From the ancient times, the ethnic group known as the Kyrgyz have been nomadic people who tend to move continuously throughout the mountains and valleys of the region with their cattle.

Today, a large proportion of the Kyrgyz population still practising semi-nomadic, traditional life, Nowadays people move to mountain pastures only in summer time, and usually stays for six month. In summer, which is from June to September, you will find hundreds of nomad camps everywhere, either next to the road or in the remotest mountains, where they settle so their horses, cows and sheep can graze freely.

This culture is not only unique and highly interesting but also, in very few places in the world is the nomadic culture as accessible as it is in Kyrgyzstan, since in each and every one of those camps, you will be more than welcome to eat or sleep in their yurt and also to observe and even help with their daily tasks, such as milking their cows or making butter.

The nomads are, definitely, one of the biggest reasons why you must visit Kyrgyzstan.

#1. Stunning nature.

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One of a famous gorges in Kyrgyzstan “Alarcha”.

Located on the Great Silk Road, it is “Oasis of Central Asia”, Kyrgyzstan is a land of celestial mountains, vast alpine lakes, beautiful alpine meadows, and ancient glaciers. More than 94% of the territory of the country covered by mountains, called “Tien-Shan” – means from chinese “Celestial Mountains”. 

The Kyrgyzstan is a best place for trekking, hiking, horseback riding, rafting, skiing, and  photograping. Lake Issyk Kul, a crystal blue high alpine lake up in the Tian Shan Mountains, is one of the largest and deepest lakes in the world. 

Summer, it is a time when people from villages moves to moutain pastures  with yurts, as nomad families graze their stock on the lush, sweet grass, adding context and scale to these epic landscapes.


#2. Worlds Nomad Games.

world nomad games
Archery competitons
World Nomad Games (Kyrgyz: Дүйнөлүк көчмөндөр оюндары) are an international sport competition dedicated to ethnic sports practiced in Central Asia. The countries taking part in those games are the former Soviet republics of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Russia (especially Sakha, Buryatia, Altay, Kalmykia, Bashkortostan republics, etc.) as well as other countries like Mongolia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Philippines and the United States.

The Games are surrounded by a cultural and ethnical program. During the first edition of the Games, a yurt village was installed, and cultural events not linked with the Games’ disciplines occurred, as well as other entertaining activities.

The first three World Nomad Games were held in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan; however, Turkey has been announced as the host of the fourth games in 2020.


#3. Land of “Kok-Boru”.

Kok-Boru
Kyrgyz national horse game “Kok-Boru”.

 

“Kok-Boru” or “Ulak-Tartysh”, a traditional horse game, is a synthesis of traditional practices, performances and the game itself.

It is a traditional game played by two teams on horseback, where players try to manoeuvre with a goat’s carcass (replaced with a mould in modern-day games), or ‘ulak’, and score by putting it into the opponents’ goal.

The community of bearers includes players united in higher league, semi-professional and amateur teams, as well as the general public. The most experienced players serve as referees, while another category consists of the ‘Kalystar’ (elders), who ensure the fairness of the game.

The element is an expression of the cultural and historic tradition and spiritual identity of its practitioners and serves to unite communities regardless of social status, fostering a culture of teamwork, responsibility and respect.


#4. Hospitable People.

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Local horsmen

The nomadic culture is still deeply rooted in Kyrgyzstan and it might be an explanation for their incredible hospitality. Kyrgyz people are kind, very open and always ready to share a meal or a drink with you.


#5. Nomadic Culture.

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Shepherds with their cattle

The Kyrgyz Nomad are cattle-breeders who live in yurts and move their animals to different camps in the mountains depending n the season. In Summer, they will settle in high altitude, for example around Song-Kul lake, and in Winter they will go down in the valleys to get some protection.

The icon of the Kyrgyz nomadic culture is the yurt, a small wooden dwelling decorated with felt carpets. There are still many yurt makers in Kyrgyzstan. In the next section you will discover their art.

The wealth of a Kyrgyz nomad is based on the number of his animals, especially horses which are at the center of their culture.

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