The Bashkirs are a Turkic people; they are the Republic’s native people, and about 1.2 million Bashkirs live there. In the villages and small towns, they still keep cattle and horses, and engage in traditional crafts such as carpet weaving and making shawls. Women’s jewellery, made with coral, beads and coins, has been popular since ancient times.

The Republic of Bashkortostan is located in the Southern Urals and the Cis-Ural region. It is a land of thick forests and endless steppes, steep hills and deep lakes, where people harvest honey and drink kumis — mare’s milk. Some 160 ethnic groups live in the Republic: that’s why they say that the shape of Bashkiria looks like the palm of a hand — open to all its peoples in handshake.


The Bashkirs say that they live to dance. Nazgul Buskunova from the village of Sidorovka has recently finished 11th grade, and plans to go on to medical school in Ufa. Since the age of seven, she has been a folk dancer in the “Yashma” dance group, taking part in various competitions.

The capital of the Republic, Ufa, is located on the Belaya River, and is home to more than one million people. The statue of Bashkiria’s national hero, Salavat Yulaev, stands on the city’s central square: ten meters high, it is a symbol of Ufa and a national treasure that is depicted on the coat of arms of the Republic.

The horses of Bashkortostan are another symbol of the republic: they are independent and graze in herds, without herdsmen. They find their own food even in winter, digging up grass and roots from under the snow. In the Abzelilovsky District alone, there are 26,000 horses. Kumis and horsemeat are traditional dishes on Bashkir tables.

Kuresh is a form of traditional Turkic wrestling. It involves throwing towels around the opponent’s waist and is an important element for Bashkirs of the traditional celebration of Sabantuy. In photo: Kuresh wrestling champion Ainur Syrtaev during his victorious Sabantuy fight.

Just one visit to Bashkiria, with its velvet mountains, green plains, deep lakes full of crystalline water, yellow-red sunsets, quiet herds of cows and frisky horses strolling the steppes and the Republic’s country roads, and you will fall in love with this land forever.


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