Zengi Baba – saint patron of cattles

Zengi Baba - in Turkic mythology, spirit, Muslim saint, patron saint of pets or cattle. The Zengi Baba cult was widespread among the majority of the Turkic peoples of Central Asia (Kazak, Uzbek, Turkmen, Kirgiz) and Southern Siberia, as well as among the Tatars in the European part of Russia. The Zengi Baba cult is remarkable in that it has a clearly pronounced magical orientation, while it is included in Islamic cult practice in its "folk" version.

In Turkic mythology, each animal species had its own patron spirit. Each patron was offered prayers and requests to multiply and protect the herds, since for the nomads, the main wealth was cattle. After Islam spread among the Turkic peoples, the Turkic mythology was preserved only in vestiges, it was mainly supplanted. However, some pagan traditions persist in the folk religion. Such phenomena as the cult of ancestors, the veneration of the wolf, and patron spirits are also a relic. In the process of syncretism, a number of Muslim saints arose, possessing the characteristics of pagan patron spirits, but having all the features of Muslim religious practice. In the tradition of the Turkmen, Zengi Baba was also a righteous shepherd who lived and was buried in northern Turkmenistan. In the area of his supposed burial, the mountain and the lake are called Zengi Baba.

The mausoleum at Murche is the best known of several across Turkmenistan dedicated to Zengi Baba, the patron of cattle breeders. Researchers believe that the mausoleum dates either from the 13th or 14th centuries, when it was constructed using bricks taken from earlier buildings, or was built in the 10th or 11th centuries and then reconstructed two or three centuries later. The abandoned village of Murche is an atmospheric place. Its crumbling mud walls and doorways, and the overpowering silence of the place, give an impression of great antiquity. University students working at the site have rebuilt a mud-brick round tower in the traditional style. Another reconstructed building features a fireplace crowned with an elaborate, stepped, mantelpiece.

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LAND OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATION

8 days
Small Group
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LAND OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATION

8 days
Small Group
Any time
Half board
More details