Have you ever tried to find a book about Kyrgyzstan in English?
Kyrgyzstan, as well as the rest of Central Asian countries, has a very rich history and culture, a lot of traditions and a unique lifestyle that was described by many authors. However, very few books were translated to foreign languages.
Nevertheless, we have made for you, albeit a small, a list of books about Kyrgyzstan released in English and other languages. After reading these books you will get closer to the lifestyle, culture and traditions of the Kyrgyz people.
“Kyrgyzstan: Land of Nomads”
“Kyrgyzstan: Land of Nomads” will head our list of books about Kyrgyzstan. This book was released in English, Russian and German languages. The publication of this book became possible due to the support of the Tourism Department of the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of Kyrgyzstan.
If you read “Kyrgyzstan: Land of Nomads”, you will learn tons of interesting facts about the customs, traditions and lifestyle of the Kyrgyz people. The book tells about the Kyrgyz, highlighting their nomadic roots.
“Kyrgyzstan: Land of nomads” is divided into the following chapters: “The pearl of Tien-Shan” referring to Lake Issyk-Kul, “The art of nomads”, “Kyrgyz traditions”, “Ethnic jewelry of Central Asia”, “Saima – kyrgyz embroidery” and the last one devoted to the petroglyphs of Saimaluu-Tash, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Finally, we can say that “Kyrgyzstan: Land of Nomads” is one of the most interesting and informative books about Kyrgyzstan. It contains a lot of useful information, colorful illustrations and descriptions of all the sights of this Central Asian country. Moreover, the book is full of original photos and extracts from historical archives.
“Jamila” by Chingiz Aytmatov
The next book in our list is the “Jamila” by the great Chingiz Aitmatov.
Chingiz Aytamtov (or Chyngyz Aitmatov) was not only a Soviet and Kyrgyz author, but a writer, who was known and recognized internationally. He has written over 25 novels. Many films and theatre pieces are based on his works.
The following novels of Chingiz Aytmatov were translated into English:
- “The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years”
- “Farewell Gulsary!”
- “My Poplar in a Red Scarf”
- “Spotted Dog Running Along the Seashore”
We suggest you to start exploring this author’s works with “Jamila”, because this story has a small volume, but it is very informative. The book will let you get acquainted with the authentic lifestyle of the Kyrgyz people. Besides, it is an interesting story and after reading it you will certainly want to continue reading other works of Chingiz Aytmatov.
The world saw “Jamila” in 1957, and in 1958 the book was translated into English and French.
Epic of Manas
The next book about Kyrgyzstan that we suggest you is “Manas” – the Kyrgyz heroic epos. This book can tell a lot about Kyrgyzstan and its people for those interested in understanding the local culture and lifestyle. This book was translated into English, Hungarian, Tajik, Bashkir, Yakut, German, French, Turkish, Estonian and other languages.
“Manas” is on the UNESCO list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. You can also find “Manas” in the Guinness Book of Records, as the most voluminous work among the epics.
Scientists still didn’t come to a consensus about when the epic was created. There is a hypothesis that the epic can be associated with the historical events of the 9th century related to the Kyrgyz people.
“Manas” is the first part of the epic trilogy. The other two parts are “Semetey” and “Seytek” respectively.
The epic relates the story of the origin of the Kyrgyz nation. The main character (Manas) has managed to unite disparate tribes into one nation (the Kyrgyz). He was able to gain and sustain new territories that he called “the land of the Kyrgyz”.
This book reflects the history, traditions, lifestyle, holidays and even the everyday routine of the Kyrgyz people.
The trilogy has become the spirit of the Kyrgyz, a symbol of integrity, independence and ethnic identity. But the most amazing thing is that the epic passed down by word of mouth for many centuries and today it still not forgotten and performed by the famous “manaschi” (“Manas” performers). The written version of the epic appeared already in our days, which indicates the development of the phenomenon.
“Kyrgyzstan” by Claudia Antipina
Further on in our list of books about Kyrgyzstan is the book of the famous Russian ethnographer and a specialist in ethnography of the Kyrgyz people, Claudia (or Klavdiya) Antipina –“Kyrgyzstan”. She spent the most part of her life in Kyrgyzstan, researching and gathering information on the local nomads, their lifestyle, traditions and costumes.
