Finnish Tatars

The Tatars of Finland (Mishar: Финляндия татарлары; Finnish: Suomen tataarit Swedish: Finländska tatarer) are an ethnic Volga Tatar diaspora in Finland, who espouse the Muslim faith. They number approximately 1,000 and form a well-established and homogeneous religious, cultural and linguistic minority. The Tatars are the oldest Muslim minority in Finland and in the Nordic countries,[1] and operate the Finnish Islamic Congregation (Tatar: Finlandiya Islam Cemaati),[2] the oldest state-recognised Muslim congregation in the Western world.[3] Finnish Tatars (mainly Mishar Tatars) have their historical origins in Eastern Europe and their language belongs to the Turkic language family.

Finnish Tatars
Финляндия татарлары
Suomen Tataarit
Finländska Tatarer
Regions with significant populations
Mishar Tatar, Finnish, Swedish
Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
Mishar Tatars, Volga Tatars and other Turkic peoples


During the early years of Finland's status as an autonomous Grand Duchy under the Russian Tsars, Tatars were already being employed by the Russians at the construction of the Bomarsund fortress in Åland and at the Suomenlinna sea fortress off the coast of Helsinki. Most of those returned to Russia. For the ones who did not, an Islamic cemetery in Bomarsund bears witness to their presence in Finland.

The ancestors of the present-day Tatars came to Finland from the 1870s to the mid-1920s from a group of some 20 villages in the Sergachsky District on the Volga River, to the southeast of Nizhny Novgorod. Most of them had been farmers but they settled in Finland as merchants trading in furs and textiles and chose initially to reside in Helsinki and its surrounding area. Tatars living in the city of Vyborg on the Karelian Isthmus resettled in Tampere and Helsinki when the area was ceded to the Soviet Union in the Moscow Peace Treaty of 1940. Most Finnish Tatars continue to live in Helsinki and its surroundings.[4]

Finnish Islamic Congregation

In 1925, the Finnish Islamic Congregation (Tatar: Finlandiya Islam Cemaati; Finnish: Suomen Islam-seurakunta) was founded. Finland was thus the first Western European country to officially recognise an Islamic congregation. The Finnish Freedom of Religion Act had been adopted in 1922. Today, the congregation has mosques in Helsinki and Järvenpää. A second congregation of Tatars was established in Tampere in 1943. Non-Tatar Muslims may worship at, but cannot become members of, the Finnish Islamic Congregation.[5] There are Tatar Islamic cemeteries in Helsinki, Turku and Tampere.

Modern day

The Tatars are fully integrated into Finnish society and they are actively engaged in Finnish economic and cultural life in a wide array of professions. At the same time, they have succeeded in maintaining a distinct identity and in keeping the Tatar language alive by using it in family and private circles and also in their cultural organisations. Since 1935, the Tatar Cultural Society (Tatar: Finlandiya Türkleri Birligi) has organised principally Tatar-language cultural events in the form of plays, folk music, folk dancing and poetry recitals.

The pride of the sports club, Yolduz, established in 1945, is its football team. Both the cultural society and the sports club operate with the support of the Islamic Congregation, which thus contributes to the maintenance of the Tatar culture and language. One notable Finnish Tatar is the former soccer player Atik Ismail.

From 1948 to 1969 there was a Tatar primary school (Tatar: Türk Halk Mektebi) in Helsinki, which was partly subsidised by the Islamic Congregation and partly by the City of Helsinki.[6] About half of the teaching was in Finnish and half in Tatar. Reform of the Finnish school system in the 1970s made the school unviable due to the small number of pupils and the conditions governing state subsidies. Instead, during the autumn and spring terms after school hours, the Islamic Congregation provides regular teaching of Tatar language, culture, religion and history, with Tatar as the language of instruction. A Tatar kindergarten has existed since the 1950s. Summer courses in Tatar are now held at the Tatar Training Centre in Kirkkonummi, near Helsinki.

