FAQ

Where is Circassia?
A country in the north-western Caucasus and along the north-eastern shore of the Black Sea, stretching southwards from the banks of the River Kuban, which at that time marked the southern boundary of the Russian empire. Circassia, prior to Tsarist Imperial conquest, occupied an area of 55,663 square kilometres – greater than the area of Denmark – inhabited by an indigenous population in excess of two million.

Who are Circassians?
Circassians can be traced back as far as the Bosphoran Kingdom of the Eighth century BC, and possibly to the Cimmerian Empire that existed along the shores of the Azov Sea before 1500 BC. They enjoyed close cultural and trading ties with the ancient Greeks, especially with the Athenians and even participated in the Olympic Games. The Circassians were invaded by Russia and fought for over a century, from 1763 to 1864 – longer than any other people of the Caucasus. Their final defeat in the 1860s led to the Circassian Genocide and forced exile, mainly across the Black Sea to Turkey, in the course of which a large proportion of them perished.

What language do the Circassians speak?
Circassians have their own language. It is one of the indigenous languages of the Caucasus Mountains. It is closely related to the Abkhazian and Ubykh (now extinct) languages.

Why do 90% of Circassians live outside Historical Circassia?
Due to the Circassian Genocide committed by Russia, there is 5-6 million Circassians living in exile in the following countries: Turkey, USA, Jordan, Germany, France, Syria, Israel and over 52 other countries.

Why was the Circassian Cultural Institute created?
The founding members identified the need for an Institute that focuses on public conferences and workshops to draw attention to the ongoing problems concerning the plight of Circassians.

Can my group hold an event at the Institute?
Since the primary mission of the Institute is to foster the advancement of Circassian culture we welcome the submission of requests to hold events.

How can I contribute to the work of the Institute?
There are many ways to give to the Institute, — all of which are tax deductible — including giving gifts to education, donations, pledges to a particular program among other ways.

Do you have a library or resource centre?
Yes, the Institute has obtained a vast collection of documents and images that include the Library of Congress, the Georgian National Archives and thousands of documents all pertaining to the Circassian genocide, history, culture and contemporary affairs.

Where is the Institute located?
The Circassian Cultural Institute is located at 555 Preakness Ave, Totowa, NJ 07512