Kyrgyzstan: Zoroastrianism

Two thousands years ago the territory of modern Kyrgyzstan was inhabited by people who practiced Zoroastrianism. They didn't bury their dead in the ground, because ground was believed to be holy. Water and fire also were holy elements, that's why the dead bodies were not committed to the flame or put into water. The bodies were left on some special "towers of silence" for one year. Flesh was eaten by birds, and sun and wind polished the bones. These bones then were taken to hold in the clay boxes that were called ossuaries. Local people still find some of these boxes in the territory of Chui valley. Ossuaries have a shape of elongated ellipsoid. On the outside it is decorated with geometrical and plant patterns which had sacred meaning for that ancient people.