Monday, April 16, 2012

Karakalpakstan to host Asrlar Sadosi Festival May 5-6 2012

The Republic of Karakalpakstan, located in the northwest of Uzbekistan, has drawn an increasing interest in recent years from art specialists, archeologists, researchers and travelers. The region is famed for its unique culture, rich historical legacy, rare natural landscapes, and ancient and medieval monuments as the area is home to numerous archeological sites.

The bulk of the events to be held as part of the Festival will take place at Tuproq Qala Fortress Town (built around 1st-2nd centuries A.D. , the capital of Ancient Khorezm). The town is located in Ellikqala District, where archeological excavations were launched in 1940. The district’s name means fifty fortresses (ellik – fifty, qala - fortress). Archeological excavations suggest that the fortress served as a center of religious rituals and structures built during the Zoroastrianism epoch (ED: The Zorastrian Prophet Zoraster is believed to have been born in the Republic). Tuproq Qala was the central palace of the Khorezmshahs and is one of the oldest buildings in Central Asia. It has been declared and protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Festival attendees will also have an opportunity to visit the Savitsky Museum in the capital Nukus, which is sometimes called “the Louvre in a Desert” by virtue of its rich collection. Presently, the Museum boasts over 90,000 exhibits that represent primarily Russian and Turkistan avant garde and post-avant garde art. Of special note are Karakalpak applied art collections as well as unique archeological exhibits. According to the estimates of specialists and the art media, the Savitsky collection is the one of best collection of artworks in Asia and houses the world's second largest collection of Russian avant garde art.

The Festival program will include contests for folkloric groups, national costumes and dance, traditional games such as uloq-kukari (an amazing display of horsemanship), tournaments of Kurash (Traditional wrestling), cock and ram fights, tightrope walking and a culinary competition (featuring chefs from various parts of the country). Another highlight of the Festival is the Applied Art Fair which will run throughout the festival featuring ceramics, embroidery, miniature artworks, weaving and woodcarving.

The scientific component of the Festival will be of particular interest presenting workshops focusing on Karakalpakstans' archeological finds, avant garde art and its unique culture and traditions and human interaction with the environment.

The Festival is annually attended by up to 50,000 people, including members of international organizations and the diplomatic corps, culture and art professionals, specialists, researchers, youth groups and international guests.

The fifth Asrlar Sadosi Festival will help to shed light on the little known facets of ancient and modern Uzbekistan, while putting on the festival map this unique region. Previous festivals have been held in Shakhrisabz, Tashkent Region, Khiva and Bukhara. This time the Festival is expected to present a combination of incredible landscapes, history and culture of Karakalpakstan.

Source: Edited version of