Caucasian Avars

Caucasian Avars

ethnic group

poptime= approx. 1 million
Russia: 814,500 (2002 [ Russian 2002 census] ] ),::primarily Dagestan: 750,000
Azerbaijan: 50,900 (1999 [ The State Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan Republic: "Population by ethnic groups"] ] )

Georgia: -
rels=Sunni Islam
related= Northeast Caucasian peoples

Avars or Caucasian Avars are a modern people of Caucasus, mainly of Dagestan, in which they are the predominant group. The Caucasian Avar language belongs to the Northeast Caucasian language family (also known as Nakh-Dagestanian).

They populate most of the mountain part of Dagestan, and partly also plains (Buynakskiy, Khasav'yurtovskiy and other regions). They also live in Chechnya, Kalmykia and other subjects of Russia, as well as Azerbaijan (mainly, the Balakan and Zakatala rayons - 50,900 (1999) and Georgia (Kvareli Avars - 2,500). fact|date=August 2008|please give sources for those 2 remaining figures

In 2002, the Avars, who assimilated some peoples speaking related languages, numbered about 1,04 million, of which 814,500 live in Russia and more than 750,000 in Dagestan. 32% of them live in the cities (2002 number). fact|date=August 2008|please give sources for those 3 remaining figures


The Avar language belongs to the Avar-Andi-Tsez subgroup of the Alarodian Northeast Caucasian (or Nakh-Dagestanian) language family. The writing is based on the Cyrillic alphabet, which replaced the Arabic script used before 1927 and the Latin script used between 1927 and 1938. More than 60% Avars living in Dagestan speak Russian as their second language.


The earliest mention of the Avars in European History at their current location is from Priscus who declares that in 463 AD a mixed Saragur, Urog and Unogur embassy asked Byzantium for an alliance having been dislodged by Sabirs in 461 due to the Avars' drive towards the westPriscus. Excerpta de legationibus. Ed. S. de Boor. Berolini, 1903, p. 586
Also mentioned in the Syrian compilation of Church Historian Zacharias Rhetor bishop of Mytilene] . According to the head of the Soviet archaeological-ethnographic expedition of 1945 - 1948, these Caucasian Avars migrated to their present location from Khwarezm, which was originally populated by the Alarodian Hurrians from Subartu (which was to the south of Transcaucasian Iberia)"Ancient Khwarezm" (Moscow 1948), Sergei Pavlovich Tolstov (1907-1976)] . According to Omeljan Pritsak and some other scholars, this Avar invasion of the Caucasus resulted in the establishment of the Avar ruling dynasty in Sarir, a Christian state in Dagestani Highlands, where the Caucasian Avars now live. It is not clear whether or in what way these Avars are related to the early European Avars of the Dark Ages, but it is known that with the mediation of Sarosios in 567, the Göktürks requested Byzantium to distinguish the Avars of Pannonia as "Pseudo-Avars" as opposed to the true Avars of the east who had come under the Göktürk hegemony [ "Sixth Century Alania: between Byzantium, Sasanian Iran and the Turkic World" Agustí Alemany Vilamajo] ] .During the Khazar wars against the Caliphate in the 7th century, the Avars sided with Khazaria. Surakat, is mentioned as their Khagan around 729/30 AD followed by Andunik-Nutsal, at the time of Abu Muslima, then Dugry-Nutsal. Sarir suffered a partial eclipse after the Arabs gained the upper hand, but managed to reassert its influence in the region in the 9th century, when it conflicted with the weakened Khazars and conducted a friendly policy towards the neighbouring Christian states of Georgia and Alania.

In the early 12th century Sarir disintegrated, only to be succeeded by the Avar Khanate, a predominantly Muslim polity. The only extant monument of Sarir architecture is a 10th-century church at the village of Datuna. The Mongol invasions seem not to have affected the Avar territory and the alliance with the Golden Horde enabled the Avar khans to increase their prosperity.

The 15th century saw the decline of the Horde and the rise of the Kumyk shamkhalate at Tarki, with whom the Avars could not compete until the 18th century, when they increased their prestige by routing the army of Nadir Shah at Andalal. In the wake of this triumph, Umma Khan of the Avars (reigned 1774-1801) managed to exact tribute from most states of the Caucasus, including Shirvan and Georgia.

