Kalmykia and Takla Makan migrations
December 29, 2002 3:04 PM   Subscribe

The republic of Kalmykia is a unique place. A member of the Russian Federation, it was settled in 1608 by Mongols from what is now the Chinese province of Xinjiang. It is the only state in Europe where Buddhism is the dominant religion, and probably the only state in the world whose president claims to have created an "extra-sensory field" around it. Kalmykia's spiritual leader, Telo Rinpoche, is an American from Philadelphia who was appointed by the Dalai Lama. There has been a long history of migrations between Europe and Asia. In one really intriguing case, 3000-year-old mummies with reddish-blond hair, Caucasian features and wearing tartans similar in design to Celtic ones, were discovered in the Takla Makan Desert in Xinjiang. If these ancient Caucasians were absorbed by the population of Xinjiang, then perhaps the Kalmyk migration might have unknowingly been a return to their ancestral lands. [First link via plep].
posted by homunculus (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Meanwhile, in Mongolia, they're finding that nomadic pastoralism and private land just don't mix.

*wonders why his brain is filled with a thousand hairy horsemen all shouting at him*
posted by homunculus at 4:23 PM on December 29, 2002

Cool link. Definitely a place I'd like to visit...although wifey is making plans to go as Canadians....
posted by ParisParamus at 4:40 PM on December 29, 2002

posted by rushmc at 6:14 PM on December 29, 2002

Amazing to think there's a Buddhist republic in Europe that 99% of Europeans won't have heard of...
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:16 PM on December 29, 2002

Great post! Thank you.
posted by 327.ca at 6:24 PM on December 29, 2002

If you are interested in Kalmykia, you might also like this page about Tuva. Also of interest might be the Friends of Tuva.
posted by plep at 12:31 AM on December 30, 2002

Ah yes, Tuvan bitonal throat singing...
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:37 AM on December 30, 2002

Thanks homunculus, this was really interesting.
posted by Tarrama at 6:17 AM on December 30, 2002

absolutely fascinating. thanks!
posted by evening at 6:25 AM on December 30, 2002

Thank you for settling a Christmas dinner argument!
posted by echolalia67 at 1:35 PM on December 30, 2002

[ this is good ]
posted by scottymac at 1:59 PM on December 30, 2002

I'm glad you all liked the post. echolalia67, what was the arguement about? plep, thanks for the Tuva links, and all the other great links on your blog.
posted by homunculus at 5:42 PM on December 30, 2002

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