The Waning Crescent. Lipka Tatars in Poland.

At the heart of Podlasie region of north-eastern Poland, a small yet firmly established Sunni Muslim community has been settled for over 300 years: the Polish Tatars, also known as Lipka Tatars, an ethnic minority of fewer than 3000 people.

 

Their ancestors put down roots in the Polish- Lithuanian Commonwealth in the early 14th century, and by the middle of the 16th century as many as twenty thousand Tatars practiced their religion in more than a hundred mosques strewn across the territory now divided into Belarus, Lithuania and Poland. Tatar settlements in Podlasie were first established in the 1670s, and to this day the region is where the majority of Polish Tatars live.

 

Lipkas are a striking reminder that Poland was once a hugely multicultural and multi-religious country. The community has largely assimilated over the centuries but retains its unique character, which is rooted in ancestral and historical legacy and religion.

 

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