Festivals in Uzbekistan - 2024

Festivals in Uzbekistan - 2023

Festivals in Uzbekistan - 2023

Festivals are designed to immerse in the culture and introduce visitors to both the past and the present of the country. The rich historical heritage of Uzbekistan is demonstrated in bright thematic festivals. Boysun Spring folklore festival, Sharq Taronalari and Shashmaqom musical festivals, Lazgi the dance festival, Silk and Spices cultural festival and the festival of gold embroidery and jewelry attract the connoisseurs of the beauty from all over the world. Such events as the Stihia ("Element") electronic music festival, the Tashkent Music Festival devoted to contemporary music, and the international festival of jazz, opera, and literature on the Silk Road attract an international, young, and professional audience, symbolizing the multicultural and progressive nature of our country. The Tashkent and Namangan Flower Festival, the Tashkent Festival of Arts, the Gastronomy Festival, and even the Ice Cream Festival will appeal to even the youngest guests of Uzbekistan. Car travelers from all parts of the CIS are invited to take part in the Off-Road Fest Uzbekistan 2023 to be held for the first time on the territory of Uzbekistan, in the Chimgan mountains.

The calendar of events will be updated as the events are announced for the second half of the year. However, the hottest festival time will be in May - seven events to take place in different areas of the country - from Tashkent to Muynak, in Baysun, Namangan, and Bukhara - will make your May trip around Uzbekistan bright and eventful!

APRIL. Lazgi International Dance Festival, Itchan Kala, Khiva

APRIL. Lazgi International Dance Festival, Itchan Kala, Khiva

Date: April 25-30, 2022

The International Dance Festival called "Lazgi" in Khiva was established to preserve and develop the distinctive art of the Khorezmian dance, lazgi, included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The centuries-old traditions of the Khorezm dance art reveal the soul of the people in the filigree movements of the dancers.

The dance is full of energy and passion. The story of its origin is connected with the legend of Khorezm-shah and the most beautiful and talented dancer from his harem, who was invited to perform solo for the ruler. Being jealous of her, other concubines scattered beads under her feet while she was dancing. The Shah's sweetheart had her limbs broken, but she showed her art before the ruler, overcoming the pain. He was captivated by the new choreography that differed from the usual fluidity in sensuality, sharpness and straightness of lines, "fractured" movements performed with great speed and amplitude.

The festival will debut in 2022 and is scheduled to be held once every two years thereafter. Spectators will be treated to performances by the masters of dance. Join the rousing rhythms and try to keep up with the pace! There will be thematic exhibition pavilions displaying national costumes, musical instruments, sculptures, works of applied and fine arts, and handicrafts.

Stihia Electronic Music Festival, Ship Graveyard, Muynak (landmark: Mayak Cafe)

Stihia Electronic Music Festival, Ship Graveyard, Muynak (landmark: Mayak Cafe)

Date: May 6-8, 2022

An electronic music festival called "Stihia" ("Element") in Muinak is waiting for you in the lunar sands of the Aral Sea at the so-called "Graveyard of Ships." Its mission is to raise awareness of the Aral See's environmental disaster and to help the region achieve sustainable development. Until the 1960s, the Aral Sea ranked as the world's second undrained lake after the Caspian Sea. However, over time, it has transformed into the Aralkum desert mainly due to anthropogenic factors.

The festival includes the following social projects: Stihia Arts, Stihia Gen, and "Six Billion Trees."

The organizers are selective in their choice of performers preferring not fashionable directions of electronic music but non-standard authors, distinguished by their unique approach. Genre-wise they can be referred to Electro, Progressive, Techno, and Acid. However, the original concept of the event attracts people of a special kind - the trip to Muynak is an adventure, and the living conditions are far from the usual modern comfort. But if you long for self-expression, and the idea of getting out of the ordinary environment and scenery seems attractive to you, "Stihia" will exceed your expectations and generously reward your courage.

Please note:

Tickets should be purchased in advance – it is not possible to buy them at the venue. (All events to be held on all three days of the festival are included).

It is recommended to think in advance about the route and mode of transport that you plan to use to get to Muynak.

• The nearest airport is Nukus, from which it is a 2.5 hours drive, you can take a local taxi. Make sure that air tickets are still available because in previous years the flight was fully booked.

