History of Majar, at the origins of the Magyars

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The history of Majar, a legendary city at the origins of the Magyars, reduced to ruins for centuries

The words of Ibn Battuta

“Then I left for the great city of al-Majar, one of the most beautiful of the Turks, which stands on the banks of a great river and has gardens full of fruit.”

Majar, the ancient homeland of the Magyars

As in the case of Kilwa and Bolgar, speaking of Majar means describing a city which, although rich and splendid once in life, has now been uninhabited for centuries and whose history blends between reality and legend; precisely for this reason it is so interesting to tell it. In this specific case, the myth is linked since the foundation, which would be linked to the Magyars, today’s Hungarians; the latter in fact descend from the union of several populations, some of which would find their origins in nomadic populations settled between the Urals and the Sea of Azov. According to Simone di Keza’s Gesta Hungarorum, two brothers lived right next to this sea, Hunor and Majar, who, once they went hunting, met the two daughters of Dula, a great Alano prince; Hunor will marry the first and become the progenitor of the Huns, while Majar will marry the second, thus giving life to the Magyars.


Beyond the legends, its golden period will go from the thirteenth to the fourteenth century, an era in which it reached its maximum splendor, attracting wealth and people from every corner of the world, so much so that it was mentioned in all the greatest treatises of the time and also become, for a short time, the official seat of the Khan ofGolden horde. With the arrival of the internal upheavals in this Horde, it also became, according to the myth, one of the most iconic places in Russian history; in fact, it seems that Mamai, the Mongol leader who was defeated in the Battle of Kulikovo, in which the legend of Prince Dmitry Ivanovich of Moscow, even considered a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church, departed from here. As for Azov, however, it will be Tamerlane’s army to strike the final blow, so much so that after the passage of his army the city quickly began to lose importance, so much so that it passed under the dominions of Astrakchan and finally disappeared when in 1556 A regiment of Cossacks arrived here. Over the centuries the site has become an almost sacred place for the Muslim inhabitants of the area, who come here to remember their origins and their ancient grandeur.

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