Kars welcomes Molokan and Doukhobor heritage tourists to TurkeyBooks, videos, cultural center, museum, villages, cemetery, Russian house and more to see
Updated 2011 April 23
A welcoming program is planned for Molokan and Doukhobor tourists visiting Kars, Turkey.
The first guests will be Florence Chernoff-Lymburner, a Doukhobor artist from Washington state, and her husband who arrivied in Kars on September 29, 2009. They were welcomed by sectarian historian Vedat Akchayoz. Flo visited several historical sites, and photographed many Russian scenes and items to paint on canvas when she gets home. Her first report, without photos, appeared in ISKRA (March 1, 2010, pages 14,15). A different version will be posted on the Doukhobor Genealogy Website:
Kars : A Journey of Discovery, by Florence Chernoff-Lymburner. Doukhobor village photo story, October 2009. — April 10, 2010
The new Kars Malakans* World Friendship Association with the Municipality of Kars is planning to provide heritage guests with tours of local villages, a Molokan home, a cemetery, old water-powered flour mills, the Kars cultural center, books, films and a museum and photo display. [* Malakan is the Turkish spelling of Molokan.]
Historian, photographer and film producer Vedat Akçayöz (right, pronounced: Akchayoz) is directing the project. He is Chairman of the Old World Friendship Association of Molokans in Kars and President of the Kars Culture and Art Association.
In an e-mail sent to Florence and Molokane.org, Vedat offered to make arrangements for her and her husband when they arrived in Kars, though he is in Istanbul and will not be able to greet her.
My grantmother is Molokan. Her name is Anna. She died in 1944. For approximately 20 years, I have researched Molokan and Doukhobor culture and art.
My purpose is to preserve and present how the Molokans [, Jumpers,] and Doukhobors lived in Kars in the past, their culture, their history, their homes, their cemeteries and graves, their agriculture, and items of dailty living — to save this before it disappears.
I want to open a small Russian sectarian museum in Kars, and I am trying to restore Molokan [, Jumper, ] and Doukhobor [vandalized] graves. I have proposed to the Ministry of Culture a restoration of a Molokan house in the Çakmak [Chakmak] villlage [formerly Blagodarnoe, 4 miles northwest of Kars city].
I am working to carry out this project. When a tourist comes to Kars, we want to take them to the Çakmak village and visit a Molokan home, visit of the Molokan graves, then back to the house. We will provide information about the history and culture of Molokans and Doukhobors, then they can return to their hotel.
I hope we can carry out this project. I also would very much like to visit Canada and the US to see Molokan and Doukhobor villages there, to collect memiors, photographs and produce more documentray films and books.
Vedat reports an impressive list of accomplishments regarding Doukhobors and Molokans in Kars:
I would be very glad to show my photos, videos and books about Molokans and Doukhobors in the U.S. and Canada. My next book will be about “Doukhobors in Canada.” If I can go to Canada I will be able to see the daily life of Doukhobors, their social environment, and listen to them tell memories of their fathers and grandmothers I am interested in their memories from 1921 to 2008.
If I could show my exhibit in Canada and the U.S., then I could collect information, recordings, photographs and videos for another exhibit to show in Turkey, Canada and the U.S.
We must cease this opportunity to work together intensely and quickly before the memory and knowledge of Doukhobor and Molokan culture in the Kars region is lost. We should enhance our dialogue.
Others have produced books about Molokans in Kars. The first was Dr. Turkdoghan who documented Molokans and Jumpers in his PhD thesis just before most moved to Russia in 1962. His thesis was published in 1970, and in the 1980s translated into English, edited and enhanced by the Highgate Road Social Science Research Station, but has not yet been published due to lack of support. His book was reissued in color in 2005. A few graduate students have recently done papers on Molokans in Turkey.
alsMany with roots in Molokane, Pryguny and Doukhobors also researching and documenting and their history in Turkey: