Libmonster ID: U.S.-1244


Candidate of Historical Sciences (Buryat State University)

Anyone who has visited the Mongolian steppe at least once will never forget the cosmic feeling of peace, freedom and strength emanating from the great Eternal Blue Sky in invisible powerful streams. The contemplation of vast expanses balances the concepts of the unchanging eternity of open space and the dynamic cycle of being.

In Mongolia, there is such a thing as a dacha, where, following the example of Russian summer residents, citizens rest. The Mongols call their dachas zuslan, which literally translates as "letnik"or" summer camp"*. A lonely tiny house in the steppe, around which there is neither a tree, nor a fence, nor, moreover, beds and garden tools - nothing to do with the stereotype of the Russian dacha economy! "What kind of rest is this?" - you will think. "The eye is resting," they will tell you. In Mongolian, this is called nud amarna. There is also such an expression salkhind gorakh - "go out into the wind", "get some air", i.e. take a break from closed rooms. Open space and fresh wind-that's what heals the soul from depression and stress.


The region of Central Asia, in the heart of which Mongolia is located, for many centuries was a kind of cauldron, a huge historical furnace that melted down many modern peoples and ethnic groups. The great Empire created by Genghis Khan in the 13th century, the last of the mighty nomadic empires of Asia, was divided into large and small principalities due to the internecine strife of the descendants of Genghisids, whose outskirts were not slow to absorb neighboring empires. Thus, the lands and peoples divided between Mongolia, Russia and China ended up in different "cauldrons", like the same ingredients in dishes of different national cuisines.

Trans-Baikal Region (lands adjacent to Lake Baikal, administratively we include the Republic of Buryatia, Irkutsk and Chita regions) It was incorporated into Russia about 300 years ago. Currently, it is one of the economically undeveloped regions of the country with a low population density and a low, even by average Russian standards, standard of living. The area of "risky farming", traditionally-livestock. At the same time, it is a land of rich natural resources, life-giving mineral springs, crystal rivers, high clear skies and bright sun with a picturesque diverse landscape, unique flora and fauna, a land of hospitable and good-natured people. There are fewer and fewer such places in the world with a preserved natural environment that can give a person physical health and peace of mind.

The beauty of nature and the socio-economic state of the region create potential conditions for the development of ecological, recreational, and educational tourism here. Most recently, Buryatia and the picturesque shores of Lake Baikal were declared a special economic zone, where the infrastructure of international tourism should be developed from now on. This will definitely lead to an increase in anthropogenic pressure on the landscape, but whether it will bring prosperity to the region is still a big question.

The first European travelers who visited the Baikal Territory 300-250 years ago celebrated a great number of holy places, which every traveler is traditionally obliged to mark with a symbolic offering-a sacrifice in the form of a coin, grains, a colored ribbon on a tree, drops of a drink, words of prayer or just a short stop, a welcoming gesture on the way. The ancient tradition of marking certain places with special markers, as well as the custom of ritual behavior in these territories, have been preserved today. Failure to comply with them is considered to lead to unfavorable and even tragic consequences for the violator.

As a rule, in such places there is a pile of stones with a pole or branches stuck in the center, and the trees are full of colorful hadaks (ritual scarf) and zurams (ribbons - offerings to the spirits of trees). In recent years, they began to install tables or gazebos with awnings, shamanic ritual hitching posts - serge, small altars, and sometimes suburgans (stupas).

* This is how nomads call their summer camp sites, respectively зим в л л n - winter camp, namarjan - autumn camp, and khavarjan - spring camp.

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The uniqueness of the cultural heritage in the Baikal region is associated with a complex of different traditions (Buddhist, Christian, shamanic, pagan, communist, etc.). These traditions have formed a unique ecological culture, an original set of moral values, and a unique philosophical picture of the world. They are based on genetically and typologically related Central Asian phenomena of nomadic civilizations.

The revival and preservation of cultural traditions and enduring values require coordinated comprehensive measures for research, conservation and rational use of the species diversity of the planet's landscape. Although ideas, as they say, are "in the air", the solution to the problem is far from being implemented. In the countries of "former socialism" today, it is necessary to improve the legal framework for the protection of cultural and natural heritage, because there is no unified state and regional policy in this area yet, and many developments are still at the initial stage. Regional peculiarities and the strength of a lively folk tradition suggest original and often simple solutions to pressing problems. In particular, an important role in preserving the ecological balance is undoubtedly played by the value system that functions in a number of cults and generally accepted rituals.


