Altai Kazakh Eagle Festival
Eagle Hunters Gather
On September 15 and 16, 2018, dozens of eagle hunters will gather
with their trained golden eagles for the Altai Kazakh Eagle Festival near the remote town of Sagsai in the heart of Mongolia's Altai Mountains. There, they will celebrate eagle hunting, the ancient Kazakh falconry tradition still practiced today in Mongolia's far west.
The Golden Eagle
The eagle festival celebrates nomads' relationship with golden eagles, a human-animal partnership made famous world-wide by teenager Aisholpan and the photographs of Asher Svidensky. At the eagle festival, visitors have the opportunity to share in this bond with the eagles.
In addition to eagle hunting, the eagle festival celebrates many aspects of Kazakh culture: food, clothing, embroidery and music, that continue to thrive in Mongolia's remote Altai Mountains.
At the festival, hunters bring their golden eagles to the top of a rocky outcropping, and then call them from hundreds of feet away. The eagle festival judges assign scores based on the speed and accuracy of each eagle.
The eagle festival also features a variety of other competitions, including kokpar a sort of tug-of-war between men on horseback using a headless goat carcass.