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Turkic studies

The Chair of Turkish Studies at the Jagiellonian University is the oldest Polish academic center of Turkish studies.

The beginnings of Turkish studies at the Jagiellonian University are tied to prof. Tadeusz Kowalski, an outstanding orientalist, precursor of modern Polish turkology. Educated in Vienna, during the First World War, as a docent, he lectured on the Ottoman-Turkish language at the Jagiellonian University. After being an associate professor in 1919, he was nominated a head of newly formed Chair of Oriental Philology and, in addition to the Arabic and Iranian subjects, also included turkological items to the lesson program. Tadeusz Kowalski's research interests included: Ottoman and Turkish dialects, Kipchak language, Karaim language, Turkish loanwords in Polish, culture, religion, literature and folklore. In the interwar period, the Chair of Oriental Philology was educating students comprehensively and many of its alumnus later became researchers in various academic centers. One of Tadeusz Kowalski’s students and his assistant, Ananiasz Zajączkowski, in 1932 moved to the University of Warsaw, where he contributed to the formation of local turkology.

After the death of Professor Kowalski in 1948, the Chair of Oriental Philology was headed by the medievalist and arabist prof. Tadeusz Lewicki, and the turkological subjects were conducted by the altaist and mongolist prof. Marian Lewicki. In the following decades, the didactic program was gradually expanded, related to the development of the turkological cadre. The turkologists of the Chair at that time were inter alia dr Władysław Zimnicki, prof. Włodzimierz Zajączkowski, prof. Jan Ciopiński, dr Jerzy Lisowski, prof. Stanisław Stachowski, dr Teresa Ciecierska-Chłapowa. The dominant research areas were: language, folklore and literature of the Karaims, Gagauz language and literature, Old Turkish and Ottoman literature, Turkish onomastics, paleography, Turkish transcribed texts, Turkish words in Slavic languages, Polish-Turkish contacts.

In 1972 the Chair of Oriental Philology was transformed into the Institute of Oriental Philology, and the Department of Turkish Studies was created as a part of Institute. In the years 1973-1982 the Department was headed by prof. Włodzimierz Zajączkowski, and after his death in 1982-2000 by prof. Jan Ciopiński. From 1 October 2000 until now the Department is headed by prof. Ewa Siemieniec-Gołaś. In 2013 the Department of Turkish Studies was transformed into the Chair of Turkish Studies.

The Chair of Turkish Studies carries out first and second degree studies in the field of neofilology with specialization in oriental philology – turkology. The Chair cooperates with academic centers in Turkey (Istanbul, Ankara, Eskişehir, Antalya, Bartin, Tokat) and in Europe (Chieti, Vilnius).


Present cadre of Chair of Oriental Studies consists of the following researchers:

the Head: Prof. Ewa Siemieniec-Gołaś

Assoc. Prof. Grażyna Zając

Hilal Oytun Altun, PhD

Sylwia Filipowska, PhD

Jordanka Georgiewa-Okoń, PhD

Piotr Nykiel, PhD

Barbara Podolak, PhD

Marzanna Pomorska, PhD

Nalan Avhan, MA

Joanna Florek (PhD student)

Agata Pawlina (PhD student)


Research areas of the Chair of Turkish Studies:
• Turkish linguistics (with a particular focus on lexicology, word formation, dialectology and etymology)

• other Turkic languages ​​(e.g. Ottoman-Turkish, Chuvash, Karachay-Balkar, Chulym, Tuvan, Bashkir languages)

• Turkish literature of the 19th and 20th centuries

• the latest Turkish literature

• literature of Turkish Cypriots

• Azerbaijani literature

• the history of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey

• Polish-Turkish cultural relations

• Turkish words in Polish language

• Polish travel literature and journalism related to Turkey

• culture of Turks

• Turkish artistic handicraft

• Turkish music

• Turkish influences on the Balkans

• history of turkology


More information here.

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Biographical entries

Tadeusz Kowalski (22.06.1889 - 05.05.1948)

Tadeusz Kowalski (22.06.1889 - 05.05.1948)

An outstanding arabist, turkologist, iranist and islamist, founder of modern Polish orientalism, for almost 30 years the head of the first in independent Poland Seminar of Oriental Philology.

Tadeusz Kowalski was born in 1889 in Châteauroux (France) as a son of Polish immigrants. In 1894 the Kowalskis moved to Cracow. Being a student of gymnasium Tadeusz Kowalski learned Hebrew and the basics of classical Arabic. In 1907 after he graduated, decided to begin oriental studies at the University of Vienna. This decision gave him the opportunity to meet outstanding orientalists, such as David H. Müller, Heinrich Junker, Max Bittner and Rudolf Geyer. At that time, he mainly dealt with old Arabic poetry and in 1911 he obtained a Ph.D. The following year he spent deepening his knowledge in Strasbourg as a student of Theodor Nöldeke and Enno Littmann, then in Kiel as a student of Georg Jacob. In the years 1912-1914 he stayed again in Vienna, and shortly before the outbreak of war in 1914 he habilitated at the Jagiellonian University based on the work Der Dīvān des Ḳais Ibn al-Haṭim. Since 1915, Kowalski has lectured on Arabic, Persian and Ottoman languages ​​and the history of the Muslim East at the Jagiellonian University. He developed his language competences making the translations for Turkish soldiers, who were staying in Cracow hospitals during First World War.

