A Memorial Headstone Settled At The Ancient Muslim Cemetery “Azizler”

A Memorial Headstone Settled At The Ancient Muslim Cemetery “Azizler”
A Memorial Headstone Settled At The Ancient Muslim Cemetery “Azizler”
A Memorial Headstone Settled At The Ancient Muslim Cemetery “Azizler”
27/05/2014
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A memorial headstone was settled in Bakhchisaray at an ancient Muslim cemetery “Azizler”, situated in historic block Esqi-Yurt, on November 22. For today’s Crimean Tatars this is a special place where both the rulers and average citizens were buried. Wide audience learned about this place in 2006, when Crimean Tatars demanded to remove the market built atop their ancestor’s graves.

Ruined buildings, abandoned market counters and a dump site - this is what the ancient Muslim cemetery “Azizler” looks like now. This was the biggest Muslim cemetery on the peninsula, with first graves dated to the XV-XVI century A.D. The Soviet Regime destroyed it and, at first, built block of flats there, which were removed some time later and replaced by a marked still working in the 1990ies.


It took them years until the Crimean Tatars managed to remove the market to some other place. There’s been a fight between the Crimean Tatars and people standing for the market back then.


“We were just sitting and talking, when avalanche of stones flew our direction, theres’ been a lot of blood,” - an eye witness Ms. Zenife Komurji, a school teacher, recollects.


Crimean Tatars managed to prevail, and the market was removed. Local Muslims try to keep the territory clean nowadays. In late August 2013 a memorial headstone was settled there, at the initiative of crimean Tatar Mejlis and the local Muslim community. It didn’t stay there long, though: some vandals destroyed it in less than a week.


This time the activists made it firmer and fixated the board with a lot of cement. After doing so, they did some supplications to God.


Mr. Aider Ismailov, Crimea’s Deputy Mufti, said that “Azizler” wasn’t just a Muslim cemetery, but rather a Muslim holy place. “We are putting this headstone here to let everyone know what this place is so that they would treat it with respect”.


Having honoured the dead, the Crimean Tatars left the cemetery in hope it won’t be attacked by vandals again.


Ms. Elzara Yunusova, Crimea

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