Origin of Kyrgyz People

The Kyrgyz people were originally settled in Siberia (around Yenisei). After pressure from Mongols their groups became nomadic tribes and move to area of Kyrgyzstan.

The Sacred Land of Manas

The land of Manas includes three parts of Kyrgyzstan – the Chui region, the Talas region and the town of Bishkek, the capital city. Kyrgyz people who have inhabited the Tien-Shan mountains since ancient times thought the Talas valley to be the Eden garden. The Talas valley was always connected with the name of Manas. Many natural objects and monuments found here are in some way connected with his name. So, the mountain with mausoleum on top was a watch tower for the guards. The tower was called “Manas supa”.

There is a popular belief that Manas was buried in the kumbez (burial vault). The legend says that the mausoleum which has no equivalents in beauty, was erected for the beloved husband by Kanykei, the devoted wife of Manas.

It is forbidden to represent Manas´ face on the pictures and statues because of the cures.

Bernshtam A.N., a researcher of the ancient history of the Kyrgyz, tried to determine the period of the arising of the „Manas“ epos. He wrote „Talas is one of the most ancient places of the inhabiting of the Kyrgyz people. It is the first area of the Tien-Shan where they came in the I century B.C. The precise definition of the poem’s essence belongs to Chokan Valekhanov, a representative of the Kazakh nobles, an officer of the Russian army. „Manas is an encyclopaedic collection of tall folk myths, fairy-tales, legends brought to one period and gathered around one character – the epic hero Manas“. At the present time the burial vault of Manas is restored and can be enjoyed by tourists.

First Settlements

After the primitive society was gone big tribes of nomadic cattle breeders appeared on the territory of Kyrgyzstan. These tribes were the Saka, which was Scythian nomadic tribe with Iranian origin (VII-III centuries B.C.). After them the Usun (III-I centruies B.C.). By the VI century a big community of Turkic tribes were formed here-Western-Turkic kaganat (state)-VI-VII century whose capital, Suyab (the name of the city derives from that of the Suyab River, whose origin in Iranian), was in the Chui valley.  Towns and settlements grew, ancient Turkic writing language was created. It had a very good geographical position, as it was located on the trade ways and it absorbed all cultural achievements of the West and East. In all valleys and lowlands good for farming big towns grew, their population was busy with handicrafts, trade and farming.

Silk Road

The period of the Great Silk Way left a lot of relics of that time. Along the dusty roads of Jalal-Abad since ancient times the Great Silk Road has passed.

It was the main transport route which connected countries of the European Mediterranean region with India and China.

Along this road numerous commercial trade centres and military fortifications began to appear. They have existed for more than 1000 years. There were towns as Navekat and Balasagun (for many years was one of the largest cultural and economic centres in the North Kyrgyzstan). After the beginning of navigation from Europe to the countries of South Asia, during the XV century the Silk Road lost its importance.

Written by Jan Vane and Mirek Hejzdral