Religious cults in the life of Buryats, Evenks, Soyots, and Hamnigans for many centuries have performed and continue to perform various roles: consolidating, regulating, structuring, and educating. The law-making nature of religious cults is confirmed, in particular, by their extraordinary resilience, although official state-legal norms for a long time forced traditional cults and the traditional system of values to exist in a latent form.

The life of a nomad passed in unison with the phenomena of nature, was subordinated to the natural rhythm. Economic activity of nomads did not make radical changes in the environment, being subordinate to the natural cycle of things in nature.

Once, on a regular expedition to one of the healing springs of the Tunka Valley, I met a woman who struck me with deep, native folk wisdom, the kind that cannot be deducted from smart books and that is absorbed by a person genetically.

...An ordinary morning in a small semi-nomadic village in the recent past in a remote Siberian province that lives a measured life for ten months of the year. But with the onset of a short, long-awaited summer, the velvet-green valley is filled with crowds of suffering tourists, both on foot, traveling by rail, and equipped with all types of modern transport. Usually half-empty houses and sheds of local residents are filled with guests.

Aunt Katya, that was the name of my interlocutor , is a retired woman, engaged in a seasonal business, which is occupied by the whole family: they rent out housing and feed tourists with home-made boozes. A strong, spacious log house, a new wing, cleanliness and order, a luxuriously blooming vegetable garden indicate that the owners here are not lazy. Looking for the owner to pay for the night's lodging, I looked into a large log barn, which, as it turned out, was also equipped for housing: the walls and floors were covered with huge carpets, along the walls there were beds, in the middle there was a large, round table, an ancient radiola on the chest of drawers. Aunt Katya was rearranging the beds.

As I was leaving, I noticed a bright, unusual bedspread hanging on nails in the barn door. A heavy tapestry covered the doorway completely, and its edges hung heavily at the sides. The tapestry turned out to be an embroidery made of floss, clearly having served for many years, but without losing color and integrity of the threads. The tapestry pattern was a composition against a landscape: a mountain range with snow-capped peaks. At the foot of the mountains on the shore of a small lake - a house, and on the edge of the forest-a graceful elk with a proudly raised branchy head. The picture was framed by a bright floral pattern. The hostess, noticing that I was looking curiously at the curtain, explained:

"It's for the flies, an old bedspread...

"Did you embroider it yourself?" What a beauty!

"It's my late mother's work. She was a well-known craftswoman: she sewed, embroidered, rolled felt-

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natural carpets. Very beautiful things turned out. Previously, her work could be found in almost every house here. And this blanket is more than half a century old. At first it hung on the wall like a carpet, then the bed was made with it, and it lay on the sofa for a long time. We all - she had five of us, and all our children-only four of mine, and then all the grandchildren jumped on it. Nothing is done to him. The base was only fabric, worn out. I took it off, but the embroidery is still the same and holds without a base, does not tear. Now it saves you from flies.

"Your mother must have been an artist.

- Yes, what there! Like everyone else here-she grazed cattle, did housework, worked on a collective farm, raised us. And I embroidered and rolled carpets when I had a free moment. As I remember now, I drew myself on a white cloth with a chemical pencil, spitting on the pencil from time to time, so that the drawing could be better seen. Here is a picture of our old house, a winter parking lot. The lake is gone now, and the house is gone, but this tree is still there. My childhood was spent here, in this area. Everything was just as it was painted on the carpet. There are no such masters now, and none of us children have inherited her golden hands.

"Don't you mind using the carpet like that?" After all, this embroidery is a historical and artistic value! Why don't you put it in a chest to keep as a memento and show it to posterity?

"It's no use lying in a trunk - the moth will eat it, then they'll use it as a rag... Let him serve as long as I live and remember, and it is dear to me. He will serve his time and leave. I don't want it to become old junk under everyone's feet when I die.

So Aunt Katya gave me the experience and wisdom of many generations in simple words. The harsh rationalism of the nomad: the destruction of the old is inevitable and natural. Wear and tear, the return of things to the original state of the material, the material - to the primary elements. This is usually the hygiene of being in a global sense, clearing the space for creating and giving birth to a new one. This perception is evidence of the absence of an ego cult in the very core of traditional culture. I had to learn this lesson of nomadic wisdom more than once in the vast expanses of the Mongolian steppes and Buryat forests.

