Mazar Worship in Kyrgyzstan: Rituals and Practitioners in Talas, 2007

The cultural practice of worshipping at the sacred sites, known as Mazars, is one of the ancient Kyrgyz traditions. Even though the first known date of the worship at these sacred sites is not known precisely, it is several centuries old and has its cultural functions and place in current times as well.

In this book, the Aigine Research Center is publishing its two year research findings of the work conducted in the Talas district of the Kyghyz Republic.

The first part of the book contains information about the experiences of the cultural practitioners acting as traditional healers, dervishes, clairvoyants, kuuchus (q.v.) and those who recite the Manas epic. Also included are the voices and experiences of the shaiykhs who have a personal and spiritual relationship to the sacred site, who accepted a duty of a guardianship of sacred sites as their life mission and who revere the sacred sites.  Also included are the words of the visitors who come to visit sacred sites from far distances.

The second part of the book contains the thoughts and opinions of scholars who wrote about the sacred sites. The professional and educational backgrounds of these scholars are varied and diverse. They include, but are not limited to, students, historians, medical workers, psychologists, philologists, physicians, biologists, anthropologists and most importantly, people who worship at sacred sites.

Hence, this book contains both the perspectives of the cultural practitioners who worship at sacred sites and that of scholars who analyze the worship at sacred sites as a cultural phenomenon.

The book is available in Kyrgyz and English languages.

Section I: Existence throughout ages

  • List, descriptions and oral history of mazars in Talas
  • The main regulations on visiting a mazar and why people go
  • Messages from mazar guardians and sha’yks
  • Mazars and people
  • Rituals practices in mazars
  • Mazar worship in the Soviet time

Section II: Sacred sites through researcher’s perspective

  • Duyshonkul Adylov: Healing at mazars: sources of healing, methods of curative impact, types of healers and criteria of their professional qualifications
  • Gulnara Aitpaeva and Elena Molchanova: Kyrgyzchylyk: searching between spirituality and science
  • Nazgul Asanakunova: Kyrgyz religious beliefs: popular conceptions of mazar worshipping in Kyrgyzstan
  • Talantaaly Bakchiev and Aida Egemberdieva: The role of initiation in the Kyrgyz world
  • Salamat Imanakunov, Nurbek Kuldanbaev, Larisa Rudakova, Oktyabrin Sadyrov, Vladmir Shudro:Ecological conditions of sacred places in Talas oblast
  • Zemfira Inogamova: “Keeping the sacred secret”. Voices of people who worship at the Nyldy Atacomplex of sacred sites in Talas district
  • Nazira Jusupova: The name connections between mazars and villages in Kara Buura district
  • Nathan Light: Participation and analysis in studying religion in Central Asia
  • Anvar Mokeev: On the role of Sufi sheikh miracle – working in the process of islamization of population of Kyrgyzstan
  • Mukaram Toktogulova: Syncretism of beliefs (kyrgyzchylyk and musulmanchylyk)


© Aigine CRC

NOTE: The book is available for purchase at 500 KGS (in Kyrgyz language) and 35 USD (in English langiage).