:"For Tattoos, also called "tats" see, Tattoo."ethnic group

popplace=Azerbaijan, Dagestan (Russia), Israel, Iran, Armenia (Christian Tats in the area of Nor Madrasa)
rels=Islam, Judaism, Christianity
langs=Tat language
related= other Iranian peoples/other persian groups
The Tat are an Aryan (Iranic) ethnic group in the Caucasus. The Muslim Tats are considered an Iranian [Haarmann, Harald, Language in Ethnicity: A View of Basic Ecological Relations,Walter de Gruyter, 1986, pg 72] ethnic group in the Caucasus and the Jewish Tats have adopted the language of Tati in ancient times. The Tats speak a southwest Iranian language called Tati, which is also referred to as Tat-Persian by some linguists [Gernot L. Windfuhr, Persian Grammar: History and State of Its Study, Walter de Gruyter, 1979, pp4] . The Tats descend from Persians that moved into the Caucasus Mountains in the 5th and 6th centuries. The majority of the Tats of Dagestan (825 as of 2002) live in Kaitag, Magaramkend, Derbent, and Makhachkala. A small number have settled in the North Caucasus (Gorny and Nalchik).

The Tat, according to the official census of the Republic of Azerbaijan number about 10,900 (as of 1999). According to 1897 ethnic census, there were 95,100 Tats living in the Caucasus. [Philip G. Kreyenbroek, Stefan Sperl, The Kurds: A Contemporary Overview, Routledge, 1992. [http://books.google.com/books?id=DkI1u4ta5w4C&pg=RA1-PA194&ots=QvblQ_1sVs&dq=tats++%22iranian%22&sig=9gOrZLhcjquHY14GCSjz3Nx_oT4] ] . According to USSR census of 1926, there was a total of 28,443 Muslim Tats in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan. Together with the Mountain Jews, the number of Tat-speakers was nearly 70000 in 1926. These number however represent a decrease. According to the Encyclopedia of World Cultures [Natalia G. Volkova “Tats” in Encyclopedia of World Culture, Editor: David Publisher, New York : G.K. Hall, Prentice Hall International, 1991-1996] :

Also according to the book 19th century book Golestan-e-Aram, written by Abbasgulu Bakikhanov, Tati was widespread in many areas of Shamakhi, Baku, Darband and Kuba [Gulistan-i Iram / ʻAbbāsqulī Āqā Bakikhānūf ; matn-i ʻilm - intiqādī bi-saʻy va ihtimam: ʻAbd al-Karīm ʻAlī-zādah [va dīgarān] ,Bākku : Idārah-ʾi intishārāt-i "ʻIlm", 1970.Original Persian:درصفحه‌ 18 كتاب‌ مذكور آمده‌ است‌: هشت‌ قريه‌ در طبرسران‌ كه‌ جلقان‌ و روكال‌ و مقاطير و كماخ‌ و زيديان‌ و حميدي‌ و مطاعي‌ و بيلحدي‌ باشد، در حوالي‌ شهري‌ كه‌ انوشيروان‌ در محل‌ متصل‌ به‌ دربند تعمير كرده‌ بود و آثار آن‌ هنوز معلوم‌ است‌، زبان‌ تات‌ دارند. ايضا" در صفحه‌ 19 كتاب‌ ياد شده‌ آمده‌ است‌: محالات‌ واقع‌ در ميان‌ بلوكين‌شماخي‌ و قديال‌ كه‌ حالا شهر قبه‌ است‌، مثل‌ حوض‌ و لاهج‌ و قشونلو در شيروان‌ و برمك‌ و شش‌ پاره‌ و پايين‌ بدوق‌ در قبه‌ و تمام‌ مملكت‌ باكو سواي‌ شش‌ قريه‌ ي‌ تراكمه‌، همين‌زبان‌ تات‌ را دارند... قسم‌ قربي‌ مملكت‌ قبه‌ سواي‌ قريه‌ ي‌ خنالق‌ كه‌ رباني‌ عليحده‌ دارد و ناحيه‌ ي‌ سموريه‌ و كوره‌ دو محال‌ طبرسران‌ كه‌ دره‌ و احمدلو مي‌باشند به‌ اصطلاحات‌منطقه‌، زبان‌ مخصوص‌ دارند و اهالي‌ ترك‌ زبان‌ را مغول‌ مي‌نامند.]

The Tat of Azerbaijan live in the mountain valleys of the north and north-eastern parts of Azerbaijan, along the Caspian shore, with important concentrations in Absheron, Khizi and Ismayilli. There is some debate on the origin of the Mountain Jews, with most opining that they are simply Jews that took the Tat language.

The Turkic-speaking peoples originally coined the term "Tat" to designate settled groups of non-Turkic origin. Tats speak the Tat language, which is also native to Mountain Jews and the Christian Armeno-Tats.

Although the Tat have been an agricultural people from the beginning of their history, they have also developed a strong urban community. Farmers living in the valleys raise wheat, barley, maize, grapes and cattle. Those living in mountain villages raise sheep, bulls and buffaloes. In the north-eastern area, communities consisting of 80 to 120 households are located in mountain settlements built on ledges. The availability of water determines the villages' location, each village contains a religious building, a bath area, a well, as well as family dwellings.

The rural Tat usually live in one or two story homes, which are constructed of rectangular shaped natural stones cemented with clay mortar. The houses feature flat roofs and front porches supported by wooden pillars. Families living in two-story homes use the upper floor for living quarters and the lower floor for working space. The Tat are considered a closed society because they insist on maintaining ethnic purity by allowing marriage only within the tribe. It can be argued that, for such a small ethnic group, this is the only strategy for survival.

"Originally based on an article by Travel-images.com, licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, used with permission."

There are also Tats residing in Gilan province in Iran.


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