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Discovery Central Asia #29

Discovery Central Asia #29 Dear friends,

We are happy to present our latest edition of Discovery Central Asia, the first in 2010.

Central Asia is becoming more well-known to the international community as a region of strategic, economic and political importance. The tourism attraction of the region has also improved in recent years as it has become a fabled Silk Road destination. People are starting to ask, who are these people? Who lives there? What are their traditions and cultures? In the current issue we will try to give some more information covering these topics, although as the saying goes you have to see it to believe it!

We’ve been very lucky to get the most interesting authors in this field from all over the world. The Central Asia region has a wide diversity of cultures and people. Over 100 ethnic groups live there. Our authors will cover just a few of them in this issue.

Professor Rafiz Abazov from the Harriman Institute has written a very comprehensive introduction to the culture and traditions of Central Asia. Vitaliy Shuptar brings your attention to several articles on the Kazakhs who are known for their nomadic lifestyle. We even go deeper into original Kazakh culture in an article on the Kazakhs of Western Mongolia by Anna Portisch from SOAS. The Kyrgyz, whose history brings them from Siberia to the mountains of the Tien Shan, which creates a unique culture, are proudly presented by Kuban Mambetaliev from the Kyrgyz Embassy in London and Elena Bosler-Guseva from AUCA. The Tajiks are the only non turkic country in Central Asia with a deep Persian influence but with a very original culture highlighted in articles written by VSO volunteers in Tajikistan. Uzbeks are undoubtedly the most vibrant nation in Central Asia with a long history, rich in folklore and traditions. They are beautifully described in articles by the celebrated writer Hamid Ismailov and Dr. Razia Sultanova from London.

Last, but not least, we have an article about the Russians, who are not originally from Central Asia but with a population of almost 10 million had a significant influence on Central Asian culture.

In conclusion we have included an article on national head wear by one of the best specialists in this field, Irina Bogoslovskaya . This will give you a better understanding of how Central Asian cultures can be both similar and different at the same time.

Of course there is much more to write about, but we have limited space. However I am sure we will return to this subject again to cover the other nations and people of Central Asia, such as the Turkmen, Karakalpak, Dungans, Uyugurs, Koreans and Tatars.

Please do write to us with your comments and ideas on future topics for our publication.

Always yours,

Marat Akhmedjanov


Rich and brown calm, soft or spacious space-run

Text by Alexandre Petrov

Translate the two Kazakh words 'bay' and 'konir' into English and you get 'rich' and 'brown', with alternatives for 'konir' including 'calm', 'soft' and 'spacious'; the Russian 'kosmodrom' gives you 'space-run' if you take the Greek roots literally. Of course most people understand kosmodrom as cosmodrome, or space centre, but it hardly matters as long as we all know what we're talking about.

The decision to put the Soviet Union's principal missile-testing and space-exploration launch site at Baikonur was taken in 1954, when a commission established to find a suitable location reached its verdict. Other candidates included a site in the Mari ASSR in the basin of the middle Volga, on former forest-land cleared during the war to provide timber; and the Makhachkala region on the shore of the Caspian Sea. But Baikonur was chosen, and in the same year work started on the design of Leninsk, the town, later to become a city, to house the people that would work at the space centre.

The main points in Baikonur's favour were its isolation in the Kazakh semi-desert from places where people lived, its proximity to the Syr-Darya river, and the fact that the local terrain would make the construction of roads and railways fairly straightforward. Possibly the deciding factor was its southerly location in Kizil-Orda oblast, which allowed anything bound for space from there to benefit more than the site's two competitors from the earth's rotation: about four per cent of the velocity achieved by payloads launched from Baikonur results from this rotation.

...more articles from current issue

Discovery Central Asia #24

Discovery Central Asia #24Dear readers,

Almost two decades have passed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, an empire which once was so seemingly unbeatable and solid. The heritage of seventy years of Soviet power could definitely not be erased by the recent seventeen years after it, even if the newly independent states had a strong and consistent will to do so, and limited attempts to overcome that were so far futile. With a vast majority of working population being born and raised in some of the best years of the Soviet period, and still bearing a great deal of sympathy and sentiments to the past regime, having everything Soviet left completely in the past is impossible  as it is with the remains of Soviet technological, social and cultural infrastructure still underpinning almost every aspect of local life. You may think of something as having authentic national character  but, that being true, after so many years it might as well have become as Soviet, as anything else. Soviet-time culture and mindset was deep, wide and welcoming enough to accommodate and appreciate all the best from all nations of the huge Union. 

