Friday, May 27, 2011

More from the East-er trip

Whilst away for Easter in the East. I wanted to make sure we did something other than my normal trick of cooking and eating far too much, attacking the poor defenceless trees in the garden, as I am a prune-a-holic, and annoying the heck out of the cats and dog. So we decided to stop by the cemetery, ok not so glamorous as one may think, but in this part of the world it is a really important part of life.
They do have these freaky photos on the graves
Plenty of floral tributes.
It is a flower-a-rama at the cemetery
 So after the glitz and glamour that was the dead end of town, we headed off, and out of the city. I have been bugging everyone for a long time about learning more about the Tatars. The people who gave us raw meat (more on this when I talk about my birthday meal) for an entree, and controlled horseriding skills, still exist in Poland. They have suffered hugely in wars as they were highly regarded warriors. In the 17th century after some extreme bravity (saving King Sobieski's life), and assistance in defeating the Turks (The Ottoman Empire) at Vienna, they were granted noble status and give equal rights and land in what is now Eastern Poland. This is where we went to see one of the two villages left in Poland. There are about 3000 left in all of Poland and most live here in Podlasia. Something cool to note as well is the late Hollywood tough guy Charles Bronson was a Tatar!

The town has a church and not a mosque in the "city" sign
The actual Mosque in pristine grounds
The details like all mosques I have seen are delicate and simple
Me pretending to be creative
So as we pulled into Bohoniki we passed some adorable old men sitting out on a bench chattering away and then we parked the car right in front of the mosque. I was standing there taking some photos and I looked behind me. There was a lady standing in front of her house about 200m away yelling at me. I thought maybe we weren't allowed to take photos and then she came down on her bike. I was waiting to get bashed or something by angry town folk. She came down and pointed at the sign. She said "why didn't you come to me?" Marty told me the sign said to go to the address on the sign and the home owner would give you a tour. I was relieved and so for the next 20 or 30 minutes we sat, listened to stories, asked questions and had a good old time.
The lady I was at first scared of.
Prayer beads
Prayer rug with a "Mecca Finder" attached, also known as a compass.

I love a good carpet, and these were quality.

The caretaker of the Mosque tells us stories about Tatars.
Who knew?! I had married a Muslim.

Even her Mother is a Muslim!

After the Mosque we decided to head to the nearby cemetery and see what the differences were, compared to the Christian one that we visited earlier.
The grave stones are spread amongst a hillside covered in beautiful pine

It had a much more ethereal feel to it than any other cemetery I have visited in Poland
Most graves have both Polish and Arabic inscriptions. 
The graves were arranged so that the interned body had its head towards Mecca
Some of the inscriptions
A star and Crescent Moon with the inscriptions
It was a very well kept and beautiful cemetery

I think the almost ghostly pines added to the ambiance that is present there.
Some of the fascinating pine tree formations

 So that was a day with the Tatars. Interesting, no?


Paddy said...

Magical, absolutely beautiful. Where is this extraordinary place?

I particularly liked your photo of the scarey/but actually nice old lady.


Gee Em said...

Hey Paddy, it is way out East nearly in Belarus. So if you ever venture out that way, it is well worth a peek.

Anonymous said...

Very gorgeous and peaceful place. I hope to visit sometime. Thanks for sharing a nice story with beautiful ending, or start.

- Jordan

Gee Em said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and the kind words Jordan, it certainly is a great place. :)

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