Kingdom of the Khazars (Mamlekhet ha-Kuzarim)

narrated by Ehud Ya'ari

In Hebrew with English subtitles
3 videocassettes, 162 minutes

Mamlekhet ha-Kuzarim An Israeli television crew set out with journalist Ehud Ya'ari on the trail of the medieval Jewish kingdom of the Khazars, which disappeared in the 11th century. At the heart of the series are three journeys to remote regions of the Caucasus, the Volga Delta, the Crimean Peninsula, and the Steppes of the Don.

In part 1 (The Mercy of God and the Strength of the Omnipotent One), Ya'ari's team visits the Crimea and interviews Krymchaks and Karaites, who claim to be descendants of the Khazars. They also visit the Crimean cities of Sudak and Cherson where there are interesting artifacts related to the Khazars. They also travel to Cambridge University and St. Petersburg to examine various documents related to the Khazars.

In part 2 (The Fall of the Khazar Kingdom), we watch the flooding of the Sarkel archaeological site, which was once home to a Khazar fortress and a trading emporium, and we learn about the important excavations that took place at Sarkel from archaeologist Mikhail Artamonov's granddaughter and from archaeologist Svetlana Pletnyova. The team visits the Hermitage Museum, which stores many Khazar and Jewish artifacts, including items from Sarkel. There are also scenes from Kalmykia, Astrakhan, Samosdelka, Chistibanka, Rostov, and Cherkessia. The mystery concerning the location of the lost city of Atil is investigated with the archaeologists Yevgenia Schneidstein, Ryuichi Hirokawa, and Murad Magomedov. You also get to see Turkic runic letters from Khazaria.

In part 3 (The Final Battle), Ya'ari mentions the state of Khazar research as of 1997 and then it's off to Daghestan for colorful scenes from Derbent and Samandar. We meet some Kumyks, who might be descendants of the Khazars. Magomedov takes the team to Agach-kale, and this trip is followed by a trip to Balanjar and by scenes from places where Mountain Jews live. The camera also captures Khazarian wall drawings. A visit to Kiev provides an opportunity to explore precious jewelry and other artifacts. This is followed by a discussion of the Kievan Letter with Norman Golb and Omeljan Pritsak, and of the Schechter Letter and Russian Chronicles.

A good summary of the film crew's travels is contained in Ehud Ya'ari's article "Skeletons in the Closet" in The Jerusalem Report's September 7, 1995 issue, on pages 26 to 30.

This documentary was originally broadcast on Israeli Television Channel 1 during March 1997. Its producer is Naomi Kaplansky and it features the music of Peretz Eliyahu.
Director: Stanislav Chaplin
Editor: Ami Drozd
Camera: David Yashkuner
Research: Menashe Goldelman

SPECIAL NOTE: K.A. Brook was not involved at all in the creation of this film, contrary to the lie published by the "linguist" D. L. Gold in 2009 on page 126 of his so-called "review". It was later released on videocassette in an English-subtitled version.

Books of related interest:
The Jews of Khazaria
The Khazars: A Judeo-Turkish Empire on the Steppes, 7th-11th Centuries AD
The Kuzari: In Defense of the Despised Faith

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