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Iranians /
Talysh




Talysh flag

Flag of the Talysh National Movement.

Talysh people

Iranian people counting about 1.3 million, living in Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran.
In Iran, official estimates sets the total number of Talysh to slightly more than 430,000, although some go as low as 150,000 to 200,000. They mainly live in the province of Gilan, as far south as the region of Rasht. To them, the Talysh Mountains are named. To the extent known by history, they represent the original population of their lands. They call their homeland Talishistan and themselves Talushon.
The Talysh, mainly those living in lands now part of Azerbaijan, have made attempts to create an independent state. The last time this happened was in 1993, but their struggle was fiercely suppressed by the Azerbaijani government. There are presently several thousand political Talysh prisoners in Azerbaijan.
The official number of Talysh in Azerbaijan is less than 100,000, foreign estimates are set at more than 1 million. This extreme difference is generally considered an expression of Azerbaijani nationalism.
The main activity of the Talysh is farming. Their tea is famous in the Caspian region. Traditional crafts are also of much importance.
Talysh living in the mountains build flat roofed houses using uncut stone. Talysh in low lands and the coastal regions build houses from reed. In both cases, Talysh homes ususally have no movable furniture.
Talysh marry at young age, women often between the age 14 and 16, men are usually 2 years older.
The Talysh have their own language, also called Talysh.
Talysh are generally Muslims, of the Twelver Shi'i branch. Still, older traditions have survived within the confines of a Muslim identity, like the reverence of trees and groves and the belief in spirits of good and evil character, the most dangerous being Alazhan.




By Tore Kjeilen