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Lyuli (Russian: Люли) are a subgroup of the Dom people living in Central Asia, primarily Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. They speak a Lyuli dialect of the Domari language and are considered to be a branch of the Romani people.[1]

The Lyuli practice community is extremely closed towards non-Lyuli.[2]

Traditional occupations: crafts, including jewelry, cattle trading, mendicancy and music.


  • Names 1
  • Lyuli in Kyrgyzstan 2
  • Lyuli in Russia 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


There are several names for the Lyuli: Jughi, Multani or Luli. However, they refer to themselves as Mugat or Mughat (Persian: مغان‎‎, derived from Old Persian magi, "fire-worshipper"), as well as Ghurbat (Arabic: غربات‎), which means "lonely". The term Multani signifies a person who originates from the city of Multan (in modern-day Pakistan), because some of the Lyuli emigrated from Multan around 1380 AD.

According to Professor Khol Nazarov, the ancestors of the Lyuli belonged to a caste of singers, musicians and dancers. Faced with hardship in their homeland, they were forced to leave and disperse.

Lyuli in Kyrgyzstan

The Lyuli live in the south of Kyrgyzstan, in Osh Province. Their living standard is extremely low due to discrimination. Many children are not educated in their mother tongue and many Lyuli have no official documents. Lyuli society is working towards improvement of their living standards and preservation of their culture.[3]

Lyuli in Russia

Lyuli woman with child at the Bolaq embankment, Kazan, Russia.

Starting from the early 1990s, the Lyuli started migrating into Russian cities, most noticeably around railway stations and markets. At first, Russians mistakenly identified them as Tajik refugees or ethnic Uzbeks due to their traditional Central Asian robes. Russian Roma emphasize that the Lyuli are distinct from them, however they are considered to be a subgroup of the Romani.[2] They are a frequent target of Russian far right skinheads.[4][5]

See also


  1. ^ (English) Report at
  2. ^ a b (Russian) Николай Бессонов. Цыгане и пресса. Эпопея о люли - Some photos of Lyulis
  3. ^ (Russian) Интернет-Журнал "Оазис" Народ без прав
  4. ^
  5. ^ Russia 2004

External links

  • Perceptions of Identity: Luli in Uzbekistan, a visit to a Luli community and brief summaries of interviews

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