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The Central Asian Handicraft Fair to take place in Bishkek
Apr '09
The Central Asian Handicraft Fair representing Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan will take place on April 17-18, 2009 in Bishkek, in front of the American University of Central Asia.

Address: Bishkek, Abdymomunova Street 205
Organizers: The Central Asian Craftsmen Support Association (CACSA) and the American University of Central Asia (AUCA)

Central Asia, once being known as the heart of the great Silk Road connecting countries and peoples over vast territories, is home to a diverse variety of cultures. Chinese silk was the major good traded, which helped to initiate the first contacts between East and West at the end of the 2nd century BC. The people of Central Asia played a great role in connecting western and eastern civilizations. Settled and nomadic peoples of Central Asia offered the world unique creations representing traditional culture.

Uzbek silk, Tajik embroidery, Turkmen carpets, and Kyrgyz and Kazakh felt and silver were sent to Europe and gained worldwide recognition. The craftsmen, the major carriers of the traditional culture, were the key figures who helped promote the interaction of various cultures along the transcontinental trade routes. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan were always culturally connected to each other and, historically, belonged to one unified, cultural space.

However, the economic hardships the newly independent countries have been facing during the last decade, and the new customs and visa regulations, have led to the isolation of the people and cultures of Central Asia. Therefore, any events that provide opportunity for creative interactions and exchange of experiences amongst masters of traditional culture have great significance for the preservation of the cultural heritage of the region. Such events are also helpful for the professional growth of craftsmen, strengthening mutual understanding and the promotion of peace among the peoples of Central Asia.

At the fair, visitors will have a chance to be exposed to various works of craftsmen, which comply with the requirements of modern markets while preserving traditional methods of production. Bright Uzbek textiles and scarves made of pure wool, exclusive clothing from natural hand-made textiles, ceramics and unique embroidery, excellent Turkmen carpets, fashionable Kyrgyz scarves made of felt, headgear, clothing and souvenirs, sparkling Kazakh jewelry made of silver, artifacts from barks, knitted goods and much more will be presented at the fair.

The selling of handicraft items provides an opportunity for these populations, especially to women, which will help them raise their living standards. International organizations, like American-based NGOs: “Help to Artisans”, “The Eurasia Foundation” and others are offering solid support to this field.

American University of Central Asia (AUCA)

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