An international pigeon exhibition opened at the Sokolniki expo center here today, RIA Novosti learned at the Russky Tumbler pigeon-lovers' society.
The current exhibition involves pigeon breeders from 32 Russian regions, as well as those from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, the Baltics and Greece. More than 2,000 pigeon breeds are being displayed; their list includes about 600 elite breeds, such as Russia's black piebald and red piebald ribbon tumbler, Orel and Tula pigeons, as well as the Russian seagull. Pigeon lovers will be able to admire gray tumblers, which had vanished during the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic war, and whose population was restored not so long ago by a group of Moscow enthusiasts.
Pigeons were treated as sacred birds since times immemorial; among other things, they were bred for sacrificial purposes. Pigeons were first mentioned in Shumer cuneiform tablets circa 4,500 B. C.
Priests in Babylon and Assyria considered pigeons to be the symbol and mundane incarnation of love goddess Astarta. Egypt, Judea, as well as Greece and Rome, also believed them to be holy birds, which symbolized love gods and goddesses. Christianity inherited this tradition, saying that pigeons symbolized the Holy Spirit, as well as God's love toward Man.
The people of Russia have been breeding pigeons ever since the tenth century, to say the least. Russian pigeon-breeders offer quite a few unique breeds. According to experts, the world has more than 800 pigeon breeds, decorative breeds, for the most part. For their own part, Russian experts breed approximately 200 pigeon varieties; many of them live in Russia alone.
The owners of prize birds will get cups, diplomas and medals. Meanwhile an absolute pigeon-breed champion will receive the best-pigeon title.
Urs Freiburghaus, president of the European pigeon-breeders' union, Jean-Louis Frindel, vice-president of the French pigeon-breeders' association, and other guests will attend this two-day exhibition.