Nomad monuments have their own characteristics and differ from urban monuments. Their main feature is environmental friendliness. During the construction, natural material is used, which, when destroyed, organically dissolves in the environment. The work requires small labor costs, feasible for the smallest number of people. Monuments such as the Mongolian oboo (a pyramid-shaped pile of stones, similar to the Tibetan labze) are structures of religious cults that are relevant in the modern life of these peoples. Thus, they are both historical and cultural monuments of the people and actively functioning religious and religious buildings.

So, generally accepted Mongols-

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In ancient times, the cults of Chthonic deities, or "masters of the area", have been preserved for centuries and continue to live safely in our days: ezzen (ezhen, ezhin, edzin) In Mongolian, it literally means "master, owner", in this case - the patron saint of a particular area. Sabdaks (from Tibetan: sa bdag, literally, "owner of the land"), a class of spirits, demigods of the syncretic pantheon of Tibetan Buddhism*, are at the lowest levels of the hierarchy, correlate with the Mongolian concept of ezen.

Spirits and deities who are masters of the area have their own specific "residences" and"places of presence". And the population living in the territory" under the jurisdiction " of ezen performs regular seasonal and numerous situational rituals, builds special signs-monuments that testify to the peculiarities of this place. These signs-markers should remind a person that he is not the only inhabitant of the earth and the master of nature, on the contrary, he is a particle of a densely populated universe, where there is not an inch of empty space.

There is a Buryat saying: "Ezegui gazar gezhe baykhagush -" there is no land without ezen". If a person gets along well with ezen, then his business goes well in the household, in the family, and in relations with other people. It is very important that good spirits-helpers rejoice in virtuous deeds and intentions, the guardians of the family are strengthened, and negative emotions and evil deeds of people strengthen and feed malicious spirits, carriers of epidemic diseases, accidents, and so on. How a person behaves changes the balance of forces in the astral world, which, in turn, changes the course of events in a person's life. It's like a chain reaction.

Ecological views of the Buddhist faith and shamanism have quite a strong influence in the Trans-Baikal region. Mythological realities, which are so universal for different world cultures, can become a source for solving modern problems, especially where ancient myths are still socially significant. In the traditional society, environmentally significant objects were preserved through the imposition of taboos, strict regulation of behavior, economic and other activities. Religious buildings in holy places are a means of visual remembrance in a traditional ecosystem, reminding people that their well-being is ensured by maintaining a certain ecological balance in nature. However, in modern society, in the context of globalization and the interpenetration of different cultures, it is impossible to ensure the preservation of natural and cultural objects without creating legitimate conditions and a specific mechanism for the operation of laws.

Currently, the sacred territories of the Trans-Baikal nomads are experiencing a huge increase in anthropogenic load. Due to the creation of a tourist zone in the Lake Baikal region, this burden is expected to increase even more in the coming years. Protected areas that were traditionally visited for ritual purposes by a few representatives of the local population become tourist sites of not only federal, but also international significance.

Due to the fact that global consumption standards (consumer demand, behavior) have changed dramatically in recent years, the volume of consumer waste is increasing enormously. However, so far no serious measures have been taken to address the issue of disposal of anthropogenic waste. Diligent owners such as Japan and Germany have long had separate garbage collection, which limits the possibility of disaster from untimely cleaning. Garbage as a source of secondary raw materials began to be used by our more enterprising and far-sighted neighbor to the East: used glass and plastic containers in Mongolia are objects of business for Chinese entrepreneurs. But there are still mountains of paper, metals, organic and inorganic waste, which today poison the environment with elements of their decomposition, and first of all the person himself. Holy places, sacred territories of Lake Baikal, which is of world significance and feels the close attention of the entire planet today, should not become garbage collectors just because the world has not formed a hygiene attitude towards traditionally reserved places, and in a particular country or region where the world treasury is located, there is no elementary recycling system waste products.

* The name "sabdak" is firmly ingrained in the speech of the Mongols of various provinces. Tibetans distinguish, in addition to Sabdaks, also shibdaks (Tib. gzhi bdag - owner of the territory) and yul-lha (Tib. yul lha - owner of the country).


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