Aqsaqal (also transliterated aksakal, in Turkic languages, literally meaning "white beard") metaphorically refers to the male elders, the old and wise of the community in parts of Central Asia and Caucasus. Traditionally an aqsaqal was the leader of a village or aul until the Soviet times. Acting as advisors or judges, these elders have or had a role in politics and the justice system in countries and tribes. For instance, there are aksakals courts in Kyrgyzstan. In Uzbekistan, which has traditionally been a more urban society (the Uzbeks being sarts or town-dwellers, as opposed to nomadic Turks), cities are divided up into mahallas. Each mahalla has an aqsaqal who acts as the district leader.