Tabasarans - Orientation

Identification. The Tabasarans are an ethnic group of the former USSR; they live in southeastern Daghestan (the Khiv and Tabasaran districts, or raions ), and some have resettled in the lowlands (in the villages of Mamedkala and Daghestanskie Ogni in the Derbent District) and the foothills (of the Tabasaran District). Their neighbors to the north are the Kaitag Dargins, with the Lezgins to the south, the Aghuls to the west, and the Azerbaijanis to the east. The largest Tabasaran settlements are the villages of Khiv, Turag, Khurik, Mezhgül, Kondik, Tinit, Sïrtïch, and Khuchni. The Tabasaran territory comprises two natural geographic zones: the upper Rubas Basin in the north and the left bank of the central Chirakh-Chai and the upper Charchag-Su rivers in the south. For the most part the territory is foothills, but part of it is plains, mountains, and valleys.

Location. The climate is moderate to warm, with a relatively mild winter, a hot summer (especially in the valleys), and a rainy and humid autumn. The climatic conditions make the mountains favorable for summer pastures and the plateaus for winter pastures. The Caspian Sea also exerts a significant influence on the climate: in the summer it moderates the temperature and increases the atmospheric humidity, and in winter it insulates Daghestan against cold air masses from Central Asia and western Siberia.

Demography. The Tabasarans in the USSR numbered 75,000 in 1979—71,700 of them in Daghestan. The average population density is about 20 persons per square kilometer.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Tabasaran language belongs to the Lezghian Subbranch of the Daghestanian Group of Northeast Caucasian (Nakh-Daghestanian). Other languages widely used in Tabasaran territory are Azerbaijani in the Tabasaran District and Lezgin in the Khiv District. Russian is also widely known. The development of writing in the Tabasaran area was connected with the spread of Islam. The first written documents in Arabic are dated to the tenth to eleventh centuries, and writing in Tabasaran (using Arabic script) to the fifteenth to sixteenth centuries.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: