Home » Archive by Category

Culture and History

Tashkent 2200
Written by , Saturday, 2 Aug, 2008 – 0:48 | 7 Comments

Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia with its history going back to BC times. Next year, Uzbekistan will celebrate the 2200th anniversary of Tashkent city.

For a long time Tashkent has been at the heart of Central Asia having closer ties with Kremlin than the other cities and being the capital of the only Central Asian country that has borders with all other four countries of the region plus Afghanistan. Today, Tashkent is at the height of its beauty. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, many things have changed in the city.

Along with new modern buildings, parks and streets, Tashkent’s historical sites and beautiful infrastructure have been under constant reconstruction, and today they gladden the eyes of city residents and tourists.

We have been thinking for a long time about what we can do to make our own — blog’s and readers’ — contribution to the celebration. We have finally come up with the idea of putting up one photo of Tashkent sent by readers each Friday. Therefore, we are opening a call for photos.

Dear reader, let’s make our own contribution to the celebration of the world famous Tashkent and help to make it even more popular! Please, send your photos to tashkent_photo@yahoo.com. The action will last until the official celebration of the anniversary in 2009.

P.S. The author’s rights will be reserved. We will publish your name with your photo, unless you wish to remain anonymous.

Partial solar eclipse observed in Uzbekisan
Written by , Friday, 1 Aug, 2008 – 20:42 | One Comment

Today, at about 2:30 pm people in Uzbekistan witnessed the solar eclipse. Unfortunately, it was not a total solar eclipse, but partial. However, it got attention of thousands people. As my friends in Tashkent and Fergana told me, almost everyone was equipped with thick sunglasses or burnt glasses that enabled them to watch the partial solar eclipse without harming their eyes.

Maybe this was a result of the the governmental portal UzReport’s warning about the possible harms of observing the solar eclipse with naked eyes.

The institute [of Astronomy in Uzbekistan] said it installed special equipment to study this phenomena and prepared special glasses for those interested people. The institute urged that looking at the sun directly can harm eyes.

People can view it from their homes provided they employed sufficient safety measures and avoided looking at the sun directly [did not get this part :)]. Solar filters, projection of the image on a piece of paper are some of the ways that people can view the eclipse without harming their eyes

It is a pity that Uzbekistan, unlike Canada, Greenland, Arctic, Nothern Russia, Mongolia and China, was not able to observe the total solar eclipse. It may also be a good thing, if you think about those remote areas of Uzbekistan, where people still strongly believe in superstitious staff. They could have raised a panic in their communities. They could have thought that it was a doomsday or a dragon has eaten the whole sun (believe me, I am not making this up). I remember that when I was a kid, my mother would not let me go out on the partial solar eclipse day, as she thought something bad could happen to me.

UzReport also reports that the solar eclipse can be observed in the territory of Uzbekistan 53 years later, on 20 April 2061.

Here you can watch a video of the total solar eclipse observed in Siberian city Novosibirsk, Russia.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Tajikistan goes to the Olympics (in China!)
Written by , Friday, 1 Aug, 2008 – 3:41 | 8 Comments

Judging by the deserted stands at the Tajikistan/Turkmenistan football match in the AFC Challenge Cup opening round, all eyes are already focused on the Beijing Olympics as the ultimate sporting and political event of the year. As with many other delegations, the Tajik Olympic team left for Beijing today. Fourteen athletes qualified:

Dilshod Nazarov (hammer throwing), Galina Mityayeva (track and field athletics), judo players Rasoul Boqiyev, Sherali Bozorov and Nematullo Asronqulov, free-style wrestlers Yusuf Abdusalomov and Vitaly Koryakin, boxers Anvar Yunusov, Jahon Qurbonov and Sherali Dostiyev, swimmers Yekaterina Izmaylova and Alisher Chingizov, female archer Albina Kamolitdinova, and weightlifter Nizom Sangov.

14 Olympians is no small feat for a small country, but the talk surrounding Tajikistan’s participation isn’t purely athletic. A few months ago, Ambassador of Tajikistan to China Rashid Alimov not only wrote a best-selling “teen novel” about a Tajik youth traveling to the games, but also gave an interview to the official website of the Beijing games. With the political disection of the Olympic games reaching a fevered pitch, some quotes are particularly interesting- like this question on the internet- in revealing both China’s need to be recognized as a world power and Tajikistan’s eagerness to take advantage of the bilateral relationship:

Host: …The internet has developed in a big way in China and across the globe. It has not only changed people’s lives but has also changed the way the Olympics are being promoted. Sohu has become the Internet sponsor of the Games, which has never happened before in Olympic history. Do people in Tajikistan have easy access to the Internet? How do you and your family use the Internet to promote the Beijing Olympics.