“Kyrgyzstan” is one of the first books that tell about costumes and traditions of the nomadic people of Central Asia released in English. The book contains valuable information collected by this eminent ethnographer, who lived many years among the nomads of Kyrgyzstan. Besides, it is full of colorful illustrations.
Claudia Antipina is the author of numerous monographic studies on the nomadic Kyrgyz that are of great importance for Kyrgyzstan. However, only a small part of these works are translated into English.
“Features of material culture and applied art of the Southern Kyrgyz” is another book written by this amazing author, in which you will find a lot of illustrations and interesting information. The book will show you different types of applied art of the Kyrgyz people. Here you can see the uniqueness of Kyrgyz embroidery, ornaments and carpets. You will be able to discover for yourself the peculiarities of Kyrgyz clothing and yurt construction (a yurt – felt nomadic portable dwelling) and more.
Reading this book, you will not only learn about the applied art of Kyrgyzstan, but also understand that the sources of this art are nature, mountains, rivers and lakes of the country. The craftswomen drew inspiration from the environment for creating ornaments, handicrafts and decorations. The book also reflects the lifestyle of the Kyrgyz people.
“The Kyrgyz” by Kanybek Imanaliev
The next place on our list of books about Kyrgyzstan is occupied by “The Kyrgyz” by Kanybek Imanaliev. Currently the author is a deputy of the Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) of the Kyrgyz Republic.
“The Kyrgyz” is a modern narrative about life in Kyrgyzstan. The book tells about the rich historical cultural heritage of the Kyrgyz people, about their commitment to freedom, as well as about the role of women in the Kyrgyz society.
Also in this book you will find a description of the unique beauty of the Kyrgyz land, high mountains, natural resources, geographical peculiarities of the country and much more.
“The Kyrgyz” by Kanybek Imanaliev was released in Russian, English, German and Chinese.
“Kyrgyz Republic” by Roman Stewart
The author of “Kyrgyz Republic” (Odyssey Guides) – Roman Stewart did a great job. In his book you will find a lot of useful information for traveling across Kyrgyzstan. The book describes the most beautiful places of this mountainous Central Asian country that certainly won’t leave you indifferent.
Besides, in this guide you will find detailed information on accommodation, transport and other necessary information for your trip, such as itineraries and routes for trekking tours.
Finally, this detailed and complete guide has bright and interesting illustrations.
“Mysterious Kyrgyzstan” by Viktor Kadyrov
Another book about Kyrgyzstan worth reading is “Mysterious Kyrgyzstan” by Viktor Kadyrov (publishing house Raritet). This book is from a series of gift albums, it is small, but very interesting for those who want to get to know more about this Central Asian country.
“Mysterious Kyrgyzstan” has a lot of photos that will let you get closer to this amazing country. In these photos you can see the unique beauty of the Kyrgyz land for the first time, or find the places you have already visited.
Besides, the book contains descriptions of different places and sights of Kyrgyzstan. All kind of travelers will find something interesting in this book: archaeological sites, mountain peaks for climbers and mountain lovers, the mirror lake Son-Kul, the pearl of Kyrgyzstan – Issyk-Kul Lake and much more.
If you decided to visit Kyrgyzstan, this book can be an excellent gift from this amazing country for your friends or loved ones.
“Kirgistan” (“Kyrgyzstan”) by Stephan Flechtner and Dagmar Schreiber
We would like to finish our list of books about Kyrgyzstan with “Kirgistan” (“Kyrgyzstan”) by Stephan Flechtner and Dagmar Schreiber. This book released in 2019 is a very up-to-date guide written in German language.
“Kirgistan” contains detailed information about the history, geography, political system, religion and current population of Kyrgyzstan. Besides, the guide written by Stephan Flechtner and Dagmar Schreiber offers all detailed descriptions of Bishkek, Talas, Osh, Naryn, Issyk-Kul and other cities and regions of this Central Asian country, as well as Tien-Shan and Pamir mountains.
Finally, in this book you will find tons of useful information on sights, accommodation, restaurants, local travel agencies and general rules of behavior in Kyrgyzstan. And, of course, you will enjoy the colourful illustrations reflecting the day-by-day life of Kyrgyz people and the stunning nature of this country!
This book completes our list of books about Kyrgyzstan and we hope that our small research will be useful for you.
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