On March 24, 2016, Muslims in Odessa marked the 350th anniversary of the visit of a famous Turkish traveler, historian and geographer Mehmed Zilli (died in 1682 in Cairo), also known Evliya Çelebi to southern Ukraine and Crimea.
The confrence was attended by leading scholars, religious and community leaders from Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Crimea, Odessa and Poland.
The significant of the event is directly related to Odessa region and Crimea, which Evliya Çelebi visited repeatedly during his travels, leaving a description of the culture, life, traditions and beliefs of peoples who had lived in those lands, in his 10-volume work entitled The Book of Travel. Among other topics discussed during the even were Ukrainian-Turkish relations, the history of relations between Islam and Christianity in the south of Ukraine.
The conference was opened by Mufti of the RAMU Ummah Said Ismagilov (Kyiv).
“A special lot befell Ukraine: our country is at the crossroads of Muslim and Christian worlds, where the East and the West met, where the Christian Europe and the Muslim East have very well combined with the tradition, culture, language and history of the country, and this is a great achievement,” Said Ismagilov said.
Professor Mariusz Marshevskiy (University of Poznan in Poland) said that western historians have distorted history and great contributions by Muslims in the region.
“Contrary to what is written in the school textbooks on Turkic nomadic barbarians of the 17th-18th centuries, it had a rich history as well as cultural, religious and philosophical tradition. For example, in the territory of Balta there was an outpost of the Ottoman Empire in those times. After 1768, the city was a place of battles between the haydamakys and Tatars. In the late 18th century the Ottoman fortress Belhorod-Dnistrovskyy reached the peak of its cultural development,” said Mariusz Marshevskiy.
Candace Rose Rardon has tried to follow the path of Evliya Çelebi through her sketches ahead of the 350th anniversary (here).
Have a walk through Odessa (Ukraine) below.