Qaratay

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Qaratays are an ethnic group within Mokshas in Kamsko-Ustyinsky District, Tatarstan around the village of Mordovsky Karatay. They speak a variety of the Tatar language complemented by Moksha words, which is sometimes considered as a Qaratay Dialect of the Kazan Tatar language. They number about 100.

Once they lived in three villages, but one of them was submerged by Kuybyshev Reservoir. Another one was re-settled as "unperespective" during the 1950s. The village of Mordovsky Karatay became the last Qaratay village.

Their ancestors were Uralic tribes who lived in the territory of today Tatarstan and were assimilated by Volga Bolgars and Tatars between the 8th and 15th centuries. Living around Tatars, they started speaking a Tatar language. Neighbouring Mordvins in Tetyushsky District, however, still speak a Uralic language.

Qaratays were converted to Christianity between the 16th and 18th, although the pre-Christian elements were preserved until the 20th century.

Qaratays have a local saint, Michail the Killed (Ubiyenny in Russian), who was killed by Qaratays 300 years ago. His house is now regarded as a sacred place.