Where The Earth’s Mightiest Army Roamed.
Near the border of Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Siberia, close to Lake Kanas in north Xinjiang is where the Tuwa minority lives. Surrounded by snowcapped mountains, where the clear sky integrates with the beautiful blue of Kanas Lake, the white glaciers, the green grassland, the boundless forest, and the morning mountain mist, is often referred to as God’s Garden. At night, the clear sky gives a perfect view of the whole expanse of the Milky Way. Kanas is in the northern Burqin County of Xinjiang and 150 kilometers from Burqin. On the south bank of the lake lives the Mongolian tribe Tuwa, with over 2,000 years’ history, who now exist only in the remote area of Hemu Village in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Hemu Village has been ranked by China National Geography as one of the six most beautiful villages in China.
The Tuwa inhabit the deep valleys of the Altay Mountains, which are covered with heavy snow for almost half of the year. They believe in Shamanism and Lamaism and keep the primitive worship of fire and other natural forces as their ancestors did, and offering sacrifices to mountains, waters, heaven, fire and Aobao (represented by a stone heap). They reside in yurts or log houses roofed with straw. Due to the geographic conditions and natural environment, Tuwa habits and customs are similar to those of the Kazaks and Mongolians. They eat meat, dairy food, and drink a locally produced milk-wine. Skis invented by their ancestors about 10,000 years ago have been shown to be the most ancient in the world. The Tuwa population is around 2,500 and they have no written language. Their history has been passed down orally from generation to generation. Since there is no written archeological reference, their folk stories have inevitably added further mystery to the tribe.
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