Costume of a young man. The Crimean Tatars. Early 20th century. Taurida Province, Yalta District
The multi-ethnic Crimea, with its rich traditions of several civilizations, merged into the Russian Empire in 1783, to become the southernmost province of its European part. Crimea was part of Taurida Oblast (from 1784), Novorossiya Province (1797-1802) and Taurida Province (1802-1918). The vectors of Crimea’s development in the 19th century were its development by new settlers, its making as Russia’s military barrier, development of southern sectors of agriculture, such as horticulture, vine growing and wine making, and tobacco farming, and turning Crimea’s Black Sea coast into a health resort. The Crimean Peninsula, with its diversity of natural and climatic zones and soft climate of its South Coast resembling the Mediterranean, became the fastest developing health resort of the Russian Empire in the second half of the 19th century. Like in many other resort places, for which comparison with Côte d’Azur on the France’s south coast, Crimea’s locals were involved in the new economy. The Crimean Tatars became more active in growing fruit, grapes, and tobacco, catering wine and ayran to visitors, running coffee houses and little restaurants. Many young men, later remembered by visitors as superbly gallant men, served as guides accompanying visitors in travels in the peninsula and in sightseeing visits to the mountains. The clothing of a Crimean guide was the festive costume of a young Crimean Tatar, which included a short embroidered jacket. Such costume was a derivative from one of the clothing types widely known within the Ottoman Empire. The cause of its popularity was not only the fashion à la turque adopted by the Russian society of the late 19th century, but also that this type of costume was used in the uniform of Guards units recruited from Crimean Tatars (for instance, the Crimean Tatar Life Guard Squadron of His Majesty’s Own Convoy).
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