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Horse backed Golden Eagle Bearers -The Kazakhs

The Kazakhs of today are descended from indigenous Turkic, Mongolic, and Indo-Iranian peoples, as well as Huns, who once inhabited the region between Siberia and the Black Sea. They make up around 4% of the Mongolian population across the country. The Kazakhs inhabit mostly the province of Bayan-lgii, which means 'Rich Cradle.' The Bayan-lgii province is located in Mongolia's far west, separated from Kazakhstan only by a 40-kilometer stretch of Russian and Chinese mountains.

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Genghis Khan was known to be an enthusiast of falconry, as seen in cave paintings going back to the Bronze Age. Kazakh eagle hunting was listed on UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Legacy of Humanity in 2011 as an example of living human heritage.

The Golden-Eagle and their horses:

The Siberian golden eagle, also known as berkut, is one of the biggest subspecies, with gigantic females with wingspans of 2m and 6cm-long talons utilized for hunting. They may weigh up to 6 kg.

"A Kazakh without a horse is like a bird without wings."

Training golden eagles is a talent that is passed down through the generations in Kazakhs. They start training their eagles from a very young age of around two years and vigorous training is given to them to build up a communication system.

Kazakhs have hunted with trained golden eagles on horseback for over two centuries. Only around 240 Kazakhs are engaged in eagle hunting, which is a talent passed down via semi-nomadic herder families and done in the winter. Another incentive for eagle hunting is a source of identity.


Traditional Yurts:

The nomadic nomads of Mongolia's steppes live in traditional yurts, which are moveable spherical tents covered in skins or felt. Wood or bamboo are used to construct the walls, which are stacked in an angled assembly or latticework. A door frame, ribs, and a wheel are also included in the typical yurt. The roof is usually self-supporting, although bigger yurts may contain inner pillars to support the crown.


Food, Dressing, and Beliefs of the Kazakhs:

The majority of Kazakhs in this isolated, mountainous region rely on domestic animals for their survival. Rabbits, marmots, foxes, and even wolves are among the species hunted for their fur over the highlands and steppes. This fur is an important feature of the Kazakh traditional dress. Eagle hunters wear boots, black jackets, and 'loovuuz' fox fur caps.

To stave off evil, the Kazakh adorn themselves with beads and talismans. Shamanic ideas are still frequently held among Kazakhs. In the eighth century, Islam was introduced to the Kazakhs' forefathers. The majority of Kazakhs are Sunni Muslims. They frequently continue to believe in pre-Islamic sky, ancestor, and fire cults, as well as supernatural entities such as good and evil spirits, giants, and wood goblins.


The Eagle-hunting festival:

The festival is held in September, October, and March, shortly before or after the winter hunting season, there is rarely any actual hunting. Instead, the hunter contests will highlight traditional falconry abilities and underscore the need for communication between the hunter and the eagle in a good working relationship.

Until next time, stay safe and stay happy.

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