By Zeena Urynbassarova
A resort on the shore of Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan hosted an Oriental festival of traditional crafts - Oymo-2013, which welcomed folk masters from 15 nations.
The festival has become a tourism brand of Kyrgyzstan, traditionally conducted in Bishkek, the country's capital embossomed in snow-capped mountains, and Cholpon Ata, a picturesque town on the coast of Lake Issyk Kul, near the Kazakh border.
Two things I can say about the land of Kyrgyzs, where I have never been before, are a clear night sky where stars seem to be within a hand's reach and 'star rains' - tiny meteorites blazing the vault of heaven. An inexpressible sight!
Ultramarine coloured waters of Lake Issyk shimmer greenish cast. Stretching over 177 kilometers, the lake has an almond shape, for what Kyrgyzs call it 'the God's Eye'.
Eighty mountain creeks and rivers feed it and none flows out.
The nature of Kyrgyzstan, a small Central Asian state sitting in the Tian Shan Mountains, is simply charming. Over 75% of the country's territory lies 3-4 kilometers above sea level.
The annual fair of crafts Oymo-2013, the eighth in a row, is a very important event in the region's cultural life. It saw the best works from the craftsmen of the Central Asia, China, Russia, Turkey and Afghanistan making its first appearance at the festival this year.
The colors of this Oriental festivity flickered before eyes - silk cloths from Margilan, Kyrgyz felt products, Rishton ceramics, traditional needlecraft from Tajikistan and jewellery from Kazakhstan.
Atyrau was represented by artist Marzhan Marshal.
Among visitors was Kyrgyz ex-president Roza Otunbayeva, who now popularises folk crafts in Kyrgyzstan.
"Central Asian craft fairs help intercultural dialogues, set partnership relations between attending countries, and vastly contribute to the development of tourism in Kyrgyzstan," she said.
Kyrgyz felt craftswoman Zhulduz Assanakulova says her ancestors used to spent a year to make a felt carpet in the past, but now it takes her only 20 minutes to finish one, thanks to an electric structure her husband built to roll felt.
Felt is a notable brand of the country, Kyrgyz people diligently preserve and develop their art. Guests from all over the world come here to learn to deal with felt. Every village in the country is a separate workshop. There are villages where almost every craftsman is a merely yurt maker.
A yurt maker in every home - like in the 19th century.
On their own, locals still grow wheat, barley, bread corn and millet. Houses sink in the green of blossoming trees. Apples, pears, plums, grapes grow everywhere as wild-growing herb.