Laz people

Laz people

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Encyclopedia
The Laz are an ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

 native to the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coastal regions of Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

. One of the chief tribes of ancient kingdom of Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

, the Laz were initially early adopters of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, and most of them subsequently converted to Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 during Ottoman rule of Caucasus in the 16th century.

The Laz of Turkey form two principal groups. One of these is indigenous to the eastern Black Sea province formerly known as Lazistan
Lazistan
Lazistan was the Ottoman administrative name for the sanjak comprising the Laz or Lazuri-speaking population on the southeastern shore of the Black Sea. However, its boundaries did not coincide with the Laz-speaking area...

 (modern Rize
Rize
Rize is the capital of Rize Province, in northeast Turkey, on the Black Sea coast.-Etymology:The name comes from Greek or Ριζαίον , meaning "mountain slopes". In modern times, its name in Greek was usually Ριζούντα . Its Latin forms are Rhizus and Rhizaeum...

 and Artvin
Artvin
-History:See Artvin Province for the history of the region.-Places of interest:* Artvin or Livana castle, built in 937There are a number of Ottoman Empire houses and public buildings including:* Salih Bey mosque, built in 1792...

 provinces). The other group fled the Russian
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 expansion later in the 19th century and settled in Adapazarı
Adapazari
Adapazarı is a city in northwestern Turkey and the capital of Sakarya Province. The province itself was originally named Adapazarı as well. Adapazarı is a part of the densely populated region of the country, known as the Marmara Region. As of 2010, the city has a population of 560,876 ...

, Sapanca, Yalova and Bursa, in western and eastern parts of the Black Sea and Marmara regions, respectively. The Laz speak the Laz language
Laz language
The Laz language is a South Caucasian language spoken by the Laz people on the Southeast shore of the Black Sea...

, related to Mingrelian, Georgian
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

 and Svan
Svan language
The Svan language is a Kartvelian language spoken in the Western Georgian region of Svaneti primarily by the Georgians of Svan origin...

 (Kartvelian languages). Laz identity in Georgia has largely merged with a Georgian identity and the meaning of "Laz" is seen as merely a regional category, and are mainly concentrated in Ajaria.

Laz were converted to Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 while living under the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and the Kingdom of Georgia
Kingdom of Georgia
The Kingdom of Georgia was a medieval monarchy established in AD 978 by Bagrat III.It flourished during the 11th and 12th centuries, the so-called "golden age" of the history of Georgia. It fell to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, but managed to re-assert sovereignty by 1327...

. During the rule of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, the vast majority of Laz became Sunni Muslims
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 of Hanafi
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 madh'hab, and were ruled as part of the Lazistan
Lazistan
Lazistan was the Ottoman administrative name for the sanjak comprising the Laz or Lazuri-speaking population on the southeastern shore of the Black Sea. However, its boundaries did not coincide with the Laz-speaking area...

 sanjak
Sanjak
Sanjaks were administrative divisions of the Ottoman Empire. Sanjak, and the variant spellings sandjak, sanjaq, and sinjaq, are English transliterations of the Turkish word sancak, meaning district, banner, or flag...

. There is also a very limited number of Christian Laz in Georgia who were converted to Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 from Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

.

History



The Laz people live in a geographic area which they refer to as Lazona (ლაზონა). Today, the entire area is part of the Republic of Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. Its history dates back to at least the 6th century B.C. when the first South Caucasian state in the west was the Kingdom of Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

 which covered modern western Georgia and modern Turkish provinces of Trabzon
Trabzon
Trabzon is a city on the Black Sea coast of north-eastern Turkey and the capital of Trabzon Province. Trabzon, located on the historical Silk Road, became a melting pot of religions, languages and culture for centuries and a trade gateway to Iran in the southeast and the Caucasus to the northeast...

 and Rize
Rize
Rize is the capital of Rize Province, in northeast Turkey, on the Black Sea coast.-Etymology:The name comes from Greek or Ριζαίον , meaning "mountain slopes". In modern times, its name in Greek was usually Ριζούντα . Its Latin forms are Rhizus and Rhizaeum...

. Between the early 2nd century, B.C. and the late 2nd century A.D., the Kingdom of Colchis together with the neighbor countries, become an arena of long and devastating conflicts between major local powers Rome
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, Kingdom of Armenia and the short-lived Kingdom of Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

. As a result of the brilliant Roman campaigns of generals Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 and Lucullus
Lucullus
Lucius Licinius Lucullus , was an optimate politician of the late Roman Republic, closely connected with Sulla Felix...

, the Kingdom of Pontus was completely destroyed by the Romans and all its territory including Colchis, were incorporated into Roman Empire as her provinces.

