The Ancient Iranian Farmers Had No Use for Modern-Day Tajweed
Ufa (often translated as “Fulfilled”) is the nickname for the Ural Mountains. The name itself tells us that this is not a city, but rather the name of a region. This region was part of the medieval kingdom of Khatchaturi from much of its early history. When the serfs were removed in the sixth century, Khatchaturi was split into numerous kingdoms until today’s modern nation of Daghestan became independent.
Ufa means “mountain.” The term was applied in the eighth century to the vast steppes of northern Russia and the tauren tribes who inhabited these areas during this time. Most tauren died when the Caspian sea rose and turned the once arid tundra into a veritable desert. Because of its harsh and unforgiving climate, this meant that the only way for the tribespeople to live was by riding their horses through the winter and reindeer during the summer months. No food could be carried long distances and both the horse and the reindeer were susceptible to cold winters.
In the middle ages, Ufa was a thriving village, which explains its name. By the sixteenth century, the taurens had multiplied by the thousands and the village gradually became known as Ufa, meaning “the place where the two years pass.” The first documented reference to winter in this region was seen in the thirteenth century, when a group of merchants returned from St Petersburg and described their experience in detail: they found their village “without snow.” No contemporary accounts survive from this time, but two years later, a group of hunters came back from a much colder locale saying that they camped for two years in the Ufa area.
It seems likely that the first reference to winter in this region was written down between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, as colder air forced people to shelter and caravan away from their southern neighbors. When the trader caravan made its way through the Caspian Sea, those living in areas along the coast gave little thought to how to deal with the seasonal Ufa climate; instead, they just took it all in stride. As the coldest winters began to retreat, however, peoples’ imaginations were sparked to think about new ways to beat the frosty temperatures and the threat of winter. For the first time, anyone with a camel or horse would feel somewhat less threatened by the approaching winter. However, even with the threat of winter, the Ufa still managed to flourish and to become one of the richest areas of central Asia.
It seems likely that the first recorded reference to winter in this area occurred around the middle ages when an ancient document called the Tablet of Ephesus was discovered. The tablet described temperatures of up to twenty-four degrees below zero and warned that the coming winter could be very harsh. If temperatures dipped below six degrees for one year, then everyone on a camel or horse had to be separated and each animal was assigned a household. This is referred to as the “one-year contract.” This was the first known reference to a signed one-year deal and was used as a guideline for merchants along the silk roads of Asia.
The modern day temperature in Khotan, Iran is only 14 degrees below what the tablet described, but because the temperature does drop below freezing during the winter months, the contract was never implemented. Instead, traders just had to make due by keeping livestock inside their tents for just a short period of time. Since the traders did not need to worry about the Ufa, the climate and weather conditions were favorable for farming and camel razing. By the sixteenth century, the ufa had made Khotan its primary agricultural center.