International Committee for Crimea
ICC. P.O. Box 15078, Washington, DC 20003


The ICC would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following individuals, whose photographs are featured in the Galleries: Idil Izmirli (Springfield, VA); Inci Bowman (Washington, DC), Laryssa Chomiak (currently in Tunis, Tunisia), Ayşe Seyfullah (Arlington, VA) and Waleed Ziad (Montreal, Canada) as well as Nadir Bekir, Eldar Seitbekir, Eskender Bariev and Nariman Potelov, all from Simferopol, Crimea.

Please note that the contents of the Galleries program, including all images, are intended for non-commercial use only. Individual photographers own the copyright to the images contained in the Galleries, and images may be reproduced for the purposes of personal and educational use, and research. Images may be copied and distributed, provided that credit is given to the photographer and the address of the ICC Web site is included: www.iccrimea.org. For commercial use, please contact the ICC.

Gallery 1. Preview

This introductory gallery features an assortment of pictures from Crimea: historical sites, residential areas, social conditions and conflicts, festive occasions, food culture and handcrafts. These are the views or images of what one might expect to encounter on a visit to Crimea or may be indicative of the direction in which the Galleries section will be developed. Future Galleries at this Web site may include scenes from daily life, architectural sites, visual arts, handcrafts or pictures of individuals whose lives mattered, both from Crimea and the Crimean Tatar diaspora. Photo credits: Idil Izmirli, Ayşe Seyfullah, Laryssa Chomiak and Waleed Ziad, Eldar Seitbekir and Inci Bowman.

Gallery 2. Memorial Events, Rallies and Demonstrations

Every year on the 18th of May, thousands of Crimean Tatars gather in Simferopol to observe the anniversary of Surgun, their deportation from homeland Crimea in 1944. These large gatherings are also occasions for demanding an end to their continuing resettlement problems: inadequate housing, return of confiscated land, job discrimination and social prejudice. Since the principle of non-violence has been at the very foundation of the Crimean Tatar National Movement, such events are always peaceful. Photo credits: Idil Izmirli and Eskender Bariev, 2004-2008.

Gallery 3. Hansaray (Palace of the Khans), Bahçesaray

Hansaray or the Palace of the Khans in Bahçesaray served as the administrative center of the Khanate as well as the residence of the Khans from the early 16th century until the Russian annexation of Crimea in 1783. The palace complex includes State Council's Hall (Divan), reception halls, administrative and service quarters, the Harem, gardens, a mosque, and a cemetery for the Giray family. While the oldest part of the Palace is the Iron gate, which bears the date of 909 (1503-1504), many of the original components and features of the structure were lost in the 18th century. Hansaray today is a museum of Crimean Tatar history and decorative arts, and is open to the public. Photo credits: Laryssa Chomiak and Waleed Ziad, 2006.

For additional information on the architecture of Hansaray, see:

Gallery 4. Confrontation at Azizler (Bahçesaray)

On July 8, 2006, Crimean Tatars clashed with a group of ultra nationalist Russians and Cossacks, when they gathered to protest the continuing use of a market in Bahçesaray. The market, occupying the grounds of a holy burial ground (Azizler or the Saints), was the subject of controversy for about ten years. When the Crimean Tatars gathered to picket a recent court decision, the protesters were met with physical violence, resulting in the hospitalization of ten Crimean Tatars. On July 11, the authorities announced that the Market will be moved to another area, as it is occupying the land illegally and operating without a license. On August 12, there was another clash at the marketplace, and about twenty Crimean Tatars were injured and several cars were damaged. Crimean authorities signed an agreement, ordering the closure of the marketplace by September 11, 2006. Photo credits: Eldar Seitbekir and Idil Izmirli, 2006..

For additional information, see:
ICC News Digest No. 6 (Summer 2006)

Gallery 5. Vandalism at Cemeteries

On April 11, 2008, a Crimean Tatar cemetery was desecrated in Chistenkoe, outside of Simferopol. The attack took place at night and about 40 gravestones were damaged and broken. The graffiti on the walls of the cemetery, written in Russian, read: “Tatars, leave Crimea now!” The Crimean Tatars leaders said that such vandalism is intended to provoke the Tatar population and thus contribute to the destabilization of Crimea. Earlier, in February 2008, there was another attack on the cemetery in Seyitler, Nijnegorsky region, where 270 tombs were damaged. Photographs shown here were taken in Chistenkoe. Photo credits: Nadir Bekir, 2008.

For additional information, see:

Gallery 6. Crimean Tatar Foods

While the Crimean Tatar diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables and meats, the best known dish remains the Chee-Borek (Photo #2). Considered the national dish, the Chee-borek is popular not only in Crimea but also in Crimean Tatar diaspora communities in Turkey, Romania, Russia and Uzbekistan. The meat turnovers are prepared by rolling out dough, filling with a mixture of ground beef and grated onions, folding over dough to make half moons and frying them. Another variation, prepared the same way but grilled (not fried) and called “Yantık,” is popular in Crimea. (Photo # 9). As Crimean Tatars lived in exile for nearly fifty years, mostly in Uzbekistan, their cuisine today includes some Uzbek foods such as a rice dish (Uzbek pilaf) and the special bread called Naan or Lipyoshka (Photo # 12). Photo credits: Ayşe Seyfullah, 2007 and 2008.

For additional information, see the illustrated feature “Çiborek or Çiğborek” (in Turkish):

Gallery 7. Land Disputes: Yanı Qırım Settlement, Simferopol

The origin of the Yanı Qırım settlement on Balaklavskaya Street in Simferopol dates back to March 2006. The land now occupied by about 80 Crimean Tatar families belongs to the Ukrainian Department of Defense, which planned to turn over the property to the city of Simferopol. Before the transaction was completed, however, the Crimean authorities started negotiating with private companies to build apartment buildings. Crimean Tatars, who had been waiting for years to receive land, feared that they were being left out once again and occupied an area of this government property. On November 1, 2007, a group of paramilitary troops, who called themselves Sevastopol Cossacks, showed up at the location and began destroying the existing structures. At the time of the attack there were about 30 people on the property, mostly children and women. Eventually the security forces arrived at the scene and disbanded the attackers. (Slides 2-4 are from November 2007.) Reportedly, several people were wounded. Following this deplorable clash more than a year ago, Crimean Tatars continued to build, including a mosque at Yanı Qırım (Slides 5-6). When they heard of the recent governmental decision (January 23, 2009) to demolish the settlement, they mobilized quickly to protect their community (Slides 6-12). The beginnings of the Yanı Qırım settlement and what happened there during the last week of January 2009 clearly demonstrate the continuing problems the Tatar repatriates face in acquiring land in Crimea. Photo credits: Eldar Seitbekir, Nadir Bekirov and Nariman Potelov.


Crimean Tatar Flag

Students at Work

Bahçesaray Street
Bahçesaray Street

Ozbek Han Mosque
Ozbek Han Mosque