Annual Golden Eagle Festival has been the largest gathering of eagle hunters and their eagles in the world since it started in 1999 with 70 eagle hunters participating in this event. It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Event. Bayan-Ulgii province is the highest Altai mountain range of Mongolia, where Mongolian one of the minority group Kazakh people live nearby. Each year Kazakh hunters from near and far attend the festival with their strongest Golden Eagles, known as Berkut, to compete by testing speed, agility, and accuracy.
Eagle hunting has been practiced in Central Asia for a thousands of years. Like traditional practices elsewhere in the world, hunting with eagle is on the verge of extinction, but Kazakh culture, in Mongolia the tradition is alive and well kept.
The competition tests not just the bird’s mettle and the hunter’s skill, but also the bond between hunter and bird. You will be attending the spectacular Golden Eagle Festival, with up to 80 Kazakh participants and their magnificent golden eagles.
Dressed in full eagle hunting regalia and mounted on groomed decorated horses, the entrants compete for the awards of best turned out eagle and owner; best eagle at hunting prey and best eagle at locating its owner from a distance.
Experiencing the sight of Kazakhs on horseback, dressed in their traditional dark coats and scarlet hats, with Golden Eagles hovering on their arms. Enjoy the rare opportunity to view Golden Eagles close up and allow one to perch upon your arm.
The Eagle Festival is held during the first weekend in October, run by the Mongolian Eagle Hunter’s Association.
A smaller festival, the Altai Kazakh Eagle Festival, is also held each year in the nearby village of Sagsai in the last week of September. It follows much the same pattern as the larger Golden Eagle Festival, with about 40 eagle hunters participating
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