Rashid Alimov: The internet has become a part of people’s lives. In the past, news was spread through the post offices and horses, then by trains, planes, and telegraphs. And now the Internet. Of course, this has had a huge impact on the telecommunications industry. These days it is hard to imagine life without the Internet. The internet provides fast access to quality information. The internet is developing in Tajikistan in leaps and bounds, just as it is in China.

But some problems are inevitable. Ninety-three percent of our territory is mountainous, which poses an obstacle. And internet access is still expensive. But these things will get better as the Internet develops.

Many Internet cafes and most colleges in my country provide free Internet access.

As for having an Internet sponsor for the Olympics, I think it is a sign of the times. As I said before, our website has an Olympic column, which I think is wise. It shows our respect for the Games and our intention to promote the ideals of the Olympics. In order to let people know about the preparatory work, we included our Internet address on the back of the book. This is a small contribution to the large amount of work you are doing.

Of course, Chinese censorship is left out of the discussion and the focus is instead on the commercial power of the internet. Maybe a Chinese sponsored rural computer training program though? What if all the users promise to only say good things about the Olympics?

Check back for more quotes from the full interview (read for yourself here) as the Olympics approach and hopefully some excerpts from the “teen novel” book…

Kyrgyz Sportsmen Arrived in Beijing
Written by , Thursday, 31 Jul, 2008 – 13:40 | One Comment

First Kyrgyzstan delegation arrived in Beijing (China) last night, press service of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported.

The Kyrgyz swimming champions Yury Zakharov and Vasily Danilov are among the first delegates. The swimmers are going to try luck in the 200/400m complex style and 50m freestyle.

Members of the Beijing Olympics Organizational Committee met Kyrgyz athletes at the airport.

The Kyrgyz National Olympic Committee entitled Talant Janagulov a member of Sambo and Judo sport federations to hold a national flag of Kyrgyzstan during the opening Olympic ceremony in Beijing, China.

Janagulov is a 2007 champion of the XX International Sambo tournament (+100kg weight category). He has also won the third place at the Kazakh President’s Cup Sambo Championship, the second at the Asian sport and combat sambo in Tashkent.

AUCA SRC: Modernization of Islamic Education Institutions in Kyrgyzstan
Written by , Thursday, 24 Jul, 2008 – 17:51 | 2 Comments

AUCA’s Social Research Center (SRC) presented the results of the two-month research project entitled “Modernization of Islamic Education Institutions in Kyrgyzstan”. According to the press-release of AUCA, this research project that was initiated and financed by the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia in Bishkekfocused on exploring attitudes among Bishkek residents toward Islamic education institutions. It also sought the opinions of Islamic education institutions on the possible introduction of secular courses into their curricula.

The study was conducted by AUCA faculty members Mucaram Toktogulova (Associate Professor of the Department of Cultural Anthropology), Mehrigul Ablezova and Gulzat Botoeva (Acting Associate Professors of the Department of Sociology) and managed by the SRC.

The research attempted to identify the general public attitude towards existing Islamic educational institutions in the country. In addition, the research project explored the potential of including political science, philosophy, and other secural subjects at Islamic schools.

The results of this two-month research project will be used to develop a follow-up action-oriented project by the Eurasia Foundation. In particular, it will focus on curriculum development of the Islamic educational institutions in compliance with the contemporary academic requirements.

You can read this report in Russian. Download it here.

Farewell to the Famous Kyrgyz Composer Took Place in Bishkek
Written by , Wednesday, 23 Jul, 2008 – 16:30 | No Comment

The civic funeral rites of prominent composer and band-master of Kyrgyzstan Asanhan Dzhumahmatov took place in Bishkek. It was attended by members of the government, deputies of Jogorku Kenesh (parliament), minister of culture and information Sultan Raev, minister of education and science Ishengul Boldzhurova, first deputy prime minister Iskenderbl Aidaraliev, and art workers.

Asanhan Dzhumahmatov is a father of a symphony performance in Kyrgyzstan. For several decades, renowned actor was the principal band – master at the Kyrgyz Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Abdylas Maldybaev. He was the Hero of Kyrgyzstan, People’s Artist of the USSR, laureate of Toktogul State Prize, art director and band-master of the state academic symphonic orchestra named after A.Dzhumahmatov, academician of the World Music Academy (Munich), academician and member of the presidium of International Academy of Creation (Moscow), honorary citizen of Bishkek.

