Manas is a Kyrgyz hero who united the 40 Kyrgyz tribes under one banner, a person of wisdom and generosity. There are many legends about him, and together they combine to make the biggest epic poem in the world.
To fully understand the uniqueness Kyrgyz people, you have to know about Manas. Whether legendary or real, Manas is the Kyrgyz hero who brought together the 40 Kyrgyz Tribes under one banner.
Born in the Talas region, his fighting abilities were such that the Chinese Emperor sent an army to crush this upstart – only to be soundly defeated by the ‘new’ Kyrgyz nation who reached Beijing in their retaliation.
The story of Manas has been orally handed down for centuries. Over 500,000 lines long, the ‘Epic of Manas’’ is 20 times longer than Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad combined, and almost 3 times longer than India’s Mahabharata.
Manaschis – people who recite the Manas Epic – are held in high esteem, and recitations of at least part of the Epic can be heard at many public events. As well as the story of Manas, the Epic includes the history of his son Semetey and grandson Seitek, also regarded as great warriors.
Epic of Manas
The epic of Manas is a Kyrgyz poem, probably the longest in the world, and is also the name of its main character – the hero who united the Kyrgyz. “Manas” is included in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest epic in the world, and also included in the UNESCO list of masterpieces of intangible cultural heritage of mankind.