai point blank. Meanwhile Kadyr-Berdy- the son of the diseased Taktamysh–khan raised his army and unleashed the war against Nurudin to revenge upon his father. Using his ruse Kadyr-Berdy killed Nurudin and took the thrown. But one thought that Edighe was still alive tortured him. He went to look for him with his army, found him and called him for an honest battle and they began to fight. Edighe managed to kill his enemy with the club but he was severely wounded himself. Takhtamysh’s alliances Baryn-murza and Shirin-murza meanly attacked the bleeding courageous hero, stabbed their daggers into the body, killed him and cut off his head. This great loss united the Nogai people, with whom even the most
Amuzghy There was time when Amuzghy was part of the medieval state Zerihgeran. The craftsmen of Amuzghy drained and hammered the famous Damask steel from which they made the blades for daggers, swords and The mountain village of sabers. And the craftsmen metal craftsmen which is from the neighboring village difficult of access is of Kubachy mage the mentioned for the first time in handles and sheath for the papers in the XII century. them and decorated them Damask steel daggers and with engravings and cutting. swords Amuzghy lies in ruins People say that nowadays and only the Chingiskhan, Tamerlane, N tourists, the photographers adirshakh, Napoleon, Alexa and the archeologists nder I, and Imam Shamil sometimes bother the possessed their blades.
Vatzilu For a long period of time the mountain has been a place of praying to God for the rain, the sacrificing took place here, the great peoples’ feasts were celebrated here. The great Russian scientist L.I. Lavrov thinks that the name of the mountain is derived from the The sacred Luck mountain Ossetia name Uatzille to whom Vatzilu is situated in the both Lucks and Osetians prayed during the droughts and other surroundings of the village unfavorable for the agriculture Khury. According to the legend events. In it’s turn Uatzula is only sinless people can pass associated by the scientists with through a very narrow passage the Saint Ilea who rides the fire chariot across the sky, and who between the two rocks situated changed the pagan god Thunderer very close to each other on the Perunus. But the people’s legends top of Vatzilu. Sterile woman connect the mountain with the myth who manage to pass through about the hercules Barhhu, who the stones on Vatzilu can pray was in love with Perry. Perry asked him to make a sea near the place to the God and ask him to give of her living and he decided to do
Bakhargan This miracle myth tells us about the supreme God Tzobe and his twin sons Bakhargan and Modu, who were immaculately concepted from the virgin woman. Because of the cruel envious people’s slander the cruel gods turned both brothers into rocky mountains Bakhargan and Modu , covered with rich flora. After their mother’s death her heart was buried Various mythological characters of in the center of the mountain Modu the peoples of Dagestan take their and one eye at the foot of it. The roots in the ancient times and tell other eye was buried at the foot of us about the connections of the Bakhargan mountain. The tears are local tribes with nature. Ancient still running from the mother’s eyes – spirits, and gods possessed one the cold water from the rocky common relic feature - they mountain and the warm curative personified the fertility and water from the picturesque mountain profusion. Rare archaic legend Modu. about the brothers’ transformation Both mountains Modu and Bakhrgan into the rock there preserved in an were turned by the Andeans into Andean Myth, written by H. specific religious centers. According Saipuev in the village of Rickvany to the mythological plot a community in Botlikh region. of Gods whose life resembled the life
Untzukul The legends tell us about famous craftsmen Gooseyn and Martal, whose names bare the Untzukul ornaments nowadays. Craftsman Gooseyn lived more than three hundred years ago and his ornament resembles the dagger. The ornament of craftsman Martal looks like a sequence of sea waves. TheseThe regional center and many other elements usedUntzykul, the homeland of the either separately or in differentunique decorative art, is combinations, determine the unusual ornamental richness ofsituated among the high Untzukul goods. As the legendforbidding mountains. The says the first artistic object of theorigin of the craft dates back local craftsmen was a whip handle made from the cornelianto the XVII century. The tree and decorated with rich inlay.elderly people in the village Later the craftsmen began to use white silver, copper, and silver forstill remember a large engraving the walkingwooden ring engraved with sticks, pipes, snuff
