International Handicrafters Festival Kokand / Internationales Handwerker Festival Kokand

From 11th to 15th September 2019, the first International Handicrafters Festival took place in Kokand. Over 600 artisans from Uzbekistan and around the world participated in the festival, as well as more than 120 representatives of handicraft organizations. The craftsmen came from over 70 countries. Among others, a basket weaver from Germany, paper manufacturer from the Netherlands, horse hair weaver from Chile, lackpainter from Pakistan, jeweler from Macedonia and Armenia and a porcelain painter from Russia were there.

Uzbek ceramic master

Booth of the Afghan handicrafter

The festival was a wonderful event. Already the welcome at Kokand Station was incredible. We were greeted with Karnay music (natural trumpet), dancing children, women in traditional dress with bread, Xalva and flowers. In addition countless volunteers waited, who helped us with the luggage. In addition, the flags of every participating nation were raised. The flag holders were our guides/translators. Each nation has been assigned at least one guide. Due to the fact that I was the only representative from Switzerland, I had a guide for myself. Feruza was great! She took care of me and helped me in every way.

The festival site was located in the park around the Khudoyar Khan Palace. There was a section where the international craftsmen were as well as one for the artisans from the neighboring "stan" countries. On the remaining area all 12 provinces (Tashkent, Sirdarya, Jizzakh, Samarkand, Farghona, Namangan, Andijan, Qashqadarya, Surkhandarya, Bukhara, Navoiy, Khorezm) and the autonomous (Karakalpakistan) of Uzbekistan were represented. Many artisans wore traditional costumes, there were many folklore groups from all over Uzbekistan too. There was a wonderful peaceful atmosphere.

One of the provinces of Uzbekistan represented at the festival

In addition to the performances of the folklore groups on the festival grounds, there were also concerts by Uzbek pop musicians on some evenings. Also fashion shows and conferences with international speakers and guests were held. There was also an Organization Committee that honored the best Uzbek and international craftsmen, for example the "Best Handicraftsmen", the "Youngest Handicraftsmen and “Handicraftsman Who Restored Ancient Crafts Type”.

Now I'll talk about the opening ceremony. This took place on Saturday the 14th. Right, it's a bit weird that the opening ceremony did not take place on the first day of the festival... The opening ceremony was a colorful spectacle with hundreds of dancers and musicians, with a speech of Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the president of Uzbekistan, and a performance of the very famous Yulduz Usmanova, which ended with a grand final; a 12-minute (!!) firework.

Colorful performance from the folklore group of Karakalpakistan

On Sunday the festival was full of visitors. I've heard that even people from Tashkent have come just for the festival. And in the evening was the closing ceremony. This was not quite as impressive as the opening ceremony, but with live performances by well-known Uzbek artists like Alisher Fayz and Munisa Rizayeva as well as the Italian singer In-Grid. At the end there was a firework again.

I want to praise the organizers of the festival. Eventhough there were some spontaneous plan amendments that made me wait, the festival was, in my opinion, a huge success. In addition, I would like to thank the "Hunarmand Uyushmasi" (Handicrafter Association) for the invitation and the generosity! They have spared no effort and expense and have paid the flights, all transfers, overnight stays (at least 7 hotels were specially built for the festival!), as well as meals for all guests (guests of honor, artisans and journalists)! We also received wonderful gifts, such as a book on Uzbek handicrafts, a ceramic bowl or cup, and a wooden box decorated with carvings.

I would also like to thank the people of Kokand for the warm welcome and the wonderful hospitality! I really enjoyed the time in Kokand. It was very touching how people waved to us all the way from the train station to the hotel (and the same when we left). Because Kokand is not very touristy, the locals were very happy to welcome so many foreign tourists and many wanted to take pictures with us. (I sometimes felt like a celebrity...) It was just unbelievable how many people welcomed us at the station and said goodbye. Katta rahmat!

The next festival will be held in 2021!

More pictures and impressions on Instagram and soon on Facebook too.

Enchanting location for the opening and closing ceremony - Zauberhafter Veranstaltungsort für die Eröffnungs- und Schlusszeremonie

Opening speech of Shavkat Mirziyoyev - Eröffnungsrede des usbekischen Präsidenten Shavkat Mirziyoyev

The famous Yulduz Usmanova - Die berühmte Yulduz Usmanova

The Grand Final at the opening ceremony - Das Grande Finale der Eröffnungszeremonie

Vom 11.-15. September 2019 fand in Kokand das erste Internationale Handwerker Festival statt. An dem Festival nahmen über 600 Handwerker aus Usbekistan sowie aus der ganzen Welt teil sowie über 120 Repräsentanten von Handwerker-Organisationen. Die Handwerker kamen aus über 70 Ländern. Unteranderem dabei war ein Korbflechter aus Deutschland, Papierhersteller aus den Niederlanden, Pferdehaar-Flechter aus Chile, Lackmaler aus Pakistan, Schmuckhersteller aus Mazedonien und Armenien sowie eine Porzellanmalerin aus Russland.

Ältere Frau beim Wollteppich knüpfen