Translations available

Among the Kazakh Eagle Hunters

An ancient tradition dating back more than 6,000 years, the fur hats and magnificent eagles of each hunter are a matter of great pride amongst the Kazakhs. I stayed with two families living in the remote Altai mountains of Mongolia.

James Morgan

Two hundred years ago, the advance of the Russian empire into Kazakhstan sent many Kazakhs across the border into western Mongolia, where they settled in the region of Bayan Ulgii.

As the Russians continued to occupy Kazakhstan, traditional Kazakh culture continued to be diluted to the point where, when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, new prime minister Nursultan Nazirbyaev began offering financial and domestic incentives for diaspora Kazakhs in Bayan Ulgii to relocate back to Kazakhstan.

The idea being that they would bring with them traditional practices such as eagle hunting and dombra playing and that this would inspire a revival in the dwindling Kazakh culture and population.

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