Lakes of Kaitag Once upon a time there were two villages here in which there lived the people who were busy with improper deeds. They didn’t show their respect both to the Sun and to the Moon. More over they usually insulted them, and shot into them with their arches. And one day At the very border between when one licentious man the Kaitag and the approved by the smiles of the Tabasaran region people surrounding people boastfully can see two beautiful lakes declared that that he could connected by a canal. marry the heavenly bodies it Local people say a very was the last straw that broke interesting instructive the Heaven’s patience. They legend about this severely punished the people picturesque place which for such an unprecedented impudence – the gulf devoured got the name “Gignila
Gotzatl Even well-to-do villagers warmed the water for ablution by throwing heated in the fire stones into the earthenware vessels In order to have their own copper-smith the people of Gotzatl made a raid on a rich village of copper-smiths and The art of metal processing took several men as appeared in the ancient prisoners. But none of the mountainous village of prisoners confessed that he Gotzatl, which is situated in could process copper. Then the surroundings of the one of the local elderly men village of Khunzakh, more proposed a cunning thing. than three hundred years The legend says that the ago. Before this it was villagers scattered charcoal difficult to find a family where mixed with pieces of they used metallic dishes for copper, which were valued cooking- the food was more than gold at that cooked in wooden cauldrons.
They thought that a real smith would certainly pick up those precious pieces from the road. The idea was a success. In this way the first copper-smith whose name was Akhkubek appeared in the village. Later the deposits of sulfur and saltpeter were discovered in the neighborhood and they were used in the process of processing the goods from silver. A huge stone with a large hole for pounding sulfur and charcoal is still on the local meeting place. Time went on and the village grew. There appeared a group of craftsmen who made Gotzatl famous around the world. By the end of the XIX century only the poorest bridegroom had not been able to give his bride elegant bracelets and delicate ear-rings and there had not been practically any mountainous girls who would marry without a water jug with a certain engraved design. Nowadays the craftsmen from Gotzatl produce table sets, horns for drinks, decorative dishes, souvenir daggers, and various filigree decorations for women with mounting from the precious stones such as turquoise, nephrite, lapis lazuli, agate, and obsidian. The
Pushkin Tau Situated at the height of 220 meters combination of several rocks following one another form the profile of the Great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, which can be clearly seen only from the definite place. Still in the ancient times this rocky formation served as a reference point for the ships The town of Isberbash is sailing in the Caspian Sea. But only in the XX century people situated on the shore of the noticed that those mountains Caspian Sea at the foot of a looked like A. Pushkin. In 1978 the mountain ridge Isberg tau, 65 rock Pushkin-Tau was proclaimed kilometers to the south from the natural monument of republican significance. the capital of Dagestan. The There are some legends in height of Isberbash anticline Dagestan saying how this miracle reaches 500 meters above the appeared. Here is the most sea level. The upper part of popular one. It says that during the Isberg-tau is formed from hard duel between A. Pushkin and G. Dantes there happened an limestone of neogenic age earthquake in Dagestan and part which served as a base for
