Administratively speaking, in Central Asia are the former Soviet republics, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Chinese Turkestan, Mongolia and the northern region of Afghanistan, stretching from the Pamirs to the Siberian taiga and the Caspian Sea to in western China.

And if here the revenge is cruel, the passion is lived just as intensely, there are legends, older and newer, with loves that ended tragically or with parents who punished the disobedience of the children, killing them. The diversity of races and unwritten laws encountered in this territory offers a striking spectacle for the outside world.

Uzbeks and Tajiks, incorrigible sedentary

The Uzbeks are the result of the mixture of the local Iranian populations in the Aral Sea region with the Turks, a process carried out between the 11th and 12th centuries, then completed in the post-Mongol period and during the Timurid state. The ethnogenesis of the Tajik people, based on the same ancient Iranian populations, took shape between the ninth and tenth centuries, and the Tajik language – dari – played an important role in the formation of the Persian literary language. Uzbeks and Tajiks are two sedentary peoples, their specific type of settlement being the kiislak, surrounded by high clay walls – duval.

The house of the Uzbeks is divided into two sectors: the outer part included the room intended exclusively for men – taskari – and the one for guests – nihmon-hona -, while the inner part – icikari – was intended for women. Representative of the mentality and lifestyle of the two peoples is one of the traditional sports, namely buzkasi, very hard, consisting of a race of riders who have to gallop the decapitated body of a goat, all representing, in fact, a nvalmaseala, in which any kind of blows are allowed.

The women of Pamir, beautiful and mysterious

Along with the Uzbeks and Tajiks, Central Asia preserves many other nations. We cannot forget the Uyghurs, one of the oldest Turkish-speaking peoples, greatly influenced by Chinese culture and civilization, the peoples of the Pamirs, whose women, say travelers, are as beautiful as they are mysterious as the places in the world. living, or Jews met mainly in the commercial area of ​​Bukhara. About their arrival in Central Asia, an old legend tells that the emir from that area wanted a descendant, which his young wife, ill, could not give him. Any attempt by local healers to cure her had failed (healing was done without direct consultation, because Islam forbade an unknown man to examine another’s wife).

Hearing the emir of a Jewish community in the Persian Empire, in which it was said that there were very good doctors, he sent for one. The Jewish doctor managed to cure the woman. After the birth of the child, the emir’s joy was so great that the Jew and, with him, more and more families were invited to remain in the local society.

The gods, in high esteem In the nomadic populations of Central Asia, Islam experienced a weak development. In the Kazakh-Kyrgyz steppes there is a strong religion, managing to simultaneously transcend both metaphysical and everyday problems, respectively shamanism. Thus the shamans – baksi – played an important role in the life of these populations, trying to reconcile the two contradictory deities Tangri. with the abode in heaven, and Erlik Khan, the lord of hell and the dead, with the dwelling in the earth. Most of the time, the shamanic vocation suddenly appeared in young people who began to behave strangely, to have crises of irascibility and to look more and more for loneliness. They were taken under the protective wing of a shaman, who initiated them into the mysteries of the art of eternal healing and search.

Mollahul, defeated by the shaman

In this world almost confined to its own laws, Islam has sought to impose itself since the earliest stages of its expansion into southern Kazakhstan. In the twelfth century, mosques were built here, true architectural masterpieces, which themselves managed to attract only a few followers, in general, representatives of the rich classes. Islamization was late and ineffective as a whole, with religious practices still marked by ancestral rites. The mullah never occupied a special place in Kazakh-Kyrgyz society, being continually defeated by the shaman, to whom the locals always turned for any advice or healing. Some Kazakh proverbs go so far as to ridicule the Qur’an and its preachers. One of them has striking similarities to a Romanian proverb: Listen to what the mullah says, but never do what he does.

Central Asia, the mysterious land of the shamans