China's Minority Peoples - The Kazak
The Kazaks, with a population of 1,111,718, mostly live in Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture, Mori and Barkol Kazak Autonomous Counties. The rest are distributed in Gansu and Qinghai provinces.
Located in the north of Xinjiang Autonomous Region, the Kazak communities are surrounded by the Tianshan, Altay and Tarbagatay mountains. In the middle are the Junggar and Ili basins with the Ili, Tekes, Emin, Ertix and Wulungu rivers winding through and alpine lakes rippling on top of mountains. In winter, the weather is extremely cold, while in summer it's cool with dramatic nighttime drops in temperature. Therefore, the Kazaks drive their cattle, horses, and sheep each year alternately from sunny slopes on the edge of the basins in summers and then back to the river valleys in winters. There was very little farming and little trade. However, with the rapid growth of the socialist market economy, many Kazak people have become successful businessmen.
A Kazak wedding.
The Kazaks are Moslems. The Kazak language belongs to the Turkic group of the Altaic family. In ancient times, the Kazkas spoke the Turkic and Huihu languages. Now the written form of the Kazak language is based on Arabic letters.
Move to another pasture during changes of season
Throughout their history, a wealth of ancient poems, tales, maxims and proverbs passed on from generation to generation. Story-tellers among the Kazak people are called Aken. They lour about and sing the legends of their proud ancestors for folks. Dances and songs of the Kazaks are sprightly. The traditional folk musical instrument Dongbula makes rich melodies.