On 1 July 1919 Tadeusz Kowalski took over the first in the independent Poland professorial Chair of Oriental Philology (before there was the Department of Oriental Languages ​​at the Jagiellonian University, run by German Wilhelm Münnich and then Austrian Schindler in 1818-1826). In 1922 Tadeusz Kowalski was appointed an ordinary professor, and even one year earlier he became the head of Seminar of Oriental Philology, a newly-established didactic and research unit. He headed the Seminar during the interwar period, filled with hard organizational, scientific and didactic work. In addition to his work at the Jagiellonian University, Professor Kowalski taught eastern languages ​​at College of Commerce (now the University of Economics) and was very devoted to works at PAU (Polish Academy of Sciences and Arts) as the editor of the series “Prace Komisji Orientalistycznej” [Papers of the Oriental Comission at the Polish Academy of Sciences and Arts] and general secretary of PAU from 1939 until his death.

On 6 November 1939 he was arrested with other JU professors and spent several months in a Nazi concentration camp. After his release he found employment in the Jagiellonian Library, working for several hours a day on cataloging of oriental works. He did not decide to use the help offered by the Turkish government, which invited Prof. Kowalski to the Turkish dialectology department in Istanbul. Although, as he said himself, the years of occupation were extremely difficult, he didn’t neglect the researches, working on Ibrahim Ibn Jakub's description of the Slav countries, Ibn Batuta’s travel book and the classification of Turkic languages. He also corresponded with his students (e.g. Józef Bielawski), giving them advices and sometimes even examining them. During the occupation he took care of the PAU affairs and in 1944 prevented the Archaeological Museum’s collections from being taken to Germany. Immediately after the war, Prof. Kowalski began lectures at the university and took over the responsibilities of general secretary of  PAU. In 1947 he was elected the president  of the Polish Oriental Society. He refused to accept the position of ambassador in Turkey,  because he didn’t want to represent the Polish government at that time. He passed away after a serious illness in 1948.

Professor Tadeusz Kowalski was an orientalist in the full sense of this word. Although he is best known as the founder of Polish turkology, he started his academic career with Arabic studies and worked on the issues of iranism and islamism. In each of these branches of oriental studies he earned a reputation as a specialist. He wrote more than 200 scientific papers, many of which have gained worldwide recognition.

On the field of Arabic studies Prof. Kowalski was mainly involved in the editing of medieval texts, e.g. he published the works of classical Arabic poets, such as Ḳais Ibn al-Haṭīm and Ka'b Ibn Zuhayr, and Ibrāhīm Ibn Ya'kūb’s reports as was preserved in al-Bakri’s book. The critical edition of this last text, published in 1946, is crucial not only for the development of Arabic studies, but also for Polish historians, giving them access to one of the most important sources for the study of the origins of Polish history.

In turkology Prof. Kowalski became famous as a pioneer of modern dialectology and folkloristics. During the First World War he prepared such works as Zagadki ludowe tureckie [Turkish Folk Riddles] (1919) and Ze studiów nad formą poezji ludów tureckich [Studies on the Form of Turkic Poetry] (1922), using as a source of information Ottoman soldiers staying in Cracow hospitals. He first became interested in the Turkic languages spoken in Poland, primarily in the language of Karaims. In his many visits to Vinius and Trakai, areas inhabited by the Karaims, he collected both ethnographic and linguistic material that resulted in a series of publications. The most fundamental work in this filed is Karaimische Texte im Dialekt von Troki (1929). Then Prof. Kowalski transferred his dialectical interests to the Balkans, exploring the language of the Turks living there and the issues of Turkish loanwords in Slavic languages.

In the field of Iranian studies he primarily worked on classical Persian poetry, such as works of Omar Haiyām. He didn’t finish before the death his monumental work, which was the study on Persian national epic poem Šahnāme written by Ferdowsi. His two-volume monograph comprising almost 500 pages was published posthumously in 1952 and 1953.

Professor Kowalski worked also on islamist topics throughout his career, and most of his studies were published in 1935 in the book Na szlakach islamu. Szkice z historii kultury ludów muzułmańskich [On the Paths of Islam. Studies on the history of culture of the Muslims].

