Friday, April 18, 2014
 
Follow sptimesonline on Facebook Follow sptimesonline on Twitter Follow sptimesonline on RSS
MOST READ



PARTNER NEWS


Legendary Porcelain Artworks for Your Home
The Gift Projects online showroom...


BLOGS



OPINION

 

Перевести на русский Перевести на русский Print this article Print this article

UNESCO Recognizes Kyrgyz Epic of Manas

Published: December 9, 2013 (Issue # 1789)



  • A statue of the epic hero Manas dominates Ala-Too Square in Bishkek, previously occupied by a statue of Lenin
    Photo: Malika Giles / For SPT

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — UNESCO has added the Kyrgyz Epic of Manas to its "intangible heritage" list.

The epic trilogy narrates the story of Manas and his descendants, Semetey and Seytek, as they battle against their Khitan and Oirat enemies, struggling to unite the disparate tribes of Kyrgyz people into a single nation and reclaim their ancestral lands. The longest recorded version of the trilogy is 553,000 lines long.

It is performed at many public occasions, from village festivals to national holidays. Recitals of the poem can take up to 13 hours, and many Kyrgyz historians claim the poem is the longest oral epic in the world.

The exact origins of the epic are somewhat controversial — Kyrgyz claim that the epic dates to the ninth or 10th century, and the Kyrgyz Republic officially celebrated the 1000th anniversary of Manas in 1995. However, the oldest extant mention of the epic dates back to only 1792, and the epic's plot closely corresponds to political events in the region that occurred during the 17th century, leading many Western historians to claim that the epic was written much later.

Regardless of its exact provenance, Manas has been rapidly embraced as a national hero by the Kyrgyz people and has become an important keystone of national identity since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Once discouraged under communism, the Epic of Manas is now a centerpiece of Kyrgyz culture and literature. A statue of "Magnanimous Manas" occupies the prime position in Bishkek's central Ala-Too square, a site that previously housed a statue of Lenin.

In the early Soviet period, the Manas trilogy was perceived as nationalistic by the authorities, and the poem was excluded from the school curriculum throughout the 1930s. However, the epic continued to retain its central position in collective memory and village life.

Since the end of communism, streets once named after Soviet stalwarts have been renamed after Manas in towns across Kyrgyzstan, as have many public buildings, such as the airport in Bishkek that holds the American airbase. Political speeches often refer to Manas, and the epic's recital at local festivals is often accompanied by the endorsement of public figures.

Pages: [1] [2 ] [3]






 


Times Talk

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldn’t miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norway’s largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.