Kyrgyz all-weather head gear

The kalpak is the traditional high-crowned cap worn by men in Kyrgyzstan.  It’s made of felt, sometimes with a black velvet lining. 

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Out on the range, when you’re herding sheep and horses, it’s the perfect all-weather headgear, designed to keep the head warm in winter and provide shade from the sun during summer; when it’s raining, you turn down the brim.  But it’s not only for herders.  It’s a common sight in the cities, worn with jeans and T-shirt or a business suit.  It can be folded flat for carrying when not being worn.  I photographed this boy in Karakol in 1996.

Postcards from Stanland: Journeys in Central Asia (Ohio University Press, 2016) is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and other online retailers. Read excerpts at (Travel Blogs) or Facebook /PostcardsFromStanland/ or view readings and interviews on YouTube