Kazakh People

 

KAZAKH PEOPLE OF WESTERN MONGOLIA 

At least two hundred years ago, it was recorded that Kazakh nomads had been traveling to summer grazing pastures in the Bayan-Ulgii Aimag region of the Altay Mountains.  After the Mongolian Revolution of 1921, a permanent border was drawn between Russia, China and Mongolia.  The western point of Mongolia is only twenty four miles from Kazakhstan’s eastern tip, although it does not share a border with Kazakhstan.   

Kazakh people, famous for their hospitality and generosity, take pleasure in poetry and music - their traditional instrument being a two stringed lute called a dombra.  They enjoy richly embroidered clothing; women wear bright headscarves or white head pieces called ah jaulih and men, a skullcap called tuhia – adhering to the Muslim belief that the head should never be uncovered under heaven.  Kazakhs of Bayan-Ulgii Aimag hold fast to Sunni Islam. 

Over three hundred Mongolian Kazakhs now practice the art of eagle hunting, a sport that goes back two thousand years.  The skill of training a Golden Eagle is passed through generations.  Trained female birds travel on arm rests, accompanying hunters on horseback in quest of marmots, small foxes - even wolves.  When prey is spotted, the headpiece, called a hood (or tomaga) that covers the eyes of the bird, is lifted.  When it is evident that she has seen the prey, the bird is released to complete the hunt.  Eagle hunters wear Cossack-style boots, black coats and fox fur hats called loovuuz.  They ride on decorative saddles trimmed with real silver hardware. 

History:  Kazakh means ‘free warrior’ or ‘steppe roamer’.  After the death of Chinggis Khaan in 1227, one segment of his empire controlled by The White Horde, (headed by his great-grandson Batu) incorporated land from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea, (modern Kazakhstan).  Batu’s grandson Barak was assassinated by a rival siblings, however Barak’s sons, Janibek and Giray, rose to lead two hundred thousand followers and created what was referred to as Mongolistan, the land between Issyk Kul and Kashgar.  They held on to their leadership until 1511 when Janibek’s son Kasim Khaan took control of cities on the Syr Darya River.  Kasim Khaan made a confederation and coined the term we refer to as the Kazakh people.  Kazakhs today live in China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and throughout the world. 


© 2009-2014 Bonnie Folkins, All rights reserved.