March 12, 2012
The fifth Asrlar Sadosi (Echo of centuries) Festival of Traditional Culture will be held on May 5-6 in Ellikqala District in the Republic of Karakalpakstan. Tuproq Qala fortress and the world-famous Savistsky Museum of Art will become the central venues of the festival, which over the past 4 years has been a crossroads of traditions, arts, history and modernity. The festival is organized annually by the Fund Forum in collaboration with the UNESCO Tashkent Office.
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 around1st-2nd centuries A.D. and translates as ground fortress), the capital of Ancient Khorezm, in the center of which was the residence of rulers. The town is located in Ellikqala District, where archeological excavations were launched in 1940. The district’s name (ellik – fifty, qala - fortress) is due to the many fortresses located near each other. The archeological excavations suggest that the fortress also served as a center of religious rituals and had structures built in the Zoroastrianism epoch. Tuproq Qala town with a palace of khorezmshah is one of the oldest secular buildings in Central Asia and has been declared and protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Festival attendees will also have an opportunity to visit the Savitsky Museum, 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 media, the Savitsky collection is the best collection of artworks in Asia and houses the world's second largest collection of Russian avant garde art.
As in previous years, the Festival program will include contests for folklore groups, a National Dress Festival, traditional games, uloq-kukari (an Uzbek horse riding sport), tournaments of Kurash (a form of wrestling central to Uzbek tradition), rooster and ram fights, tightrope walker shows, a culinary competition (featuring Uzbek chefs from various parts of the country). Another highlight of the Festival is the Applied Art Fair which will run throughout the festival, demonstrating ceramics, stamping, embroidery, miniature, weaving and woodcarving by foremost masters.
The scientific component of the Festival is of particular interest as it presents workshops focusing on archeological finds, avant garde art and a unique culture as a whole that will pique the interest of everyone dedicated to arts, traditions and issues in the interaction of man and nature.
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, youngsters and international guests. “Kelajak Tour” Bureau for International and Youth Tourism is the official tour operator for the fifth Festival.
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 another 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 and a trip to the history and culture of Karakalpakstan.
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