The History of Mennonites in Central Asia

 

Countries: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

Tour duration: 19 days

Mennonites of Central Asia are a group of Mennonites of German language, tradition and ethnicity, who are descendants from German-Dutch Anabaptists who settled for about 250 years in West Prussia and established colonies in the south west of the Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine) beginning in 1789. Since the late 19th century, many of them have come to countries throughout the Western Hemisphere. The rest were forcibly relocated, so that few of their descendants now live at the location of the original colonies.

Catherine the Great of Russia issued a Manifesto in 1763 inviting all Europeans to come and settle various pieces of land within Russia, especially in the Volga River region. For a variety of reasons, Germans responded to this in large numbers.

In the 1880's, Mennonite families in South Russia sold their prosperous estates and joined a migration to what is now Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. They were driven by hopes that the Second Coming would occur in Central Asia, and by the loss of their exemption from military service. They settled in the Talas Valley of Turkestan and in the Khanate of Khiva.

 

Tour program: on request

Heritage Tours

Jewish Heritage at the Silk Road

The History of Mennonites

Customized tours on request

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