Karaite kenases in Evpatoria
The temple complex of the Karaites was once considered an unusual, truly sacred place in Crimea. And it is no coincidence. This small people 200 years ago chose a resort on the peninsula as their spiritual center. This is how the Karaite kenases appeared in Yevpatoria, where religious services were held.
Today they are considered an architectural monument. You can easily find them: yellow kenasas with white columns are located right in the center of the resort. You can walk around the courtyards and see the Big and Small Kenasas on your own. There are information stands throughout the territory, and you can easily navigate the history of this place. However, you can sign up for an excursion and listen to the guide’s story. Karaite kenases in Evpatoria are quite democratic in terms of prices.
Nearby is the ethnic cafe “Karaman”. How to do without oriental food in a place like this! The most delicious pasties are prepared here, they are called chir-chir, they are made with meat, vegetables and cheese. Also try the national dish hamur-dolma – soup with dumplings.
A trip to the Karaite kenases in Evpatoria will be a real revelation for you: history, architecture and unusual cuisine in one place.
The construction of the Karaite kenases in Yevpatoria took a long time, but for centuries. Its history began in 1804, when the first stone was laid. As in any cathedral church, great attention was paid to the decoration of the premises.
Eight years later, she opened the doors for the parishioners of the Small Kenasa. And already in the 20s of the last century, a spiritual school for boys and a charitable kitchen began to work on the territory.
The kenasas really started playing with all the colors after the territory was put in order here. This happened only a hundred years after the start of construction.
Over the years, they tried to remake the Karaite kenases in Yevpatoria. During the revolutionary period there was an anti-religious museum, a military school for nurses, then a kindergarten was opened. The major reconstruction of both kenasas, Bolshoi and Malaya, was completed only in 2005. After that, they appeared in the form in which tourists and locals admire them today.
What to see
As soon as you find yourself behind the massive entrance doors, you will see five courtyards: Grape, Marble, Expectations, Ritual and Memorial. They are all interconnected and lead to the Big and Small Kenas. They say that each of the courtyards has a special energy and attunes believers to the upcoming prayer.
In the Vineyard Yard, you will see a column with a double-headed eagle made of white marble. It appeared in honor of Alexander I, who came to the opening of the keras.
The marble courtyard amazes everyone with its incredible whiteness. And the courtyard of Waiting is green due to the large number of plants. Here believers gather before prayer.
In the Ritual, there are several tombstones with the names of famous Karaites who once lived here. And, finally, the Memorial courtyard, where 15 marble plaques are installed in memory of those who died in the Great Patriotic War.
The big kenasa is pompous and amazing. Everything here attracts attention: bright stained glass windows, skillful wood carving, chic embroidery. You will also see the ancient Torah scrolls – scriptures.
Small kenasa is much more modest. Its main value is in the altar, which is crowned with a crown. However, it was here that the first Karaite temple began.