Speaking of the Soveit heritage, it is of course impossible to tell the whole story in a relatively small magazine. In this special thematic issue we shall only try to give you highlights on some areas, trying to keep a balance between things you might have heard about and those which would probably be very new to you. We'll talk about some pieces of the vast cultural and scientific heritage of the Soviet Union, like its space program and Baikonur space center, and simple things, like Russian vodka  just to make a smooth start by mentioning something familiar. more

Discovery Kirgistan #11

Vielleicht ist es die eindrucksvolle Landschaft, die Tierwelt, die traditionelle Nomadenkultur, das unverwechselbare Handwerk, die Atmosphare, die von den vielen historischen und archaologischen Platzen entlang der Gro?en Seidenstra?e ausgeht, die Mongolische Horde, die Revolution der Bolschewiken, die unterschiedlichen Angebote an Aktivitaten, die Gastfreundlichkeit der ortlichen Bevolkerung… oder eine Kombination aus all diesen Faktoren?

Was es auch immer sein mag, es gibt etwas, was Kirgisien „einzigartig“ macht. Es ist ein kleines Land, 90% davon sind Bergwelt. Die Berggipfel und Taler unterteilen das Land in ganz verschiedene Landschaften, Mikroklimata und Lebensraume. Man kann auf einer kleinen geographischen Flache und innerhalb eines kurzen Zeitraums sehr Unterschiedliches antreffen und erleben.

Die Kirgisen selbst wissen von der Einzigartigkeit ihres Landes, was auch in einigen ihrer Legenden uberliefert ist. Eine davon erzahlt, wie Gott nach der Erschaffung der Welt das Land an die verschiedenen Volker der Erde verteilte. Wahrend die Kirgisen mit all den anderen in der langen Schlangen standen und warteten, entschieden sie, dass es zu lange dauere und sie weggehen mussen, um auf ihre Schafe aufzupassen. Als sie zuruckkamen, bemerkten sie, dass  Gott die Verteilung abgeschlossen hatte. Die Kirgisen fragten: „Welches Land konnen wir haben?“ Gott erwiderte, dass das ganze Land vergeben sei, es keines mehr gebe. Die Kirgisen sagten, dass sie nicht viel Land brauchten, es musse auch nicht unbedingt ein reiches Land sein - es musse nur reichen, um ihre Herden dort weiden zu lasssen. Gott hatte Mitleid mit ihnen und sagte, dass noch ein Grundstuck ubrig geblieben sei. Gott wollte dieses Grundstuck fur sich selbst als Garten zum Erholen und Entspannen behalten, aber die Kirgisen konnten es benutzen, um ihre Herden dort weiden zu lassen. more

AmCham Kyrgyz Republic #3

Dear AmCham Members and Friends,

April and June 2008 turned out to be hard-driving. Our April Trade Conference devoted to Trade, Transport and Transit in Kyrgyzstan has elaborated recommendations and an action plan. The recommendations include legislative, institutional and informative measures to the Government while the action plan would be used as an advocacy agenda of the business community. Together with our partner business associations such as  the Associations of Carriers and Forwarders as well as of Customs Brokers, we plan to bring the above documents to the table of the Trade Facilitation and Transport National Council under the Prime Minisiter’s office.        
On June 5, 2008 AmCham had its General Annual Meeting. Our ongoing activity, the election of two additional Board members as well as the announcement of the winning-company of the AmCham’s best slogan were the key issues of the meeting. AmCham slogan is being posted on the cover page of this issue. more

Discovery Uzbekistan #3/2005

Als Chefredaktorin des Discovery Central Asia Magazins ist es mir eine besondere Freude, dem deutschen Publikum die Spezialausgabe Discovery Usbekistan in deutscher Sprache zu prasentieren.