• You can take a train from Tashkent to Kungrad (20 hours of travel time) and then take a taxi to Muynak (40 minutes).

• On the arrival day of May 6 and the departure day of May 9, the organizers run paid shuttle-buses between Nukus and Muynak. Seats need to be booked in advance.

Take care of your accommodation as well. The organizers are presenting the festival as an extreme tourism event, and it is necessary to take this into account to get an idea of its format. The following accommodation options are available:

• Yurt Camp on the territory of the festival;

• Guest houses;

• Rent rooms and apartments in the private sector.

Muynak does not have the usual tourist infrastructure, it is remote from major cities, so there is a reasonable concern about comfort and safety.

Interaction with locals. Residents of Muynak are as hospitable as any other people in Uzbekistan. Polite and courteous communication with them, and tolerance for local culture, mentality, and customs will ensure an extremely positive experience of getting to know them.

Natural conditions and precautions. The festival is held in the desert, so basic precautions should be taken - take closed shoes, watch your feet carefully, and do not disturb the fauna.

• The sun is blindingly bright during the day, so take a pair of sunglasses. At night, only stars will light your way, hence a self-contained flashlight is essential.

• Do not place your tent directly on the sand. Place it on polyethylene film and the sleeping bag - on the insulating mat.

• Use earplugs while sleeping.

• Take the first-aid kit containing antiallergenic, essential medicine, habitual medicines, and aerosol against mosquitoes.

• The nights are cold in the desert - the temperature drops to 5 degrees. Take really warm clothes on your trip.

Alcohol will be sold at the camp bar and on the festival grounds, and you are also allowed to bring your alcoholic beverages. However, in case of antisocial behavior, security reserves the right to escort you from the venue.

Mobile connection is available without restrictions and interruptions.

Currency exchange, bank cards, and other payment methods on the territory of the festival.

• Better exchange your currency to local in advance at specialized centers and terminals in Nukus, Tashkent, or any other major town of Uzbekistan, from where you will be heading to the Stihia Festival.

• In the bar and catering area you can pay in local currency, Uzbek sum. You can pay with cash or via Payme App. Please note that Visa and MasterCard are not accepted.

Security at the festival will be provided by representatives of the National Guard and MIA. Firefighters and medical personnel will also be on duty at the festival regularly. 

• The area of the camp will be under round-the-clock video surveillance. But do not leave your documents and valuables in the tent unattended - the organizers are not responsible for their safety.

Sanitary conditions. There are bio-toilets and washstands at the festival. It is necessary to use water reasonably as it is the most limited resource in Muynak. Getting ready to travel, buy supplies of dry and wet wipes.

Nutrition. There are several cafes in Muynak. There will be a snack bar and catering area at the festival. You are allowed to bring your food so prepare supplies of water, sandwiches, and snacks.

Shashmaqom Musical Festival, Bukhara

Shashmaqom Musical Festival, Bukhara

Date: to be clarified

"Makom," which unites several subspecies, one of which is "shashmaqom," which gave its name to the festival, can be described in a modern way as vocal and instrumental storytelling. Makom's poetry narrates philosophical questions of human existence and the finest feelings, it has inimitable musical framing and artistic aesthetics, not devoid of improvisation. It is a unique creative phenomenon, included in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

To preserve and develop folk art, Shashmaqom music festival, Bukhara, was established for young performers. The course of the event resembles a republican competition. For the first time, the festival will take place in 2022 and every two years thereafter.

The participants are soloists up to 30 years old, as well as ensembles of up to 15 musicians and singers. Selections will be made in the instrumental and vocal arts categories. Scores will be evaluated by a jury of experts on a 10-point scale.

The global goal of the festival is to bring the national maqom to the international stage to deepen the understanding of the culture of Uzbekistan and its spiritual understanding.

Boysun Spring International Folklore Festival (“Boysun bahori”), Padang Village, Surkhandarya Region

Boysun Spring International Folklore Festival (“Boysun bahori”), Padang Village, Surkhandarya Region

Date: May 7-8, 2022

Over 200 folklore groups representing folk arts from all over Uzbekistan will gather at the foothills of the Boysun Mountains to present their theatrical and musical art, dance, and handicrafts. Ritual songs and lullabies will bring to life the sounds of the past, deep antiquity, and preserved ancient culture cherished by each new generation. UNESCO has recognized the culture of Boysun as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage.

