Monday, March 21, 2011

2.1. Museum of National Instruments, Panfilov Park, Zenkov Cathedral

Anne LeBaron at the Museum of National Instruments, Almaty (2008)
Panfilov Guardsmen Park
Zenkov Cathedral

Post written by Eugene Moon; photos by Viktor Bekbosunov and Anne LeBaron

Today we visited the Museum of National Instruments, originally an outpost building for 19th century Russian imperialists. What's inside is incredible: all the Kazakh instruments of various shapes, sizes, and ages, like the dombra, kobyz, adyrna, and zhetygen. The museum also displayed other multicultural instruments like Saz, Sitar, Yue Qin, Gadulka, and the smallest Gayageum I have ever seen.

We then left the museum and walked into Panfilov Guardsmen Park, featuring a memorial for the 28 soldiers who died defending Moscow against German tanks in WWII. With its eternal flame and sculptures of soldiers in defense stance, it’s a good depiction of the social realism style. Zenkov Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox church, rises like a fantasy fairy-tale structure near the memorial. It had survived the wars, and was converted into a concert hall during communist rule, before being restored to the control of the Russian Church after the collapse of the USSR.

We kept on walking and got to the old square where they are setting up for Nauryz. (Nauryz is one of the oldest holidays on earth, and is celebrated as the first day of renewed life that comes with spring.) It was quite an interesting sight to watch a woman screaming a slew of directions in Russian from the center stage, over a microphone, to dancers wearing their traditional garb in the freezing wind. I wonder how fast they can learn in such low temperatures.

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