Inspiro Group - Travel and Logistics
Inspiro Group - Travel and Logistics
Inspiro Group - Travel and Logistics
96, Boulevard Erkindik, Bishkek,
720040, Kyrgyz Republic
Tel.: +996 (312) 30-46-17, 90-12-95
Fax: +996 (312) 90-12-95
e-mail: booking@inspiro.kg
Eng

Kyrgyzstan Culture


Kyrgyzstan Culture

 
A number of diverse cultures thrive in Kyrgyzstan, but traditional the Kyrgyz culture is predominant. The culture is most concentrated in rural areas, particularly Naryn. Kyrgyz culture is a nomadic, tribal way of life rich with seasonal traditions, and unlike neighboring societies, has been entirely portable. Thus the rugged countryside's historic architecture is not buildings but transiting, self-contained communities with movable homes called yurts. Traditional life is simple but hard work surrounding animal husbandry where loyalty to the extended family and clan as well as deference to men and elders is valued centrally. Kyrgyz is a modest, conservative culture, but unlike the rest of Central Asia follows religious Islam only lightly and despite relative geographic and economic isolation is open to accepting and living alongside foreign ideas and cultures. The quiet, peaceable Kyrgyz culture makes up around 5 million residents globally.

Nomadic Traditions
Kyrgyz culture traditionally values those activities that need little equipment and can fill the empty hours between the chores of the day and sunset (a place more commonly filled by television now).

A visit to a jailoo might be the most exciting experience of any journey to Kyrgyzstan. Jailoos feature amazingly beautiful landscapes and a special ambience that has changed little in centuries. Here, the traditions of a nomadic life - whole families living together in portable dwellings called yurts ("boz ui" in Kyrgyz), tending cattle on broad pastures, singing songs and playing games that generations of shepherds have played - have been preserved.

In Kyrgyz, jailoo means a high-altitude summer pasture, usually at 2,500-3,000 meters above sea level. The distinguishing feature of summer life on the jailoos is the yurt itself, the top ventilation hole of which, tunduk, is featured on the Kyrgyz flag. Perfected over centuries of nomadic living, the boz ui is easily constructed, dismantled, and carried. The yurt's interior is warm in winter and cool in summer; it's no accident that the Kyrgyz people have used it since ancient times. At the request of visitors, a demonstration of how to erect the boz ui can be organized by a hospitable Kyrgyz family, including explanation of each detail and description of raw material of which the structure is made. Inside and out, the yurt is entirely handmade - even stabilizing ropes are braided from leather or woven from wool. With the aid of local craftswomen, tourists may try their hands at making the Kyrgyz felt carpets called shyrdaks, which cover the floor of the yurt, decorating their creations to their own taste.

A stay at a jailoo immerses the visitors in a natural environment and the atmosphere of the nomadic lifestyle, which has been practiced by Kyrgyz people for ages. As befits the jailoo's mellower pace of life, activities are flexible. How will you explore the surrounding untouched corners of nature? On horseback, searching for petroglyphs and rock paintings? Or hiking to waterfalls, impetuous mountain rivers, and bubbling streams of clean drinkable spring water? Perhaps scrambling over small glaciers? In the evening, fuel up for another day with a fireside supper, surrounded by the clean air and sounds of a pristine mountain ecosystem, and spend a night in a yurt under tent of stars.

Importantly, a trip to the jailoo is a golden opportunity for responsible tourism. Practically all elements of the tourist experience are offered by local service providers (yurts, tents, horses, food, local English-speaking guides, etc.). As a result, quality and reasonable are guaranteed, and tourism revenues stay within rural communities.

Manas
The great epic poem Manas contains more then a million lines and is 20 times as long as the Odyssey and Iliad together and 2.5 times longer than the Mahabharata. Taking as its subject the entire history of the Kyrgyz people starting in about the 10th century, the epic is a description of valorous feats of the central hero Manas, battling the barbarian hordes to create a homeland for his people. Before being slain in the triumphant final battle, he marries the wise Kanykei, daughter of a Samarkand khan. Sequels tell of the exploits of their son, Semetei, and his son Seitek. Along the way, the epic detours through colorful descriptions of everyday life with its traditions, customs, feasts and funerals. The manaschy is the traditional professional Manas storyteller. An esteemed bard was always welcome in any house. Many of Kyrgyzstans most respected historical figures, like Toktogul (of city, reservoir, and street-in-Bishkek fame), were manaschy. Singing Manas was ideally suited to the different situations and is the core of the Kyrgyz self-image.

Music
The Kyrgyz value music highly. Most feasts have a singing break between courses, when guests take turns belting out traditional melodies. Tone-deafness is no obstacle, and the contribution of foreigners will be much appreciated. Instrumental accompaniment has a strong tradition, too. Riddles, proverbs, and tongue twisters also have important places in the hearts of the people.

The most important Kyrgyz instrument is the komuz, a three-stringed pear-shaped object made of apricot wood, usually. The strings were historically made of sheep intestine. The komuz has a quiet, amiable sound, though strange, electrified versions have begun to appear. The ability to play the komuz is widely respected, though the importance of tuning before playing seems to be less widely acknowledged.

The choor (pipe) is a wind instrument, from 40-100 cm long with 0 to 4 holes. It can be made of cane, honeysuckle wood, copper, or other materials, and has a nasal, buzzing tone. A clay ocarina shaped like a ball with three holes is also widespread, called the chopo choor (clay pipe).

The ooz komuz (mouth komuz) is a small mouth harp, made of iron, brass, bronze, or copper. The sound comes from the twanging of a small metal tine, with overtones produced by positioning the players lips, mouth, and teeth. It is quite similar to the maultrommel of Germany, the berimbao of Spain, the Jews harp of the United States, and about 800 other instruments around the world.



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