For those who like active and exciting competitions, there will also be something to look forward to. National folk games of kupkari, tug-of-war, bicycle marathon, and traditional wrestling tournaments will take place.

In 2022, Boysun Spring International Folklore Festival becomes more than just a cultural exhibition. From now on, it will be a creative and sporting competition, and the winners will receive monetary prizes from the Government of Uzbekistan. Visitors will be also surprised by the very first drone show at the festival!

Starting in 2022, Boysun Bahori Festival will be held every two years and the next festival will take place in 2024.

International Festival of Gold Embroidery and Jewelry, Bukhara

International Festival of Gold Embroidery and Jewelry, Bukhara

Date: May 21-25, 2022

The International Festival of Gold Embroidery and Jewelry in Bukhara will be held for the first time in 2022. In the future, it is supposed to be held regularly, with a frequency of once every two years.

Embroidery with gold and silver thread is an ancient form of needlework and national art. One can become a master in it only if one devotes life to it. Making one piece used to take more than a month, and it was sold at high prices. Hence, it could be available only to wealthy customers.

Many regions of Uzbekistan were famous for gold embroidery, but it was the Bukhara handicraft school that attracted the most attention. The festival will present handicraft towns, describing the regional peculiarities of embroidery techniques, differences in the patterns of each of them, history, and traditions.

Jewelry art is one of the oldest in the world. People have studied the properties of gems and metals, attributing magical properties to them, and endlessly looking for ways to use them to improve their lives. The selection of every detail - combination of stones, shapes and even patterns imprinted on the products - was treated with the utmost care. Jewelry was intended to be a narrator telling the story of its owners' origin and as the protector from evil spells, spirits, envy, and the evil eye.

Jewelry art is an integral part of the fashion industry which is developing rapidly in line with current fashion trends that directs jewelry houses farther and farther away from their canonical traditions. However, in Uzbekistan, there are still families who have passed on the secret technologies of the national school from generation to generation. The desire to share knowledge and cooperation resulted in the formation of handicraft unions and specialized exhibitions thanks to them.

The revival of the school has led to increasing international interest in the unique Uzbekistan jewelry style. For revealing new talents, development of jewelry and gold embroidery craftsmanship, preserving of rare millenarian techniques, the Festival of Gold Embroidery and Jewelry craftsmanship in Bukhara was established under the Decree of President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev dated April 29, 2021.

It is expected that 150 representatives from 50 countries will participate in the International Festival of Gold Embroidery and Jewelry art in Bukhara.

According to the Italian newspaper Il Metropolitano, the festival will be attended by representatives of jewelry-making from the Campania Region. In particular, the jewelry center "Il Tarì" of Marchianiza will unite 400 large organizations specializing in jewelry making of precious stones. The management of the prestigious Luigi Vanvitelli University will join them as well.

Part of the festival of sparkling beauty will be presentations and exhibitions, craft workshops, and competitions for professionals. There will also be folk festivals, concerts by musical theater and folklore groups, and tightrope walkers.

61st International Flower Festival, Namangan, Culture and Recreation Park named after Babur,

61st International Flower Festival, Namangan, Culture and Recreation Park named after Babur, "Afsonalar Vodiisi" ("Valley of Legends") Park, Peace Stele, Writers Alley, and Three Fountains Square

Date: May 22 - June 5, 2022

The 61st International Festival of Flowers in Namangan will continue its annual tradition of holding a colorful and floral farewell to spring and a grand celebration of summer in the open air. Being held for 61 years, Namangan Flowers Festival has achieved a true cult status. In addition, the event promoted a strong association with the town of Namangan as the town of flowers.

The opening ceremony of the enchanting festival is already inseparable from the large-scale motorists' parade, starting from the airport early in the morning. 200 vintage cars, contemporary Uzavtoprom cars, luxury foreign cars, specialized machinery, and even motorcycles are decorated with floral arrangements created by foreign and local masters-florists as well as amateur gardeners. Figures, patterns, and ornaments are laid out of flowers. There are always creative combinations demonstrating the richness of the flora of Uzbekistan, its amazing plants and diverse flowers. It is a good opportunity to make rare and bright shots of the flower caravan!

Home gardeners will learn a lot of professional tricks in the master classes from experts in landscape design.

