Bayan-Ulgii is a unique place in Mongolia, home of the Kazakh ethnic group. The Kazakhs have a rich culture, close extended families, and many traditions that are still practiced today that are centuries old. Kazakh is the language of everyday communication, with Mongolian used for inter-ethnic interactions and official communication. Islam is the primary religion of the Kazakhs. Today, many Kazakhs in Bayan-Ulgii maintain traditional semi-nomadic herding by moving with their animals several times a year, and living in a Kazakh style ger (larger and taller than a Mongolian ger) during the summer. All Kazakhs keep close ties to extended families. Tradition requires that one must not marry anyone related within 9 generations. As a result, upon meeting each other, Kazakhs always tell if and how they are related. This is not their only tradition, though.
Kazakhs are famous around the world for their intricately embroidered wall hangings (tuskies) used on ger (yurt) walls. A typical ger may have 5 to 7 wall hangings that can take 200 hours to hand stitch each. The curving designs of the wall hangings are patterned after goat horns which symbolize the primary source of wealth of the nomadic herder. This design is used for a wide variety of traditional clothes, home furnishings, and accessories. The Kazakhs are not only known for their artwork, but also for their incredible friendliness.
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