The Kyrgyz epic trilogy of Manas, Semetey and Seytek describes the unification of scattered tribes into one nation. The trilogy expresses the historical memory of the Kyrgyz people and survives thanks to a community of epic tellers, both women and men, of all ages. Narrators accept their calling after experiencing a prophetic dream, understood to be a sign from the heroes of the epic. During recitals they enter into a near-trance state and use special forms of narration, rhythm, tone and gestures to recreate the epic’s historical atmosphere. Continuous narration of the trilogy may last up to thirteen hours. Performances are held on various public occasions, from village events to national celebrations and holidays. Epic storytellers also provide moral and spiritual support to local communities and individuals during social events, conflicts or disasters. They consider the trilogy a cultural heritage for which they take personal responsibility. The trilogy helps young people to Read more about this element on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage website.

Country profile

Capital: Bishkek
Region: Asia and the Pacific

Related Information

  • Route: Land
    Oral traditions and expressions, Performing arts