The former Kingdom of Colchis was re-organized by the Romans into the province of Lazicum ruled by Roman legati. During Byzantine times, the word Colchi gave way to the term Laz. The Roman period was marked by further Hellenization of the region in terms of language, economy and culture. For example, since the early 3rd century, Greco-Latin Philosophical Academy of Phasis
Phasis (town)
Phasis was an ancient and early medieval city on the eastern Black Sea coast, founded in the 7th/6th century BC as a colony of the Milesian Greeks at the mouth of the eponymous river in Colchis, near the modern-day port city of Poti, Georgia.-Etymology:...

 (present-day Poti
Poti
Poti is a port city in Georgia, located on the eastern Black Sea coast in the region of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti in the west of the country. Built near the site of the ancient Greek colony of Phasis, the city has become a major port city and industrial center since the early 20th century. It is also...

) was quite famous all over the Roman Empire. In the early 3rd century, newly established Roman Lazicum was given certain degree of autonomy
Autonomy
Autonomy is a concept found in moral, political and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it is the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision...

 which by the end of the century developed into full the independence and formation of a new Kingdom of Lazica (covering the modern day regions of Mingrelia, Adjaria, Guria
Guria
Guria is a region in Georgia, in the western part of the country, bordered by the eastern end of the Black Sea. The region has a population of 143,357 and Ozurgeti is a regional capital.-Geography:...

 and Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

) on the basis of smaller principalities of Zans, Svans, Apsyls and Sanyghs. Kingdom of Lazica survived more than 250 years until in 562 AD it was absorbed by the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. In the middle of the 4th century, Lazica adopted Christianity as her official religion. That event was preceded by the arrival of St. Simon the Canaanite (or Kananaios in Greek) who was preaching all over Lazica and met his death in Suaniri (Western Lazica). According to Moses of Chorene, the enemies of Christianity cut him in two halves with a saw.

The re-incorporation of Lazica with the Kingdom of Aphkhazeti into Byzantine Empire in 562 AD was followed by 150 years of relative stability that ceased in the early 7th century when the Arabs appeared in the area as a new regional power.

Geographical distribution



The ancient kingdom of Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

 and its successor Lazica (locally known as Egrisi) was located in the same region the Laz speakers are found in today, and its inhabitants probably spoke an ancestral version of the language. Colchis was the setting for the famous Greek legend
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 of Jason and the Argonauts
Jason
Jason was a late ancient Greek mythological hero from the late 10th Century BC, famous as the leader of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcus...

.

Today most Laz speakers live in Northeast Turkey, in a strip of land along the shore of the Black Sea. They form the majority in the Pazar
Pazar
Pazar is a town and district of Rize Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey, 37 km east of the city of Rize.-Etymology:The town was formerly named Atina and was renamed Pazar 'market' in 1928.-Geography:...

 (Atina), Ardeşen
Ardesen
Ardeşen is a town and district of Rize Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey, 48 km along the coast road from the city of Rize.-History:...

 (Art'aşeni) and Fındıklı
Findikli
Fındıklı is a town and district of Rize Province on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, east of the city of Rize.-Etymology:The town was formerly known as Vitze which means twig or branch in the Laz language and was renamed Fındıklı after the hazelnuts that were grown here, .-Geography:Like most Black...

 (Vitze) districts of Rize
Rize
Rize is the capital of Rize Province, in northeast Turkey, on the Black Sea coast.-Etymology:The name comes from Greek or Ριζαίον , meaning "mountain slopes". In modern times, its name in Greek was usually Ριζούντα . Its Latin forms are Rhizus and Rhizaeum...

, and in the Arhavi
Arhavi
Arhavi is a town and district of Artvin Province in the mountains above the Black Sea coast in the east of Turkey.Arhavi is away from Hopa, away from Fındıklı, away from Artvin, away from Rize....

 (Ark'abi) and Hopa
Hopa
Hopa is a city and district of Artvin Province in northeast Turkey. It is located on the eastern Turkish Black Sea coast about from the city of Artvin and 18 kilometres from the border with Georgia.-Geography:...

 (Xopa) districts of Artvin
Artvin
-History:See Artvin Province for the history of the region.-Places of interest:* Artvin or Livana castle, built in 937There are a number of Ottoman Empire houses and public buildings including:* Salih Bey mosque, built in 1792...

. They live as minorities in the neighbouring Çamlıhemşin
Çamlihemsin
Çamlıhemşin is a small town and district of Rize Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey.With its mountains and valleys in all shades of green Çamlıhemşin has a reputation as one of the most attractive parts of the eastern Black Sea region, particularly with the autumn foliage.-Etymology:The...

