Walnut Festival in Arslanbob
Kyrgyzstan is a unique country with enchanting mountain landscapes, crystal-clear rivers and wonderful mountain lakes. The country is also famous for its relict walnut and fruit forests that grow in the Jalal-Abad area. These forests are the largest in the world. Scientists claim that the age of these forests is more than 50 million years. One of the many legends says that Alexander the Great was in the village with his army and brought nuts to Greece on the way back and spread them all over the country.
In ancient times, Nuts were sold and spread through the Silk Road like the other products, and the wood of these trees was always highly valued. Trees reach up to 30 meters and can deliver 150 to 400 kg of nuts a year.
The villagers and their families harvest the walnuts every year at the end of September and beginning of May. The whole family takes part in the process. From small to large, they collect, dry and peel nuts. Shelled nuts are sold, and the walnut shells are used as fuel for baking bread, which gives it a special flavor. For many residents, nuts are the main source of income.
During the walnut harvest in Arslanbob, every year a festival and exhibition take place. Visitors can buy not only nuts, but also a variety of products, such as nut jam or cake, walnut oil, souvenirs and dried barberries, rose hips, medicinal herbs, honey, etc.
During the festival there is a marathon in the walnut forest for children and adults, donkey races, a folklore show and a concert organized by residents.
The main goal of the festival is to draw people’s attention to the conservation and protection of these unique forests and to promote walnut products and other forest products on the local market and export abroad.
A very important agricultural product – cotton – is harvested in the Jalal-Abad region during the walnut harvest. As you drive along local villages, you can see the farmers picking cotton.