In der Reihe unserer Spezialausgaben nimmt Usbekistan einen ganz besonderen Platz ein. Als CIM Integrierte Fachkraft fur Tourismus-Entwicklung (Centrum fur Internationale Migration und Entwicklung in Frankfurt) lebe ich in Buchara, dieser einzigartigen Stadt im Herzen der grossen Seidenstrasse und bin von dort aus in ganz Usbekistan tatig, um all denen mit Rat und Tat zur Seite zu stehen, welche sich bemuhen, Ihnen, dem Usbekistan­reisenden, einen unvergesslich schonen Aufenthalt zu gestalten. Besitzer von kleinen gemutlichen oder stilechten Hotels, Kellner in Teehausern und Cafes, Reiseveranstalter, Minibusfahrer, Kunsthandwerker, Eisverkaufer, Teppichhandler, Fremdenfuhrer und unzahlige mehr, welche sich mit Leidenschaft dem Tourismus verschrieben haben, deren gibt es in Usbekistan inzwischen viele, ich kenne Sie fast alle und alle sind Sie auf ihre Weise interessante und liebenswerte Menschen aus einer Region, die bis vor nicht allzulanger Zeit dem Rest der Welt verschlossen war. Die zentralasiatische Gastfreundschaft ist nicht nur legendar sondern Realitat, Sie werden sofort spuren, mit welcher Freude man Sie als Reisenden willkommen heisst. more

Discovery Uzbekistan #4/2006

Depuis quelques decennies deja la compagnie Solvay Pharma aide les gens en Europe et dans le monde entier a vivre une vie saine et entiere. Depuis sa fondation la compagnie contribue au progres de la medecine et de la societe en general en accordant une attention particuliere aux etudes scientifiques. La strategie de Solvay Pharma est d'utiliser les decouvertes les plus recentes de la Science pour creer des preparations qui, grace a leurs hautes efficacites, deviendront des preparations de choix pour les medecins et les patients.

La representation de la compagnie Solvay Pharma en unissant ses usines d’ Europe Occidentale a ete ouverte en Ouzbekistan en juin 1999. Solvay Pharma s'est construite une bonne reputation en Ouzbekistan comme l'un des principaux producteurs de preparations medicinales originales, effectives et sures. En moins de 7 ans de travail sur le marche ouzbek, Solvay Pharma a obtenu des resultats considerables. L'accroissement annuel moyen des ventes de Solvay Pharma pour les 5 dernieres annees a ete l'un des plus haut sur le marche pharmacologique ouzbek soit 47 % en 2004 et 30 % en 2005. Durant ces annees Solvay Pharma s'est classee septieme au rang des plus grandes compagnies pharmaceutiques en Ouzbekistan. Comme un vrai leader, la compagnie ne s'arrкte jamais et place devant elle des buts encore plus ambitieux. Aujourd'hui Solvay Pharma non seulement tient ses positions cles sur le marche mais continue a se developper dynamiquement. more

Business Connections #11/2008


May 2008
Dear Members and Friends,

While the year is almost half over it has been a productive and fruitful period for AmCham.
A few notable achievements include the smooth transition to our new Executive Director, a record number of new members, and a busy schedule for committee meetings, mixers and other AmCham activities.
The year is also shaping up to be a good one in terms of business and economic activity. Foreign direct investment is on the rise and the arrival of new investors such as General Motors is a positive sign that Uzbekistan's investment climate is improving. more

Business Connections #10/2008


February 2008
Dear Members and Friends,

The New Year is off and running and most of us are faced with a long list of issues that need to be addressed as soon as possible.  AmCham is also in a hurry, in that we have a growing agenda of things that you as members expect AmCham to deal with. 
These range from tax changes, delays in obtaining currency conversion, access to cash on a timely basis, customs procedures, and a host of other matters that impact specific sectors such as tourism and those engaged in MICE  related activities (see the article for an explanation of the acronym). As your newly reelected president I have decided that this is the year for AmCham to be more proactive in several ways. more

