Life in Kosure, the most remote village of Dagestan
Welcome to the Kusur — the most remote village in Dagestan. Civilization this, you say, and look: of bees there are kept borth, sickle reap, and to talk on a cell phone, it needs to be hung on the wall in a special place.
17 APR 2019 13:40
Last summer in the South of Dagestan, it was raining – maybe a little stronger than usual. What did the people in the cities? Habitually opened the umbrella and hurry on about their business. In mountainous areas, this same rain was a disaster.
The river was swollen and in four places at once destroyed the only road connecting the West Rutul district plain.
The water tore at the places of huge bulldozers, the waves carrying cars, like matchbox, threw them in the shallows. The traffic on the highway was restored two days, but still restored. Kusur, as usual, was the only place for many days completely cut off from civilization. However, we cannot say that the village has been reliably linked to the outside world.
Night Kusur. Beyond the hills lie the source of the river Samur and pass Kalahurka. Pass leads in Tlyaratinskiy district, populated mainly by Avars — the same people as the inhabitants Kusura. Down by the river Avar villages are no more.
To get here, first you need a long drive from Makhachkala – about seven o’clock, leaving behind the lands of the Kumyks, Azeris, Lezgins, Rutuls and finally, Tsakhurs. For zahurski the village Flies the road ends – then there is only a dangerous path. After 15 kilometers it leads to Kusur.
Last summer, the Samur river once again rose to a few meters – well, and swallowed a piece of the path. And to get around the flooded part of the road – tiny, no more than fifty meters – you need a few hours to climb the steep slopes. For residents of the remote settlement of Dagestan, and, perhaps, the entire North Caucasus is a perfectly ordinary story.
Children spend time outdoors from morning to evening. The Internet is not and are not expected, but they find it fun.
The Avars living here. The most numerous people in the multinational Republic, in Kuzure they can say, in isolation to the nearest Avar village have to go a couple of days through the mountains. Like all Caucasians, the people are hospitable. The first counter who have a spare room, beckons the traveler to enter puts at the same table with the family, gives to drink hot tea (drink it from the saucer). That’s what I got on a visit to Chess, the middle-aged man: he spent several days in his rural home. “Help yourself to lamb, we have what you want”, and I cordially offered me the host. Shortage of lamb in Kuzure really there: locals – a great sheep farmers. Slaughtered cattle are used almost entirely head – exquisite delicacy, the bones of children play in the headstock, the skin also hang out to dry, and then sew it cheese: living on sheep wool bacteria give it a special taste.
On the occasion of Eid al-Adha, the boy plays with the horns of sacrificial animals. Talus nakopiteli joint used to play in grandma — he once entertained children in Ancient Rome (and in pre-revolutionary Russia, the game was popular).
On the opposite slope of the valley of the Samur river zigzags going up the trail. “Centuries of cattle we drove through it on winter pastures and for sale in the Azerbaijani town of Zagatala”, – explains to me Chess while we leisurely stroll through his native Kusuru. “If in Zagatala to ride a horse, is easily reached in four hours,” he says. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union the border here was sealed off, the nearest checkpoint far from the sea, the sheep go chasing unrealistic, and Kusur slowly began to decline. Summer in the village live seven or eight houses, and in winter remain residential and at only six: few people want to get the products in the nearest shop (more than 20 kilometers, the village Dzhinykh) on skis on a frozen mountain river. Soon, probably, the village completely empty, adding to the long list of picturesque villages of ghosts, who are so fond of photographers. In the meantime, the inaccessibility Kusura turned it into a unique Museum of mining traditions, in other places almost lost.
In the evening the cattle is driven closer to the village. The herd remains in a paddock by the river, and here young and sick animals spend the night in more comfortable conditions — in the barn.
Half of the houses in the village the roofs are flat, like old Dagestani photos. Attics are dried meat, sausage. Bees kept in borth – hollowed tree trunks. The grass reap sickles, then women dragged home on the back of the stack – twice the size of them.
Dried meat with traditional Caucasian product: so prepare for the future beef and mutton. Usually the cattle slaughtered in November not to feed in winter. Stockpile enough until the next summer. In the fall, during the slaughter of cattle, even the outer walls of the houses hung with carcasses, and you can see how colorful bird with a joyful chirping pinch off pieces of meat.
From the achievements of civilization in Kuzure there’s a payphone in the building of the local school. However, cards for a unit in the village no, but he regularly takes calls. Everything happens like this: first, who was nearby, picks it up, and then looking for the one who called. Difficult here to get in touch with the outside world.
To catch the signal and use a mobile phone, you need to go to the house, which stands on a hill, and one of its walls looking towards the tower of the mobile operator. Here the phone is fixed on a homemade plaque with hooks, in the place where the probability to catch the relationship above all else. Dial the number and speak cautiously and without having to remove the phone from the holder. Day on the benches near the plate’s usually a queue.
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Girls gathered at the “magic” plate, one of them hung up the phone on the hook and waiting until the device catches the coveted signal.
In Dagestan bake dozens of varieties of bread in accordance with the traditions of different peoples. Perhaps the most popular oven — tandoor. It can be time to bake cakes for all the guests who will come on Eid al-Adha.
Children watch as father cuts slivers for kindling samovar. Tea from a samovar in Dagestan is considered to be especially tasty.
Two pole, iron bar — here you have a football goal, and a jungle gym for the kids. In Kuzure there is a school, a classroom — room size a little larger than a phone booth. And yet this place is vital: school for Caucasus villages — same as TETS for the North. When it closed, families with children are leaving, and the village is slowly dying.
In this peculiar and difficult life he has and holidays. The most striking – Eid al-Adha to commemorate the sacrifice of Ibrahim, the biblical Abraham. Two days cusource killing sheep carcasses hanging in rows on the walls of houses. Men cut up the meat, and women bake bread in clay ovens.
The people in these days go to each other’s homes: the first table covers are one family, and the next day was treated to her neighbors. In the evenings, after the meals, a long procession of villagers marching to the cemetery. All carry sadaka – alms (cooked halva, bread, sweets), these treats residents treat each other. Then adults and children go to play football at a large clearing on the outskirts of the village.
In celebration of Eid al-Adha, local residents go to the cemetery with as sadaqa — voluntary contributions that the villagers share.
Wedding in the village for obvious reasons, rare. One of them took place last summer, even before the floods blocked the way to Kusur. All day in the village played on the zurna, beat drums, and then the couple got together and went to the village of Babayurt in the North of Dagestan. There, in the plains, have moved most cusource.
Chess with the arrival of cold weather, too, leaving Kusura into the plain – into their new home in the village of Kochubey. “Do, please, photos Kusura – I’ll hang it on the wall though so will see home, remaining far away from me,” he asks. I took a few pictures. To save the village, we need a reliable way, but it is not expected: only children after rain building through the streams crossing.
Two weeks after floods in the village were able to come the first guests from the mainland. A woman in a hijab and dark glasses led the saddled horse next to me was a man with a child in her arms. A thin thread connecting the village with civilization restored. But only until the next shower.