ASTANA – The first Tamgaly Tas International Tourist Festival was held from April 26 to April 28 in a mountain area near the Ili River in the Almaty region.
The main aim of the festival was to promote the national identity of the Turkic peoples and preserve their cultural heritage while promoting sports, the protection of nature and the development of domestic tourism.
The festival’s motto was: “The road to knowledge of antiquity and health begins with us: Come to Kazakhstan to Tamgaly Tas.”
The festival was organised by the Tabigat Ecological Coalition and the Almaty regional government with the support of Ministry of Industry and New Technologies (MINT).
The Tamgaly Tas Festival combined sports, entertainment and ethnic culture. Sports contests were held in kokpar or buzkashi (a Central Asian version of polo played on horseback), volleyball, rock climbing, paintball and endurance races. A boating regatta was held on the Ili River.
A steppe shashlik (barbecue) and pilaf festival was held between different teams using secret recipes. Children from the Ushtobe orphanage participated in rafting, rock climbing and hiking. A boat race on the river was held in the regatta. It was won by a crew from Talgar.
Teams from the Almaty region, in cooperation with Zhurgenov Kazakh National Academy of Arts built a traditional yurt village, which recreated the ancient nomadic lives and arts of the Turkic peoples. Elegant jewellery was on display.
The venue of the festival spread over several square kilometres. A music concert and a traditional Atash fire festival were also part of the festivities.
The festival also included contests and exercises to teach ecological awareness and responsibility. A “Clean Up Your Stuff” campaign was held and participants were given bags for garbage collection Even the ancient art of painting petroglyphs was encouraged: visitors were distributed with special stones to create a Mound of Good Wishes on which they could paint and leave messages and signs.