Upcoming ‘Asrlar Sadosi’ (Echo of Centuries) Festival in Sarmishsai Gorge

The Sixth ‘Asrlar Sadosi’ (Echo of Centuries) Festival of Traditional Culture will be held on May 4-5, 2013 in Navoi Region.

Following last year’s festivities that put the spotlight on the ancient Tuproq-Qala Fortress in Karakalpakstan, the Festival is moving on to the Sarmishsai Gorge in Navoi Region, one of Uzbekistan’s natural treasure troves of pre-historic art.

Although the city of Navoi is a young city, the region itself is endowed with historical sites and landmarks such as mausoleums dating from the 10th-16th centuries, the ruins of Rabati Malik caravanserai (11th century) and the medieval Shaikhul-Nuri prayer house, ancient petroglyphs in the mountains, a 15th-century blacksmith shop, Namozgokh Mosque, Spanjvakt Mosque, Uchtut flint mines and the Sarmishsai ancient art that hold historical interest.

The participants and guests of this year’s Festival, a collaborative effort between Fund Forum and the UNESCO Tashkent Office, will have a unique opportunity to learn about the Sarmishsai Gorge. It is a unique ancient landmark that offers thousands of petroglyphs and other archeological sites. As of today, more than 10,000 rock engravings have been discovered in the Sarmishsai Gorge and in the vicinity. The cliffs feature engraved images of humans, the weapons and tools they used, their clothes and household items. Other interesting images are of various animals, some of which are now not sighted in Uzbekistan. There are also carved images of wild goats, argali, bison, aurochs, wild horses, donkeys, deer, donkeys, camels, gazelles, wild boars and saigas. Wild animals perpetuated in the rock art include wolves, snow leopards, cheetahs, foxes and jackals. Some images show people wearing clothes characteristic of rituals.

The Sarmishsai Gorge is also home to a series of images dating from later periods: the early and the late middle ages. Also, in addition to the many images and geometrical shapes the Sarmishsai petroglyphs feature inscriptions in Arabic and Cyrillic scripts. On the whole, Sarmishsai’s archeological landscape retains traces indicating that the area was actively used for millennia. The petroglyphs at Sarmishsai, the largest and most unique storehouse of rock art in Uzbekistan, form the centerpiece of the Qoratog cultural landscape.

As preparations for the upcoming festival have gotten underway, the organizers are working on the festival agenda. However, it can be said with certainty that, like its previous editions, Asrlar Sadosi 2013 will make for an unforgettable experience, presenting new names, interesting spots, exciting events, surprises and highlights for each participant and visitor.

The ‘Asrlar Sadosi’ Festival of Traditional Culture, a far-reaching project overseen by Fund Forum, presents the full diversity of Uzbekistan’s national traditions, applied art, national cuisine, unique oral tradition and intangible legacy. The ‘Echo of Centuries’ is held annually in a different city in Uzbekistan and attracts a number of art specialists, scholars and international guests. The previous venues for the Festival include Ellikqala District (Karakalpakstan), Bukhara, Khiva, Shakhrisabz and Tashkent Region. Since 2009, the Festival has been organized in partnership with UNESCO. Around 200,000 people have attended the festival since it was launched.