Ak Kalpak - heritage of the Kyrgyz people

Ak Kalpak kyrgyz

Ak Kalpak (kalpak) - men's national headdress of the Kyrgyz, symbolizes mountains and purity and carries the heritage of ancestors and national philosophy.

Profile picture for user aigul

Aigul Kanatbekovna

4 October 2023

 Its shape resembles the snowy peaks of mountainous Kyrgyzstan with four sides representing the four elements: air, water, fire, and earth. The four framing lines symbolize life, the tassels at the top symbolize offspring and the memory of ancestors, and the pattern represents the family tree.

Ak-kalpak is sewn from natural felt. This material warms in the cold, cools in the heat, and does not allow moisture to pass through in the rain. From time immemorial, the Kyrgyz gave kalpak as a sign of respect to the most honored guests. When appointed or elected, officials are now honored with a white kalpak, and the dress uniform of Kyrgyz athletes at international competitions must include a white kalpak.
The color of the edging on the kalpak served as a kind of sign by which one could recognize the age and status of a man:

  • green edging on the kalpak meant that its owner was still a child
  • blue - youthful age
  • brown - young men under forty years old
  • beige - more mature age
  • black - worn by men who are already 60 years old
  • white - a completely white kalpak was worn by elders and leaders.


Ak Kalpak kyrgyz

Since 2016, March 5 is officially considered the National Headdress Day of Ak kalpak.

Almost every region of Kyrgyzstan has kalpak-shaped stops. They were installed back in the Soviet period.

Bus stop Ak Kalpak
Christopher Herwig