The contribution of Prof. Kowalski to the organization of oriental studies in Poland should be emphasized once more. For almost 30 years he headed the Seminar of Oriental Philology, and several of his students (Ananiasz Zajączkowski, Tadeusz Lewicki, Włodzimierz Zajączkowski, Józef Bielawski and Joachim Hirschberg) became university professors. Beside the academic work he propagated and popularized the idea of ​​conducting oriental studies in many journals and in scientific societies. He founded the Oriental Commission of PAU and published the series “Prace Komisji Orientalistycznej” [Papers of the Oriental Comission at the Polish Academy of Sciences and Arts]. He also edited another important journal – “Rocznik Orientalistyczny” [Yearbook of Oriental Studies], which is the organ of the Polish Oriental Society. In addition, he was a member of the Finno-Ugrian  Society in Helsinki, the Institute of Oriental Studies in Prague, Körösi Society in Budapest, also had honorary membership of the Arabic Language Academy in Damascus. Thanks to being a versatile scholar he gained recognition and admiration in the world – after his death one of the volumes of the philological journal, published in Istanbul, “Edebiyat Fakültesi Türk Dili ve Edebiyatı Dergisi”, was whole devoted to him.


The bibliography of Prof. Tadeusz Kowalski's works can be found in:

A Zajączkowski, Tadeusz Kowalski i jego prace orientalistyczne (21 VI 1889 – 5 V 1948), „Rocznik Orientalistyczny” XVII (1951-1952), p. IX-XVI; and [in:] Szkice z dziejów polskiej orientalistyki, ed. S. Strelcyn, Warszawa 1957, p.31-41.

W. Zajączkowski, Bibliografia Tadeusza Kowalskiego, „Rocznik Orientalistyczny” XVII (1951-1952), p. XVII-XXXVI.

Ananiasz Zajączkowski (12.11.1903 - 06.04.1970)

Ananiasz Zajączkowski (12.11.1903 - 06.04.1970)

Orientalist, Karaim activist, multiannual professor at the University of Warsaw.

Ananiasz Zajączkowski was born in 1903 in Trakai in the Karaim family as the youngest of nine siblings. During the First World War evacuated with the family to Crimea, where in 1921 he graduated from the gymnasium in Simferopol, then returned to Vilnius. In 1925 he got Polish matriculation. At that time he was involved in different activities for the Karaim community – he was a member of the Association of Karaims in Vilnius and a member of the editorial department of the journal “Myśl Karaimska” [Karaim Thought]. In 1925 he contacted professor of Jagiellonian University, Tadeusz Kowalski, who had been studying the language, literature and culture of Polish Karaims. Exchange of correspondence, and then Prof. Kowalski’s arrival to Wilno and Trakai influenced Ananiasz Zajączkowski's decision to start the oriental studies in Cracow.

In the years 1925-1929 he studied at the Jagiellonian University, where under the supervision of Prof. Kowalski learned Turkish, Arabic and Persian, but his first academic research was devoted to the language of Karaims. Already in the fourth year of studying he could defend a doctoral dissertation entitled Sufiksy imienne i czasownikowe w języku zachodniokaraimskim [Nominal and Verbal Suffixes in in Western Dialect of Karaim Language]. In 1929 was employed as an assistant of Prof. Kowalski at the Chair of Oriental Philology and then went to the annual scholarship to Berlin, where he deepened his knowledge as a student of Prof. Willi Bang-Kaup. Moreover, in 1930 he stayed on a scholarship in Istanbul, and in 1931 in Paris. In 1932 Ananiasz Zajączkowski was accepted as a senior assistant and lecturer of the Turkish language at the newly established Institute of Oriental Studies at the University of Warsaw and began his preparation for the habilitation. He obtained it in 1933 on the basis of dissertation entitled Studia nad językiem staroosmańskim. Wybrane ustępy z anatolijskotureckiego przekładu Kalili i Dimny. [Study on the Old Ottoman Language. Selected Passages from Anatolian Version of Calila and Dimna]. In 1935 he received the title of associate professor and became head of the Department of Turkology. He spent a lot of time organizing the Institute of Oriental Studies at the University of Warsaw, but at the same time lectured oriental languages at other schools in Warsaw.

During the Second World War he spent most of his time in Warsaw undertaking various works to meet family expenses, but according to letters written to Prof. Kowalski, Ananiasz Zajączkowski did not neglect his scientific and didactic duties. During the war he lost his collections of books and documents: the building of the Institute of Oriental Studies with the library was burnt down in September 1939 and in August 1944 the bomb destroyed his home office. After being released from the camp in Pruszków, where he was imprisoned after the fall of the Warsaw Uprising, he moved with his family to Cracow and from January 1945 for several months he conducted lectures at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Jagiellonian University. However, he returned to Warsaw to rebuild oriental studies there. He headed the Institute of Oriental Studies in Warsaw (1945-1950 and 1957-1961), and at the same time he was the head of the Chair of Oriental Studies in Wrocław (from 1945 until its closure in 1950). He worked continuously until the sudden death in 1970. Some of his students became famous Polish orientalists, such as Józef Bielawski, Aleksander Dubiński, Stanisław Kałużyński, Tadeusz Majda, Maria and Bogdan Składankowie, Edward Tryjarski.