It is remarkable that the small group of Finnish Tatars has managed to preserve proficiency in the Tatar language for as long as five generations. The publishing activity of the Tatars was once extensive but has now ceased. Past publications include religious texts, poetry, plays, novels as well as periodicals, the earliest from 1925.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Keitä ovat tataarit?
  2. ^ "Suomen Islam-seurakunta" (in Finnish). Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  3. ^ Kervinen, Elina (3 September 2004). "Tavismuslimit". Ylioppilaslehti (in Finnish). Student Union of the University of Helsinki. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  4. ^ a b Tatar Cultural Association
  5. ^ "Suomen Islam-seurakunta". Uskonnot Suomessa. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  6. ^ Hakulinen, Rauno. "Kansankirkon varjossa" (PDF) (in Finnish). University of Helsinki. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
Architecture of Finland

The architecture of Finland has a history spanning over 800 years, and while up until the modern era the architecture was strongly influenced by currents from Finland's two respective neighbouring ruling nations, Sweden and Russia, from the early 19th century onwards influences came directly from further afield; first when itinerant foreign architects took up positions in the country and then when the Finnish architect profession became established. Also, Finnish architecture in turn has contributed significantly to several styles internationally, such as Jugendstil (or Art Nouveau), Nordic Classicism and Functionalism. In particular, the works of the country's most noted early modernist architect Eliel Saarinen have had significant worldwide influence. But even more renowned than Saarinen has been modernist architect Alvar Aalto, who is regarded as one of the major figures in the world history of modern architecture. In an article from 1922 titled “Motifs from past ages”, Aalto discussed national and international influences in Finland, and as he saw it;

"Seeing how people in the past were able to be international and unprejudiced and yet remain true to themselves, we may accept impulses from old Italy, from Spain, and from the new America with open eyes. Our Finnish forefathers are still our masters."

In a 2000 review article of twentieth century Finnish architecture, Frédéric Edelmann, arts critic of the French newspaper Le Monde, suggested that Finland has more great architects of the status of Alvar Aalto in proportion to the population than any other country in the world. Finland's most significant architectural achievements are related to modern architecture, mostly because the current building stock has less than 20% that dates back to before 1955, which relates significantly to the reconstruction following World War II and the process of urbanisation which only gathered pace after the war.1249 is the date normally given for the beginning of Swedish rule over the land now known as Finland (in Finnish, Suomi), and this rule continued until 1809, after which it was ceded to Russia. However, under Russian rule it had a significant degree of autonomy as the Grand Duchy of Finland. Finland declared independence from Russia in 1917, at the time of the Russian Revolution. These historical factors have had a significant bearing on the history of architecture in Finland, along with the founding of towns and the building of castles and fortresses (in the numerous wars between Sweden and Russia fought in Finland), as well as the availability of building materials and craftsmanship and, later on, government policy on issues such as housing and public buildings. As an essentially forested region, timber has been the natural building material, while the hardness of the local stone (predominantly granite) initially made it difficult to work, and the manufacture of brick was rare before the mid-19th century. The use of concrete took on a particular prominence with the rise of the welfare state in the 1960s, in particular in state-sanctioned housing with the dominance of prefabricated concrete elements.

Demographics of Finland

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Finland, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Finland numbers some 5.5 million people and has an average population density of 17 inhabitants per square kilometre. There has not been any remarkable growth in the number of population since the inception of modern Finland. This makes it the third most sparsely populated country in Europe, after Iceland and Norway. Population distribution is very uneven: the population is concentrated on the small southwestern coastal plain. About 85% live in towns and cities, with one million living in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area alone. In Arctic Lapland, on the other hand, there are only 2 people to every square kilometre.

Finland is an relatively ethnically homogeneous country. The dominant ethnicity is the Finnish people but there are also notable historic minorities of Swedes, Sami and Roma people. As a result of recent immigration there are now also considerable groups of ethnic Russians, Estonians and Somalis in the country. The official languages are Finnish and Swedish, the latter being the native language of about five per cent of the Finnish population. From the 13th to the early 19th century Finland was a part of Sweden.

