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The Kyrgyz originally came from Sibiria when they moved to the south until what today is Kyrgyzstan. Traditionally Nomads, Kyrgyz people always have been living with cattle, especially sheep and horses. And of course, horse-back riding is one of the most important parts of Kyrgyz culture, and a Kyrgyz saying even tells us: "If you would have only one day to live, you should spend at least half of it in the saddle."

Children already learn how to ride a horse when they just start walking, and the boys will then soon also be caring for the sheep. And almost all of horse-back riding games that exist today, where the moves derived from every-day situations of former generations.

Girls, on the other hand, very early learn the traditional handicraft, which mean in first place handmade carpets that are fancy decorated with months- or year-lasting work. The most famous carpets are Shyrdak and Ala-Kiyiz, which are both made of felt and show coloured patterns, that are derived from nature.

Although very important, those carpets are not the best-known product of Kyrgyz sheeps felt: The symbol of the Kyrgyz life, the Yurt, is made from felt as well, and can be found everywhere on the pastures. Also in modern Kyrgyzstan , it is still part of every-day life, even in cities: You find street-cafes everywhere, serving traditional meals, and also families in big towns still build the yurt on the most important holidays, such as the birth of a child, a marriage or a burial. Most significantly shown is the importance of the yurt in the flag of the Republic: It is red and in the centre shows symbolically the Tyunduk - the central part of the yurts roof, with ist typical wooden circle and the crossed sticks in ist middle.

The yurt is a portable, multifunctional home that constructs of a wooden frame and covers with the felt. The whole thing has no nail and it is fixed with short leather-ribbons (instead of nails) and ropes made from animals hair. Decoration is spread out everywhere inside: hangings on the walls and carpets on the floor, and the "Djuk" at the end of the yurt, opposite the entrance: It is bedsheets, that are spread at nighttime on the floor and offer a soft and warm place for the night, but during daytime they are kept stapled and covered with a beautiful cloth, forming the back part of the place for the most honoured guest.

In the middle, there is a little stove, which is used for cooking and also provides warming of the room, which is absolutely necessary even in summer, especially if there is bad weather in those high-altitude regions. Left to the entrance there is the man's part - utilities for hunting, fishing, horse-back riding and everything for the sheep is stored here. The woman's part is on the right hand side - you can find kitchen utilities, and everything needed for handicraft and suing.


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