 (Vijadibi) and Borçka
Borçka
Borçka is a town and district of Artvin Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey, on the border with Georgia.Borçka is reached by a winding road up from the Black Sea coast, alongside the Çoruh River. There is an ancient stone bridge across the river just west of the town.Borçka Lake is a popular...

 districts. There are also communities in northwestern Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

 (Karamürsel
Karamürsel
Karamürsel is a town and district located in northwestern Turkey, in the province of Kocaeli. The mayor is İsmail Yıldırım .Karamürsel is on the coast of Izmit Bay and has beautiful shores. It has a famous basket known as Karamürsel basket, which is mainly used in collecting fruit like cherries, etc....

 in Kocaeli
Izmit
İzmit is a city in Turkey, administrative center of Kocaeli Province as well as the Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality. It is located at the Gulf of İzmit in the Sea of Marmara, about east of Istanbul, on the northwestern part of Anatolia. The city center has a population of 294.875...

, Akçakoca
Akçakoca
Akçakoca is both a town and district of Düzce Province, in the Black Sea region of Turkey, located about 200 km east of Istanbul. The town was named after a Turkish chieftain of the 14th century CE who captured the area for the Ottoman Empire, and sports a statue in his honor. The town...

 in Düzce
Düzce Province
Düzce Province is a province in northwestern Turkey. It is on the coastline of the Black Sea and is traversed by the main highway between Istanbul and Ankara. The main town is Düzce...

, Sakarya
Sakarya Province
Sakarya Province is a province in Turkey, located on the coast of Black Sea. The river Sakarya creates a webbing of estuaries in the province....

, Zonguldak
Zonguldak
Zonguldak is a city and the capital of Zonguldak Province in the Black Sea region of Turkey. Its population, according to the 2009 census, was 108,792. It is an important port on the Black Sea because of the coal mining in Zonguldak Province...

, Bartın
Bartin Province
Bartın Province is a small province in northern Turkey on the Black Sea, surrounding the city of Bartın. It is to the east from Zonguldak Province.The town of Bartın contains a number of very old wooden houses which are no longer extant in other places....

), where many immigrants settled since the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878) and now also in Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 and Ankara
Ankara
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of , and as of 2010 the metropolitan area in the entire Ankara Province had a population of 4.4 million....

.

The Laz in Georgia are chiefly centered in the country's southwestern autonomous republic
Autonomous republic
An autonomous republic is a type of administrative division similar to a province. A significant number of autonomous republics can be found within the successor states of the Soviet Union, but the majority are located within Russia. Many of these republics were established during the Soviet...

 of Adjara
Adjara
Adjara , officially the Autonomous Republic of Adjara , is an autonomous republic of Georgia.Adjara is located in the southwestern corner of Georgia, bordered by Turkey to the south and the eastern end of the Black Sea...

. The largest Laz villages in Adjara are: Sarpi, Kvariati, Gonio
Gonio
Gonio fortress , is a Roman fortification in Adjara, on the Black sea, 15 km south of Batumi, at the mouth of the Chorokhi river. The village sits 4 km north of the Turkish border....

 and Makho. The Laz also live in Batumi
Batumi
Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. Sometimes considered Georgia's second capital, with a population of 121,806 , Batumi serves as an important port and a commercial center. It is situated in a subtropical zone, rich in...

, Kobuleti
Kobuleti
Kobuleti is a town in Georgia's southwestern region of Ajaria. It is situated on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. Kobuleti is a sea resort, visited annually by Georgians and many former Soviet Union residents. From the 17th century into the 19th, Kobuleti was a fiefdom of the Tavdgiridze...

, Zugdidi
Zugdidi
Zugdidi is a city in the Western Georgian historical province of Samegrelo . It is situated in the north-west of that province. The city is located 318 kilometres west of Tbilisi, 30 km. from Black sea coast and 30 km. from Egrisi range. 100-110 metres above sea level. As of 2007, it had a...

 and Tbilisi
Tbilisi
Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936...

.

An expatriate community of the Laz is also present in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 where they have migrated from Turkey since the 1960s.

Culture


The Laz language is not written, Turkish and Georgian serving as the literary languages for the Laz in Turkey and Georgia, respectively. Therefore, the Laz are typically bilingual. The Laz possess a colorful folklore. Their folk literature has been transmitted orally and has not been systematically recorded. The first attempts at establishing a distinct Laz cultural identity and creating a literary language based on the Arabic alphabet
Arabic alphabet
The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language. It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad.-Consonants:The Arabic alphabet has...

 was made by Faik Efendisi in the 1870s, but he was soon imprisoned by the Ottoman authorities, while most of his works were destroyed. During a relative cultural autonomy granted to the minorities in the 1930s, the written Laz literature—based on the Laz script—emerged in Soviet Georgia, strongly dominated by Soviet ideology. The poet Mustafa Baniṣi spearheaded this short-lived movement, but an official standard form of the tongue was never established. Since then, several attempts have been made to render the pieces of native literature in the Turkish and Georgian alphabets. A few native poets in Turkey such as Raşid Hilmi and Pehlivanoğlu have appeared later in the 20th century.

