Ever since Crimea got occupied by Russia, over 20 thousand Crimean Tatars have moved to mainland Ukraine, with many of them either re-launching or starting their businesses from scratch.
QHA journalists have talked to Lenur Abibullayev, a Crimean Tatar, who opened a coffee shop in Lvov and called it Bakhchisaray.
- When did you come up with the idea to open something like this in Lvov?
- I got the idea long before Crimea got annexed by Russia. The annexation only made it more relevant. Ukrainians started taking more interest in Crimean Tatar culture, so we decided to make it happen in the spring of 2014.
- Did you face any problems starting the business?
– We had the same kind of problems opening a business as everybody else does. Nobody treated us with hostility or tried to throw hurdles in our way. What everybody did was try and lend us a helping hand.
– Did you encounter any difficulties with culture-specific things?
– Yes, some. For example, we had to come up with our own designs for Crimean Tatar furniture to have it made. We also brought quite a lot of furniture from Crimea.
– Why Lvov of all other places?
– We did have the idea to open a Crimean Tatar coffee shop in Kiev, but we opted for Lvov and it was the right choice. The city does have a matching ambiance for a coffee shop like this.
– How do the locals feel about the coffee shop? Do you have a lot of clients?
– You know, Lvov residents are very interested in Crimean Tatar culture. That’s probably because we have similar traditions. Most people here love delicious coffee. This is something Crimean Tatars and Lvov residents cannot live without, if we talk about their culture and way of life.
– Do you get any displaced persons from Crimea at your coffee shop?
– When we came up with the idea to open a coffee shop, one of our priorities was creating jobs for displaced persons. And we succeeded in doing that. Even more so, a better part of our personnel is made up of Crimean Tatar refugees.
– How do you let the locals know about Crimean Tatar culture?
– All they have to do is simply drop us a visit. We really wanted to let Lvov residents know about Crimean Tatar culture because our coffee shop is a kind of an educational establishment. We decided to introduce Lvov residents and visitors to the city with Crimean Tatar culture through our tradition of coffee drinking. We are planning to recreate an authentic Crimean Tatar inner courtyard with a traditional ‘setami’ (‘a recreational spot’ - QHA), and, of course, a fountain.