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Published on Mar 16, 2008
Khazars and Karaims
Prince Bulan, the ruling Khagan of the Turkish Khazar Empire (not the whole Khazar population) was converted to Karaism by Isaac Sangari, whose grave is in the Karaim cemetery, Balti timez, in Josophate valley of Chufut-Kale (Qirq Yer) in Bakhchisarai, Crimea.
There is another supposition that the conversion of local inhabitants of Crimea to Karaism occurred not in Khazar times, but later, during or after the Mongol rule, under the influence of the newcomers from Byzantium. This could explain the Turkish language of the local Karaites, their Tatar appearance and way of life, and the political independence of the Karaites of Chufut-Kale. However, the genetic studies, point to their Khazar origin. Today Turkic Karaims are nearly all from Crimea. Over the years, they moved and settled in Lithuania, Poland, other parts of Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Israel, France, and the United States. It is assumed that the number of Karaims in the world is less than 5,000 today.