Kazakh nomadic way of life

The nomadic way of life of Kazhakh people

The nomadic way of life never really died out in Kazakhstan. The Kazakhs and their ancestors have preserved nomadic traditions on the open steppe for already more than 3 000 years as it was the only way to survive within the steppe’s dry vegetation, its limited water resources, its summer heat and its winter cold.

Following the end of the Soviet period, Kazakhs maintained the nomadic way of life. For example, the yurt preserved with much care has recovered its place of honor. Nomadic migrations are not rare, and in summer you can find mobile nomad settlements in many steppe valleys and on mountain pastures. Smoke rises from the yurts or army tents and children play around them. However, yurts are have changed slightly from a century ago and are in most cases supplied with electricity, at least by a battery or a generator.

Meat is the main food of Kazakh nomads. When winter comes, a horse is chosen for slaughter, as its meat is considered the best energy provider during the cold season. A young bull’s meat is considered the best dish for spring, and mutton is available year-round. Mutton tastes particularly good in summer when the sheep have been grazing in the herb rich meadows. 

Semi-nomadic livestock breeding has a bright future in Kazakhstan. It is recovering well, with families gradually gaining a position of modest prosperity-to the extent that the travelers who are invited in for a bowl of kumis inside the yurt, may find to their surprise that a refrigerator and TV set have been added to accompany the room’s many colorful decorations.

Page updated 24.8.2021

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