The research interests of Prof. Ananiasz Zajączkowski covered not only turkology, but also Arabic and Iranian studies – he was, as his master, Prof. Kowalski, an Orientalist in the full sense of this word. Although at the beginning of his career he focused on the Karaim studies and returned to this subject for the next years, he was also interested in Old Ottoman, Mamluk-Kipchak and Khazar languages. One of the areas of his academic researches was comparative studies, so he studied the influence of Persian language and literature on Turkish culture, Polish-Oriental linguistic, cultural and literary relationships, and was also the progenitor of the Karaim-Russian-Polish dictionary. The impressive academic output of Prof. Ananiasz Zajączkowski covers about 340 works, many of which have gained worldwide recognition. He has been invited to many conferences and lectures in such cities as Istanbul, Jerusalem, Naples, Mainz, Moscow. He received an honorary doctorate from universities in Berlin, Tbilisi and Manchester.

Prof. Ananiasz Zajączkowski's organizational skills were widely appreciated: for many years he remained the president of the Polish Oriental Society and the head of the Department of Oriental Studies of the PAN (Polish Academy of Sciences) from its foundation in 1953 until its closure in 1969. In addition, he was a member of the PAU (Polish Academy of Sciences and Arts), the Warsaw Scientific Society, the Wrocław Scientific Society, the Türk Dil Kurumu, the Societe Finno-Ougrienne and the Societas Uralo-Altaica. He also  decided to convert in 1949 a small Karaim journal “Myśl Karaimska” [Karaim Thought] published in Vilnius in the interwar period into „Przegląd Orientalistyczny” [Oriental Review], which is still one of the most popular orientalist journal in Poland.

 The influence of Prof. Ananiasz Zajączkowski on the development of Polish and world oriental studies can not be overestimated. His diligence made him, apart from his fruitful academic work, engaged in activities for Karaim community in Poland. From 1945 to 1970 he was the head of the Karaim Religious Association in Poland.


The complete bibliography of Ananiasz Zajączkowski’s publications (about 340 books and articles grouped chronologically or thematically) was collected in several articles:

O. Pritsak, Schriftenverzeichnis Ananiasz Zajączkowski 1925-1963, „Ural-Altaische Jahrbücher”, t. 36, no. 3-4, 1964 [1965], p. 234-251.

M. E. Hensel, Bibliografia prac prof. Ananiasza Zajączkowskiego ogłoszonych drukiem w latach 1964-1970, „Przegląd Orientalistyczny” 3 (79), 1971, p.286-288.

Ananiasz Zajączkowski [in:] Bibliografia turkologiczna, red. Ö. Emiroğlu, T. Majda, Warszawa 2012, p.165-174.

E. Tryjarski, Główne prace turkologiczne prof. Ananiasza Zajączkowskiego, „Przegląd Orientalistyczny” 3 (79), 1971, p. 271-276.

J. Bielawski, Prace iranistyczne i arabistyczne prof. Ananiasza Zajączkowskiego, „Przegląd Orientalistyczny” 3 (79), 1971, p. 279-282.

A. Dubiński, Prace karaimoznawcze prof. Ananiasza Zajączkowskiego, „Przegląd Orientalistyczny” 3 (79), 1971, p. 282-285.

Włodzimierz Zajączkowski (21.07.1914 - 03.09.1982)

Włodzimierz Zajączkowski (21.07.1914 - 03.09.1982)

Turkologist, dialectologist and folklorist.

Włodzimierz Zajączkowski was born in Vilnius in the Karaim family. He attended the local gymnasium and after graduation in 1933 he decided to study in Krakow, where enrolled on a course of oriental studies (then at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Jagiellonian University). Under the supervision of Tadeusz Kowalski he received a master's degree in 1937, defending his dissertation titled „Zapożyczenia arabskie i perskie w języku zachodniokaraimskim” [Arabic and Persian Loanwords in Western Dialect of Karaim Language]. At the same time he studied history and graduated in 1938 on the basis of the thesis named “Chan tatarski Krym Gerej i Polska” [Khan of Tatars Krym Gerej and Poland]. In 1936, being a student yet, he was employed with the support of Professor Kowalski as an assistant in the Chair of Oriental Philology at the Jagiellonian University. Shortly after finishing the studies, he began to collect materials for his doctoral dissertation on the Gagauz Turks, living in the Balkans, but his academic career was interrupted by the war. He spent the war years in Vilnius, where he worked as a history teacher in a high school.

After the war he returned to Cracow and, thanks to Prof. Kowalski's efforts, he received an official post at the PAU (Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences). One of his duties was to collect and compile the manuscripts written in the language of Karaims, but at the same time he conducted research related to his doctoral thesis. In 1949 he obtained a Ph.D. on the basis of the dissertation entitled “Turcy – Gagauzowie – historia, język, etnografia” [Turks – Gagauz people – history, language, ethnography]. In the same year he was re-employed in the Chair of Oriental Philology of the Jagiellonian University, this time as a senior assistant. Next years Włodzimierz Zajączkowski continued his academic career until the appointment as professor in 1980. From 1973 till his sudden death in 1982 he headed the Department of Turkology at the Institute of Oriental Philology.

