Red Village, Quba

Red Village, Quba

Red Village – Settlement of Mountain Jews

A little settlement lying on the left bank of the Kudilay river in the north-eastern part of the Big Caucasian mountain range is the only community for the mountain Jews on the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Mountain Jews had settled in the Caucasus more than two thousand years ago, and appeared on the Azerbaijan land only in the 5th century. Those were Orthodox Jews who were practicing not only the writings of the Old Testament, but also Talmud and rabbi beliefs. They spoke the language of the Iranian group – djukhuro, and the base of their social system was a community (kagal) that ruled all spheres of life of mountain Jews.

In the 18th century, after the Jewish settlements were destroyed by the armies of Persian King Nadir-Shah, they started to search for new places for their community. At that time Huseyn Ali Khan was ruling the neighbouring kingdom who accepted the Jews under his protection and gave them the land opposite the city of Quba. In 1731 Jews from all around Azerbaijan began to move to Sloboda. In the end, they formed a multinational closed community of the mountain Jews that for the next centuries have preserved their unique material and spiritual culture, their traditions and the language.

Convenient location of the village on the main trading road, protection of the Quba Khans, fertile land that allowed them to do farming encouraged Sloboda to flourish. Between the Muslim population of Quba and the Jewish Sloboda tight trade and cultural ties had been set and in 1851 the first wooden bridge across Kudilay had been built, that connected the city and the village. Aside farming, local inhabitants were engaged in gardening and weaving. Their apples were famous all around the village, and the weaving became their best production. Later the craftsmanship of the Slobodan weavers was the base to found a Quba school of weaving.

Three hundred years later Red Village or Krasnaya Sloboda not only remained but also acquired the status of the state monument with rich history and heritage that attracts visitors from different parts of the world. But the Red Village is famous not only for being an oasis of unique national culture, but also its natives. Having a population of 3000 people, hundreds of them from Red Village are well-known politicians, businessmen, scientists, notable figures living and working in different parts of the world: Russia, Israel, USA, Germany, United Kingdom and Azerbaijan.

The rich entrepreneurs of Russia according to the Forbes such as Zarah Aliev and God Nisanov, Soviet orthdopaedist Gavril Ilizarov who invented the special device for treating injures and birth defects of the human musculoskeletal system were born here. The famous musical dynasty of Ilizarovs also origin from here. The write Vladimir Agababaev, poet Yasha Mashiahov, Olympic Games Champion of the Azerbaijan SSR, fencing sport trainer Zinaida Misheva and others continue the list.

Famous and wealthy compatriots do not forget their historic motherland: they build mansions in the place of the old village houses, make donations to synagogues, help kindergartens and schools, improve the infrastructure. Despite all this, Red Village has no future: the main inhabitants of the village are women, the elderly men and children as the employable men leave the village to have a better life in big cities.