Barskoon Horse Festival (Kyrgyzstan)

Kyrgyzstan, one of the post-Soviet, Central Asian states, is located in the heart of Asia. Landlocked, almost entirely mountainous, surrounded by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China.

During autumn 2007, I visited northern Kyrgyzstan and most particularly, Barskoon, a village on Lake Issyk-Kul, sitting astride the Silk Route. This particular trip was occasioned by an opportunity to see ‘traditional’ horse games. Kyrgyz horse festivals, are similar to those held throughout Central and Inner Asia – for example, the Mongolian Naadam. These events mainly comprise traditional sports, including horse games, wrestling, archery, as well as eagle hunting demonstrations; in this case, along with traditional music performances, poetry recitations, and sales of craft goods and food.

Inspired by this trip, I wrote a photo-essay, published on-line by Ragazine.CC: Many of the photos in the essay are included in this Gallery. In the essay I tried to make sense of the disconnection between my own experience of Kyrgyzstan and the way the country is generally portrayed in the media.