The Eagle Festival
The Eagle Festival, one of Mongolia’s most exciting tourism activities, has been organized since 2000. The main goal of this festival is to restore the traditions of ethnic minority Kazakhs, preserve for future generations, promote to domestic and foreign tourists and make it a tourist attraction.
The tradition of eagle hunting, best preserved in Mongolia, is believed to have been started from central Asian nomads 6000 years ago.Therefore, in order to promote this event and increase the flow of tourists, the “Eagle Festival” is held twice a year, every spring from March 4-5 in Ulaanbaatar, and in the first week of October in Bayan-Olgii.The Eagle Festival is held in form of a competition. The hunters dress in traditional clothing, put the eagles on their arms and join the opening parade on their trained horses. The contestants will be selected for the most beautiful national costumes, best horses and accessories. Afterwards, competitions examining eagles’ hunting skills are held. The jury evaluates their flying and hunting skills as well as the relationship between hunters and eagles on whether they are obediently listening to their masters. In some years, eagles’ hunting skills were tested on living animals, but then ,due to tourists’ requests, it was prohibited . During the event, you can witness traditional Kazakh games such as coin grabbing and kukpar, a battle on horseback. You can get acquainted with Kazakh customs, folklore and well-dressed friendly nomads. The tradition of eagle hunting was officially registered in UNESCO’s “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” in 2010.