Tags / Central Asia
Despite the fact that Uloq should traditionally be played in spring or autumn, horsemen like to play on fresh snow - it's safer when you fall from a horse.
A big round target marks the finish line where the winning rider is supposed to lay the carcass - without getting it stolen from him by other riders with whips clenched in their teeth and horses trained to bite.
The jury consists of respected people (aksakals) who inspect horsemen, the carcass and monitor the game to make sure it goes on according to the rules.
The jury will grant the winner a prize: it can be anything from a horse or carpet to a TV or even a car.
Spectators enjoy alcoholic beverages while braving the cold to watch the game. Their drinks of choice: vodka and cheap local wine called "Porto 53."
A Uloq rider mounts his horse before the game.
Riders who become too tired to carry on or who are injured can leave the game at any time.
The hoard of riders waits for a signal from the jury that marks the beginning of the game.
Uloq fans are often criticized for drinking and bad behavior.
Fans wait in line to enter the massive field where the game will take place in Ertosh.
While men ride horses into the game, children and young boys ride donkeys.
Riders try to wear warm clothes made of thick layers of cotton to prevent injuries from horses and other riders.
A carcass used for the game should first be beheaded. A regulation carcass weighs between 30 and 40 kg.
A game of Uloq has just begun before a packed audience in Ertosh, Uzbekistan.
Spectators try to find elevated places to have a good view on the game.
Riders are allowed to whip each other. They often hold their whips in their mouths while trying to control their horses with both hands.
Riders are not allowed to attack each other from the back, but all other kinds of physical attack are permitted.
Bizarrely and painfully, it is allowed for horses to bite riders and other horses. Riders often train their horses to perform such a trick on command.
Riders customarily pray before the start of the game.
One lucky rider (left) wears a Soviet tank brigadier helmet to the game. It's considered the best defense for a horseman's head.
The winner (right) will ride back to the jury with the carcass once he has planted it in the target.
The winner of the game of Uloq rides back towards the jury and spectators with his spoils.
A lone Uloq rider wanders with his horse in the field of battle at the end of the game.
Photos and Text by Timur Karpov/Transterra Media
The Mugat are an ancient nomadic people living in Central Asia. Also known as the "Central Asian Gypsies", their lifestyle is similar to European Roma: they live in camps, migrate across countries, and begand recycle garbage for money. Many people in Uzbekistsan, a country with a significant Mugat population, believe the Mugat have magic powers and know secret curses.
Usually the Mugat never let cameramen inside their community and are warey of outsiders. This Mugat ceremony, called "Khatna-tuy", took place in a small city of Parkent, Uzbekistan. Mugat people from camps around Parkent gathered together to celebrate the circumcision of one of the boys from the community. As an Islamic people, circumcision is one of the most important events in the life of a Mugat man. On the day of his ceremony, he receives money and gifts from community, while guests enjoy cheap vodka, bowls of meat, and dancing.
These photos provide an inside look at the rituals of one of the most secretive peoples in one of the world's most secretive states.
In the morning on Dec 16, 2014 six Taliban fighters entered Peshawar’s Army Public School under orders to let the youngest children leave and to kill everyone else. The killing spree took the lives of 141 people, among them 132 children. Pakistani military retook control of the school after hours of fighting, saying that all nine insurgents were dead.
After the Peshawar school attack, the Pakistani government has decided to train school teachers to operate handguns, as well as Kalashnikov rifles, for their own safety and the protection of students.
Photos by Umida Akhmedova
Uloq is the Uzbek version of the famous Asian Buzkashi game. This tradition was spread in Central Asia and Afghanistan by Mongols with their cult of horsemen. The rules are simple: riders compete for a carcass of a goat or a young ram. The winner has to cross the finish line on horseback without allowing other riders to rob him of his prey. Like Buzkashi, Uloq is an extremely dangerous sport: 100 or more horsemen usually fight for a one carcass. Major Uloq games are usually held in the spring or autumn, when the Central Asian peoples traditionally celebrate their weddings, and is often played before the arrival of their main Spring festival, Nowruz. The official Uloq Federation of Uzbekistan conducts frequent tournements and competitions, bringing together up to 500 riders and thousands of spectators to watch the fast, intense sport.
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Riders from all the surrounding villages take part in an Uloq competition in Ertosh. Participating in Uloq competitions is considered a good way to demonstrate mens' strength to women.
Dust rises above the village. The Pamir Mountains are a snowless desert. For Europeans dust is associated with the scorching sweltering summer, cracked earth parched by the sun. Here it is dusty all the time until the first snow falls.
A calm afternoon in the village. Women sit in front of their houses. Here, houses are built with stones and clay mixed with straw. A roof is the most expensive part of a house as people need to import wood from Kirgizstan. During soviet times, it was not so expensive as it is now as it was imported from Siberia.
Sarabdek looks at his village. Roshorv is beautifully located village on a high mountain plateau. It is the biggest village in the Bartang Valley. 3 000 people live there in 165 houses. People came here 4 or 5 centuries ago from a village located below Yapshorv, which was slowly eroded away by the roaring Bartang River. Previously, there was only alpine pasture.
Catching a yak. A few wild yaks are brought from a distant Murghab. One was chosen to be culled for upcoming wedding party.
To kill a yak, men bind its legs, put it down, hold it and one of them cuts its throat.
Butchering the yak. As the custom, the neighbors receive a piece of meat, ready prepared and boiled.
The leftovers from the yak.
Sarabdek grinds flour in the water mill. Villagers make flour by themselves. There are 10 water mills in the village. At each house, bread tastes different as everyone bakes it in their own way, some add some oil, others more salt. The price of a bag of flour in a Soviet time was 11 rubles, today it costs 180 Somoni (30 euros), which constitutes Sarabdek’s monthly pension.
A woman takes water from a spring. The water from the spring is used for drinking and cooking. For washing and cleaning, people take water from a system of irrigation channels around the village.
The girl looks for sheep and goats. This task is reserved for children. There are 7 to 10 big herds in the village. In one herd, there are around 10 to 15 smaller groups each owned by a local. Shepherds switch their turn for grazing their herds.
The groom’s family goes to the bride's house to form a wedding party.
Kids are jumping from one roof to the other.
Musicians are greeting guests at bride’s house. The tambourine is a local traditional instrument.