East and West

Belarus’ hinterland meets thousand-year-old history
Russia’s Kazan has always been a junction of the western and eastern cultures, a place where people of various nationalities and faiths peacefully coexisted for centuries. Kazan and Tatarstan are often cited as the best examples of confessional and ethnical concord. Besides, Kazan is a beautiful city-millionaire with over 700 architectural, historic and culture sites, almost all of them being a unique synthesis of various civilizations.

The Belarusian hinterland has received a wonderful chance to see the grandeur of churches, theaters and streets of the capital city of Tatarstan. The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Belarus has organized a photo display “1000th Anniversary of Kazan”. Minsk citizens were the first ones to see the beauties of Kazan, and then the exposition was moved to Ivye, a district center in the Grodno Region.

This was a good choice, for Ivye is the official capital of Belarusian Tatars. The town retained the only mosque of the country throughout the years of the Soviet regime.

Attending the meeting were counselor of the embassy, chairman of public association of Belarusian Tatars “Zikr ul-Kitab” A. Lomakin and Mufti Abu-Bekir Shabanovich. They were greeted by Chairman of the Ivye District Administration Valentin Prokopik, who noted “Belarus has a thousand-year-old tradition of inter-ethnic understanding and tolerance. Every nation with its culture is a national treasure. The recent Belarusian Festival of National Cultures that took place in Grodno is a perfect proof. Ivye is a wonderful example of inter-ethnic relations, a place where Catholics, Orthodox, Muslims and Protestants peacefully coexist.

Valentin Prokopik characterized Ivye Tatars as industrious laborers and decent people that are all distinguished by devotion to duty. Abu-Bekir Shabanovich called Ivye a reserve of ethnical relations and confessional cultures, a pitchfork of his soul. He presented an Islamic banner and a panel with symbols of Kazan to the town administration.

After that Ivye residents, among them many Tatars, had a look at the display of photos from Kazan and listened to an inspiring performance of the folk band “Chabarok”.
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