The Kyrgyz are traditional Nomadic tribes, who originally came from Sibiria and then moved to the south till they reached Tien Shan Mountains. The major role in their culture always had the cattle, especially sheep and horses, which were the most important animals, but also cows and goats are being raised. Well, horse-back riding is one of the most important parts of Kyrgyz culture, and Kyrgyz even have a saying: "If you would have only one day to live, you should spend at least half of it in the saddle."
An abundance of horse-back riding games exist, which are often presented with festivals or shows, and the perfection of the Kyrgyz in the saddle, where the moves are mostly derived from every-day situations of former generations, is amazing. Boys start to help adults to care for the sheep being very young.
Girls also very early learn the traditional handicraft, which mean in first place the very colorful carpets that are made with months- or year-lasting work. The most famous carpets are Shyrdak and Ala-Kiyiz , which are both made from sheeps felt and show colored 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-cafés 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 multifunctional, portable home, consisting of a wooden construction and the felt covers. The whole thing is fixed with short leather-ribbons (instead of nails) and ropes made from animals hair. Inside, decoration is spread out everywhere: Carpets on the walls and 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 respected guest.
In the middle, there is a little stove, which is usually used for cooking and warming the room. It is absolutely necessary even in summer in those high-altitude regions, especially if there is bad weather. The space inside the yurt is strictly separated - at the right hand side you can find kitchen utilities, and everything needed for handicraft and sewing. To the left of the entrance there is the men's part - utilities for hunting, fishing, horse-back riding and everything for the sheep is stored there.
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