By Jamala Akmatalieva
In the year 1995, now only a distant memory, there was a UNESCO celebration of the ancient epic of Manas. That same year “Manas village” was built.
The Manas epic was 1000 years old in 1995, hence the devotion of UNESCO and Kyrgyz Republic to immortalize the unique history of Manas, and to share the ancient story with others. The Manas village happened to be the first ethno cultural complex of such value and significance in the region.
Manas village is a 10 minute drive from the center of Bishkek, on the southwest edge of the city, which only makes it better, because the place is peaceful and quite. You don’t hear any noises that a person living in a city gets accustomed to. Manas village is a perfect place for anyone to go and think, as well as to connect to the historical atmosphere that surrounds the place.
This is also a place where newlyweds love to go.
“It isn’t because there are no other places to go for us,” said Kairgul’ Aripova, a happy bride who just got married. “It’s just that me and my husband thought that if we come to the village on this special day, the spirit of our ancestors, and the spirit of the great Manas will be supporting us in our future life,” she said.
“Besides, it is beautiful here. There is a fresh air, which I love so much”.
From the entrance, a number of monuments and sculptures from the Manas epic can be seen through the gates. An old man with his small family live and work here in the village. He serves as a security guard, as well as a cashier.
The entrance fee is 50 soms per person, which is a little more than $1. A group of foreigners standing nearby smiled when they heard the low price. It was obvious that they have been expecting a higher price to see one of the most significant cultural sights elsewhere in the city.
Once you enter the gates of Manas village, it is no surprise that even the air is different. The village is located close to snowy mountains, therefore no wonder why many people notice the freshness and coolness of the air.
Every monument and headstone is dedicated to the grand hero of the Kyrgyz hero Manas. The biggest statue that can be found in the village portrays Manas, the conqueror himself, riding his famous Ak – Kuula horse.
Beside his statue stands another monument of his wife Kanykei and wise men, Bakai, who were next to Manas in all his endeavors throughout his life.
Along the monument row, there are also some busts of the Manas storytellers of the 20th century, the Manaschi, who are honored in memory. Those busts were cut from rare red granite to emphasize the importance and infinity of their mission of oral storytelling.
There are several reasons why should visitors should know the Manas village. If we are honest, Kyrgyz people, especially the youth, lack the knowledge of history of their own nation. Most people think of the history of their own culture as some kind of a fairy tale, but that is not true at all. Everyone has history and throughout the centuries our history has been carried down to each generation.
People should know their roots and history, and when there are limited ways to do so, a place like Manas village is a perfect place to start discovering ones roots and ways we have become what we are today.
Manas Village: A place to remind us of heroes
By Jamala Akmatalieva