Intangible heritage

The Olonkho, Yakut Heroic Epos. ©UNESCO 2008
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The Olonkho, Yakut Heroic Epos

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Summary/Historical Context

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Rural population
Nomad cultures
Customs and traditions

One of the oldest epic arts of the Turkic peoples, the termOlonkho refers to the entire Yakut epic tradition as well as its central epic.Today, it is still incidentally performed in the Sakha Republic, situated in the far east of the Russian Federation.
The poetic tales, which vary from 10 to 15,000 verses in length, are performed by the Olonkho singer and story-teller in two parts: a sung part in verse alternates with the prosaic part composed of recitatives. In addition to possessing good acting and singing skills, the narrator must be a master of eloquence and poetic improvisation. The epic consists of numerous legends about ancient warriors, deities, spirits and animals, but also addresses contemporary events, such as the disintegration of nomadic society.

on this subject: Nomination file/ Dossier de candidature (

Place/country: Russian Federation
Series: 2008 Inscriptions on the Representative List
Type: Documentary
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