There are few places in the world more beautiful than the Russian south, and Kubansky Krai, home to the legendary Kuban Cossacks is one of the most breathtaking regions.
Kuban is known for her Cossacks, her warm climate on the Black Sea, and her beautiful people, but did you know this region also produces some of Russia’s best wine?
This report from the Russian evening news illustrates how Kuban wine will soon reach the tables of German connoisseurs. So much for sanctions eh?
Wine is of course, not the only thing Kuban is known for. She is legendary for her Cossacks, which came to the Kuban from Zaporozhia, modern-day Ukraine, to settle and defend the Krai (border region). An entire Host of Cossacks settled there.
The Kuban Cossack Choir, their descendants, are among the best choirs in all Russia. Here is them singing a beautiful song about Cossack glory in the Ukrainian language.
The song includes the sacred words which summarize Cossackdom, and I will summarize them as best as possible to get the meaning across in English:
Our Cossack Glory is not written on paper, it enchants our forests and groves, in ravines it is lulled into the very river banks
Cossack glory is the defining feature of the Kuban, in her pure fields, you can find the spirit of Russia alive and free, dancing across the steppes. May she always be free and just!
To understand just how serious a thing Cossack glory is, you must realize it has given birth to such great Heroes, that Napoleon had remarked if he had but one host of Cossacks, he would have conquered the world. Of course, the Cossacks ended up conquering him.
You may have perhaps heard the phrase shouted by Ukrainian nationalists ‘Glory to Ukraine, Glory to the Heroes”, but would it surprise you to know the nationalists stole this phrase from the Kuban.
In Kuban, there is a saying:
Glory to Kuban – Glory to the Heroes! Slava Kubani – Gheroyam Slava!
The Ukrainian nationalist may not realize they have in fact stolen an old Russian saying. This is because Cossacks from the territory of Ukraine settled in Kuban.
If you had said Ukraine to those old Cossacks, they would have not quite understood you were referring to a nation-state, rather than a region.
Indeed, the term Kubansky Krai, means “The Kuban border-region”; Krai is the Slavic equivalent for the Germanic term march or mark, meaning a border area, hence Denmark – March of the Danes.
This is the root of the Noble title Marquis and Markgrave, the ruler of a mark, as special status was given to nobles who ruled over border regions.
They were entrusted with the defense of the borders of a kingdom or Empire. Theirs would often be the regions which enemies would invade or march through first, which is why all Krais in Russia, where located near areas which were once the end of Russia’s borders.
It was, of course, important for Kings to keep these rulers loyal, as they controlled those borders in an era before electronic communication. Russia solved her border control issues by simply settling MASSIVE Hosts of Cossacks on these Krai.
This word Krai, can, of course, be found in the word Ukraine.
The Kuban Krai is located near Crimea, beneath the Don region, and above the Caucasus mountains, on the Black Sea. The bridge connecting Russian Crimea with the mainland is located in the Kuban. The Kuban was of course, one of the major regions where the Kuban Cossack host settled, between the Don and Terek hosts.
The capital of the Kuban Krai is Krasnodar, originally called Yekatarinodar, meaning “Catherine’s Gift”.
Krasnodar is a fine city, and if you ever have an opportunity to visit, you’re sure to love it, just as German’s will be enjoying Kuban wine!