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Title: Stone and Mountain Cult among the Zazas of Dersim
Author(s): ASATRIAN, Garnik , ARAKELOVA, Victoria
Journal: Revue des Études Arméniennes
Volume: 41    Date: 2022   
Pages: 505-519
DOI: 10.2143/REA.41.0.3291900

Abstract :
The article is an attempt of a provisional description of the orolatria and stone cult among the Zazas, an Iranian ethnic group inhabiting Dersim (present Tunceli in Turkey) and adjoining regions. The veneration of various stony compositions, heights and mountains constitutes an important part of the primitive cult. The Zaza folk tradition manifests a rich nomenclature of such beliefs and interesting concepts of nature and its dialectical unity with humans. The material presented below is, to a certain extent, of a historical character because it reflects predominantly the realities of the nineteenth-beginning of the twentieth century. A considerable part of the spiritual world of the Zazas has been ruined and given to oblivion following the mass destruction of the unique landscape of the Zaza heartland, Dersim, in the Republic of Turkey — the almost total annihilation of the forest cover as a result of a deliberate policy of the government (burning, cutting, et.), destruction of sanctuaries, Armenian monasteries (e.g., Halvori/Havlori-vank‘, or Surb Karapet Monastery, equally revered by the Zazas), holy springs, sites of pilgrimage, stony compositions approached as sacred, etc.

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