Sacred Sites of the Southern Kyrgyzstan: Nature, Manas, Islam
Aitpaeva, Gulnara (ed.)2013
This book is the result of extensive field study on sacred sites of South Kyrgyzstan (2010 – 2012). Field researches done by the Aigine Culture Research Centre in Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken provinces included identification of sites, as well as description of their histories and functions. The current publication is a summary of materials from three previous books published in Kyrgyz language.
Four main groups of sacred sites were identified: natural sacred sites, places related to Manas, to history, and also to Islam. Sacred natural sites include lakes, caves, mountains, springs, rocks and trees. Traces of the great epic hero Manas were found in many places, besides Talas. The main source of sacred places related to historical knowledge is Jer Ene (Mother Earth, and other names people use to refer to it). Last, a large proportion of sacred sites (mazars) which are predominantly Islamic in nature are also related to diverse ethnic groups. The second part of the book is dedicated to the knowledge related to sacred sites, e.g. worldviews, beliefs and atmospheres present there. The last part of the book is a glossary, composed of those terms and concepts used in the practice of pilgrimage in the south of the country.