Kruszyniany - Tatar village where Muslims, Catholics and Orthodox live together
Kruszyniany is a small village in north-eastern Poland, close to the border with Belarus. The village has a population of 160. It is a special place on the map of Poland. The place is often called a cultural melting pot as this is a cross point of three major religions: Catholicism, Moslemism and the Orthodox Church. In the past, Kruszyniany was primarily a Lipka Tatar settlement. Up until this day, the Tatars still remain as the only minority in the village.
|Tatar yurt - tent used as a dwelling by Tatars in the past|
|Tatar yurt - inside|
|Farm in the village|
The Podlachian villages of Kruszyniany and Bohoniki are the westernmost islands of the Tatar settlement. Tatars settled in Kruszyniany and several neighbouring villages in 1679. Soon a moizar and a mosque appeared. After the World War II, as a result of a change of Polish eastern border, most Tatar centres remained on lands annexed by the USSR and only some of them stayed in Poland.
Currently, there are approximately 4000 residents of Tatar descent. The biggest centre of Tatars in Poland is Białystok. This is the seat of authorities of Muslim Religious Union. The Polish Tatars form an ethnic group, or maybe only an ethnographic one, without traces of national minority. They consider themselves not only the citizens of the Republic of Poland but also Poles - Poles of Tatar descent.
|Farm in Kruszyniany|
|Inside the Mosque|
Approximately 100 meters away from the mosque, on a sandy hill, there is a Mizar stretching among tall old trees. It is surrounded by a wall made of huge stones. The oldest tombstone found there comes from 1744. The first inscriptions on Tatar tombstones in Polish-Lithuanian state didn't appear until the 18th century. The writings were always placed on stones located at the head of the deceased. They were texts in Arabic or Polish or Russian language written in Arabic alphabet. Most usually they quoted fragments from Quran. On many tombstones, the names of the deceased are written in Cyrillic alphabet. This is a souvenir left after the times of partitions and an effect of the Russification conducted by tsars whose peak-time was the second half of the 19th century when Tatars were not allowed to use Polish language during services and in tombstone inscriptions.
Kruszyniany was named one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments (Polish: Pomnik historii), as designated November 20, 2012. To address this special place ecumenical route was created in Kruszyniany. Apart from that, there are many routes, nature and culture trails. You can also try genuine Tatar cuisine in the restaurant "Tatar Yurt".
|Inside the Mosque|
|"Tatarska Jurta" ("Tatar Yourt") - Restaurant|
You can read articles about Podlasie region:
- Supraśl - the pearl of Podlasie region
- Supraśl Lavra - important site of Orthodox culture in Poland
- Kruszyniany - Tatar village where Muslims, Catholics and Orthodox live together
- Pentowo - European Stork Village
- "The Great Synagogue" in Tykocin, Poland