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Tashkent Circus

From the ancient times various genre and styles of the national circus training, including the circus-taming, clowns, rope-walking, and others existed in Uzbekistan. Development of the Uzbek national circus is linked to equestrian sporting military exercises, national games, as well as way of life of the local population.

The modern circus appeared in our country more than 100 years ago, at the end of the 19th-beginning of the 20th century, when first circus groups from Russia and European countries came on tour to the Turkestan krai. Semi-movable circus tents were erected in Tashkent, Samarkand, Andijan, Ferghana, Urgench and other towns. The first permanent circus was constructed in Tashkent in 1819 by entrepreneur F.A. Yupyatov, but this building was destroyed by the earthquake of 1966. Tashkent State Circus (Tashgostsirk) was set up in 1920 within the framework of Soyuzgostsirk (the USSR State Circus) and it was mainly serving as a stage for guest circus performances. In 1942 the Uzbek circus group was organized in Tashkent, it was the first national circus team on the territory of the former USSR. The new building of Tashgostsirk was built in 1976, and the building was fully renovated in 1999.

After the breakup of the USSR and closing down of the Soyuzgostsirk on December 25, 1991 the Board of the Ministry of Culture of the Republik of Uzbekistan issued a decree on setting up of the Republican Association "Uzbekgostsirk" as of January 2, 1992. The Association was founded on Tashgostsirk named after Tashkentbay Egamberdiev and the directorate of Tashkent teams "Circus on the Stage". Uzbekgostsirk's mission was to promote modern Uzbek circus with its centuries-old history and rich traditions, to organize tours of the CIS countries' circuses as well as the circuses from around the world on the territory of Uzbekistan.

Throughout the years of operation the Republican Association "Uzbekgostsirk" turned into a real creative laboratory, looking for new ways of development. Twenty thematic circus shows, one hundred new numbers and ten big attractions were created during these years. Among them are "the Performing Tigers" under the guidance of R. Matchanov, the first Uzbek beasts of prey tamer, "Acrobats on Camels" under the guidance of E. Arzumanov, "Two Level Tightrope" under the guidance of Honoured Artist N. Alieva, "Horsemen of Uzbekistan" under the guidance of K.Karaev and so on.

Traditional performances included the art of rope-walking ('dorboz' - 'the rope-walker'). The rope-walkers demonstrated complex maneuvers on the rope using various tools such as walking sticks, plates, and trays attached to the feet, as well as closed eyes. Also, the horse-riders performed complex exercises, athletes and wrestlers competed to be best of the best.

During national festivals, fairs and bazaar shopping days, illusionists and magicians, as well as various street performers demonstrated their art. Clowns ('qizikchi and 'maskharaboz' - 'the one who makes others laugh, i.e. 'clowns') performed both on the rope and among public. They used to stage various scenes employing topics of the national folklore. It should be underscored though, that this kind of national arts and folklore has not die out yet in the country. Hither and thither nationwide, the national artists perform, thus, preserving the originality and uniqueness of the Uzbek national circus.

There are number of national groups of rope-walkers throughout the nation. Almost all of them are said to have learned their art from their fathers and fore-fathers, and have gone through the national school of the rope-walking - the so-called school of "usta-shogird" ('master-student').

The Uzbek circus has become a full member of the world circus community: the artists of the circus have carried the flag of independent Uzbekistan through the arenas of more than thirty countries of Europe, Asia and Africa. Also circus artists of our country have participated in prestigious international festivals in France, Germany, Russia, China, UAE where they were awarded the highest prizes. For example, in 1996 the participants of the number "Acrobats on Camels" under the guidance of E. Arzumanov won the third place of honor "Bronze Bear" and in 1999 the artists of the number "Horsemen of Uzbekistan" under the guidance of K.Karaev were the second at the International Circus Festival in UAE (Dubai).

In November 2000 the artists of the number "Two Level Tightrope" under the guidance of Honoured Artist N. Alieva were the second and won the golden "Yellow Crane" at the 4th International Festival of Circus Art in China (Wuhan). In November 2001 the Uzbek clowns group, including Sh.Abdujabbarov, O.Sultanov and R.Suropov were awarded the honorary third prize at the International Festival of Clowns' Art in China (Tien Jin).

The representatives of the oldest circus dynasties - the Tashkentbaevs and the Zaripovs - continue their creative work successfully. The honored artist of the USSR and Uzbekistan Khakim Zaripov trains new performers for the number "Horsemen from Sunny Uzbekistan".

Location: Khadra square, Tashkent city
Metro: Gafur Gulom
Tel.: (+998 71) 244-32-23, 244-35-91, 244-35-95

You can reach there by Alisher Navoi or Pahtakor metro stations, these are cross point of 2 metro lines in Tashkent.