With 73 percent of Finns in its congregation, the Lutheran Church is the largest religious group in the country.

History of Finland

The history of Finland begins around 9,000 BC during the end of the last glacial period. Stone Age cultures were Kunda, Comb Ceramic, Corded Ware, Kiukainen, and Pöljä cultures. The Finnish Bronze Age started in approximately 1,500 BC and the Iron Age started in 500 BC and lasted until 1,300 AD. Finnish Iron Age cultures can be separated into Finnish proper, Tavastian, and Karelian cultures. The earliest written sources mentioning Finland start to appear from the 12th century onwards when the Catholic Church started to gain a foothold in Southwest Finland.Due to the Northern Crusades and Swedish colonisation of some Finnish coastal areas, most of the region became a part of the Kingdom of Sweden and the realm of the Catholic Church from the 13th century onwards. After the Finnish War in 1809, the vast majority of the Finnish-speaking areas of Sweden were ceded to the Russian Empire (excluding the areas of modern-day Northern Sweden where Meänkieli dialects of Finnish are spoken), making this area the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. The Lutheran religion dominated. Finnish nationalism emerged in the 19th century. It focused on Finnish cultural traditions, folklore, and mythology, including music and—especially—the highly distinctive language and lyrics associated with it. One product of this era was the Kalevala, one of the most significant works of Finnish literature. The catastrophic Finnish famine of 1866–1868 was followed by eased economic regulations and extensive emigration.

In 1917, Finland declared independence. A civil war between the Finnish Red Guards and the White Guard ensued a few months later, with the Whites gaining the upper hand during the springtime of 1918. After the internal affairs stabilized, the still mainly agrarian economy grew relatively quickly. Relations with the West, especially Sweden and Britain, were strong but tensions remained with the Soviet Union. During the Second World War, Finland fought twice against the Soviet Union, first defending its independence in the Winter War and then invading the Soviet Union in the Continuation War. In the peace settlement Finland ended up ceding a large part of Karelia and some other areas to the Soviet Union. However, Finland remained an independent democracy in Northern Europe.

In the latter half of its independent history, Finland has maintained a mixed economy. Since its post-World War II economic boom in the 1970s, Finland's GDP per capita has been among the world's highest. The expanded welfare state of Finland from 1970 and 1990 increased the public sector employees and spending and the tax burden imposed on the citizens. In 1992, Finland simultaneously faced economic overheating and depressed Western, Russian, and local markets. Finland joined the European Union in 1995, and replaced the Finnish markka with the euro in 2002. According to a 2016 poll, 61% of Finns preferred not to join NATO.

History of the Jews in Finland

Finnish Jews are Jews who are citizens of Finland. The country is home to approximately 1,500 Jews, who mostly live in Helsinki. Jews came to Finland as traders and merchants from other parts of Europe.

Islam in Sweden

A 2014 report estimated there were 150,000 to 200,000 Muslims in Sweden practicing their religion regularly. The main driver of spreading Islam in Sweden is immigration since the late 1960s. Other sources set the figure at around 6% (almost 600,000) of the total Swedish population. A 2017 Pew Research report documents Muslim population at 8.1% of the total population of Sweden of 10 million (approximately 810,000).

Järvenpää Mosque

Järvenpää Mosque is a mosque located in the town of Järvenpää, Uusimaa, Finland, 30 kilometres outside the capital Helsinki.

It was built in 1942 by Finnish Tatars and it is owned by Finnish Islamic Congregation (Tatar: Finlandiya Islam Cemaati). The mosque is made of wood and it has a small minaret although it has never been used for the call to prayer. Järvenpää mosque is the only building in Finland that is originally built to serve as a mosque. It was renovated in 2009.

List of contemporary ethnic groups

The following is a list of contemporary ethnic groups. There has been constant debate over the classification of ethnic groups. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be associated with shared cultural heritage, ancestry, history, homeland, language or dialect; where the term "culture" specifically includes aspects such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing (clothing) style, and other factors.

