Khakas - Settlements

The medieval Yenisei Kyrgyz had several large fortified settlements that appear to have been abandoned long before the arrival of the Russians. The traditional dwelling of at least the cattle-breeding Khakas was the movable yurt of the Central Asian type. The Khakas yurt was covered by felt or birch bark. Under the influence of Russian culture, the movable yurt was abandoned and replaced first by the immovable log yurt and later by the Russian peasant house. Similar developments took place among some of the neighboring ethnic groups, notably the Altai Turks and the western Buriat. Also under Russian influence, houses started to be grouped to form villages, now the prevailing type of settlement across rural Khakassia. These Khakas villages tend to be comparatively monoethnic Khakas-speaking units. The Khakassian countryside is also populated by other nationalities, however, including Chuvash and Germans. A similar multiethnic composition under Russian dominance is characteristic of the modern cities of Khakassia. The capital, Abakan (with a total population of 136,000 in 1981), for instance, has only a few percent of Khakas among its inhabitants, whereas the number of Khakas in new industrial centers such as Sayanogorsk is even less.

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