Kubachins - Orientation

Identification. The Kubachins, one of the small ethnic groups of Daghestan, live in the settlement of Kubachi (also known as Arbukanti), and elsewhere in the cities of Caucasia and Central Asia. Administratively, Kubachi belongs to the Khadaev District of the Daghestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, which is otherwise inhabited by Dargins. The name "Kubachi," known since the sixteenth century, derives from the Turkish word kube (armor plating, coat of mail); according to medieval written sources, this settlement also had a Persian name with the same meaning, "Zirekhgeran."

Location. Kubachi is situated in the mountainous zone of southern Daghestan at an elevation of 1,350 to 1,575 meters, compactly occupying the steep rocky slope of a mountain. The climate is severe: winter is cold; summer is cool, usually rainy, and often foggy. Vegetation and animal life are variegated. The slopes of the mountains surrounding the settlement are covered with alpine meadow vegetation and bushes (dog rose and rhododendron). The forests are quite far from the settlement.

Demography. The Kubachi population in 1926 was 2,579. In 1990 1,876 Kubachins were living in Kubachi territory; beyond its boundaries there were another 3,000 Kubachins, or 61.2 percent of the total. There are 980 households in Kubachi, some of which are owned by absentee craftsmen.

Linguistic Affiliation. The language of the Kubachins is closely related to Dargin, which together with Kaitak forms the Dargwa Subgroup of the Lak-Dargwa Group of the Northeast Caucasian Language Family. Some linguists classify Kubachi as a dialect of Dargin, others as a separate language. Kubachi comprises the dialects of two mountain villages or auls, Ashty and Sulerkent.

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