In addition to the exhibition of botanical masterpieces, the festival will showcase the products of fashion designers from the Fergana Valley. There will be fashion shows within the framework of the regional Fashion Week.

There will be a craft fair with the works of the best craftspeople to complement modern outfits with national accessories.

The show program prepared by young artists and local stars, theatrical and folklore groups (vocal-instrumental and dance ensembles) will add to the festivities.

Spectacle, excitement, and inspiration will be complemented by athletes including representatives of parasports. The culmination is a breathtaking rope-walking show.

Spectators observe the numerous competitions with great interest. Here, in addition to florists, chefs, craftspeople, and photographers will be able to prove their worth. The winners are awarded valuable gifts on stage at a gala concert. The grand prize is a car!

The most touching part of the festival is the planting of new seedlings - a beautiful and symbolic contribution to the future prosperity of the town. Last year, 10 million flower seedlings were planted. Geographically, participants came from South Korea, the Netherlands, Turkey, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. Media from China, India, and Iran came to cover the event, and the number of visitors to the festival was half a million.

Ipak va Ziravorlar (“Silk and Spices”) International Festival, Bukhara

Ipak va Ziravorlar (“Silk and Spices”) International Festival, Bukhara

Date: May 28, 2022

The annual festival "Silk and Spices" in Bukhara takes place at the end of May reviving the cultural heritage of the legendary Great Silk Road. Like ancient caravans loaded with spices and silks carrying valuable cargo to China and Europe, the best folk arts and craftspeople from Bukhara and all over Uzbekistan come here to demonstrate their magnificent handicrafts. Gijduvan and Rishtan ceramics, Margilan silk, famous Bukhara embroidery, gold embroidery, and suzane - all these can be bought directly at the festival fair.

Festival "Ipak va Ziravorlar" ("Silk and spices"), Bukhara transforms the city by reconstructing the atmosphere of ancient festivals and rich life of merchants. Canvases of address and satin contrast with the blue sky. If you have already managed to buy items of Uzbek national dress, it is high time to go out in them to take part in the festive grandiose procession that follows the route from the Ark of Bukhara to the Lyab-i Hauz ensemble to the trading domes, accompanied by the main "ships" of the Silk Road - camels and horses. Columns of girls, boys and children dressed in national costumes from different eras of Uzbek history, including the attire of medieval warriors, create a special and lively atmosphere of celebration. An exhibition of pictures and photographs, performances of folk and dance groups, strongmen, and rope-walkers will provide entertainment. The event culminates with a gala concert on the square near the Kalyan Minaret. 

The Silk and Spices annual festival in Bukhara has established a new tradition in the local fashion world, a special show called "Silk and Spices Fashion Day."

The festival offers to enjoy not only spiritual and cultural food but also quite a mundane one because here you can taste the best samples of Uzbekistan cuisine.

SEPTEMBER. SharqTaronalari (“Melodies of the Orient”) International Music Festival, Registan Square (traditionally), in 2022 – may be in Samarkand International Tourist Center

SEPTEMBER. SharqTaronalari (“Melodies of the Orient”) International Music Festival, Registan Square (traditionally), in 2022 – may be in Samarkand International Tourist Center

Date: September 2022 (exact date to be clarified)

The grandiose music festival called "Sharq Taronalari" is a large-scale event for all of Central Asia. It is traditionally held once every two years in the heart of historic Samarkand, Registan Square. Its significance lies in the continuation of the cultural traditions of the Great Silk Road. As in those distant days, Samarkand has once again become a crossroad of cultures, a platform for the exchange of good traditions. Musical ensembles from all over the world come to Registan to bring folk songs and instrumental music from all over the world to the eastern flavor of Uzbekistan. Skilled dancers adorn the eye with bright colors of national costumes and excite the soul with lyrical motifs or rousing rhythms. It feels like you are going on a unique musical journey around the world, being in the atmosphere of medieval Samarkand.

Amir Timur, who chose the town as the capital of his empire, used to bring here the most talented and prominent masters of his time. Thus, the Melodies of the Orient Festival continues this tradition by inviting skilled dancers, musicians, and performers to the competition.

In 2022, Sharq Taronalari festival will probably change its venue from Registan square to Samarkand International Tourism Center. Its opening ceremony and the festival duration will coincide with the SCO summit in Uzbekistan.