The language, culture and literature of Karaims was one of the most important area of Prof. Zajączkowski’s academic research. It was not only because of his ethnic origin, but also it was caused by his archival works in PAU, which provided him with material for numerous articles devoted to the Polish Karaims. His contribution to the Karaim-Russian-Polish Dictionary, published in Moscow in 1974, was particularly valuable. Another area of Prof. Zajączkowski’s academic research was different Turkic peoples living in Europe. Thanks to his doctoral dissertation, he became a precursor of researches on Gagauz culture. Then he was exploring issues related to the culture of the Tatars from Dobruja. He devoted a series of articles to this Turkic nations, and the results of his research appeared as a two monographs: Język i folklor Gagauzów z Bułgarii [The Language and Folklore of Gagauz People from Bulgaria] (1966) and Język i folklor Tatarów z Dobrudży rumuńskiej [The Language and Folklore of the Tatars from Dobruja] (1975). It should be emphasized that Prof. Zajączkowski used to conduct the field studies, going to Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia or Azerbaijan, and then carefully elaborate and reprint the language materials collected during his trips.

Although Prof. Zajączkowski's academic achievements are dominated by linguistic and folkloristic works, his contribution to the popularization of the Polish oriental heritage can not be forgotten. In addition to the comprehensive Bibliografia polskich prac orientalistycznych [Bibliography of Polish Oriental Works] (1957), which he co-authored, he compiled detailed bibliographies (e.g. Seraya Shapshal, Tadeusz Kowalski, Tadeusz Lewicki) and wrote such articles as: Dorobek polskich uczonych w zakresie badań Wschodu muzułmańskiego w 1. poł. XX w. [The Achievements of Polish Scholars in the Field of Research of the Muslim East in the First Half of 20th Century] (1949), Polscy miłośnicy Wschodu [Polish Enthusiasts of the East] (1972), Polski dorobek piśmienniczy w dziele popularyzacji wiedzy o Turcji [Polish Writings Popularizing the Knowledge about Turkey] (1976). He also often managed the editorial works e.g. was a member of the Writting Committe of the journal “Folia Orientalia”.

An important part of Prof. Zajączkowski's scientific activity was participation in numerous conferences and symposium. Professor was also a member of a few committees of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Since 1980 he was the vice president of the Polish Oriental Society and the president of Cracow branch of the Poland-Turkey Society. He was also a member of the Orientalist Society in Istanbul and the Societas Uralo-Altaica in Hamburg.

Prof. Włodzimierz Zajączkowski is remembered by his students as a nontrivial lecturer, with a characteristic eastern accent and inseparable green hat. His work, full of involvement and enthusiasm, influenced the development of Polish turkology.


Complete bibliography of Prof. Włodzimierz Zajączkowski's works was published by Aleksander Dubiński: Prof. Dr. Włodzimierz Zajączkowski – On the Occasion of His 65th Birthday, „Ural-Altaische Jahrbücher” 1981, Neue Folge, t. 1, p. 255–269.

Zygmunt Abrahamowicz (20.02.1923 - 13.12.1990)

Orientalist, turkologist, historian.

Zygmunt Abrahamowicz was born in a Karaim family in the village of Załukiew near Halych in 1923. At home he learned the Karaim language in Halych dialect. He had to leave the school in 1941 after the occupation of western Ukraine by the Germans. At the end of the war he was sent to Germany for forced labor, where he learned German. After the war he settled in Warsaw. Since he did not have a high school diploma, he attended the orientalistic courses at the University of Warsaw as an auditor student. Although in the years 1947-1949 he completed five semesters under the supervision of Prof. Ananiasz Zajączkowski, he passed the matriculation exams externally only in 1949. Then in 1950 he moved to Cracow, where he studied oriental philology at the Jagiellonian University under the tutorial of professors: Tadeusz Lewicki, arabist and Marian Lewicki, altaist. At that time Zygmunt Abrahamowicz was primarily interested in Turkish and Persian literature in a translational context. Already in 1950 his translation of poems by Nazım Hikmetwas was published in the “Przegląd Orientalistyczny” [Oriental Review]. While preparing a thesis entitled Podróż Ewliji Czelebiego po Krymie w r. 1666 [The Journey of  Evliya Çelebi throughout the Crimea in 1666], he began to draw attention to the historical theme. He graduated in December 1951 and a few days later have been employed in the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw, where he worked on documents in Turkish, Tatar and Persian. He soon moved to the National Archives in Cracow.

Apart from the tasks of archivist, Zygmunt Abrahamowicz was working for the development of Polish orientalism. He cooperated with the Department of Oriental Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, compiling a catalog of Turkish, Tatar and Persian documents in Polish collections, as well as with the Chair of Oriental Philology of the Jagiellonian University, the Polish Historical Society, the Orientalist Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow and other institutions. He has participated in Congresses of Polish Orientalists, numerous conferences and scientific sessions. He also carried out the activities of popularizing oriental studies, preparing exhibitions (e.g.. Rozwój książki orientalnej [History of an Oriental Book] in Warsaw in 1958, Stosunki polsko-tureckie na przestrzeni dziejów [Polish-Turkish Historical Relations] in Ankara and Istanbul in 1959) and radio materials. In addition, he translated the modern Turkish poetry and prose.

