The Khvarshi of Dagestan

This Google Map shows the distribution of another minority ethnos or people of the Caucasus, namely that of the Khvarshi (or Khwarshi) of the Republic of Dagestan in Russia.

The seven historic villages of the Khvarshi are shown with green pins on the map. The Khvarshi speak their own eponymous Khvarshi language and profess the Sunni form of Islam.

In 1944, the community was deported en masse from their traditional villages to Ritlyab (in Dagestan) and Vedeno (in Chechnya), places shown with grey pins on the map.

After the Great Patriotic War, many Khvarshi returned to their native villages in the highlands. Others remained where they were or moved on to the five settlements in northern Dagestan shown with blue pins on the map, where they remain till today.

 

The Hunzibs of Dagestan & Georgia

This Google Map shows the distribution of Hunzib settlement in the Caucasus. The Hunzibs are ethnically Avar and Sunni Muslim highlanders. They have their own Hunzib language, although the number of speakers is under 5,000 and quite possibly under 2,500.

The heartland of the Hunzib people is in Dagestan, in the cluster of three villages, shown in blue, near Tlyadal: Garbutl, Gunzib and Nakhada. There were or are smaller settlements in this vicinity, either hamlets or neighbourhoods of the main villages (small as they themselves are) also occupied by Hunzibs: these are Gelo, Khelada, Novaya Nakhada, Novo Garbutl, Rodor, and Todor. It is possible that one or two of these are alternative names for one of the main villages, just as Gunzib, or parts of it, seems to have been known as Darbal or Darbali and/or Rodol at one time (or perhaps in a different tongue).

There is no letter “h” in Russian; it is replaced by “g”. Dagestan, as part of the Russian Federation, officially uses the Russian language and hence Hunzib (the ethnos) is identical with Gunzib (the village).

Hunzibs live additionally in two large villages in the Kizilyurt district of north-eastern Dagestan (marked with purple pins on the map). These places were not settled by Hunzibs until the C20th, possibly as a result of disruption and displacement during Soviet times.

The three villages in Georgia, marked with red pins, are home to numbers of Avars including Hunzibs – the village of Saruso is a majority Hunzib settlement. These places are shown on the map under their official Georgian names followed by their Avar/Hunzib names – for example, Saruso is the Georgian and Khaladukh the Hunzib name.