The 17th annual Silk and Spices Festival was held this past weekend, May 25th - 27th, in Bukhara, Uzbekistan. The festival featured performers and vendors from around Uzbekistan and even from neighboring countries, plus musicians, dancers, designers, and plenty of visitors.
The Silk and Spices Festival opened on Friday, May 25, with a large parade. The parade started with a procession of horses and camels, followed by musicians, large puppets and groups of volunteers.
The official program of the festival included lots of concerts throughout the three days of the festival, held on a stage set up near Lyabi-Hauz. An orchestra of traditional Uzbek instruments performed several times, including a performance with solo singers. Dancers were also popular, with groups dressed in traditional clothing performing classic dances. Nearby, at the Kukeldash Madrassah, were the Silk and Spice Fashion Days, featuring designers and a fashion show to open the festival.
Vendors lined many of the main streets of Old Bukhara, selling ikat textiles, spices, clothing, embroideries, knives, and more. Especially popular were large bolts of ikat fabric, with cloth being sold by the meter. Ikats made of cotton and silk, in a wide variety of colors and patterns were sold by hundreds of vendors from all around Uzbekistan.
Visitors could also attend masterclasses, where masters showed how to make the various products for sale. This included classes on topics such as how to make traditional embroideries (called suzani), silk rugs, and knives. These skills have been passed down through generations of families in the city, making the masterclasses a unique window into the history of Bukhara.
The final event of the Silk and Spices Festival was a gala concert. The stage was set with large displays, lights, and set for a whole evening of performances. Well-known singers and dancers took the stage to perform for a full crowd, closing the festival on a high note.