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The Archins

The Archins are also called the Archy (in the Lakssian), the Arshishtibs (their self-name), the Rochisels (in the Avarian). They are an indigenous population of Daghestan and live in the Khatar river basin. They number more than 1 thousand persons. From 1939, they were considered as the Avarians. The Archian language belongs to the Nakh-Daghestan group of the North Caucasian family. The other common languages are the Avarian, the Lakssian and the Russian. Writing in the Avarian language is based on the Russian writing. The Religion is the Islam of the Sunni kind.

In the XVII-XVIII centuries the Archins were in dependence from the Kazikumukh rulers. In the beginning the XIX century the Archin rural society became a part of the Kazikumukh Khanate. During the XIX century the Archins had a close contacts with the Avarians and were united with them in the union of rural communities under the Dusrakh (the Risor) society. The Daghestan joining Russia (1813) has strengthened development of commodity-money relations; trade and economic relations have extended.

From1921 the Archins belong to the Daghestan ASSR, from 1991 the Republic of Daghestan. The main occupations are a cattle breeding and agriculture. Woolen weaving, manufacturing of oriental carpets and woodcarving (instruments, utensils etc.) were well developed. The Archins settlements are situated in the mountains. Their houses are one, two and multi-storeyed and made of stone, with flat roofs, with the household premises and a shed. In Soviet time there were houses with the gallery on a facade.

The Archins clothes have much in common with the Avarians clothes. Sheepskin coats and hats are traditional elements of a men's costume. Headdresses with silver ornaments, head coverlets, long direct trousers and cloth belts with bright colours are traditional for the Archins women. In the national cuisine prevail flour and meat-and-milk dishes (less - vegetable). Common dishes are pel'menis and khincaly with a stuffing from cottage cheese, eggs, wild garlic, a nettle, various meat and lenten soups, halvah etc.

The modern Archin family is small, usually with two generations present. The Archins traditionally respect the elders and have the family solidarity. In the past the marriages between relatives were preferred. Many customs and ceremonies are connected with a calendar and an economic cycles. Pre-Islamic belief remnants still exist. There are written memorials on the Archian, the Avarian and the Arabian languages. The Avarian and the Lakssian folklores are common. Lesginka is a popular dance among the Archins. They have the following musical instruments: zurna, кumuz and a drum. The Archins have their own national intelligentsia.

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