Zygmunt Abrahamowicz has been working on his doctoral dissertation for many years, in parallel with other activities. In the early 1950s was asked by Prof. Olgierd Górka to translate the Turkish chronicle written by Hacı Mehmed Senai, describing the six years from life of the Khan of Crimean Islam III Girai (1644-1650), whose copy was preserved at the British Museum in London. The translation was criticized by specialists and Prof. Górka did not publish the text before the death. After years, Zygmunt Abrahamowicz returned to elaborate the text of the chronicle: improved the translation, added a philological comments, and in 1968 he defended his dissertation written under the supervision of Prof. Tadeusz Lewicki at the Faculty of Philology of the Jagiellonian University. The published version of the doctoral dissertation, entitled Hadży Mehmed Senai z Krymu. Historia chana krymskiego Islam Gereja III (do wiosny 1651 r.) [Hacı Mehmed Senai from Crimea. History of the Khan of Crimean Islam III Girai (until spring of 1651)] aroused widespread interest not only in academic circles, as well as modified version of his master thesis, published in 1969 under the title Księga podróży Ewliji Czelebiego [The Book of  Travel of Evliya Çelebi].

In the following years, besides the regular work of the archivist and additional duties as a translator of the Turkish, Russian and German languages, Zygmunt Abrahamowicz continued his research work. He was interested particularly to the subject of Polish-Turkish relations in the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, as well as Turkish wars, diplomacy and cartography. For many years he has been working on issues related to the battle of Vienna, which was due to the forthcoming anniversary of the battle, in which he took an active part, presenting papers and lectures at numerous sessions in Poland and abroad. He also published an important collection of Muslim sources to the history of battle of Vienna, important for turkologists and historians. As an employee of the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences (changed the place of employment in 1976) he held a three-month fellowship to Austria and Italy in 1980, collecting documents concerning Turkey's relations with European countries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In 1979 he contributed to the founding of the Polish-Turkish Society in Warsaw. In addition, he was providing expertise for the museums, reviewing books related to Turkey and the Orient and writing dictionary or encyclopaedic entries. His cooperation with the Polish Biographical Dictionary is worth to be mentioned – he prepared sixteen biographies. He was valued for his great diligence and conscientiousness.

Due to the illness of his wife, Zygmunt Abrahamowicz reduced his scientific activity in the mid-1980s. He refused to go on a fellowship to Rome and Venice in 1987 and retired in 1988. He died in Krakow in 1990, a few months after his wife's death.


The bibliography of his works is available in:

A. Sulimowicz, Bibliography of the Works of Zygmunt Abrahamowicz, „Folia Orientalia” 1994, t.30, p.230-236.

Stanisław Stachowski (ur. 21.10.1930)

Stanisław Stachowski (ur. 21.10.1930)

Linguist, slavicist and turkologist, lexicographer.

Stanisław Stachowski was born in 1930 in Jeziory near Grodno. He attended Polish school first, then Belarusian one in his hometown. During the occupation he took part in underground courses. After the war he moved with his parents to Tomaszów Mazowiecki, where in 1951 he graduated and obtained a high school diploma. In the same year he began Slavic studies at the Jagiellonian University. As he was interested in the influence of the Ottoman language on the Slavic languages ​​in the Balkans, attended turkological courses conducted by Marian Lewicki and Włodzimierz Zajączkowski. In 1956 he defended his master's thesis related to the suffixes of foreign origin in Serbo-Croatian language, which appeared in print in 1961.

In 1956 Stanisław Stachowski was employed in the Chair of Slavic Philology at the Jagiellonian University as a deputy assistant. A doctoral dissertation on the Upper Sorbian language in the work of Abraham Frencel was first written under the supervision of Prof. Tadeusz Lehr-Spławiński, and after his death, Prof. Stanisław Urbańczyk. It was defended in 1967. During the next five years he wrote a habilitation dissertation entitled Fonetyka zapożyczeń osmańsko-tureckich w języku serbsko-chorwackim [Phonetics of Ottoman-Turkish Loanwords in Serbo-Croatian], which was published in 1973 as his seventh monograph. In 1974 he moved to the Institute of Oriental Philology, to the Department of Turkology. In 1983 he received the title of associate professor, and in 1992 he became a full professor.

The academic achievements of Prof. Stanisław Stachowski are impressive – 20 monographs and more than 60 articles in Polish, German and Turkish. Prof. Stachowski's research interest covered such branches as Slavic, Turkish and Balkan linguistics, with particular emphasis on lexicological issues. The study material was collected during numerous foreign trips, e.g. during the annual fellowship in Zagreb (1959/1960) and shorter stays in Prague, Budapest and Moscow. He also participated in many national and international conferences (e.g. in Budziszyn, Skopje, Minsk, Sofia, Vilnius, Pecs and Szeged). He was the editor-in-chief of important Polish scientific journals: “Folia Orientalia” since 1987, „Prace Językoznawcze. Zeszyty Naukowej UJ” [Linguistic Studies. Scientific Journal of the Jagiellonian University] since 1988. In 1995 he founded the international turkological publishing series “Studia Turcologica Cracoviensia”.

