Sunday, September 9, 2012

The 'Day of the City'

Yesteday, Saturday September 8th was the Day of the City in Gorno-Altaisk (I will refer to it as Gorno most often).  There was a parade in the center of the city, performances from school groups and many food vendors on the main square during the day and more concerts and festivities at night including an incredible display of fireworks.

In the morning we (Natalia, Sergei, Elsa, Willa and I) walked the 1.5 miles or so to the main square along the busy street along which the apartment building sits. Gorgeous weather with cool mornings and evenings and comfortably warm days has been the norm since the rainy day that we arrived. We got to the square just in time for the parade to start
The city center is, as many city centers are, the nicest part of town with respect to buildings and infrastructure.  Gorno is the Capital of the Republic of Altai and so the government buildings surround the main square. On one end of the square is 'town hall' and on the other is the Assembly of the Republic.  Gorno is the Albany of the Altai Republic!  The population of  the republic is only 209,000 in all and Gorno has about 56,000 of those citizens.

Many of the costumes you will see have a Mongolian feel.  The native Altaian people make up about 60% of the population of the Altai and the mixing of cultures is really apparent in Gorno. The Altai language is quite different from Russian and is Turkik in origin - more related to Mongol languages, as I understand it.  The Univeristy also has several students from the surrounding countries like Kazakhstan and Kyrgyztan, but most come from the Altai.  In the outlying villages where we will travel to do our research, the great majority of the people are native Altaians (more on Altai culture and people to come!)

Children and dance and singing were a big part of the festival.  Parents and families walked along in groups, much like the kiddie parade at our winter carnival in Saranac lake..

This is a group of students from Kazakstan who are at the University where I am I visiting professor

This group of students are from a Design college in the City and the outfits are designed by each of them!! they are beautiful and look well made!!
Around the main square in town were lots of tables, displays and things to do. Vegetables that were made to look like animals or people and flower designs were displayed along with differnt types of pidgeons and rabbits in cages. Here are some images of our lovely day

Elsa and Willa, Natlia and Sergei

Willa gets a horse ride in the park

Are those Squash? or cats

Rides are a part of the park as well

The town square and all the people

Yes, that is cotton candy she is eating!

Shooting at cans with a Russian Pellet gun (7+/10 not bad!! for an old girl who doesn't hunt:-)

Sergei and Willa eat Shashleek.  A traditional Russian Shishkabob.. Really yummy and made with either pork, beef or lamb.. Its the spicing that matters!

The fireworks were at 11:00 and we couldnt quite make it until then so we came home, settled in and watched them from our apartment window.  some were like I have never seen before and they did rival the Saranac lake 4th of July fireworks in length!!! Ochen Kraceeva!

Next blog with be after I meet with my students tomorrow.  Very exciting and Im a bit nervous!!
Stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Celia! Glad you arrived safe and things are going well. - John F