Mongolia was one of the biggest empires in history, stretching
the length of Asia, covering lands from China to the border of
Finland. This great realm was created by one of the most infamous
rulers in history - Genghis Khan. Many of the traditions from this
time still continue today. The Nomadic people, who still live on
the steppes of Mongolia, still live in 'Gers', large felt tents
that are transported on horseback from place to place.
Horses are the center of nomadic life, and there is even a dance
performed on them. The 'Mongolian Waltz' is performed by a man and
a woman, both on horseback, who circle each other to traditional
music, as the music slowly speeds up.
Eagle hunting is also practiced here, most famously being
practiced using majestic Golden Eagles. The practice was brought to
Mongolian by the Kasakhs escaping from Kazakhstan, and it has grown
and developed, with children as young as 13 practicing hunting.
Every year in the first week of October sees the Golden Eagle
Festival in Bayan-Ölgii aimag, with eagle hunters taking part to
show off their skills.