Two cities of Turkmenistan – Ashgabat and Turkmenabat – intend to become part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in 2020. Ashgabat will be nominated in the field of Design, and Turkmenabat in the field of Craft and Folk Art.
The white marble capital has been repeatedly noted internationally for its unique appearance – grandiose architectural ensembles in gilded ornaments attract tourists in the same way as historical monuments of the country. The city is constantly growing, new areas are being built up, whole residential areas of skyscrapers and cottages appear in the blink of an eye.
Competitions of architects and designers are offered annually, offering new ideas for buildings, projects for the restoration of old districts, and decoration of government buildings that meets the internal content.
Turkmenabat or, as it was called in antiquity, Amul arose in the I-IV centuries of our era on the banks of the Oks River. Soon the name of the city passed to the water artery – it began to be called Amu Darya – “the river at Amul.”
The history of the city goes back centuries, and its walls have witnessed many historical events. The city owes its birth to the Great Silk Road, passing from China through Central Asia to the Mediterranean. It has become one of the most important transshipment points and a reliable haven for caravans. From here, the “silk roads” diverged to Eastern Europe, Iran, and India.
Handicrafts also developed along with trade: from ceramics, in grace not inferior to the Merv finds, copper coins of the Kushan state (I – II century AD). Later there also were figurines, metal and glass products, tiles.
The recognition of Ashgabat and Turkmenabat as members of the Network of Creative Cities will be another confirmation of the effectiveness of their development strategies.
Today, about four billion people worldwide — more than half the world’s population — live in cities. And this number will grow steadily. Drawing on its many years of experience in normative and operational activities in the fields of education, science, culture and progress, UNESCO seeks to increase the level of sustainable development of cities through multidisciplinary cooperation between them.
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is one such mechanism. It was created in 2004 and today brings together 180 cities from 72 countries from all over the world with a common goal – to put creativity and culture at the center of development strategies to make cities inclusive, safe and sustainable.
Within the framework of the Network, member cities unite their resources, experience and knowledge to achieve common goals, make a tangible contribution to the achievement of sustainable development goals through the development of policies and projects.
In 2019, the list of participants in the Network included 66 cities of the world, including Baku, Havana, Potsdam, Beirut, San Jose and many other tourist centers.