The circus comes to town, after a nine-year ban
Saturday 24 April 2010
Nine years after Turkmenistan's late leader banned the big top, the circus yesterday returned to the Central Asian nation.
Hundreds of children lined up outside a renovated Soviet-era arena in the capital, Ashgabat, for their first visit to the circus, a form of entertainment the eccentric autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov prohibited as "alien". Niyazov, who ruled Turkmenistan for 21 years until his death in 2006, also banned the cinema, opera, ballet, lip-synching and even gold teeth.
His successor, President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, pictured above attending yesterday's opening show, hailed it as a "state-level event". Ballet, however, still remains banned in the country.
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