A trip to a strange land...

>> Monday, January 16, 2006

We interrupt our trip through Costa Rica to travel to the opposite side of the world. Allegedly the center of Asia... We're going to the Republic of Tuva!

The Republic of Tuva (from www.slowfood.it)

"Situated in southern Siberia on the border with Mongolia, the Republic of Tuva has an area of 170,500 square kilometers and is one of the least known regions of the Russian Confederation.

It is the geographic center of Asia and in Kyzyl, the capital, there is a monument to mark the most distant point from the sea. The climate is continental, with temperatures ranging from 40°C in the summer to -50°C in the harsh Siberian winter. The variety of landscapes and temperatures has resulted in a huge range of flora and fauna: from the taiga—the Siberian forest of firs and birches—to the Mongolian steppes; from the yaks in the most mountainous areas of the country to the camels in the far south.

The land of Tuva has been inhabited since Neolithic times and there are many historical and artistic remains from this period (rock carvings, burial sites, stones and artifacts of many kinds). In the 13th century, the region had to yield to the ‘Golden Hordes’ of Genghis Khan, while in the 18th century it came under the sphere of influence of China under the Manchu dynasty. After a war of liberation, it became independent once again in 1912, and in 1914 became a Russian protectorate. The Popular Republic of Tuva was formed in 1921 and remained a sovereign state until 1944, when it became part of the USSR. In 1992, following the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Republic of Tuva returned to being an independent state within the Russian Confederation."

Shamans of Tuva (from www.fortuva.org)

"Shamanism, probably the earliest religion on earth, believe that every mountain, river or forest has its own spirit which owns the place, and is in command of animals and birds living there. Spirits can protect people, provided their goodwill is obtained with prayers and sacrifices. Shamans have therefore a vested interest in protecting their environment. They were our first ecolo ancestors. They were also our earliest doctors and psychiatrists: through a trance, the shaman engages in a dialogue with spirits to clean the patient of evils which affect his heath, physical and psychic. Spirits help the shaman to look into the patient's past and apprehend his future. After decades of violent persecution by Communists, shamanism makes a forceful comeback in Russia, mainly in the Siberian republic of Tuva." (A story of a woman Shaman "Heart Moon")

Now for a treat. A slide show of Tuvan landscape, also included shots of the inside of a Yurt, and the main city in Tuva. Its accompanied by some traditional music and you can hear a bit of the famous "throat-singers".

What inspired me to look all this up is going to see a performance this Saturday. A group called Huun-Hoor-Tu . They were amazing. Its unbelievable quartetrtette of voices can take you on a journey through the Taiga with cries of birds, howls of animals and the sounds of galloping horses... all done with their voices, simply incredible.

Cheers! (To another discover in this world)

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