A small valley nearby the Chufut Kale Cave Town has been serving a cemetery for the Karaite people starting from the 13th century. Biblical name of Josaphat has replaced the old one of Balta-Tiymez, which meant “untouchable by ax” and referred to oak trees which were sacred for Karaites and abundant in the valley. The ancient necropolis is a holly place for this small and beautiful Crimean nation. Not many tombstones are left nowadays, and the oak trees are too few to make the erstwhile grove. But it does not take anything away from the beauty and emotional intensity of the place.
I am back in Austin after a wonderful visit to Odessa. In reflecting after my trip, I want to thank you for all of your help in the process for obtaining the visa, for your hospitality and the professional way you dealt with me. I also want to comment about the wonderful service you offered through Julia, our translator.