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In photos: Astana hosts international nomadic festival

By Aydar Ashimov

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Female members of various nationalities welcome tourists to the festival. [Aydar Ashimov]

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The festival at the Ethnoaul National Cultural Complex near Astana brought together eight groups from different countries. [Aydar Ashimov]

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The Ethnoaul grounds were divided into seven villages. In each of them, spectators were delighted by warriors and horseback riders, musicians and craftspersons. [Aydar Ashimov]

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Participants from Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan displayed folk costumes, traditions and uniforms worn by mediaeval  warriors. Pictured here is an Ordugay team from Turkey specialising in historical reenactments. [Aydar Ashimov]

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A Kyrgyz female horseback rider performs stunts alongside her male teammates. [Aydar Ashimov]

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While performing, singers would imitate sounds such as the breath of a deer, the rustling of grass, the scream of a bird and the muttering of a shaman. Musicians from Bulgaria are pictured. [Aydar Ashimov]

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Bulgarian warriors rehearse before their performance. [Aydar Ashimov]

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The Proto-Bulgarian survival school "Baga-Tur" makes an appearance. [Aydar Ashimov]

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Ukrainian archers show off their skills. [Aydar Ashimov]

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Women in Kazakh folk costumes process wool while singing. [Aydar Ashimov]

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Men compete in tug of war as spectators watch. [Aydar Ashimov]

ASTANA -- The International Festival of Nomadic Culture "Koshpendiler Alemi", held June 30-July 1 in Astana, put the spirit of nomadic culture and pastimes on display.

Eight groups representing Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Ukraine, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Russian republics of Bashkortostan and Yakutia participated in the festival, timed to co-ordinate with the 20th anniversary of Astana's elevation to capital of Kazakhstan.

The festival is based on the Great Kurultai of the Turkic Peoples, which has taken place in Hungary since 2008, organisers said.

The participants showed off their skills in various nomadic pastimes and national games, offered master classes in horse riding and archery and presented food, music and handicrafts representing nomadic tribes.

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On June 30 and July 1 Astana hosted the "Koshpendiler Alemi" festival, timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Astana's elevation to capital of Kazakhstan. [Aydar Ashimov]

An estimated 5,000 visitors attended the festival at the Ethnoaul National Cultural Complex, according to the Kazakh prime minister's office.

"I was crazy about everything! The horseback riders, music, folk costumes and different dishes," said Yevgeniya Tsoi, 17, of Astana.

"It was great to see how members of different peoples of Central Asia ... can communicate, be friendly and share their positive feelings," she told Caravanserai. "The spectators were delighted, and I really enjoyed it!"

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