By the nature of the concept, ethnic groups tend to be divided into ethnic subgroups, which may themselves be or not be identified as independent ethnic groups depending on the source consulted.

List of the oldest mosques

The designation of the oldest mosques in the world requires careful use of definitions, and must be divided into two parts, the oldest in the sense of oldest surviving building, and the oldest in the sense of oldest mosque congregation. Even here, there is the distinction between old mosque buildings that have been in continuous use as mosques, and those that have been converted to other purposes; and between buildings that have been in continuous use as mosques and those that were shuttered for many decades. In terms of congregations, they are distinguished between early established congregations that have been in continuous existence, and early congregations that ceased to exist.

To be listed here a site must:

be the oldest mosque in a country, large city (top 50), or oldest of its type (denomination, architectural, etc.);

be the oldest congregation of its type (denomination).

Lotfi Nasib

Lotfi Nasib (May 13, 1926 in Kotka, Finland - 2011) was a professional ice hockey player who played in the SM-liiga. He played for Ilves. He was inducted into the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985. He was a Finnish Tatar.

Mishar Tatar dialect

Mishar Tatar or Misher Tatar, also Western Tatar (мишәр Mişär, мишәр татар Mişär Tatar, көнбатыш татар könbatış tatar) is a dialect of Tatar spoken by Mishar Tatars mainly located at Penza, Ulyanovsk, Orenburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Volgograd, Saratov oblasts of Russia and in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Chuvashia, and Mordovia of Russian Federation and Finland.

Some linguists think that Mishar Tatar belongs to the Kypchak-Cuman group of languages rather than to the Kypchak-Bulgar group.

This is the dialect spoken by the Tatar minority of Finland. The origins of the Tatar community living in Finland rest upon the merchants coming from the Volga-Ural region of Russia in the 1860s and most of the people in this community came from Sergach Mishar Tatar villages in the province of Nizhny Novgorod. The success of the first Tatar migrations caused other villagers to migrate to Finland.

Mishar Tatars

The Mishar Tatars (self definition: мишәрләр, мишәр татарлары) are a subgroup of the Volga Tatars of Tatars and the indigenous people of the Mordovia, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Chuvashia of Russian Federation, Penza, Ulyanovsk, Orenburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Volgograd, Saratov Oblasts of Russia and immigrant minority of Finland. The majority of Finnish Tatars are Mishar Tatars. The Mishar Tatar dialect is one of the two Volga Tatar dialects.

Turkic peoples

The Turkic peoples are a collection of ethno-linguistic groups of Central, Eastern, Northern and Western Asia as well as parts of Europe and North Africa. They speak related languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits, common ancestry and historical backgrounds. In time, different Turkic groups came in contact with other ethnicities, absorbing them, leaving some Turkic groups more diverse than the others. Many vastly differing ethnic groups have throughout history become part of the Turkic peoples through language shift, acculturation, intermixing, adoption and religious conversion. In their genetic compositions, therefore, most Turkic groups differ significantly in origins from one group to the next. Despite this, many do share, to varying degrees, non-linguistic characteristics, including certain cultural traits, some ancestry from a common gene pool, and historical experiences. The most notable modern Turkic-speaking ethnic groups include Turkish people, Azerbaijanis, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Turkmen and Kyrgyz people.

Turks in Finland

Turks in Finland (Turkish: Finlandiya Türkleri; Finnish: Suomen turkkilaiset) are the ethnic Turkish people living in Finland, including Finnish-born persons who have Turkish parents or a Turkish ancestral background.

Volga Tatars

The Volga Tatars are a Turkic ethnic group native to the Volga-Ural region of Russia. They are in turn subdivided into various subgroups. Volga Tatars are Russia's second-largest ethnicity, composing 53% of the population of Tatarstan and 25% of the population of Bashkortostan.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.