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    Bashkortostan Republic (Bashkiria)

Bashkiria was originally inhabited by the tribes of Bashkirs, a Turkic people. They are a part of the huge Turkic world settled on territory from the Baltic and Black seas in the west up to the Okhotsky sea and the Pacific ocean in the east, from Caucasian up to Himalayan and Gindohushsky Mountains in the south. The ethnic history of the Bashkirs is very rich and old, it totals thousand of years. The subsequent formation of the Bashkir culture passed in conditions of their interaction with Slavic and Ugro - Finnish peoples.

The Bashkirs formed military unions and participated in all kinds of communication with many peoples inhabiting the adjacent territories. The Bashkirs were primarily a nomadic people, and were spending about half of their life in temporary dwellings, so called yurta (nomads tent). Yurta is an ideal dwelling as it is warm in hard frost, and cool in heat. The skeleton of traditional yurtas consists of four or six wooden collapsible lattices (ropes), which are put in a circle and fixed by stones. Then yurta is covered by large pieces of leather forming yurtas cone-shaped roof. It is formed from wooden thin poles (uk), the lower end of which was based on lattices, upper (pointed) one - on a wooden circle (sagarak) that simultaneously was both a window and a smoke outlet to let the steam accumulating under its felt vault to go out from yurta.

Traditional men's clothes consist of a broad and long shirtsleeve with a direct cut of a collar, trousers with a broad step, easy with straight backs dressing gowns, camsoles and tulups. Mens headgears are tyubeteykas, round fur caps, malahay, hats. Man's headgear, i.e. chalma was popular among the Bashkir people as among other Muslim peoples. It was not daily headgear. It was put on mainly by old men, when visiting the mosque, and also attendants of a cult mullahs.

Traditional female clothes are: a dress with flounces, an apron, a camisole. Young women also wore breast ornaments made from corals and coins (seltar, hacal). The Bashkir women had a variety of headgears. The Bashkir girls usually, especially in summer, walked with an uncovered head, the adult girls and women always carried cotton shawls.

For quite a long time, the semi-nomadic cattle breeding provided the Bashkirs with food, as well as with leather and wool. Due to its softness, elasticity and lightness, ability to keep warmth for long time, wool was an universal raw material for manufacturing felt and carpets. Due to its universality, felt was the most widespread. It was used to cover the dwelling - yurta, floor, trellised walls. It substituted furniture in yurtas: the Bashkirs work on it, have rest, eat, pray, and meet quests. Footwear, clothing, and some parts of horse harness were made of it. Felt was used to decorate the dwelling. Cashmas piled up together with woolen carpets, feather-beds, and cushions.

The Bashkirs are almost entirely Muslims. In the eighteenth century, the Orthodox Church attempted to convert them to Christianity, but today, only about 3% are Christians. Those who converted to Christianity are now organized into a tiny minority known as the Nagaibaks.

Islam is not as deeply rooted among the Bashkir people as it is among the Tatars. However, Ufa, Bashkiria's capital, has been the center of religious life for European Russian Muslims since the eighteenth century. It is the seat of the "Muslim Spiritual Board for European Russia and Siberia."

There are over one hundred mosques in Bashkiriya.

Tags: Russian tourism Russian regions Republic of Bashkortostan Russian history  


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