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Rope walkers

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan women Caucasus people 4

While most villages develop skills like craft work or ceramic art, the small mountain village of Tsovkra (in Dagestan) developed an unusual art: rope walking. While skills vary according to age, all the villagers have one thing in common: everyone can walk on rope. They became known as “the Dagestani walkers”.

There are many myths about how tightrope walking appeared – one of them says that young lovers used a rope in order to cross to the neighboring mountain villages, sick of having to walk every day the long distances.

However, historians believe it developed in the XVI century when the ancient Silk Road was crossing the Caucasus, bringing with it different artists including professional rope walkers from around the world.

Once initiated, Tsovkra villagers joined the rope troupers and traveled all the way to China.

During the Soviet period, the Dagestani Walkers traveled all over the world and, as sign of recognition, they received the Soviet Union’s highest award for artists.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, all means of funding were cut off, the shows ended and the people are now struggling to keep the tradition alive in a dire economy.

“The golden age was from the 1950’s through the 1970’s,” says local man Nukh Isayev. “The whole world knew about us then and we could sell out a circus in any European capital with our tightrope walking skills.”

Tsovkra tightrope walkers Dagestan people Caucasus culture

Tsovkra tightrope walkers Dagestan women North Caucasus people

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan women Caucasus people 4

Tsovkra tightrope walkers Dagestan women North Caucasus people culture

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan women north Caucasus people 1

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan women North Caucasus people

Tsovkra tightrope walkers Dagestan women Caucasus people 3

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan women Caucasus people 2

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan people North Caucasus

Tsovkra tightrope walkers Dagestan women Caucasus people 1

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan women Caucasus people

Tsovkra  Dagestan girls Caucasus people

Tsovkra Dagestan women North Caucasus people culture

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan women Caucasus people 3

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan women Caucasus people 1

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan boy Caucasus people

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan  Caucasus people

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan girls North Caucasus people

Tsovkra village Dagestan women  Caucasus people

Tsovkra village Dagestan girls Caucasus people

Tsovkra tightrope walkers Dagestan women Caucasus people

rope walkers Dagestan Caucasus people

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan Caucasus people 1

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan Caucasus people

rope walkers Dagestan Caucasus people 1

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan Caucasus people 4

Tsovkra tightrope walkers Dagestan girl Caucasus people

Tsovkra rope walkers Dagestan Caucasus people 2

little rope walker Dagestan  North Caucasus

Tsovkra Dagestan people North Caucasus culture

Tsovkra Dagestan men singer North Caucasus people culture

Musicians used to accompany the rope walkers. A Tsovkra villager recalls the old times

Tsovkra Dagestan men North Caucasus people culture

To match feature RUSSIA-DAGESTAN/TIGHTROPE

The Dagestani Walkers back in the “good old days”…

Tsovkra tightrope walking show Dagestan Caucasus people 2

Tsovkra tightrope walking show Dagestan Caucasus people

Tsovkra tightrope walking show Dagestan Caucasus people 3

Tsovkra village

Caucasus mountains Tsovkra Kulinsky district Dagestan 2

Caucasus mountains Tsovkra Kulinsky district Dagestan 1

Caucasus mountains Tsovkra Kulinsky district Dagestan 3

Caucasus mountains Tsovkra Kulinsky district Dagestan

Caucasus mountains Kulinsky district Dagestan

Caucasus mountains Tsovkra Kulinsky district Dagestan 4

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