He died on July 21, 2008 at the age of 85.

III International Festival OIMO-2008 Will Start Soon
Written by , Tuesday, 22 Jul, 2008 – 18:15 | No Comment

III International Festival OIMO-2008 will start in Bishkek on July 26, reports Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The program on supporting art and culture of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation supports the festival for the third year, financing expenditures on cultural program. The festival’s goal is to promote Kyrgyzstan as regional area for development of intercultural dialog and international cultural tourism.

The festival’s program includes fair of handicrafts of Central Asia, fashion-show, concerts, demonstration of films of Central Asia, master-classes on applied art for children and adults, roundtables on issues of developing craftsmanship and traditional cultures, etc. The festival will end on August 1.

Frank Gehry’s Twin Towers in Astana
Written by , Tuesday, 22 Jul, 2008 – 14:56 | 4 Comments

I wrote about this before on blogistan.asia, but I am still interested in the topic and therefore I will write here again.

Astana is something like a city of myth for many German newspapers and therefore often described as one of those unbelievable new cities built on oil and gas like Dubai and
Abu Dhabi. Last time I read some article like that, was in the German Kazakh newspaper DAZ in Almaty. On the first page of DAZ was a little teaser, which said something like that the Star architects Norman Foster and Frank Gehry are creating giant buildings in the Kazakh Steppe. I think everybody knows that, Norman Foster is doing a lot in Astana, but Frank Gehry? Interesting to see is that, if you “google” Frank Gehry and Astana you will get some results, which are mostly in German. Starting with this article of the big German newspaper Sueddeutsche, all these articles are saying something like: “Frank Gehry is building in Astana”. Funny thing is that, you will never find information about Gehry and Astana somewhere else besides German newspapers. If you look closer at the article you will notice that there was an original article written by the German Press Agency (DPA). This article was published in Sueddeutsche newspaper and the big monthly Focus. With this article DPA sold some pictures by Stefan Voss, which are claiming that there are some

Twin Towers (see photo below) of Frank Gehry in Astana. This information is now so deep in the internet, that every time some German journalist writes something about Astana, you will find a quote like:” Star archtitects like Norman Foster and Frank Gehry…” I was even once hiking with a German geographer, who was teaching at German Kazakh University, who told me about Gehry’ Twin Towers in Astana. When I am told him that I think he is wrong, he was shocked and reported me that he had a quote in his diploma thesis about Astana, which was like:” Star archtitects like Norman Foster and Frank Gehry”.

Maybe I am wrong and there are Twin Towers by Frank O. Gehry in Astana, but then he is trying to hide the fact. If anybody has some information about this, please write a comment.

astana15 (c) photo by Philipp C. Jahn

Bakiev Wants to Help the Kyrgyz Olympians
Written by , Tuesday, 22 Jul, 2008 – 7:41 | No Comment

On Monday president of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiev held a traditional work meeting with the heads of administration’s departments of his administration led by its chief Medet Sadyrkylov, reports news agency “Kabar”.

Bakiev said that he was going to meet with sportsmen, who would represent Kyrgyzstan at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Lately, much attention has been paid to the development of sport in Kyrgyzstan, particularly attracting youth to sports and physical training.

“We should render every kinds of assistance to our Olympians. Except those material rewards, which established by the government, there are other stimuli. For example, last year, I had signed a law on establishing life monthly scholarship to champions of Olympic Games”, – said Kurmanbek Bakiev.

Kyrgyz Pupils Took Part in Festival of National Cultures in Moscow
Written by , Saturday, 19 Jul, 2008 – 10:29 | One Comment

The Kyrgyz Embassy in Russia took part in the festival of national cultures with the participation of pupils-winners of school olympiads from CIS countries. Representatives of Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Egypt, India, Italia, Mongolia, Poland, Serbia, USA, Syria, Turkey, Finland, France, Czechia and Sweden also took part in the festival.

After the end of the solemn event heads of pupils-delegations met with representatives of the Moscow Government, including deputy head of Education Department of Moscow Y. Goryachev, who expressed gratitude to guests and participants of the solemn event for fruitful cooperation.

In their turn, heads of delegations expressed gratitude to the Moscow Government for organization of this event, which assists development of the Russian language and strengthens friendly relations between pupils of CIS countries.