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Yurt may be recognized as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan's cultural heritage: UNESCO

30 august 2014, 00:54
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Yurt. Photo © Aizhan Tugelbayeva
Yurt. Photo © Aizhan Tugelbayeva

Yurt, a portable dwelling of Central Asian nomads, may be recognized as a cultural heritage of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan by the end of 2014, Tengrinews reports.

Yurt is a portable dwelling made of wooden frames and covered with felt to keep the warmth inside and protect the dwellers from harsh weather of the Central Asian steppes. According to known record, yurts have been used in Central Asia for three thousand years. Back in the days when Kazakhs and Kyrgyz people were leading nomadic lifestyle, the size and decoration of the yurt represented the social standing of the owner. Nowadays, yurts are mostly used during celebrations. One can always enjoy a delicious meal in a yurt during Nauryz (celebrated in the time of spring equinox) somewhere in the middle of busy Almaty city. Some shepherds and villagers still use yurts on a daily basis as an additional portable dwelling.

Kazakhstan and Kyrgyztsan applied to the UNESCO to have the traditional Turkic yurt added to the intangible cultural heritage list. The committee, according to the General Director of the UNESCO Irina Bokova, will consider the request in November.

The two Central Asian countries also want to make the technology of yurt making part of the intangible cultural heritage. In addition, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan applied to add aitys, improvised competition by akyn-singer accompanying himself on a dombra (a long-necked string instrument that resembles a lute) to the representative list of national competitions. The UNESCO plans to consider it in 2015.

Kyrgyz epic trilogy Manas, Semetei, Seitek, akyn-poets performing Kyrgyz epics and Nauryz holiday have already been included into the list of intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO.

By Gyuzel Kamalova


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