This Google Map shows present and former Circassian settlements in the State of Israel (green pins), the contested Golan Heights (the 14 red pins), Syria (blue pins) and Jordan (yellow pins).
The Circassian villages in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights were abandoned and destroyed during or after the Six Day War of June 1967. They are shown by the eight red pins with a white x. Those Circassian villages in Golan outside the Israeli zone, within the Quneitra Governorate of Syria, appear still to be intact. The two main Circassian settlements in the Syrian Golan are Beer Ajam and Bariqa, but many from these villages, and the Golan generally, were internally displaced and moved to Aleppo and Rukn al-Din in Damascus (not marked on the map).
The Circassians have lived in this region of the Middle-East since the Circassian Genocide of 1864, when a majority of the nation fled the Russian forces and escaped by boat across the Black Sea to ports from Varna in the west to Trabzon in the east. Those who survived the voyage and its immediate aftermath as refugees on the Black Sea coast, where they suffered from exposure, hunger and disease, eventually resettled in a number of areas within the Ottoman Empire. One of these is the line of settlement that can be seen on the map, extending from Manbij in Syria in the north to Kfar Kama in Israel and the cluster of communities in Jordan to the south.
In the case of the two Circassian villages in Israel, a number of features are marked on the map – mosques, cemeteries, cultural centres etc.
There are, or were, also Circassians in Raqqa and the Circassian mosque in their Al-Sharaqsa neighbourhood was used by Islamic State for sermons and decrees. The mosque has been largely destroyed in the recent conflict but the minaret, although damaged, still stands (as at December 2017).
The Google Map shows only a little of the history of the Mamkhegh. The Mamkhegh are a Circassian people and specifically one of the 12 Adyghe tribes, with their own eponymous dialect. They are Sunni Muslim.
Their historic villages were situated to the south of the town of Maykop. The approximate sites of the 12 largest of these are shown with blue question marks on the map. The exact sites are not certain but the distribution and spatial inter-relationship of them on the map is reasonably correct – or, at least, it follows the rough sketch map drawn up by local ethnographer Aleksandr Nikolayevich Dyachkov-Tarasov in 1901. Dyachkov-Tarasov uses the traditional Circassian and Caucasian word “aul” for each village and shows the borders of the Mamkhegh territory stretching south of Maykop in a dewdrop shape between Dagestanskaya and Abadzekhskaya villages on the rivers Kurdzhips and Belaya respectively.
These native villages were depopulated towards the end of the Caucasian War, circa 1862-63. At that time, most Mamkheghs, along with other Muslim Circassians, were deported from the Russian to the Ottoman Empire – presumably, their descendants live somewhere in Anatolia now. Those Mamkhegs who remained within Adygea were settled in the new eponymous village of Mamkheg and the other villages shown in yellow on the map.
The Google Map shows some of the main towns and villages in Kosovo in which Circassians from the north Caucasus were settled by the Ottomans, following Russian Imperial expansion culminating in the 1860-1864 Russian-Circassian War.
The Circassians in Kosovo were from three of the twelve Adyghe tribes: the Abzakh, Shapsug and Ubykh.
Although a small population of Circassians still remains in Kosovo, there have been ongoing waves of emigration into Anatolia – after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877/78, during the Balkan Wars of 1912/13, after the formation of the first Yugoslavian state post-WW1, and after WW2. More recently, there has been movement back to the Caucasus. The Google Map shows the modern aul (village) of Mafejabl in the north Caucasus to which a group of unassimilated Kosovar Circassians relocated in 1998.