AmCham Kyrgyz Republic #2


Dear AmCham Members and Friends,

I am glad to report that AmCham members feel a strong ownership, engaging in our ongoing activity. We regularly get positive feedback from our existing members. On January 31, 2008 our Board approved AmCham overall and Committee priorities. We will focus on trade facilitation for the next two years. Importantly, our strategy fits with the mission of the Eurasian Business Platform, which is comprised of Eurasian region AmChams. Our upcoming Conference "Trade, Transportation and Transit in the Kyrgyz Republic" scheduled to be held in April, will address such issues as transport and transit development, reducing administrative barriers, improvement of the legal environment and compliance with international standards. Together with our partner business associations, AmCham will design an action plan to promote trade issues dealing with the government. Another goal we intend to work towards is the development of bilateral trade-economic ties with the USA. more

Discovery Issyk Kul Travel Guide #4


Мы рады приветствовать Вас на страницах путеводителя «Discovery Иссык-Куль»! Чудо-озеро поистине неиссякаемый источник вдохновения, энергии и притяжения. Увидев раз, ты уже никогда его не забудешь и хочется возвращаться снова и снова, чтобы согреться теплым дыханием озера. Для многих творческих людей Иссык-Куль становится своеобразной музой и катализатором идей, для людей деловых - местом отдыха или реализации серьезных проектов, для людей любопытных - книгой из нескольких томов, чтение, которого не заставляет тебя засыпать. more

Discovery Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide #10


Discovery Kyrgyzstan Travel Guide #10… it gets into your blood, under your skin.” I don’t know exactly what it is, but there is something about this country that excites visitors – makes them want to extend their stay or at the very least to return.
Is it the spectacular scenery; the wildlife; the traditional nomadic culture; the distinctive crafts; the atmosphere connected with the many historical places and archaeological sites connected with the Great Silk Road, the Mongol Hordes, the Bolshevik Revolution; or the variety of possible activities; the hospitality of the local populace … or is it a combination of all of these factors?
Whatever it is, there is something that makes Kyrgyzstan “special”. It is a small country with over 90% of the territory classified as “mountainous”. The peaks and valleys divide the landscape into quite distinct landscapes, microclimates and habitats. It is possible to encounter many different experiences in a small geographical area, and a short space of time. more

Discovery Kazakhstan #1


Discovery Kazakhstan #1On behalf of the editorial board of Discovery Kazakhstan magazine, allow me to bid you welcome. You hold in your hands the first number of this publication, which is and will be devoted entirely to leisure tourism in our Republic.

People don't know much about Kazakhstan. The Borat film, which, incidentally, was not shot here and which was arguably intended to say more about the West than our country, is hardly an accurate picture. Some people may have read Paulo Coelho's 'Zahir', which is, to give it its due, at least thought-provoking. It is probably quite widely known that Kazakhstan's current economic boom owes much to its fossil-fuel resources; and many may have heard of some of Astana's more unusual buildings. But all these isolated snippets of information are a long way from a balanced overall picture; and amount, really, to very little. more.

Our new edition of Discovery Central Asia travel magazine #23

Discovery Central Asia #23


Discovery Central Asia #23The current one is the first in year 2008 and the 23rd first since we've started publishing. This issue and its timing mean a lot to us: we still remember the spirit of the New Year, yet already anticipate the approaching advent of the spring, which always brings us new hopes and renewal, as it does to the whole nature, starting with this issue we shall present you with materials not only on assorted topics as before, but also with thematic issues, trying to expose all the flavors off unique Central Asian cultures and regions in a new light. We also bring back our section on China, hoping to make it permanent for all issues in the future. more

NEWS from - official website for Discovery Central Asia travel publications, est. 2002. It offers free archives of over 500 travel articles related to traveling to countries along the Silk Road.
To make our site more informative for readers and helpful for tour industry professionals we have added two new features.
  1. Links section: We offer FREE banner exchange with travel industry related websites. Section is indexed by countries and types of services.
  2. Travel fairs calendar: We have chosen and verified the most interesting travel fairs in year 2008. Most of the fairs has been visited by Discovery magazine staff or our partners in the past years.

We hope you will find these two new features helpful, and welcome your comments and recommendations.

Feel free to contact our team at:

WildlifeWildLife of Central Asia

This First edition is undoubtedly the most comprehensive account of Wildlife of Central Asia ever published. more

Silk Road Media proudly presents the first book, which we dedicate to all children of Central Asia

This book is a history of a little mouse and an ant who became friends by overcoming egoism and greed. Together they teach children mutual understanding and kindness. more

Crafts Bazaar

The Central Asia Tourism
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