14 UNESCO World Traditions to Experience in 2019

14 UNESCO World Traditions to Experience in 2019

Every December since 2008, members of UNESCO’s cultural committee meet to decide which of the world’s cultural traditions will be honored for the previous year. This year, 31 traditions were recognized by UNESCO, and 14 of them are in MIR’s destinations. Read More



Hear the Sounds of the Silk Route: Music of the Karakalpaks (VIDEO)

Hear the Sounds of the Silk Route: Music of the Karakalpaks (VIDEO)

In the remote desert region of western Uzbekistan lies the small city of Nukus. It’s here that you’ll find the famous Savitsky Art Museum, which houses a massive collection of banned Russian avant-garde art. On a recent trip to Uzbekistan, MIR staffers caught some footage of a traditional Karakalpak musical performance while touring the Savitsky Museum. The footage highlights two distinct musical styles and types of performers. Musicians once held a most important role in Karakalpak society, acting as both singers and storytellers. They were an essential part of special occasions and weddings, many of which lasted for days, sometimes weeks. Read More


6 Reasons to Visit Svaneti – Georgia’s Undiscovered and Unrivaled Mountain Region (video)

6 Reasons to Visit Svaneti – Georgia’s Undiscovered and Unrivaled Mountain Region (video)

Svaneti is a ravishing mountain region of Georgia, home of the self-sufficient Svan people, whose traditions and culture have survived for thousands of years, thanks to the region’s remoteness. Tell anyone down in the capital that you’re on your way to Svaneti and they get a far-away look in their eyes and admit they wish they could go with you. As untouched as it has been until now, Svaneti is beginning incrementally to change and modernize. The time to visit is now, before these changes sweep away the rituals and practices perfectly suited to an isolated and challenging environment. Here are 6 reasons Svaneti is an unrivaled favorite – in Georgia, and among discerning travelers... Read More


Singing the Plate Song in Uzbekistan: Katta Ashula

Singing the Plate Song in Uzbekistan: Katta Ashula

In Uzbekistan, traditional folk songs are known as Ashula. Ashula reflects the diverse influences that shaped the region’s music as well as the inner feelings, hopes, loves and attitudes of the natives. One of the types of Ashula is called Katta Ashula, which literally means big or great song. The tradition of Katta Ashula is popular in the Fergana Valley, where many languages and cultures come together. Folk singers from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have mastered this traditional style. It requires special training, a strong voice and the ability to improvise - which is illustrated in this video. Read More


Travel to Iran: Traditional Persian Music and Drumming (VIDEO)

Travel to Iran: Traditional Persian Music and Drumming (VIDEO)

MIR Tour Manager extraordinaire Martin Klimenta is also an accomplished photographer and videographer. On a recent departure of MIR's Ancient Persia – Modern Iran small group tour, he filmed some footage of traditional Persian music performances in Tehran and Kerman. Enjoy this video of those performances. Read More