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Kyrgyz of Afghanistan: the view from historical homeland

Nurzhan Kadyrkulova, our new blogger from Kyrgyzstan, with report from exhibition “From the present to the past: the life of Afghan Kyrgyz” , special for NewEurasia
The photo exhibition “From the present to the past: the life of Afghan Kyrgyz” was opened on February 26 at the National Historical Museum of Kyrgyz Republic. Works of journalists of the “MK Asia” newspaper are full of bright colors and brief history of Kyrgyz people who live on the territory of Afghan Pamir.

Journalists Ulugbek Babakulov and Egamberdy Kabulov have visited alpine valleys and gorges of Afghan Little and Big Pamir. According to the Persian sources, nomadic Kyrgyz tribes began to settle there since far 1575-1576 years. By the mid-19th century, the population of Afghan Kyrgyz was about five thousand people.

History of the Pamir Kyrgyz is very impressive by its diversity and uniqueness of cultural details. Unfortunately, due to the severe climatic conditions and continuing wars in Afghanistan, the Pamir Kyrgyz’s population decreased to less than two thousand people nowadays.

Interesting facts appear while exploring the life and culture of the Pamir Kyrgyz. Mixture of blood and close co-existence with the Afghan people affected not only outside look of the Kyrgyz, but also their traditions and clothes. But such important elements of Kyrgyz culture, as Boz Uy (yurt); a white scarf that a young woman wears after marriage; a colorful ornament on blankets; and more other things, show the true origin of this amazing nation.

Visitors of the photo exhibition were enthusiastically talking about the works of journalists. The distinction between local Kyrgyz people and a nation shown on the photos seems to be very slim, but the spirit of the common ancestors and high appreciation of culture show the real similarity between the Pamir Kyrgyz and the population of Kyrgyzstan.

Many travelers and journalists visit this mountainous terrain searching for unique facts about the life of Afghan Kyrgyz. They also provide a financial support to the tribe.  Regular help from the worldwide organization USAID, a coverage of mode and structure of the Pamir Kyrgyz people’s life by the “MK Asia” newspaper, and also a permanent contact with the historical homeland  make the life of Afghan Kyrgyz much easier.

The main thing is just to give these really strong people the feeling that they are not forgotten. Whereas to the local population – the expansion of horizons and increase of a cultural knowledge.

The photo exhibition will last until March 12, 2013 in the National Historical Museum of Kyrgyz Republic.

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