Golden Eagle Nomads | Photographer: John Delaney | BLACK AND WHITE |

"Nobody knows exactly when the Kazakhs tamed the Golden Eagle of Central Asia. 
Herodotus refers to nomadic eagle hunters in 5th Century B.C. Marco Polo wrote about the Kazakhs in his epic “Travels” account. The name “Kazakh” dates as far back as the 13th century, meaning “independent”, “free” and “nomadic”. These terms perfectly define this legendary people, so famous for their pride and skills on the battlefield. Genghis Khan is said to have had over 5000 "eagle riders" in his personal guard. We do know that since the 15th Century, nomadic Kazakh tribes on horseback, with eagles alert at their sides, have roamed freely across the borders of what is today Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Western Mongolia. 

Now at the dawn of the 21st Century, the nomadic way of life is fragile and in danger of being eradicated. History has long threatened these legendary horsemen. The Bolshevik Revolution, Stalin's purges and China's cultural revolution drove the roaming Kazakhs to the mountains and valleys of Mongolia, where they have found refuge and the freedom to live as they have for centuries. But even now in this remote area globalization and the encroachment of the West may irreversibly change the eagle riders' way of life."

-John Delaney