Kubachins - Settlements

The Kubachins dwell in large mountain settlements. In selecting a place for settlement four factors are taken into account: maximal productivity of the soil; the proximity of sources of water, arable land, and woodland; defensive security; and southern orientation (for sunlight). In the planning and character of its buildings Kubachi is a terrace-shaped (many-storied) settlement with closely and compactly constructed quarters and a vertical spatial arrangement. Toward the beginning of the nineteenth century Kubachi was divided into large quarters—upper, middle, and lower—in which lived the members of the several tukhums (kinship groups). Since the beginning of the 1960s Kubachi has been intensively extended and rebuilt in all directions insofar as the contours of the plan allow. The dwellings of the Kubachins in the nineteenth and the first part of the twentieth centuries had many rooms and three or four stories, sometimes five or six, constructed out of stone and with flat roofs. The cattle shed and the stable were located in the lower story; in the second story were the hay loft and the fuel storeroom; and in the higher stories were the living quarters (consisting of many rooms), the storage areas, and the domestic workshops of the goldsmiths and other craftsmen. The living rooms were distinguished by the presence of rugs on the floor. In the central part of a wall was located the decorated fireplace. Along another wall were shelves for various kinds of metal vessels of local manufacture and Near Eastern provenience. The other two walls were hung with rows of bronze trays and dishes of china and faience from the ceramic centers of Iran, China, Syria, Japan, Russia, and European countries. The distinctive, almost museumlike Kubachi interior can be observed today in the dwellings of the majority of the inhabitants of the settlement, although the dwellings themselves have undergone changes—beds, televisions, furniture, and so forth have appeared, and the rooms (except for the one with the chimney) are furnished in the usual urban style.

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