3rd Traditional International Festival, Nazilli - Turkey
20 September 2005 -
The tour to Turkey by "Zornitsa" ensemble was interesting and fun. This weeklong festival is held to coincide with Independence Day (September 5th) when Nazilli and surrounding villages were liberated from the Greeks. As well as "Zornitsa," groups participating were:
"Usmivki Folk Group, Sofia.
"Yalmus" ensemble from Rousse, Northern Bulgaria. This group consists of Turkish/Bulgarians who perform Turkish dances.
"Guzulyert Folklore & Art Association" group from Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
A troupe from the Technical University of Tbilisi in Georgia.
The festival commenced with a defile through the streets of Nazilli on September 2nd. There were many concerts, day and night, in Nazilli and nearby villages and on September 5th, celebration day, the concerts in Sultanhisar and Nazilli were accompanied by marches and gun salutes.
Most of the concerts were quite short and throughout the tour, "Zornitsa" performed Trakiyski Smessen, Trakiyska Mladost, Zhenski Shopski and Shopska Suita, depending on time allotted. As well, our eight singers added extra zest.
Usmivki folk group peformed mainly Shoppian dances; the Turkish dancing by "Yalmus" was varied and interesting as were the dances by "Guzulyert folklore group"; and the Georgians were as impressive as always. On the final night, a couple of local groups took part and were a delight to watch. We were well looked after by the organisers and apart from the excitement of the festival, we were taken on two wonderful excursions. One day to visit "Meriyamana Evi" (Church of the Virgin Mary, the house where it is reputed she spent the last days of her life). 7th century, restored in 1951. We then went on to Ephesus for a taste of ancient civilisation,a magnificent site. Another day we visited the amazing World Heritage site of Pamukkale (Cotton Castle).
White calcium formations (travertine pools) formed when warm mineral water flowed over the cliff edge and when the water cooled the calcium was deposited. The nearby ruins of Hierapolis, once a grand city which was a cure centre and was founded around 190 B.C. were fascinating. The Roman theatre is spectacular and can seat up to 15,000 people. On our return journey to Sofia by coach we had three hours at leisure in the ancient coastal town of Kusadasi, which rounded off another great and unforgettable "Zornitsa" tour.
Zornitsa Folk Ensemble