There is a village with a unique name, Forty Tatars (Keturiasdešimt Totorių), located int the territory of Vilnius District Municipality, 16 kilometers south-west if Vilnius. This is one of the first settlements of Lithuanian Tatars formed next to the Vokė River. The settlement most probably was set up in the late 14th century when the defeated khan Tokhtamysh of the Golden Horde arrived in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with his remaining followers. Fort Tatars village originated from a camp of Tatar soldiers, later it grew into an estate village. The village bears an exceptional name, the only one in Lithuania; while legends and stories about the emergence of this village are no less unique/ A few of the have been mentioned by Snanislaw Kryczynski in his book Lietuvos totoriai(Lithuanian Tatars). One legend has it that, in the old times, a “king”of Lithuania gave some land to Tatars as a gift and then allowed polygamy among them for their number to increase sooner. One Tatar man married four wives and each of them bore him ten sons and those sons established the village. Another story holds that, first, four rittmeiters settled in Forty Tatars village, namely, Sobol, Lashkutis, Bairash and Tygush. The letter story is related to surnames of families residing in Forty Tatars village as of old: the families of linked to Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas, whereas the second one is of genealogical origin. Several more legends about the emergence of the village are common to all Turkoman peoples.
Based on archival documents Henryk Jankowski, a professor at Adam Miccevicz Univerdity in Poznan, maintains that the first known village name is Turkoman – kyrk, which means “forty”, yet another possible form of that name is Kykrlar, meaning “plenitude". Later on, as from 1557, his toriography used a Slavic name of the village for a long time, Sorok Tatar, while following the return of Vilnius Region to Lithuania in 1939 the name of the village became Lithianian - Keturiasdešimt Totorių.
Forty Tatars village is a linear settlement established on a hill rising above a plain. Acoording to J. J. Tochermann who studied it in the period between the wars, this village is unique in Vilnius Region; it was formed in the manner of steppe settlements, had and irregular street network and reserved relics of erratic construction. For some time after the war, village streets we not changed, the rambled in the settlement and its surroundings and were characterized by steep intersections. Regrettably, in the Soviet times many typical village streets and paths were replaced by new roads whereas old ones were destroyed. Village landscape has been irreparably disrupted by stone and wooden kolkhoz-type architecture. Forty Tatars village was first referred to in historical sources on the 1st half of the 15th century. Michalo Lituanus mentions this estate village in his treatise (On the Customs of Tatars, Lithuanian and Moscovites written in Latin in 1550 calling it Czyzewski in his pasquinade of 1616 Totoriu Alfurkanas(Tatar Al-Furkan) where he writes about the privilege granted by rulers to inhabitants of Forty Tatars village to construct roads as well as build and repair bridges between Rudininkai and Voke. Besides, according to Czyzewski, Tatars of Lithuania exempted Tatars from various obligations leaving only the most important one- military service. Therefore, the main duty of Tatars living in Forty Tatars village must have been to protect the surroundings of Vilnius, thus village must have had a defensive functions. Historical documents contain information that in 1528 residents of Forty Tatars village provided the army of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania with 25 mounted soldiers, while in 1631 – with 10 mounted soldiers. From the military point of view, Forty Tatars village belonged to the colours of Jushinshi family.
Major losses were sustained by Forty Tatars village during an attach by Moscovites in 1655-1660 when the village was burnt and looted. No lesser disasters befell this village and other Tatar villages when their trains, which wanted to escape war and were going from Mazovia and Podlachia to Lithuania, were attacked and robbed by Swedish followers. Other small Tatar estate villages must have also emerged at a similartime close to the VokeRiver, namely Koaklarai, Kolnolarai, Melekonys, Mereslenai, Liudvinavas, Kazbejai, Afindzeviciai. The names of the majority of these settlements are Turkoman; unfortunately , the settlements either have not survived ntil today, or they are not inhabited by Tatars. Forty Taras village had famous had famous carriers who used to transport Vilnius merchants goods and would. Reach Poznan, Krakow or even the Crimea. History has preserved the name of Suleiman Akjmecevich, a carrier from Forty Tatars village who used to transport goods to Lublin in 1594. Tatar carriers would also he hired by the royal palace and the treasury of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The invoices of the royal palace of 1552-1556 refer to Tatar carriers including the names of inhabitants of Forty Tatars village who used to transport assets of the treasury. Another traditional occupation of Lithuanian Tatars was dressing of fur and leather. Tatar furriers and currier from Forty Tatars village were appreciated for the quality of processed furs and leather. The sheepskin and leather they dressed were well-known in all the country; they were even supplied for the needs of the army of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In addition to carriage of goods and leather dressing, Tatars enjoyed vegetable gardening, therefore eventually vegetable gardening became one of the principal occupations and sources of income of Lithuanian Tatars. Residents of Forty Tatars village would sell the vegetables they grew in Vilnius markets.
The first mosque is believed to have been built in Forty Tatars village in 1430, in the times of Vytautas the Gray. However, this mosque is first mentioned in the treatise Risale-i-Tatar-i-Lech. This work was written in 1558 by an unknown Lithuanian Tatar who had hone on a pilgrimage via Istanbul to Mecca and Medina, cities considered holy by Muslims. He narrated a story about his fellow kinsmen living in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania upon the request of a vizier of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. The author of the treatise ascribed Forty Tatars village to the most significant settlements of Lithuanian Tatars with large mosques. Based on historical documents, the mosque of Forty Tatars village was reconstructed for the first time in 1615-1616, ye the reason for that in unknown. Subsequently, the mosque was burnt by French army during Napolen’s march to Moscow in 1812 and rebuilt in 1815. In later times, in 1928-1929 and 1932, it was repaired and then it was fully restored and opened to believers in October 1993. This mosque in unique in that it is the only one in Lithuania without a mihrab – a niche showing the direction towards Mecca. The mosque of Forty Tatars village is a small wooden rectangular building finished with vertical boards, with a tin hip-roof which used to be covered with chips. The roof has a little tower, a minaret crowned with the symbol of Islam. During the war, either.