Prof. Stachowski is a member of many scientific committees: the Committee of Slavic Studies, the Linguistics Committee and the Orientalist Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow and the Committee of Oriental Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Since 1990 he has been a member of the prestigious Societas Uralo-Altaica in Hamburg.

In addition to his research work, Prof. Stanisław Stachowski has also been involved in organizational and administrative activities. Between 1981-1984 and 1989-1991 he was elected a deputy director of the Institute of Oriental Philology, and in 1991-1994 he headed the Institute. In 1987 he was appointed to organize the independent Chair of Hungarian Philology. He headed the Chair from 1989 to 1991.

Prof. Stanisław Stachowski is an excellent linguist and great erudite. He conducted classes not only for students of Slavic and Turkic studies, but also for Polish, Hungarian and Romanian studies in the field of historical-comparative linguistics. He promoted over forty magistrates and four doctors. His academic and didactic work was appreciated and honored with numerous awards: in 1976 he was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit and in 1986 the Order of Polonia Restituta.

Professor Stanisław Stachowski lives and works in Cracow.



Jerzy Lisowski (24.04.1931 - 13.01.2003)

Jerzy Lisowski (24.04.1931 - 13.01.2003)

Turkologist, osmanist, scholar of the Chuvash language.

Jerzy Lisowski was born in 1931 in Warsaw. He spent the war and occupation in Warsaw, where he finished the first class of gymnasium on the underground courses. In 1944 he was taken with his mother to a labor camp in Germany, from where he returned in 1945 and settled in Cracow. In 1950 he passed the matriculation exams and then began oriental studies, specializing in turkology, at the Faculty of Humanities of the Jagiellonian University. He graduated in 1954, defending his master’s thesis entitled Niektóre dokumenty tureckie dotyczące stosunków polsko-szwedzko-tureckich z lat 1707-1709 [Some Turkish Documents on Polish-Swedish-Turkish Relations from 1707 to 1709].

In 1955 Jerzy Lisowski was employed as an assistant at the Chair of Oriental Philology, and two years later he was promoted to senior assistant. In 1959 he received the Societas Uralo-Altaica scholarship at the University of Hamburg. He spent three years there, deepening his knowledge in the field of altaistic and focusing mainly on the Chuvash language. In 1964 he obtained a doctoral degree on the basis of a dissertation entitled Złożenia czasownikowe w języku czuwaskim [Verbal Conjunctions in the Chuvash language]. In 1975 he was awarded the Golden Cross of Merit for his impeccable pedagogical work. Jerzy Lisowski worked actively and sometimes disinterestedly for the development of Institute of Oriental Philology. He dealt with administrative and organizational matters and performed the duties of the secretary of science. He was not able to complete his habilitation dissertation and in 1977 he was offered a job in administration of the Jagiellonian University. He worked there as a senior specialist until 1986, when he retired due to health problems. Died in 2003.

Initially, Jerzy Lisowski was interested in Ottoman documentary and diplomacy. He was collecting and compiling materials for the study of Polish-Turkish contacts, such as those described in the article Quelques Remarques sur la mission du Mehmed Aga en Pologne (1707), published in “Folia Orientalia” in 1959. Later, the Chuvash language remained at the center of his interests. Dr. Lisowski is remembered by his students as a very modest and benevolent person.

Jan Ciopiński (24.10.1938 - 03.08.2012)

Jan  Ciopiński (24.10.1938 - 03.08.2012)

Orientalist, osmanist, turkologist, lecturer at the Jagiellonian University in 1964-2008.

Jan Ciopiński was born in 1938 in Kielce, where he graduated from the high school. In 1957 he began oriental studies at the Jagiellonian University. He learned Arabic, Persian and Turkish, but finally chose turkological specialization. After the fourth year of study he spent two years (1961-1963) at university in Leningrad as a scholarship. At that time, studying under the supervision of the world-famous turkologist Andrei Kononov, he prepared his master's thesis entitled “Formy złożone czasownika w napisach ku czci Kül Tegina i Ton-yuquqa” [Complex verb phrases in the inscriptions of Kül Tegin and Ton-yuquq], learned Azerbaijani, Uzbek and Chagatai languages, and also completed a language internship in Baku as an interpreter in the Turkish section of the local radio station. After return, in June 1963 he defended his master's thesis and was employed in the Jagiellonian Library. In 1964 he was accepted for a one-year internship at the Chair of Oriental Philology of the Jagiellonian University. Then he worked as a Polish language teacher at the preparatory courses for the Vietnamese. In 1966 he was employed as an assistant and until his retirement he was working in Institute of Oriental Philology, climbing up the academic ladder. While preparing his doctoral thesis on the Book of Advice (Risaletü'n-nüshiyye) of Yunus Emre, he spent another half year on a fellowship in Leningrad. He obtained his doctorate in 1973 and then turned his academic interests towards classic Ottoman literature. In 1977, during a nine month fellowship at the University of Istanbul, under the influence of Prof. Faruk Timurtaş, he decided to focus more closely on Ottoman stylistics and rhetoric. The habilitation thesis entitled Elementy retoryczne w „Kanuni mersiyesi” Bakiego [Rhetorical Elements in Baki’s „Kanuni mersiyesi”] was published in 1982. He received his habilitation degree in 1983 and after several months he was appointed as a docent.

