Wikimedia CEE Spring article contest

Weekly Focus: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Poland

This week the participants of the CEE Spring 2017 are concentrating on topics related to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Poland. All three countries give lot’s of opportunities to write interesting articles and all three are worth knowing better.

Something worth eating

I must admit that I believe that local cuisine tells a lot about the region and the people who live there and I like to discover it in my travels. And this is the reason why I begin our journey to this week’s Central and Eastern European Countries by introducing you to cuisines of Azerbaijan, Poland and Kazakhstan, hoping that it will bring you inspiration to write some articles in your project.

Let’s start with the last one. According to English Wikipedia the Kazakh cuisine represents the nomadic history of the nation – the food is easy to prepare with little equipment needed and prepared the way that makes it preserved for a long time. Based on meat and boiling, it consists of such dishes as Besbarmak (which means “five fingers” because it is traditionally eaten using hands), kazy (a sausage which only wealthy people can afford) and baursak. All of which deserve a Wikipedia article for sure.   

The situation is different in Poland. This country which values hospitality and shows in ambition of overfeeding guests during long Polish dinners. This is why Poles have a long list of dishes not always easy to prepare but perfect for feasts. One of the most famous being bigos for which there are as many recipies as there are Poles. So if you want to avoid dangerous situations balancing on the edge of a civil war don’t you ever ask for a proper bigos formula while in a company of more than one Pole. This question would just trigger an angry discussion about the presence/absence of wine and mushrooms or the proper proportions of sweet cabbage and sauerkraut in the true bigos. Better concentrate on trying different kinds of bigos and then some more of the Polish finest dishes – pierogi, gołąbki, żurek and many other which are almost as impossible to pronounce as they are to resist.

How about moving to desserts? This brings us to Azerbaijani cuisine which can be praised for it’s desserts, sticky with syrup and rich with nuts. Such as pakhlava or peshmak. But it is not only about sweets – this cuisine also offers some other dishes like piti, plov or qutab, representing the richness and diversity of this cuisine.  

Something worth hearing

But culture is obviously not only about food. All three of this week’s countries provide many interesting music articles to write. For example – did you know that Kazakh have an interesting tradition of aytysh – improvised song duels between traditional singers (called aqyns)? And that by scrolling through CEE Spring article lists you can discover that Azarbeijan should be praised for their jazz music represented by Aziza Mustafa Zadedeh, called (for a reason) “a princess of jazz”. And Poland can be proud of Krzysztof Komeda – a great jazz musician, who created music for many movies (including those by Roman Polanski).

Someone worth knowing about

And because (did you know?) there is a thematic challenge about CEE women going on we should not forget about some notable females from Kazakhstan, Poland and Azerbaijan. Like Janina Lewandowska, a Polish World War II pilot, the first women to jump with a parachute from a height of 5 kilometers, a prisoner of soviet prison camps and the only female victim of the Katyń massacre. Or Leyla Yunus, an Azerbaijani human rights activist who is particularly known for organizing small protest on behalf of the people affected by forced evictions in Baku. Or Kaisha Atakhanova, a scientist and social activist from Kazakhstan awarded the international Goldman Environmental Prize for her fight against nuclear waste commercially imported into Kazakhstan.

And something worth fighting for
And while all the countries are worth writing about you may want to concentrate on Azerbaijan – the Azerbaijani wikimedians will award 1 user from each project who will create the highest number of articles about Azerbaijan (but not less than 5 and not stub articles). And rumor says that some of the prizes will be sweets. And I think that this blogpost made it pretty clear that food of this (and the other of this week’s countries) is worth the effort.

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