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Khazars – Where Art Thou

According to AP, a Russian archaeologist is claiming that he has found the lost capital of the Khazars. Khazars was a powerful nation that adopted Judaism, very few ones, as its official religion more than 1,000 years ago. However due to rise of other slav kings in that region, the nation disintegrated leaving little trace of its culture.

Dmitry Vasilyev, a professor at Astrakhan State University, said his nine-year excavation near the Caspian Sea has finally unearthed the foundations of a triangular fortress of flamed brick, along with modest yurt-shaped dwellings, and he believes these are part of what was once Itil, the Khazar capital.

This has generated profound interest among the jews world wide about who the Khazars were and what has become of them since then.

My little bit of research on Khazars has thrown up this:

The Khazars were a semi-nomadic peripatetic Turkic people who dominated the Pontic steppe and the North Caucasus from the 7th to the 10th century CE. The name ‘Khazar’ in the ethnic vernacular means “wandering”.

(In the pic: the seated person in the boat is considered as the destroyer of the Khazars. His name is Svyatoslav).

In the 7th century CE, the Khazars founded an independent Khaganate in the Northern Caucasus along the Caspian Sea. Although the Khazars were initially Tengri shamanists, many of them converted to Christianity, Islam, and other religions. During the eighth or ninth century the state religion became Judaism. At their height, the Khazar khaganate and its tributaries controlled much of what is today southern Russia, western Kazakhstan, eastern Ukraine, Azerbaijan, large portions of the Caucasus (including Circassia, Dagestan, Chechnya, and parts of Georgia), and the Crimea.

It comes as no surprise that the Russian archeologist has found this particular region near the Caspian sea. This discovery could be of tremendous interest to Israeli historians and archeologists as well.

Check out this irony as well. The research into Khazar empire was discouraged in the Soviet Union. The dictator Josef Stalin, in particular, was not cool to the idea that a Jewish empire could come before Russia’s own. He had references to Khazar history purged from textbooks because they “disproved his theory of Russian statehood.

Only after the fall of communism Russian researchers and scholars are free to explore Khazar culture. The Itil excavations have been sponsored by the Russian-Jewish Congress, a nonprofit organization that supports cultural projects in Russia.

So maybe there is an Israeli hand behind this project after all.

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