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
The name "Tatar" was originally referring to one of the Mongolian tribes and along with the creation of an enormous empire of Genghis Khan the name began to refer to all Mongolian tribes, also Turkic ones. The bravery of the Tatars was highly appreciated by the Grand Dukes of Lithuania and Kings of Poland. The Tatars serving in the Crown (Kingdom of Poland) and Lithuanian Armies were to receive soldier's pay. As the state treasury was empty, King Jan III Sobieski pay Tatar soldiers with lands. At the end of 17th century, the soldiers from the Tatar units were settled in villages located in royal economies.

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.
Farm in Kruszyniany
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.

The major attractions of Kruszyniany are historic wooden mosque from the 18th century (one of the two oldest in Poland), and Mizar (Muslim cemetery). They remember the first Tatars from over 300 years ago who were settled here by king Jan III Sobieski. According to the local tradition, the mosque in Kruszyniany was founded by the last member of Krzeczowski family. The wooden mosque, constructed on a rectangle plan with two tower minarets and one signature minaret, it probably comes the second half of the 18th century. Part of the mosque equipment in Kruszyniany was stolen during the war. There are two separate entrances to the mosque, one leading to the men room with mihrab, mimbarm and a gallery and the other one leading to the women part. The building stands among age-old trees, surrounded by a stone wall.

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: 

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ABC Wednesday


  1. All of the budings are lovely and unusual

  2. Interesting place...loved reading about it. The mosque is beautiful.

  3. Great show of unknown building types. Very nice to see.

  4. what a wonderful little village. the mosque is quite beautiful.

  5. Gosh the green colour definitely stands out!

  6. The green is wonderful, but not as wonderful as people living together. Such a lovely post.

  7. The Mosque is nice inside with all that beautiful timber. The outside however, I can't help but think of Tractor Green. Maybe a Farmer bought too much green paint to paint his tractor so he donated the rest to paint the Mosque. The Yurt is very interesting.

  8. Przepiękna jest ta cerkiew.

  9. Lovely to see all 3 buildings together, so different but with a common purpose

  10. That mosque is stunning!! Why can't everyone just live peacefully???

  11. Love the green church. The cemetery would be interesting to walk through.

  12. If you enjoy music and taking photos,
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    eastern time until Wednesday 12:30 PM.
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  13. That is so unusual to see the green wooden structure!

  14. Never seen a green church before and I like the Yurt Mosque. The village sounds and ideal place to live

  15. Amazing shots. Love the green facade of the mosque.

    Thank you for linking in with Through my Lens.

    Mersad Donko Photography

  16. wow...its interesting to see such places where major religions come together and live together without barriers...thanks for this and i learned something.

  17. What a fascinating place. I love the buildings, especially the Tatar yurt.

  18. Widziałam i podziwiałam :)

  19. If the walls could talk... what a grand story they could tell! Just captivating.... thanks for sharing.

  20. Wonderful photos and so encouraging that people an live together in harmony.

  21. I LOVE the designs and the mixture of cultures!

  22. Wonderful photo's.... very intriguing place, colorful and ornate, beautiful!

    Have a nice ABC-day / -week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

  23. An interesting building, looks a peaceful place.


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