Two years after Umma Khan's death in 1801, the khanate voluntarily submitted to Russian authority. Yet the Russian administration disappointed and embittered freedom-loving highlanders. The institution of heavy taxation, coupled with the expropriation of estates and the construction of fortresses, electrified the Avar population into rising under the aegis of the radical Muslim Imamate of Dagestan, led by Ghazi Mohammed (1828-32), Gamzat-bek (1832-34) and Shamil (1834-59).

This Caucasian War raged until 1864, when the Avarian Khanate was abolished and the Avarian District was instituted instead. One portion of the Avars refused to collaborate with Russians and migrated to Turkey, where their descendants live to this day. Although the population was decimated through war and emigration, the Avars retained their position as the dominant ethnic group in Dagestan during the Soviet period. After World War II, many Avars left the barren highlands for the fertile plains closer to the Caspian shore.

Famous Avars

The most prominent figures in Avar history were Umma Khan, Hadji Murat, and Imam Shamil. The most celebrated poet writing in the Avar language was Rasul Gamzatov (1923-2003). In Azerbaijan, there is an ethnic Avar Member of the Parliament (MP), Ali Antsukhskiy (elected in 1995, in 1996 killed by official Baku).

Famous Avar artists include Khalil-bek Musayasul, whose drawings were shown at the New York Metropolitan Museum [, see page 13] , and Kamil Aliev (a distant cousin of MusayasulFact|date=May 2007) who is noted for his ornamental carpet work [ [ Azerbaijan National Library] retrieved May 11, 2007] .

A famous Avar Sportstar is Magomed "The Propeller" Magomedov. Born June 4, 1982 he is a Thaiboxer and the WMC Light Heavyweight World Muay Thai champion. Another famous sportsman of Avar origin is a former WBO heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov.


See also

* Vainakh

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Avars — may refer to: * Eurasian Avars, a nomadic people who invaded Europe in the 6th Century AD * Uar * Caucasian Avars, a modern people of the Caucasus * Avar language * Avar (animation variable), used in computer animation, or computer generated… …   Wikipedia

  • Avars —  Pour l’article homophone, voir avare. Empire avar vers 560 – 805 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Caucasian languages — Group of languages spoken in the Caucasus region that are not members of any language families spoken elsewhere in the world. Caucasian languages, spoken by some nine million people, are divided into three subgroups: the South Caucasian, or… …   Universalium

  • Avars —    Ethnic group. The Avars are a Muslim people populating the North Caucasus, principally the Republic of Dagestan where they are the largest ethnic group (758,000). Sizable communities are also resident in Chechnya, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. The… …   Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation

  • Avars — n. member of a Caucasian or eastern European people whose empire, was in central south Hungary and extended between the Elbe and Dnieper rivers; member of Muslim people of southern Dagestan and bordering areas of Azerbaijan n. language spoken in… …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Eurasian Avars — [ The image is based on reconstruction by Norman J. Finkelshteyn of an image from an 8th century ewer found at Nagyszentmiklos in Transylvania (original at [] ). some scholars regard the image as that of …   Wikipedia

  • North Caucasian peoples — is a term used to describe a peoples speaking North Caucasian languages.PeoplesNorth Caucasian peoples are: *Northwest Caucasian peoples: **Abkhazians **Abazins **Adyghe **Cherkess **Kabardins **Ubykh *Nakh peoples: **Bats **Kists **Chechens… …   Wikipedia

  • Dagestan — For other uses, see Dagestan (disambiguation). Republic of Dagestan Республика Дагестан (Russian)   Republic   …   Wikipedia

  • Ethnic groups in Europe — See Demography of Europe for population statistics. The ethnic groups in Europe are the various ethnic groups that reside in the nations of Europe. European ethnology is the field of anthropology focusing on Europe. Pan and Pfeil (2004) count 87… …   Wikipedia

  • Khazars — Kazar redirects here. For the Marvel Comics character, see Ka Zar. For the village in Azerbaijan, see Xəzər. For Khazar University, see Khazar University. Khazaria Eastern Tourkia Khaganate …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”