Derbent Gekatey Miletsky, Hares Mitilensky, Gerodot, Cornelius Tatzit and many others. Many times it was mentioned in medieval times. It is known that in those numerous works the city had different names and its contemporary name There are several cities appeared only in the VII century baring this name on the map and meant “Closed Gates”. but only one of them is more Derbent is situated on the than 5000 years old, famous western coast of the Caspian for its historical monuments Sea in the place where difficult and has always been a very to access mountain ridges of important city in people’s the Main Caucasian range history. We can find come too close to the sea information about this city in leaving only a narrow seashore the works of famous line. From the ancient time historians, geographers and there laid a famous Pry-
The ancient Aryans used this way while going from the steppes of Eastern Europe onto the territory of Iran plateau. In the VII century it was used by the numerous nomadic tribes in their attempts to get to the regions with rich lands in the South to rob and devastate them. The history of the city is lost in the centuries. And though ancient written sauces give a lot of information about this famous city, they don’t provide us with any information about the time of its origin. People came to live here not only because of its convenient geographical position and exclusive strategic position but mostly because of favorable climatic conditions. Many settlements appeared here in the early period of the history of mankind and even at that time they were very well fortified. Powerful fortification works in Derbent amaze us with their magnificence and have become the subject for numerous legends and stories. Profuse imagination of the inhabitants in their attempts to glorify their mysterious city referred its foundation either to the fire-spitting giants who lived on the earth before the appearance of mankind or to the fantastic
Decembrist A. Bestuzhev – Marlinsky, who had been sent in exile to Derbent and spent many years there, writes: “The citizens say that their city was built by the devil. The Devil had been building in the darkness and was in a hurry. He kneaded stones in his paws, smashed them to pieces, spit on them, through the ready houses one on another and built the streets as his tail lay. By the morning the city had been built.” The local historian Mirza-Hedir Vezirov in the XIX century writes that the city was founded by shah Lehrasib from the dynasty of the Cyanides – contemporary of the king Salomon. Old Georgian chronicles tell us about the dreadful invasion of the Khasars. The Persian Tsar Afridon sent his commander Ardon to pacify them. With a numerous army Ardon came into Khazar’s country, defeated them, built a city near the sea gate and called it Darubandy, which in the translation means “Closed Gates”. There is another legend that says that the city was founded by Alexander Mecedonian. He built a wall with towers between the sea and the mountains and closed it with the gates bind with metal so that the people who lived on the other side wouldn’t be
Sharvily Sharvily is the most respected national hero in Southern Dagestan. He was a fearless defender of his Motherland, tireless grain- grower. His image symbolizes the century long fight of Lezghy people for freedom and justice. The hero had only one weak point: like Antes he didn’t have to tear off the ground. Just in the place where the bridge of Idris connects two banks of the mountainous river Akhty-chai hostile people asked Sharvily who had gained lots of victories before in the most difficult fights with the enemies, if he would
The hercules didn’t suspect that the enemies spread the pees around the place from where he had to jump and covered them with a thin rug. The whole village came to see him jump - his friends- poor villagers and his enemies- rich villagers. Sharvily began running but slipped on the pees, fell down from the edge of the bank, struck against the rock and died. They say that he was buried in his native village of Akhty, but nobody knows where his grave is. In commemoration of the great hero people in Dagestan have celebrations. Thousands of men make pilgrimage to the foot of the mountain on top of which according to the legend there had been buried the hero’s sword. Recently the thankful villagers built a beautiful rotunda with six white columns and silver dome in memory of Sharvily. Here the young men compete in strength and adroitness, amateur artists sing old songs and dance old traditional dances, and the children enjoy eating sweets.
Balkhar There is a legend in Balkhar about the first potter, the man called Kalkuchchy. One day this poor man sitting in a gloomy mood on the shore of the lake thinking how to earn his living. Involuntarily he paid attention to the boys who were making simple toys from clay. Kalkuchchy decided to sculp something from clay too. So he sculped the water jug. The first The village of Balkhar jug paved the way to the famous homecraft in the village. where the people of the Kalkuchchy began teaching the Luck nationality live is villagers pottery handicraft. But situated in the foothill the life showed that the most Dagestan. This delicate and beautiful vessels mountainous village is were made by the women. In this way there was born the art famous for its original of the famous women potters
Kubachy but according to Dagestan measures it is situated in a Foothill region. The village is not small, but in good times there lived 7-9 thousand villagers there and this fact let the villagers consider their village a small state. A row of houses runs down the mountain slope and it is compared with the stone waterfall or with the ladder to In Dagestan the village of the sky. The houses are Kubachy is considered a situated one above another. miracle that has come to our They are spacious, well times from the medieval built, having two or three ages. The village is situated stores with numerous rooms. Every house has got a room at the height of 1800 meters for meeting guests, for the above the sea level, rest, having meals, and what is
In Persian chronicles the village is mentioned even in the IV century as Zerihgeran (Armory) which means Kubachy in the Turkish language. Another name of the village is Ugbug which means “people’s blighters”. It is easy to find out why they were called so. It was a village of weapon makers, and what are weapons made for? For killing people. Though it is quite clear that in medieval times the smiths were busy with making swords, sabers and amours. The most expensive goods were decorated with jewelry which gave the goods additional value. Among the most famous goods produced by them are the two- horned helmet by Alexander the Macedonian, Prince Alexander Nevsky’s shield, the saber of Nadir Shah, and the set of cold weapons in Victoria and Albert museum in London which was presented to Queen Victoria by the Russian tsar Alexander III. The Kubachy sabers were very popular within the dragoons in Russian army. When peaceful time came they became familiar with the new job- they began producing jewelry and refined silver dishes. During the Romanov’s ruling and in Soviet times it was considered a good taste to have at home silver wine glasses, jugs, and vases made by Kubachy craftsmen. The
Every family in Kubachy had its own design which was used only by this craftsman and this design was kept a secret as the women keep the recipes of making adzhika and baking bread. As we know the Islam prohibits depicting living beings that’s why all the designs were of natural character. The craftsman invented very interesting designs of the leaves, flowers, stalks even those that would never be able to grow on a stony land of the Foothill Caucasus. The technique of the craftsmen of Kubachy is very difficult and variable. There is a legend about gold smiths from Kubachy. Once upon a time the gold smiths from Persia having decided to humiliate them sent to the village a very thin wire with the following message: “Try to make the same and send it to us”. They were greatly astonished when some time later got the same wire but drilled inside. The gold smiths from Kubachy mockingly wrote: “we make pipes from such wire”.
The Fortress of Seven Brothers. Once during one of the enemy’s sieges the sister fell in love with the commander of the enemy’s army. He persuaded her to pour secretly salty water into the smooth bores of brothers’ rifles and into the sheath of their swords so that not only to save them but to praise them. But on seeing unarmed defenders of the fortress the commander of the enemies broke his word. He ordered to On a small hill at the distance of 3-4 execute brothers one after another and kilometers from the village of finally to kill the girl because he Khuchny, the regional center of thought that girl who betrayed her Tabasaran region, there are ruins of brother couldn’t be trusted as she the former fortress which was known as could betray again and she deserved “ The Fortress of Seven Brothers”. The death. The villagers made a stone hill legend says that previously seven over her tomb. brothers lived there with a very beautiful Even nowadays one can see a stony sister. People say that the girl’s silky hill not far from the road near the hair was so long that when she wanted fortress. It is considered to be a grave to get the water she tied the water jug to of the sister of the brave brothers. Every man passing by the hill throws her plaits and let it down into the river. seven stones at it as a sign of Her brothers were known as brave contempt to the traitor. But every
Sleeping Beauty The people call this rock “Sleeping Beauty” or “Shamil’s Daughter”. The legend say: Once upon a time there lived a khan and he had a very beautiful daughter. A village herder fell in love The gigantic rocks rise in the with her. The girl loved him North and North-West sides too. But they couldn’t even above Dagestan village of think about marriage. Wicked Gunib. If to look attentively at people told the khan about their ridge one can see in the their feelings. The khan got very angry. He called his background of the evening daughter and told her to go to sky a profile of a lying girl. the mountain and think about One can see a chokhto - a her feelings the whole night head-dress, put on a broad long and in the morning tell forehead, long eyelashes him if she had changed her
She didn’t want to think and change her mind as she loved the young man very dearly. It became cold. The cold wind was blowing. She lay down and fell asleep. When the khan’s servants came to the mountain in the morning they didn’t find the girl there because she turned into a stone and became part of that rock. On seeing this her beloved who was shepherding the sheep on the Kegher mountains had become so sad that turned into the stone. When you see the profile of the sleeping beauty in the background of the evening sky turn around and you’ll be able to see behind the river Kara Koisu on Kegher rocks the head of the stark young man.
