Shusha Today

Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva attended opening of 5th “Kharibulbul” International Folklore Festival

12 May 2022, 12:00

The 5th “Kharibulbul” International Folklore Festival has today opened in Shusha, the cultural capital of Azerbaijan.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva attended the festival’s opening.


The 5th “Kharibulbul” International Folklore Festival, held in the “Year of Shusha” on the occasion of the 270th anniversary of the city of Shusha, has been organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Ministry of Culture and the Shusha City State Reserve. The 5th festival, which will end on 14 May, is attended by musicians and dance groups from different countries and folk groups from different regions of Azerbaijan.

The festival’s opening concert began with the “Motherland suite” composition performed by the Azerbaijan State Song and Dance Ensemble named after Fikrat Amirov.

Then the sounds of “Karabakh Shikastasi” performed by Honorary Artists Ilkin Ahmadov, Babak Niftaliyev and Sabina Arabli reverberated through the Shusha mountains.

Turkey, which supported Azerbaijan in the Patriotic War, is represented at the festival by the Turkic World Music and Folk Dance Ensemble. The folk dance “Van Yoresi” performed by the ensemble was met with tremendous interest and applause.

People’s Artist of Azerbaijan Polad Bulbuloglu sang the folk song “Chal oyna,” the “Jangi” Variety Folk Dance Ensemble performed “Tanzara,” and Honorary Artist Shirzad Fataliyev, accompanied by wind instruments group “Turaji” performed folk dances.

Mali’s “Cheick Tidiane Seck” ethno-jazz musician performed the “Sanga Bo” dance, “Pakistan Colors” group performed the “Bhangra” dance and the Georgian Folk Dance Ensemble “Melitassi” performed “Svanuri.”

The Azerbaijan State Dance Ensemble performed the Avar folk dance, the Tunisian duo “Yuma” performed the “Smek” composition, and the Uzbek State Dance Ensemble performed the “Bayot” folk dance.

Then, Honorary Culture Figure ashug Samira Aliyeva and Ashug Ali Tapdigoghlu sang the “Karabakh Gaytaghisi,” while People’s Artist Polad Bulbuloglu and the “Kharibulbul” dance ensemble of the Baku Choreography Academy performed the song “My Karabakh.”

The opening concert ended with the song “Homeland is inseparable” performed by Honored Artist Aybaniz Hashimova and the “Bulbullar” group.


Back on 8 November 2020, President Ilham Aliyev addressed the nation on the occasion of the liberation of Shusha, noting that this city, the crown of Karabakh, would soon be revived and restore its former glory. At the opening ceremony of last year’s festival, the head of state said, “We have restored this wonderful tradition, and from now on, the “Kharibulbul” festival will be held in Shusha every year.” The holding of the Fifth Kharibulbul International Folklore Festival is a vivid testimony to the President’s words.

The first “Kharibulbul” festival was held in Shusha in 1989 on the occasion of the 100th birthday anniversary of the famous singer, pedagogue and People’s Artist Seyid Shushinsky (1889-1965). The event was organized in May of that year in Shusha during the flowering of kharibulbul (Ophrys caucasica). Along with local performers, the first festival was attended by music groups from the former Soviet republics of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia (Bashkortostan), Lithuania and Belarus.

In 1990, the “Kharibulbul” festival gained international status. The invitation of folk groups from the Netherlands, Germany, Israel and Turkey to the second festival evoked great interest. Due to the dire situation in Shusha in the wake of the start of the Karabakh conflict, the concerts were organized in Aghdam. A number of festival concerts were also held in Barda and Aghjabadi. About 170 delegates from different countries attended the second festival.

About 300 delegates from 25 countries took part in the third “Kharibulbul” festival held in 1991. Artists from the United States and Australia also attended the festival. Due to a large number of spectators, the festival’s main concerts were held in stadiums. The final concerts of the second and third festivals were held at the Heydar Aliyev Palace in Baku.

The fourth festival was due to start in Baku on 15 May 1992 and was expected to be the most spectacular event ever held. Five hundred people from more than 30 countries were scheduled to attend. However, due to the occupation of Shusha by Armenian troops on 8 May of the same year, it was not possible to organize the “Kharibulbul” festival. The festival was held only briefly at the Imarat complex in Aghdam.

After the glorious victory of the brave Azerbaijani Army in the Patriotic War under the leadership of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Victorious Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev, the traditional “Kharibulbul” festival was organized in Shusha again. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and family members also attended the opening of the festival organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation on the Jidir Duzu in Shusha on 12-13 May 2021.

The festival featured national dances, mugham and performances by folklore groups from different regions of the country and national minorities, videos of Azerbaijani singers filmed in Shusha in different years, and classical music.