In the mid-eighties, Prof. Ciopiński's calmness was disturbed by the visits of SB [Security Service] officers. The pretext was searching people involved in preparation for the assassination of a Turkish-language teacher. Because of that visits many years later Prof. Ciopiński was accused of collaborating with SB under the pseudonym “Pasha”. In December 2006, the Rector's Commission for the Invigilation of the Jagiellonian University by the SB cleared Prof. Ciopiński of charges, showing on the basis of SB's documents that Prof. Ciopiński refused to provide any information, and in February 1988 he himself cut off contacts with SB officers, throwing one of them out of the office in Paderevianum building.

Prof. Ciopiński was involved not only in academic research, but also in organizational activities for the university. In the years 1982-2000 he was the head of the Department of Turkology, and in 1993-1999 he was elected a deputy director of the institute. He actively participated in many conferences, such as the 750th anniversary of the birth of Yunus Emre, celebrated under the patronage of UNESCO in 1991. In 1994 he spent a month in London, where his task was to collect and describe the legacy of the Polish orientalist, Andrzej Doliński. In 1998 he was appointed Honorary Consul of the Republic of Turkey in Cracow, which shows his great popularity among the Turks, who not only appreciated his studies on Ottoman literature, but also admired his beautiful, exquisite way of speaking Turkish. In 1995, Prof. Ciopiński was a doctoral dissertation supervisor (Grażyna Zając), and in 2003 he was appointed an associate professor at the Jagiellonian University. He retired in 2006, but continued lecturing for two more years. In 2008 he had to resign due to health problems. He spent the last four years in his family home in Kielce.

The academic interests of Prof. Jan Ciopiński covered literary studies mostly, but for many years he was involved in various activities, not only in matters of Turkish literature but also in grammar and culture. He compiled, in cooperation with Teresa Ciecierska-Chłapowa and Oben Güney, materials for practical Turkish language learning – a script Türkçe konuşuyoruz was published in 1979. It should be added that students remember him as a charismatic teacher. He published on a wide range of topics: from Orkhon inscriptions and Old Anatolian literature to classical Ottoman poetry, but was especially interested in poetics and rhetoric – he worked out a method of measuring emotional tension in classical Ottoman poetry based on the analysis of rhetorical figures, and his publications in this field were undoubtedly pioneering. For many years he worked on Fethname-i Kameniçe of Yusuf Nabi, the seventeenth-century poet, who described Sultan Mehmed IV's expedition to Kamieniec Podolski. Prof. Ciopiński was planning to translate it into Polish with a philological commentary, but he did not finish his work before the death. However, Professor Ciopiński's other translative contributions should not be forgotten, such as beautiful Polish and French translations of Yunus Emre’s poems or Chagatai folk tales called Késik Báš Kitābý.



Les Formes composees du verbe dans les inscriptions en honneur de Kül-Tagin et du Ton-yuquq, “Folia Orientalia” 1964, t.6, s.55-96.

Remarques sur les constructions syntactiques du type bülbül öten yer et leur réalisation dans la langue Turque, „Folia Orientalia” 1969, t.10, s.59–63.

Késik Báš Kitābý, variante de Kazan I: Texte, “Folia Orientalia” 1969, t.11, s.79-88.

Késik Báš Kitābý, variante de Kazan II : Traduction, “Folia Orientalia” 1970, t.12, s.61-68.

Késik Báš Kitābý, variante de Kazan III : Commentaire, “Folia Orientalia” 1971, t.13, s.9-13.

Le traite de bons conseils de Yunus Emre, “Folia Orientalia” 1976, t. 17, s.117-140.

Le traite de bons conseils de Yunus Emre, “Folia Orientalia” 1977, t. 18, s.65-85.

Le traite de bons conseils de Yunus Emre, “Folia Orientalia” 1979, t. 20, s.77-96.

Elementy retoryczne w „Kanuni mersiyesi” Bakiego, Kraków 1982.

Yunus Emre et Alighieri Dante, „Folia Orientalia” 1993, t.29, s.71-72.

Emotion and its measure in Ottoman poetry, „Studia Turcologica Cracoviensia” 1995, t.1, s.9-14.

Świat dawnej literatury tureckiej. Zarys, Kraków 1997.

About Nesimi Once More, „Studia Turcologica Cracoviensia” 1998, t.5, s.73-79.

Poetical value of Nesimi’s blasphemous gazel, „Studia Turcologica Cracoviensia” 2001, t.8, s.8-15.