The Qaraite Jews – Lithuania’s smallest minority

This castle you will certainly already know from one of my previous articles. It is the famous Island Castle in Trakai which is Lithuania’s most popular touristic symbol. But few people know that Lithuania’s smallest minority lives here. It is not the Russian minority and not the Polish minority either. Trakai is the home town of the Qaraite Jews of which only a few hundred people live in Lithuania. There are also a few Qaraite Jews living in the peninsula of Crimea. The first thing that might come on your mind now is the singer Jamala who won the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 in Stockholm sung partially in the Crimean Tatar language. The Qaraite Jews are also a Turkic minority but unlike most of all Turkic peoples they are not Muslim but Jews. They also speak their own language using the Latin script. In Trakai you will find not only the beautiful castle and a lovely landscape with the big lake Galvė around it but also some restaurants offering traditional Qaraite food. A typical speciality is kibinai which is a pasty filled with onions and lamb. You will also get it in any supermarket in Lithuania but believe me, it tastes much better if you get it warm right from the oven. It is a little bit similar like the Cornish pasties in England or chebureki in Russia and Kazakhstan.

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