Izhora (people): Background and History

Izhora people - the least numerous of all the peoples of Russia.Here there are about 200 people, 60 of them still live in Estonia.This ethnonym comes from the Swedish word Ingermanland - the so-called land south of the Gulf of Finland.There are two versions of where the name, either on behalf Ingigerda, wife of Yaroslav the Wise, or on behalf of the ancient Russian Prince Igor, the son of Rurik.

So what is known about ethnic groups Izhora?General information about the people placed below will help to learn more.

Territory resettlement

In 12-13 th centuries Izhors lived on both sides of the Neva, about the boundaries of their settlements were Sister River, Tosna, Nazia.In the early 16th century their possessions Oredezh reached the river in the south.But then, the territory has been gradually reduced, first disappeared settlements in the Karelian Isthmus, and then around the coastal area of ​​Lomonosov, and then the river Oredezh.Now Izhors reside only in the Lomonosov and Kingisepp district of Leningrad region.Some representatives of this nation moved to St. Petersburg.But do not neglect their roots and identify themselves as Izhors.

However, the main area of ​​residence - Soikinsky Peninsula, which lies between Luga and Koporskaya lip.Natural features of the area, such that it is almost isolated from the mainland part of the series of lakes and impassable swamps.That is why the people in those settlements Izhora able to maintain their own culture, despite the actual closeness to the northern capital.


first mention of pagan Izhors found in the bull of Pope Alexander, written in the 12th century.Soon Europe became known that the Izhora - people strong and dangerous.In the annals of Russian Izhors first mentioned in the 13th century as allies Novgorod.They were responsible for the protection of coastal areas from the Swedes.

But in 1611 their land still captured Sweden, so many indigenous Izhors moved to the territory subject to Russia.But in 1721, Peter the Great conquered the land, and they became part of the Petersburg province.

census in 1732 showed that in the territory of Ingermanland there are about 14 and a half thousand izhoryan.In the 19th century, their number increased slightly - up to 18 thousand.Statistics in 1926 shows the following figures: 16,137 people.

But World War II brought about changes: most of the indigenous population was evacuated to the neighboring Finland, and a lot of settlements destroyed.When they returned to live in the homeland they were not given, and moved to Siberia, where to preserve their ethnic identity and language has become virtually impossible.Those Izhors that lived on the Karelian Isthmus, also assimilated with the locals.Native speakers and native culture there were only residents of Kingisepp district (north-west of the former Ingria), as well as some natives of villages along the river Kovash.

tereré Izhora - People Dying.In 1959, there were slightly more than a thousand, in 1970 - 781, and in 1989 - 276. The most recent data - is 266 people (2010).Sadly, the average age of them is 68-70 years, which means that after a few years as the Izhora nationality may disappear altogether.


It belongs to the Baltic-Finnish group.Izhora language has several dialects:

  • Soika;
  • hevasky;
  • nizhneluzhsky;
  • oredezhsky.

Soika is basic, it says the majority of Izhora Peninsula.Hevasky prevalent in the Lomonosov district.In nizhneluzhski say in the lower reaches of the Luga River, which felt a strong influence Votian because Izhora and Vod mixed live there.Oredezhsky disappeared back in the 1930s when he died last media.It is believed that it was the cleanest of all the dialects since escaped the impact of the Finnish language.

But it was initially only verbally at Izhora ethnic group.The people did not even have their alphabet.Writing at the Izhora appeared only in 1930 by the Government as part of the cultural development of small nations.On the basis of the Latin alphabet letters have been created, and then developed a unified grammar.Even in school, conducted in the native language Izhora, this was published textbooks.However, this program soon turned.Now only half Izhora own native language, so in 2009 he was included in the "Atlas of the World's Languages ​​endangered" by UNESCO.


Izhora - people having a rich spiritual culture.For centuries Izhors were pagans, but in the 13th century, they began to actively convert to Orthodoxy.After Sweden won their lands, it was implanted Lutheranism, however, it does not sink its roots deep.Now Izhora religion consists of a symbiosis of Orthodoxy and paganism.For example, there is still preserved the belief in spirits of the earth, the water, the keepers of the hearth, worshiped sacred trees, stones, etc.


traditional occupations Izhora anciently were fishing and agriculture.Cattle hardly kept.It was developed pottery and woodworking.Fishing for herring and smelt was the main income of the Izhora coastal areas until recently.Unfortunately, this fish has almost ceased to be caught there because the breeding of one species of crustaceans.Therefore, elderly people left in the villages, and their children and grandchildren have long migrated to the big cities, mainly in St. Petersburg in search of a good job.


Izhora - people are quite distinctive.One of the interesting elements of national clothes was a special scarf (sappano) that the woman wore, without removing the day or night.Traditional male and female shirt (ryatsinya) was embroidered with rich ornamentation oval buckle and fastened at the neck.Also, women girded belt decorated with beads and cowrie shells.

material culture was close to Russian.This is evident in the traditional huts, and farming implements.Songs, lamentations - an essential attribute of all rites, starting with the wedding and ending with the funeral.

world famous runopevitsa Larin Paraske, her poems, songs entered the epic "Kalevala".A monument depicting this famous izhorku, stands in the center of Helsinki.

Maybe soon there will be only memories of this once-mighty nation.But as long as there are the last representatives of Izhora, alive and their ancient culture.