ONE DAY IN TAIGA

FRH, Travel Mongolia
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After seven days on horses we finally reached it! From above the dense bushes, after hours of our horses sinking into the wet ground we saw white tops of tipi-like structures. Not to alarm reindeers and dogs we got off the horses and reached the first urt on foot. A man in front of it was softening the skin of the reindeers with a hammer, it will be handy for strapping to the back of the reindeers while moving between the camps. A three year old was running between baby reindeers, followed by her older sister trying to herd her back inside the urt. The moment we arrived, we were offered milk tea, bread and place to sleep.  I guess it's already something beyond hospitality. It's just...

Moving with the reindeers

FRH, Travel Mongolia, Wooden Architecture
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Who are Tsaatan People ? It took us a 7 days by horses from Khatgal to reach the Village.  In the forests of Taiga, hidden in the mountains separating Russia from Mongolia live the Tsaatan people – Those who have Reindeers. Originally coming from the Tuva Republic in Russia, they escaped from the soviet regime across the border. They were repeatedly deported back but in the 50s Mongolian government agreed to accept the reindeer families granting them Mongolian citizenships. At the same time – negdel - (pastoral collectives) were implemented . The state collectivized reindeers as they had with every other agricultural entity. The government tried to turn reindeer into a purely economic entity devoid of the spiritual meaning it held for centuries. The number of reindeer decreased, and then came the period of post-collectivization, when on the verge of XXI Tsaatan had to adapt to the open market economy. With little government support, no vets, limited goods exchange, marginalized by living on peripheries and limited by strict national park policies they keep on surviving. Seasonal migration : Summer – Autumn – Winter - Spring When we arrived in the village, 20 out of 30 families did already leave for the summer pastures. It was 3 pm, the remaining families arranged all their belongings next to the bare skeleton of their tent. Some reindeers were already tightly packed, with the folded canvas, stoves, buckets wrapped around their backs. Santa’s reindeers – with extra pipes on the sides. When the complete tent was packed, a chain of...