The Laz music and dances are highly original, even though they have been developed in close contact with the neighboring peoples. The national instruments include Guda
Tulum (bagpipe)
The tulum is a musical instrument, a form of bagpipe from Turkey. It is droneless with two parallel chanters, usually played by the Laz, Hamsheni people, and Pontic Greeks...

, kemenche (violin), zurna
Zurna
The zurna , is a multinational outdoor wind instrument, usually accompanied by a davul in Anatolian folk music. The name is from Turkish zurna, itself derived from Persian سرنای surnāy, composed of sūr “banquet, feast” and nāy “reed, pipe”...

 (oboe), and doli (drum). In the 1990s and 2000s, the folk-rock musician Kâzım Koyuncu
Kâzim Koyuncu
Kâzım Koyuncu was a Turk folk-rock singer, song writer, and activist of Laz ethnicity....

 attained to significant popularity in Turkey and toured Georgia.

Most of the Laz in Turkey belong to the Hanafi
Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 school of Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

, while the Laz in Georgia are the Eastern Orthodox Christians adhering to the national Georgian Orthodox Church. Their beliefs have survived in folk poetry and in some customs related to births, marriage, death, seamanship, the New Year, and harvest rituals.

Apart some research activities at universities in Georgia and Germany (University of Cologne
University of Cologne
The University of Cologne is one of the oldest universities in Europe and, with over 44,000 students, one of the largest universities in Germany. The university is part of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, an association of Germany's leading research universities...

), there has been done little to study the language and folk culture of the Laz. A degree of cultural assimilation into the Turkish medium is high, but there has been some recent upsurge of cultural activities aiming at revitalizing the Laz tongue and folk tradition.

The social organization of the Laz community is dominated by an elaborate system of kinship in which blood and milk brotherhood as well as elements of blood feuds have survived. The family is strongly dominated by the husband, but, even under Islam, the rule of monogamous marriage has been preserved.

Economy



The traditional Laz economy has been based on agriculture—known for production of hazelnuts until the 1960s, when the introduction of tea cultures which has since been growing in importance. It has largely eliminated the hitherto closed-economy, self-rearing way of life and encouraged many Laz to engage in trading, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 opened the border with Georgia.

The traditions of fishing, hemp cultivation, weaving of the material, ceramics and pottery are also widespread and trace their origin to the Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

.

Terminology


The Turkish public uses the name "Laz" in a general way to refer to all inhabitants of Turkey's Black Sea provinces east of Samsun
Samsun Province
Samsun Province is a province of Turkey on the Black Sea coast with a population of 1,252,693 . Its adjacent provinces are Sinop on the northwest, Çorum on the west, Amasya on the south, Tokat on the southeast, and Ordu on the east...

, and the word is often associated with certain social stereotypes. However, the Laz themselves are increasingly keen to differentiate themselves from other inhabitants of these regions. Also, the non-Laz does not want to be called "Laz", preferring to be called Karadenizli ("of the Black Sea region"). The Laz language
Laz language
The Laz language is a South Caucasian language spoken by the Laz people on the Southeast shore of the Black Sea...

 (Lazca in Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

) is a Kartvelian language, also known as South Caucasian, unrelated to the Trabzon
Trabzon
Trabzon is a city on the Black Sea coast of north-eastern Turkey and the capital of Trabzon Province. Trabzon, located on the historical Silk Road, became a melting pot of religions, languages and culture for centuries and a trade gateway to Iran in the southeast and the Caucasus to the northeast...

 dialect of Turkish.

See also

  • Chveneburi
    Chveneburi
    Chveneburi , meaning "of us" in Georgian, is an autonym of Muslim immigrants of Georgian descent who had settled in non-Georgian majority regions of Turkey, thus, "of us" signifies a triple distinction from Christian Georgians, Muslim Turks, and autochthonous Muslim Georgians...

  • Chepni
  • Hamshenis
    Hamshenis
    The Hemshin Peoples or Hemshinli are a diverse group of people who in the past history or present have been affiliated with the Hemşin district in the province of Rize, Turkey. They are called as Hemshinli , Hamshenis, Homshentsi meaning resident of Hemshin in the relevant language...

  • Pontic Greeks
    Pontic Greeks
    The Pontians are an ethnic group traditionally living in the Pontus region, the shores of Turkey's Black Sea...

  • Adjarians

External links