Sarykum The name Sarykum in Kumik language means –Yellow sand. There are several dunes here but they don’t occupy a large territory – approximately 10 kilometers in length and 3-4 kilometers in width. There is a very surprising natural place of interest on the The height of the dune border of the steppe and changes all the time but the foothill Dagestan. average height is 260 meters. It is the highest It is a sandy Dune Sarykum, a sandy dune not only in piece of Asian desert in the Russia but in Eurasia. Its age hart of mountainous region. is more than several hundred The world learnt about its thousands years. existence in the XIX century when the great French writer Because of the wind the Alexander Dumas-the father dune changes its form very who had visited Dagestan often but its foot always before described its beauty in remains in the same place,
There are many legends about its origin. According to one of them before intending to go to fight with Tohtamysh khan Aksak-Temir decided to check how many warriors he had got in his army. Every warrior was ordered to put sand into his helmet and then pour it out in one place. When every warrior emptied his helmet Aksak-Temir saw a mountain of sand. On seeing it he believed that he would be able to conquer the greatest state of their time The Golden Horde, Northern Dagestan being part of it at that time. Here is another legend but this time it is a love story. In the village of Kumtorkala there lived a man called Ibrahim. He had a very beautiful daughter Bariyat. Many young men wanted to marry her but she loved only one man- Bulat. Many time Bulat came to Ibrahim and asked him a permission to marry Bariat but Ibrahim refused all the time. But the girl was stubborn and didn’t want to marry any other man. And then Ibrahim told Bulat to do the following: “Bring from the sea and throw up such a large sandy mountain behind the river Shura-Ozen that you would be able to see our house from its top. Only then I will believe that you love my daughter.” And Bulat agreed. Months passed, years passed but the mountain grew very slowly. It became more and more difficult for Bulat to bring
Once having climbed the mountain he saw his native village. He noticed a woman’s figure on the roof of familiar house. And though it was difficult to see the face he recognized his beloved. Bulat ran down the slope, crossed the river and ran to the village. Finally he could marry his beloved Bariyat. But who did he see? A crooked old grey haired woman was looking ruefully at the approaching man. Her cheeks had become hollow; her eyes had lost their color because of constant tears. What an awful picture! Only then he paid attention to his long white beard. The youth had past away and the whole life had passed away… But the monument to unhappy love of Bulat and Bariyat stands near Kumik village of Kumtorkala. But the real reason of the formation of the Dune is connected with the winds. During centuries they had been destroying the neighboring mountains and brought the sand into one place. In this way the Sandy Dune was formed. The winds in this place blow in such a way that they only change the image of the dune, but the dune itself remains in the place where it is. Sarykum is the hottest place in Dagestan. In summer the temperature on the southern slopes can reach +60 degrees Celsius and sometimes it comes up to + 90 Degrees. In such conditions
Hercules’s Columns To perform his twelve heroic deeds the legendary hero unconquerable Hercules had to travel a lot. According to the Myths he erected a giant stone in every place he had performed his heroic deed. Hercules’s columns were scattered all over the world. People found them in French Britain, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in Greenland, in northern part of Istanbul and in the Urals. The Myths of ancient Greece say that he liberated chained to the rock Prometheus somewhere in
The scientists still dispute about the place of this heroic deed but the librarians of Khasavyurt city library are sure that they have found it in the surroundings of the Dagestan mountainous village of Burtunai. First of all in this place high mountain river banks look like conglomeration of huge columns which are very much alike Hercules’s Columns, which have preserved in other parts of the world. Secondly, the local people mark strange unusual phenomenon which takes place occasionally in this area. The same event happens near the Hercules’s columns in other parts of the world where the apparatus mark vertical flows of energy. And finally it is known that all the Hercules’s Columns were connected with one another by the system of underground catacombs. Evidently like those not studied yet caves near Burtunai. If we are right or wrong it is for the scientists to decide. But this place is sure to have its special energy which gives