Event: “Birds of Prey Festival”.
Date: 16 August, Saturday.
Place: Jaichy yurt camp (southern shore of Issyk Kul Lake).
Entrance Fee: 15 USD. It includes lunch and participation in all activities.
This festival takes place on the southern shore of the lake Issyk Kul, the second biggest high mountainous lake in the world. Besides testing traditional cuisine, performing national folklore, handicraft, and souvenir’s sale, you will be able to see the fascinating show of nomadic way of hunting. This hunting is executed with the help of eagles and taigans, special group of the only dogs who can hunt on wolves tamed by the Kyrgyz people from the ancient times. Kyrgyz hunters trained eagles and passed this tradition from generation to generation. With the help of eagles and taigans they hunted on wolves, foxes, marmots, badgers, hares and other animals and used their skin for trade as a means of their sustenance. Hunters normally can keep eagles from their baby age to five-ten years. At the beginning they are trained for a special mask to cover their eyes, they get used to the voice of the master. After two months or so hunters use a special technique for teaching them to follow the skin of animals that is tied to a fresh meat. This is how they learn to get an award for their action and acquire first habits of a hunter. In this fascinating show you will see how the Kyrgyz hunters hunt on animals using their eagles and loyal dogs.
Felt and handicraft show performed by the local masters will allow you not only to learn about the felt products and the way of their manufacturing but also will give you an opportunity to participate in these procedures. Kyrgyz women have always been skillful in creating masterpieces of art represented in their handicraft work. It is their pride and responsibility to prepare a dowry for their daughters which has been preserved as part of their tradition for many centuries. Normal felt carpets of 3 meters to 2 meters size can be completed with the help of 5-6 women for 2 months working all day long. You can estimate not only their labor, extraordinary zeal and patience but also a talent of creating a real work of art. As a continuation of this you can witness the other talents of local people as they will present you the best folklore songs, dances, melodies played on traditional musical instruments like komuz (3-stringed musical instrument made of an apricot tree), ooz komuz (a tiny iron instrument played by drilling it across your teeth and mouth), chopo choor (an instrument made of clay), traditional flute, shyldyrak (jingles) and many others. Also you will be able to see the reciting of legendary Manas story by the special singers named Manschi. The story of Manas is the world’s biggest epic exceeding with its half million lines such world known epic stories as “Iliad” and “Odyssey”. It is considered to be the encyclopedia of Kyrgyz history, traditions and culture and the main national pride which verbally has been preserved for thousand years from generation to generation.
We highly recommend you to participate in this festival for you will be able to plunge into real nomadic traditions and customs carefully preserved even nowadays.