The city’s outside stage overlooking the Syr-Darya River with the Mongol Mountains as a back drop was the setting for a lovely production of dance and music late morning of Navruz. I had the small camera and was standing not terribly far from the stage. Unfortunately, I was also standing not so far from the government officials. I was told, several times, that I could not take photographs – first by someone standing near me, then by some burly looking secret service looking guys. I am guessing the reason was my proximity to the mayor and others. At one point, one of the “guards” was signaling that he wanted my camera, but I just moved away and then ignored him. Gallantly, a bunch of young men who were standing just in front of me argued my case, but lost the argument.
Luckily, David was farther back with the better camera with the nice zoom lens. He was standing on a wall and had an excellent view. Here are some of his photos, without captions.
I’m having some problems posting photos. I wanted to post two more of Navruz, but I wasn’t allowed to add more to the last post. So I tried to had both here, but it is only accepting one. But I will go ahead an post it. If you will remember, Navruz is the Persian/Turkic New Year celebration at the spring equinox. Next post will have photos of the dancing and singing program at Khujand’s celebrations.
Occasionally I’ll see an exhibit that makes me realize how much the Soviet Union did for Tajikistan. This couple represents a traditionally dressed bridal couple pre-Soviet era. After the wedding, the woman would still have to have her body, including whole head, covered whenever she was out of the home or with men other than her relatives. Think the equivalent of a burqa. The area which would become Tajikistan was part of the Persian Samanid dynasty (819-992 AD) and they take pride in the literature and culture of that time. But two-thirds of the country is mountains, and when the Russians and eventually the Soviets took over in the late 19th century, most of the sparse population was a brutal feudal society scattered in the high Pamir mountains, isolated from the rest of the world.