Sharq Taronalari, Uzbekistan's International Ethnic Music Festival
One of the most significant cultural events held in Central Asia, is the Sharq Taronalari or Eastern Melodies Festival. Held every two years at the end of August, it is staged in the open-air heart of the ancient city of Samarkand in magnificent Registan Square. This year, in 2015 Sharq Taronalri will be held on August 25 and will continue till August 30 in Samarkand. Samarkand is best known for its stunning medieval architecture, and the soaring portals of Registan's three major madressas, decorated in glittering turquoise tiles surround the square, creating astonishing acoustics.
This event began in 1997 though the initiative of the President, Islam Karimov, with the intent to promote cultural liaison by bringing together gifted and talented singers, dancers, and musicians from all over the world to share their regional and ethnic musical arts. Supported by UNESCO, Sharq Taronalari is the ideal venue to promote the cultural heritage of Uzbekistan and Central Asia. The city of Samarkand's important role in history, its key position along the Silk Road and its treasure trove of architecture are showcased alongside the brilliant performances over the five-day festival.
In addition to the shows, there are various exhibitions of traditional and national musical instruments, clothes, and costumes, scholarly and academic conferences, as well as an art exhibit.
International artists are invited to judge the competitions and at the culmination of the event, there are recognition ceremonies, gala performances, and the square is lit up by a gorgeous firework display. This is truly one of the most incredible cultural events in Central Asia.