The Golden Eagle festival

Competition of Golden Eagle hunters in Western Mongolia
September-October 2020, Mongolia
September-October, Mongolia
The Golden Eagle festival
Every autumn Golden Eagle hunters of Western Mongolia gather in the town of Ulgii to demonstrate their hunting skills with magnificent Golden Eagles and choose the best hunter of the year
Western Mongolia is one of the most remote regions in the world, located 2000 kilometers from Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.

Majority of population of Western Mongolia are Kazakhs. For centuries they preserve traditions of hunting with eagles.

People in only two regions in the world still keep this tradition as everyday activity - Kyrgyzstan and Western Mongolia. And Western Mongolia is definitely the world's capital of the Golden Eagle hunting.
First of all, there are two Eagle festivals that happen within 2 weeks almost in the same location. First festival takes place in the middle of September, and the second one on the first week of October.

Unlike Naadam, Golden Eagle Festivals are not "traditional" - they were created about 20 years ago as a result of collaboration between Mongolian tour operators and local community. However, these events are very important for local community, because they help to keep the traditions of Golden Eagle hunting alive, inspire younger generation of Kazakhs, and help nomadic families earn some money from their craft.
If you plan to visit the Golden Eagle festival, you can choose either of them - both events nicely showcase the traditions of Kazakh people. The event in October is bigger, more than 100 hunters participate in the competition during recent years. The number of visitors is also growing significantly - from hundreds of attendees it grew to a thousand or so. The September festival is smaller, with around 40 Golden Eagle hunters and 300 international visitors.

If you look for a smaller event and better interaction, consider visiting Nauryz Golden Eagle festifal in March, with amount of international visitors limited to 50, and approximately 40 Golden Eagle hunters participating in the competitions.
Tours to the Golden Eagle Festival
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Alex Permyakov
Russian Expeditions founder
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